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THE FINISH LINE

Battle for EPL title goes down to the wire

Four teams also in scrap to clinch place in next season's Champions League

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Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (right) vies with Manchester City's Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester on April 24.

Manchester

MANCHESTER City's 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday (Thursday morning, Singapore time) edged Pep Guardiola's men one point ahead of Liverpool in one of the tightest English Premier League (EPL) title races ever.

A seventh defeat in nine games further damaged Manchester United's chances of Champions League qualification next season, but they could still make the top four with Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal also faltering.

This is what remains in the run-in for all of the top six in the EPL, with each team having just three matches left to play.

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Manchester City - 89 points

The title remains in City's hands thanks to a run of 11 straight wins and victory at Old Trafford over their city rivals was a huge step towards becoming the first side to retain the EPL trophy in a decade.

A trip to Burnley on Sunday (9.05pm kickoff, Singapore time) is followed by the visit of Leicester City to the Etihad before City end the season at relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion.

City's Champions League elimination means they will have a full week to prepare for their final two league games.

Liverpool - 88 points

A run of nine consecutive wins in all competitions has helped keep Jurgen Klopp's players stay on City's coattails and in position to pounce should the champions suffer an unexpected stumble in their remaining three games.

A first top-flight title in 29 years was described by Klopp as the "holy grail" after Sunday's 2-0 win at Cardiff City and even if they fall short, it has been a historic campaign for the Reds.

Liverpool already have more points than ever before in the EPL and they should comfortably add three more to their tally when already-relegated Huddersfield Town visit Anfield on Friday (Saturday 3am).

A tricky trip to Newcastle United - sandwiched between two Champions League semi-final clashes with Spanish champions Barcelona - is a potential banana skin before they host Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day of the season on May 12.

Tottenham - 70 points

Spurs could still seal their place in the Champions League next season by winning the competition as they face tournament underdogs Ajax Amsterdam in the semi-finals.

However, Mauricio Pochettino's team are on course to seal a fourth straight season of Champions League football as they sit third in the EPL, four points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal.

Tottenham have won all four games since moving into the club's new 62,000-seater stadium and appear to have the easiest run-in of the top four contenders as they host West Ham United and Everton either side of a trip to Bournemouth.

Chelsea - 67 points

Chelsea missed a huge opportunity with a 2-2 draw at home to Burnley on Monday after a weekend during which Tottenham, Arsenal and United all lost.

However, a meeting against United at Old Trafford on Sunday (11.30pm) offers a chance for immediate redemption and to realistically kill off the Red Devils' chances of the top four. Chelsea also have the safety net of Champions League qualification should they win the Europa League, where they face Germany's Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals.

After their visit to Manchester, Maurizio Sarri's men host Watford and visit Leicester City in their final two league games, both of whom are involved in the race for seventh and potential Europa League football next season.

Arsenal - 66 points

The Gunners have suffered shocking back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Wolves at the worst time to fall back outside the top four.

Unai Emery's men have won just six of their 17 EPL away games and face two more difficult road trips to Leicester and Burnley either side of Brighton's visit to the Emirates Stadium.

However, like Chelsea, Arsenal could end up relying on the Europa League as a route into the Champions League as they face Emery's old club Valencia in the last four.

Manchester United - 64 points

Despite a dreadful run of seven defeats in their last nine games, capped by another derby lesson at the hands of Manchester City, United still remain in the hunt for a top-four finish.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must somehow summon a positive response when Chelsea visit Old Trafford on Sunday if the Norwegian manager is to dismiss growing doubts that the club jumped the gun in handing him the job on a permanent basis last month. AFP