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Premier League: Here’s how the Race for Fourth is really hotting up

Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton are speeding towards the possibility of Champions League football, while Manchester United are left eating dust...

by Josh Powell | February 13, 2014

David Moyes is struggling to keep up in the race to get Champions League football with Manchester United winning just one of the last five league games. The world hasn’t seen a breakdown quite this spectacular since Charlie Sheen went on his ‘Tiger Blood’ binge. Only this time United are certainly not #Winning.

The champions are losing touch on their nearest rivals and we’ve crunched the numbers to see just how far away they are from pinching fourth spot.

The Race for Fourth: How it stands

[Click here or on the image itself if you find yourself squinting!]


  • United are currently on 42 points in the Premier League – Spurs got fourth in 2010 after being on 43 points at the same stage of the season and Arsenal claimed a Champions League spot last year after racking up just 44 points after 26 games
  • The average number of points required to get fourth at this stage of the season in the last decade is just 46. United are just four points off that tally
  • Arsenal in 2006 (41) and Liverpool in 2004 (39) both had fewer points at this stage of the season than United do now and still managed to nab fourth

The main reason Helen in Man United’s HR team might be firing up the printer to hand Mr Moyes his P45 though, is because the teams separating United and Champions League football – Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham – are having such a stellar year.

  • All three sides are performing well above the average required to achieve fourth over the last decade
  • At least a draw against Palace will put Everton over the average points required after 26 games (46) while Liverpool (53) and Spurs streak ahead (50)
  • Liverpool need just 15 points from their last 12 games to hit the average total number of points required (68) to get fourth in the last ten years

David Moyes

The bottom line is, based on the average of the last decade, Man United are currently just four points of what is necessary to get Champions League football. Unfortunately for United fans, this is not an average year.

In 2008 Liverpool racked up 76 points to finish fourth and that is the highest total of any fourth placed team in the last 10 years. Incredibly the Merseyside club will reach a total of 78 points on the current average of just over two points a game.

Realistically David Moyes can only afford to drop points in two of the remaining 12 games if United are to challenge for fourth. Even that might not be enough. As Everton manager in 2005 Moyes grabbed fourth spot, but only after picking up just 13 points from their last 12 games. A similar return here could leave United a massive 16 points off Champions League football.

  • Don’t get left behind in the race for fourth. All the latest odds are here: Desktop | Mobile

Outright odds for top four finish…

Liverpool: 1/6
Tottenham: 5/2
Everton: 10/1
Man Utd: 10/1

To finish outside the top four…

Liverpool: 5/2
Tottenham: 1/4
Everton: 1/33
Man Utd: 1/12

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