Qualifying for the Champions League is hugely important for a number of reasons. It helps keep the manager, current stars and supporters happy, and earns the club millions in prize money and broadcasting revenue.
The guarantee of playing in Europe’s elite club competition can also entice better players to your club, be it emerging talent or established stars, and you get to play in one of the most prestigious competitions in world football.
Clearly, there is a lot at stake.
This year in the Premier League, Manchester City have stormed to a nine-point lead at the top, with Liverpool second having played one game fewer. City are well clear, and Liverpool can pull seven points ahead of Chelsea if they win their two games in hand on the European champions.
For that reason, we have focused on the clubs currently placed third to eighth, to weigh up their chances in the race to complete the top four.
We’ve looked at the data to compare the six teams — from attacking and defensive metrics, to style of play and fixture difficulty — and asked our reporters from each one to judge whether the side they cover have what it takes and what the impact of success or failure would be…
Why will this team get top four?
Chelsea (Liam Twomey): Thomas Tuchel built last season’s Champions League triumph on the meanest defence in Europe and, despite falling out of the Premier League title race over the festive period, Chelsea have maintained a significantly higher standard (i.e.