The struggle for Champions League qualifying seems as challenging as the English Premier League title race, with north London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal neck and neck.
Tottenham’s superior offensive prowess may yet prove decisive in the end.
After beating Newcastle 5-1 on Sunday, Antonio Conte’s club is the highest-scoring team in the league in 2022, with 30 goals in 13 games.
Spurs climbed past Arsenal into fourth place, the final Champions League qualifying spot, but only on goal difference. Arsenal has two games remaining, the first of which is a difficult match against Crystal Palace on Monday.
“Now I have had five or six months to work and bring my idea of football and mentality,” said Conte, who replaced Nuno Espirito Santo as a manager in November. “This league is very difficult, but to play against us is not easy at this moment.”
Ben Davies, Matt Doherty, Son Heung-min, Emerson Royal, and substitute Steven Bergwijn all scored, but in-form striker Harry Kane was conspicuously absent.
Tottenham and Arsenal, who have only the Premier League to contend with, may not be limited to fourth place. Chelsea is only five points ahead of Arsenal in third place, and it will have to juggle both the Champions League and the FA Cup over the next month.
With eight games remaining, none of them will be able to catch Manchester City and Liverpool, who are separated by one point.
Return of Bowen
Jarrod Bowen marked his return to West Ham’s starting XI with a great performance on Sunday, scoring a goal, an assist, and the maximum bonus for his seventh double-digit haul.
After a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Everton, West Ham is still in contention for fourth place. West Ham moved up to sixth place, one point ahead of Manchester United and three points behind Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Jarrod Bowen scored the game-winning goal on his return from injury, driving home a rebound after Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford blocked Michailequalize’s shot.
In the 32nd minute, Aaron Cresswell gave West Ham the lead with a curling free-kick into the top corner, only for Mason Holgate to equalize with a deflected drive in the 53rd minute.
Everton defender Michael Keane was sent off for a second booking shortly after Bowen’s goal. The squad remained mired in relegation jeopardy, barely one position and three points above the drop zone.
If Frank Lampard’s team loses at Burnley on Wednesday, the situation could get significantly worse. In all competitions, Everton has lost its last six away matches.
West Ham manager David Moyes, who formerly managed Everton, believes his old club has enough quality to stay in the Premier League. Lampard was amused.
“That’s easy for him to say but I appreciate the sentiment,” Lampard said. “If he meant from seeing us today and if we continue with that form and replicate that, then I agree. But we are in the position with ten games left.”
Having won the free-kick for Aaron Cresswell’s opener, it’s now 14 assists for the winger this season, at least three more than any other player.