The battle for the top four
With the title race and relegation battles all but concluded, it is only the fight for the top four and Champions League qualification that is left to play for.
As things stand, Leicester sit in third place on 62 points, four points above Chelsea and seven above West Ham.
From fourth to eighth position though, the clubs are separated by a mere six points, with West Ham and Liverpool looking the strongest contenders outside of the top four, while Tottenham in seventh and Everton in eighth remain firm outside bets.
Southampton vs Leicester City
Despite the FA Cup run, this has been a very disappointing 2021 for Southampton.
The Saints have lost four of their last five matches, with their solitary victory coming in a 3-2 comeback win over Burnley.
Southampton have taken fewer points this calendar year (10) than any other club in the league and have lost 10 of their last 16 games, a run that ironically started with defeat against Leicester City.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men are 15th in the table with 36 points and are safe from relegation, but their form has to be a concern going into next season.
The Foxes’ comeback win against Crystal Palace on Monday night was a crucial one. It strengthened their grip on third place, and extended their lead to fifth place to seven points.
There was a collapse last season, but the win demonstrated their maturity and improvement over the last year.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s stunning winner was his 12th goal in his last nine games in all competitions.
Leicester have won three of their last five Premier League matches, with the two losses coming against champions-elect Manchester City and in-form West Ham United.
Despite their commanding position, Leicester face a tough end of season run-in with their final three games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
Head to head
Leicester have already beaten Southampton twice this season, 2-0 at home, as well as 1-0 in the FA Cup Semi-Final.
Southampton have lost their last three Premier League home games against Leicester. Southampton’s infamous 9-0 defeat last year against Leicester was the record home loss in English top-flight, not just Premier league history.
Chelsea vs Fulham
Chelsea have been on fine form of late under Thomas Tuchel.
They are in a strong position going into the second leg in Champions Legaue semi-final against Real Madrid, and have an FA Cup final to look forward to after knocking out Manchester City.
Last week, they defeated West Ham 1-0 in a significant six-pointer that cemented their place in the coveted top four.
Tuchel has a big squad to choose from, and he could ring the changes with one eye on the second leg against Real Madrid. Whatever the line-up, the Blues have been rock-solid at the back and have kept clean sheets in 10 of their last 14 Premier League games.
Fulham now look certain to be dropping back down to the Championship, after just one year in the Premier League.
Scott Parker’s side have lost four of their last five matches, with their solitary point coming in an away draw at the Emirates Stadium. They will wonder what could have been, as they held leads against Aston Villa and Arsenal, but were unable to hold on.
With only five wins in the whole season, and eight points away from safety, it will take a miracle for Fulham to retain their Premier League status this season.
Head to head
The head to head stats do not look good at all for Fulham. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 18 home games against Fulham, a run that goes back to 1979.
Chelsea won 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage in Frank Lampard’s penultimate league game.
Fulham have only managed one solitary victory against Chelsea in the Premier League in 29 attempts, last beating Chelsea in 2006.
Burnley vs West Ham
Burnley’s 4-0 hammering of Wolves was the win they needed to kill off any threat of relegation.
Chris Wood’s brilliant hat-trick put some daylight between Sean Dyche’s side and the bottom three.
The Clarets lie in 14th on 36 points, nine points above the relegation zone.
Their form of late has been mixed, consisting of three defeats in their last five games but they have been more ambitious in recent games, taking the game to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
West Ham form
West Ham have been by far the the surprise package of the season and if they do indeed achieve fourth place you’d have to fancy David Moyes for manager of the season.
Last weekend’s defeat to Chelsea was a tough one to take as they fought hard without key players, such as Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, who are both out injured.
The Hammers also had Fabian Balbuena sent off, but that red card has now been rescinded.
Back-to-back defeats mean they must win at Turf Moor to keep their top four hopes alive.
Head to head
West Ham won the reverse fixture 1-0 at home, but Burnley have won their last two home matches against West Ham and have not lost against them at home since 2017.
Featured image: Leicester City’s Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho (L) and Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy embrace on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Crystal Palace. (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP)