Can Chelsea make it into the top four?
By Joe Harker
In the final days of the Premier League there are only a few things left to be decided. The question of who will join Stoke in relegation (it's probably Swansea) and who makes it into the top four are still unanswered.
At the bottom of the table fewer and fewer clubs are in danger of the drop as the noose tightens around those final few yet to confirm survival.
At the top, two teams are fighting for the last Champions League qualification place. Manchester City have won the Premier League and Manchester United are safe in the top four, needing only one more point to confirm second place. Tottenham Hotspur's win against Newcastle means Chelsea cannot catch them, leaving it down to Antonio Conte's side and Liverpool, the latter in the driving seat with only a defeat against Brighton putting a top four finish at risk.
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard proclaimed that the team are ready to capitalise on any slip ups from their rivals. They defeated Liverpool to improve their situation and keep hopes of a top four finish alive, but will need them to suffer defeat again for a chance at the top four. Hazard acknowledged they would need to rely on a favour from their opponents. He said: "It is not in our hands.
"It does not only depend on us but we will play, we will hopefully win, and then we will see the results of Tottenham and Liverpool and we will give everything."
The issue for Chelsea is that this good run of form appears to be too little, too late. A few extra points over the course of the season would have made all the difference but they are at the mercy of their top four rivals. Failing to defeat Huddersfield allowed the Terriers to stay up in the division but could have consigned Chelsea to the Europa League.
It has not been good enough from last season's champions as they now rely on Liverpool losing. The only saving grace for Chelsea is that Liverpool will be more focused on their Champions League final against Real Madrid. One final clash with Brighton might be the perfect opportunity for a surprise defeat that works in Chelsea's favour.
Conte acknowledged that his team stood little chance of making the Champions League now. He said: "The situation wasn't in our hands before this game and, for sure, the possibility is less now after this game.
"At the same time, we have to try. We have to try to do our best. We played an intense game, with great desire to get three points. But we weren't able to win the game. That's football."
If Chelsea do fail to make the top four then it will mean that for three years running the Premier League champions have failed to secure a top four finish in the next season. Not only has no team defended their title since Manchester United in 2009, champions have been falling away in more dramatic fashion.