The Premier League title race, fight for Europe and relegation battle: Every club still playing for something this season
The final stages of the Premier League 2022/23 season are upon us, with each point more important than ever for sides battling for something, whether it be the title, Europe or simply to stay in the division.
For others, they're allowed the luxury to take their foot off the gas and indulge in the old-age cliché of "being on the beach". By FourFourTwo's reckoning, there are at least six sides, possibly a contentious seven, who currently find themselves in this situation - a bonus for some; a disaster for others.
However, it's the clubs who still have something to play for which we are focussing on here, starting with the Premier League title and working through who will make it to Europe, and who we might be waving goodbye to come the conclusion of the campaign.
The Premier League title race
After Manchester City's 4-1 demolition of Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium, you'd be forgiven for thinking Pep Guardiola's men wrapped up their fifth league title in six seasons with it.
However, Arsenal are still at the top of the table, albeit with City just two points behind and with two games in hand, and Mikel Arteta certainly won't let his side relinquish the title that seemed destined for the Emirates without a fight.
The Gunners still have the potential to accumulate a staggering 90 points this campaign, which certainly highlights how the young team has come on leaps and bounds in just 12 months. Manchester City are imperious, though, and with Kevin De Bruyne teeing up Erling Haaland, it's inevitable they'll score a load of goals between now and the final day on May 28.
Having said that, the Premier League title is still all to play for, and football games aren't won on paper. City still face trips to relegation-threatened Everton, Brentford and Brighton between now and the end of the season, and all three could cause them to slip up.
Sides battling for Europe
The race for the European places are hotting up, with five spots available - after Manchester City and Arsenal are taken out of the equation - for six clubs: Brighton and Hove Albion, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Newcastle United.
Should West Ham United win the Europa Conference League, though, then only the top six sides in the Premier League table will earn European football, with sixth place becoming a spot in Europe's third competition.
Barring any major disasters, Manchester United and Newcastle should have the final two Champions League spots sown up, considering their points gap to the chasing pack. The former is six points ahead of Spurs in fifth with two games in hand, while Newcastle have an eight-point buffer and an extra match to play as well.
Therefore, the tussle for the (current) two Europa League spots and the single Europa Conference League place looks intriguing.
Both Liverpool and Aston Villa have hit encouraging form in recent weeks, while Spurs and Brighton have stuttered with some inconsistent form. Spurs currently occupy fifth place and a guaranteed Europa League spot for next season, but Aston Villa are level points and only behind on goal difference.
Liverpool sit a point further back but have a game in hand, putting them in the driving seat, while Brighton still have eight matches to play in their season, compared to Tottenham's and Aston Villa's five. Roberto De Zerbi's side are five points off the Europa League as it stands.
Those desperate to avoid relegation to the Championship
While West Ham, Bournemouth, Wolves, Crystal Palace and Chelsea are all yet to reach the coveted 40-point mark this season, they all seem relatively safe from relegation. West Ham could, arguably, still be dragged back in considering they only have 34 points, though that seems unlikely when taking into account the buffer they have to the bottom sides.
Indeed, there is a four-point gap between West Ham in 15th and Leeds United in 16th, with Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Everton and Southampton the remaining sides all fighting against the drop zone.
Southampton seem doomed for the Championship next season following their home loss to Bournemouth, the Saints six points from safety with just five games remaining. A crucial away game to Nottingham Forest on May 8 could determine their fate one way or another.
Thereafter seems anyone's guess, with any two of the other four mentioned sides all in precarious positions.
Everton are 19th, but just two points from Leeds and Forest in 16th and 17th, while Leicester occupy the final relegation place. Every team has just five games to play in the run-in, too, with Leicester and Everton facing off at the King Power Stadium the pick of the games.