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Monday Cannon Fodder: out of whack

Aston Villa v Burnley - Premier League Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

The Premier League table is a bit difficult to read at the moment. Arsenal are six points clear of Tottenham in fourth, but Spurs have three matches in hand. So if Tottenham were to win all three of those (or win two, draw one), they’d leapfrog the Gunners. Manchester United, on 27 points with three matches in hand, could also pass Arsenal with wins in all three.

For what it’s worth, most projections now have Arsenal getting somewhere between 65 and 68 points, which should be good enough for a fourth place finish. But in this topsy-turvy, postponement-filled and COVID-impacted season, who knows. The best Arsenal can do is to keep racking up wins and banking points. There is surely a psychological effect on the chasing teams to look up at Arsenal repeatedly adding three to the tally, dangling that fourth place spot tantalizing close to reach, only to move it further away with each win. To steal a phrase usually used to clown Spurs — Arsenal need to put the pressure on.

More table wackiness: Liverpool look tied with Chelsea for second but have played one fewer match. That’s not enough points on offer to match Manchester City, but it’s enough to pull even with Pep Guardiola’s side should they win the remaining head-to-head match-up.

Every other club (save Burnley) have played between one and three fewer matches than Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal at the top of the table. Burnley have played just 15 matches. They sit two points clear of safety, and a win in their match in hand would move them ahead of Watford. Three matches in hand over Leeds in 16th means Burnley could also move ahead of them, who Sean Dyche’s side trail by five points.

Right now, 8 of 10 midweek matches are still on. Leeds vs. Aston Villa and Arsenal vs. Wolves have both been postponed. For the Gunners, that means Manchester United and Tottenham (and most of the PL) will make up one of their matches in hand, which will make the table somewhat more useful.

The bottom line: the table is a mess. Read it with caution.