Data experts predict Newcastle United top four chances v Liverpool & Man United after Leeds slip-up

The race for Champions League football between Newcastle United, Manchester United and Liverpool is heating up heading into the final weeks of the Premier League season.
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As we head into the final weeks of the Premier League season, Manchester City and Arsenal have already secured Champions League qualification but two more places are still very much up for grabs with four teams still able to qualify.

Newcastle United currently sit third on 66 points, ahead of Manchester United in fourth on goal difference. Liverpool are fifth, four points behind before they play Leicester City on Monday evening which would close the gap to just a point.

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Then there’s Brighton who are eight points off the top four but do have a game in hand as they look to qualify for European football for the first time in the club’s history.

Newcastle United’s run-in

On league positioning alone, it would appear Newcastle are in the driving seat to secure a top four place given they currently sit third.

18/05: Newcastle v Brighton & Hove Albion (7:30pm kick-off)

22/05: Newcastle v Leicester City (8pm kick-off)

28/05: Chelsea v Newcastle (4:30pm kick-off)

Newcastle’s 2-2 draw at Leeds United on Saturday means they need to win two of their last three matches in order to guarantee a top four finish, providing Liverpool win all of their remaining matches.

Eddie Howe’s side have won eight of their last 11 Premier League matches but head into the match against Brighton without a win in their last two. Regardless of their result against Brighton, depending on results elsewhere, Newcastle could find themselves outside of the top four by the time they host Leicester City next Monday.

Manchester United’s run-in

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Manchester United bounced back from consecutive defeats to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 on Saturday and boost their top four hopes as they drew level on points with Newcastle.

20/05: Bournemouth v Manchester United (3pm kick-off)

25/05: Manchester United v Chelsea (8pm kick-off)

28/05: Manchester United v Fulham (4:30pm kick-off)

Manchester United have never finished below Newcastle in the Premier League. In order to continue that run, they will have to outscore The Magpies’ points total in their final three matches as their goal difference is significantly inferior.

Erik ten Hag has set Alejandro Garnacho a challenge for next season.Erik ten Hag has set Alejandro Garnacho a challenge for next season.
Erik ten Hag has set Alejandro Garnacho a challenge for next season.

Liverpool’s run-in

At one stage it looked as though Liverpool’s hopes of Champions League qualification this season were over. But a fine run of form in recent weeks has thrust them into contention as they currently sit just four points off the Champions League places with three games remaining.

That gap could potentially close to just one point should they win at Leicester City tonight.

15/05: Leicester City v Liverpool (8pm kick-off)

20/05: Liverpool v Aston Villa (3pm kick-off)

28/05: Southampton v Liverpool (4:30pm kick-off)

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The Reds have qualified for the Champions League in every full season they’ve had with Jurgen Klopp as manager. The last time the side finished outside of the top four came during the 2015-16 season.

Brighton’s run-in

Brighton’s impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday keeps them within the hunt for a top four finish although they must realistically win all four of their remaining matches in order to stand a chance.

18/05: Newcastle v Brighton & Hove Albion (7:30pm kick-off)

21/05: Brighton & Hove Albion v Southampton (2pm kick-off)

24/05: Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City (8pm kick-off)

28/05: Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion (4:30pm kick-off)

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It’s a difficult end to the season for Brighton, but they’ve proven to be more than capable of going toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the league. But with the recent 3-0 win at Arsenal and 6-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, there’s a 5-1 defeat to Everton and 3-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest.

The Seagulls are unpredictable but could still have a big say in the race for the top four particularly in their game at Newcastle on Thursday night.

Data experts predict Premier League top four

Premier League data experts FiveThirtyEight have used performance data to predict every result this season and form a final predicted table.

The data experts anticipate that Manchester United will finish third on 72 points with Newcastle fourth on 71 and Liverpool in fifth on 68. Brighton are predicted to stay sixth on 64 points.

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Newcastle currently have the highest chance of a top four finish according to FiveThirtyEight with an 87% chance of Champions League qualification as it stands - this has dropped below 90 after recent results.

Manchester United are deemed to have an 86% chance while Liverpool’s chances are rated at just 25%. Outsiders Brighton are estimated to have just a 2% probability of finishing inside the top four.