The Premier League title race may be over but the hunt for the final Champions League spot is far from finished.
Securing qualification to Europe’s elite competition is more important than ever, as it could be the difference between a healthy or limited transfer budget – and may also help clubs to attract star players during the window.
Having browsed the current standings, talkSPORT.com believes there are six teams in contention for the final spot, with just six points separating fourth from ninth.
Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, there is surely no hope they can make the final spot.
Mikel Arteta’s men, who are currently ten points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with 13 games to go, would have to undertake a remarkable upturn in form to make it happen.
So who has the best shot at qualifying for the Champions League?
4th. Chelsea – 41 points
The Blues have had a topsy-turvy campaign, however, at one point they looked like certainties for the top four.
There is still a genuine sense of excitement at Stamford Bridge with Frank Lampard at the helm building a young team with an attacking style of play.
However, in recent months his side have been woeful defensively and have also lacked a cutting edge in attack.
Chelsea often dominate the ball and produce chances but there is not enough goals in the line up and the arrival of Hakim Ziyech in the summer will go some way to helping that.
Despite having the transfer ban lifted, the club failed to make any additions in January – much to the frustration of the manager – while every rival strengthened.
However, in spite of all of the recent shortcomings a positive atmosphere remains at the club and there is a confidence that the top four can be made.
Tammy Abraham has looked evidently unfit after recovering from a hip injury but if he gets back to his best then the Blues have a great chance of securing the last place, while Christian Pulisic is also set to return from injury after the winter break which will be a much-needed boost for Lampard.
But the Blues haven’t got the so-called ‘easiest’ run-in, with Man United, Tottenham, Liverpool and Man City all to be played in the coming weeks. As of January, talkSPORT’s Super Computer saw Chelsea snapping up the final Champions League qualifying spot.
5th. Sheffield United – 39 points
The Blades have been superb this season and if it wasn’t for Jurgen Klopp’s record-breaking Liverpool side, Chris Wilder would be a shoe-in for the manager of the season.
They are one point off the magic 40 point mark, but at this stage they’re looking up at the top four rather than down on the bottom three.
It’s a truly remarkable achievement for Wilder, who has engineered ridiculous performance levels from his squad despite spending very little money on transfers.
The question is: how much further can they go?
With the addition of the highly-rated Sander Berge in January they may have the tools to oust Chelsea from fourth position, but they do have a less then favourable run-in.
With tough fixtures against Man United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester to come, the top four might be a step too far for the Blades, but Europa League is within their grasp.
6th. Tottenham – 37 points
Spurs were having a car crash of a season which resulted in the sacking of their beloved manager Mauricio Pochettino in November.
His replacement, Jose Mourinho, has to be given credit for steadying the ship and slowly guiding his side up the table.
The manager has tightened up the defence, promoted youngster Japhet Tanganga, and sealed the signing of PSV Eindhoven winger Steven Bergwijn.
The Netherlands international scored a superb volley on his debut in Spurs’ 2-0 win over Manchester City, which has given their campaign a surge of life.
The north London club are two points behind Sheffield United with a game in hand and will be hoping they can get a win against struggling Aston Villa up next.
Assuming they win that, they’ll be one point behind Chelsea and it’ll very much be game on for the Lilywhites.
7th. Everton – 36 points
It’s incredible that we are now talking about a potential Champions League spot for Everton given how bad they were earlier this season.
Just a few months ago, the Toffees found themselves at the wrong end of the table following a series of bad results, and Marco Silva was replaced by one of the greatest managers the game has seen in Carlo Ancelotti.
Fans could hardly believe their luck after the news broke they sealed the appointment of the three-time Champions League-winning manager and the club has reaped the rewards of the brilliant appointment.
However, in terms of the top four, Everton‘s upcoming fixtures are tricky to say the least.
Six of their next eight opponents are in the top half of the table but if they continue their momentum it could end up being a season to remember at Goodison Park.
8th. Manchester United – 35 points
At one point last month, the Red Devils looked like they were in pole position to catch Chelsea, but an injury to Marcus Rashford seems to have put any hope of that happening in jeopardy.
The signing of Odion Ighalo is unlikely to fill the void left by the England star’s absence and the main worry for United is their consistency.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have been unable to string more than two league wins together at any point, however, the signing of Bruno Fernandes could propel them to a good run of results.
The Portuguese playmaker has a track record for getting goals and assists and if he hits the ground running, United could be in with a shout of pipping the last spot.
They also have a favourable run-in to finish the season, but who could predict how United perform against any opponent these days?
9th. Wolves – 35 points
The Wanderers stuttered at the start of the season but have recovered brilliantly and are certainly in contention for European qualification for the second year in a row.
Nuno’s side appear capable of getting a result against any team – barring the unstoppable Liverpool – but they have the unwelcome distraction of a Europa League campaign which could tire them in the final stage of the season.
Nuno prefers to stick to his tried and trusted, with his 20 players used the lowest in the league alongside Leicester and Burnley.
However, the Molineux side have the second worst fixture run-in out of any club in the division, with Leicester, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea all to be played in their final 13 matches.