Tunsil bongs his way to multi-million dollar losses

Laremy Tunsil’s time at the NFL Draft may not have gone quite the way he planned, but just how much impact could Thursday’s events have on his future earnings?

The Ole Miss offensive tackle saw his value plummet after a video was posted on his Twitter account showing him smoking on a bong through a gas mask.

Tunsil had been expected to be selected by the Baltimore Ravens, but after seeing the video they switched their attentions to Ronnie Stanley.

Miami Dolphins eventually chose Tunsil as the 13th pick, saying they knew of the video and that it was filmed two years ago.

If things had gone to plan Tunsil’s projected maximum salary with the Ravens would have been around $20.4 million.

With the Dolphins he will receive in the region of $12.4 million – a cool $8 million hit in the pocket for one hit on a bong.

Sports marketing expert Bob Dorfman says the financial damage to Tunsil could stretch beyond salary alone, but believes he has a chance to redeem his reputation.

“This was unfortunate and stupid and makes him untouchable as a marketing commodity,” said Dorfman.

“Playing well and helping your team make the playoffs, all of those things can help.”

With a text message exchange between Tunsil and his Ole Miss coach also appearing on his Instagram page showing him asking for money to help pay for rent and his mother’s electric bill, the damage to his marketability is potentially massive.

In terms of sponsorships and other money-making events Dorfman believes Tunsil could lose at least another $1 million per year from his potential earnings.

Tunsil’s situation appears to mirror that of last year’s top draft pick Jameis Winston of Florida State. He has struggled to seal sponsorship deals after a string of accusations against him.

While Tunsil’s agent Jimmy Sexton was skeptical about Thursday’s events saying that it is “B.S. somebody hacked into his account” the Dolphins seemed less concerned.

Their General Manager, Chris Grier, said: “We’re very comfortable with all the information we have on the situation. We had heard rumors and we had done our research.”

Whether Tunsil can put this behind him from a financial perspective remains to be seen, but for now he has become another shining example of the potential damage that can be caused by social media.

Surprise for Cook as he slides to Day 3 in the NFL Draft

While Round 1 of the NFL Draft went somewhat to plan, Rounds 2 and 3 have been significantly more surprising.

Laremy Tunsil’s social media misfortune aside, the first round saw few shocks with quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson being the top two picks as had been predicted.

Michigan State’s Connor Cook was expected by many people to be the fourth quarterback selected, but New York Jets’ decided to pick Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg instead.

With USC’s Cody Kessler and North Carolina State’s Jacoby Brissett also being drafted, to the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots respectively, Cook now finds himself amongst the top options entering the third day.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah had ranked Alabama defensive tackle Jarran Read as the 13th-best player, but the depth of talent in his position saw him fall to the 49th pick overall when he was chosen by the Seattle Seahawks.

Reed says he had a feeling he would end up in Seattle.
“I thought it was going to happen yesterday with the last pick, but I knew today,” he said.

“Right before it happened I told my mom, I said, ‘Mom, I’m going to go to the Seahawks.’ I’ve been talking about the Seahawks ever since the Senior Bowl.

“I’m just really excited and happy that it happened.”

In last year’s draft the Dallas Cowboys took a risk in the second round when they picked Randy Gregory.

Concerns over failed drug tests saw the defensive end drop to 60th overall pick and we went on to produce a disappointing first season with the Cowboys.

This time around they have chosen Jaylon Smith despite the fact he may miss the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones acknowledged the pick was a risk but says Smith’s future potential was their main consideration.

“We’re not buying bonds here,” Jones said. “This isn’t risk-free. You can have one and have no medical issue, and he’s riding a bicycle and can have a medical issue.

“There’s all kinds of risk when dealing with the human factor and all these things that happen.

“So, not to get smug, but when you’ve got a player we think can be a cornerstone defensive player, a real impactful player, a player we’ve got in our top five – it’s within our tolerance to risk-taking to use that pick.”

Second Round Selections

  • 2.01 Cleveland Browns: DE Emmanuel Ogbah
  • 2.02 Tennessee Titans: DE Kevin Dodd
  • 2.03 Dallas Cowboys: OLB Jaylon Smith
  • 2.04 San Diego Chargers: TE Hunter Henry
  • 2.05 Jacksonville Jaguars: OLB Myles Jack
  • 2.06 Kansas City Chiefs: DT Chris Jones
  • 2.07 Miami Dolphins: CB Xavien Howard
  • 2.08 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OLB Noah Spence
  • 2.09 New York Giants: WR Sterling Shepard
  • 2.10 Buffalo Bills: ILB Reggie Ragland
  • 2.11 Baltimore Ravens: LB Kamalei Correa
  • 2.12 Tennessee Titans: DT Austin Johnsoa
  • 2.13 Oakland Raiders: DE Jihad Ward
  • 2.14 Tennessee Titans: RB Derrick Henry
  • 2.15 Detroit Lions: DT A’Shawn Robinson
  • 2.16 New Orleans Saints: WR Michael Thomas
  • 2.17 Green Bay Packers: OT Jason SpriggS
  • 2.18 Seattle Seahawks: DT Jarran Reed
  • 2.19 Houston Texans: C Nick Martin
  • 2.20 New York Jets: QB Christian Hackenberg
  • 2.21 Atlanta Falcons: LB Deion Jones
  • 2.22 Washington Redskins: LB Su’a Cravens
  • 2.23 Minnesota Vikings: CB Mackensie Alexander
  • 2.24 Cincinnati Bengals: WR Tyler Boyd
  • 2.25 Chicago Bears: G Cody Whitehair
  • 2.26 Indianapolis Colts: CB T. J. Green
  • 2.27 Pittsburgh Steelers: S Sean Davis
  • 2.28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K Roberto Aguayo
  • 2.29 New England Patriots: CB Cyrus Jones
  • 2.30 New Orleans Saints: S Vonn Bell
  • 2.31 Carolina Panthers: CB James Bradberry
  • 2.32 Denver Broncos: DT Adam Gotsis

Third Round Selections

  • 3.01 Tennessee Titans: S Kevin Byard
  • 3.02 Cleveland Browns: DE Carl Nassib
  • 3.03 San Diego Chargers: C Max Tuerk
  • 3.04 Dallas Cowboys: DT Maliek Collins
  • 3.05 San Francisco 49ers: CB Will Redmond
  • 3.06 Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue
  • 3.07 Baltimore Ravens: DE Bronson Kaufusi
  • 3.08 New York Giants: S Darian Thompson
  • 3.09 Chicago Bears: DT Jonathan Bullard
  • 3.10 Miami Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake
  • 3.11 Kansas City Chiefs: CB Keivarae Russell
  • 3.12 Oakland Raiders: DE Shilique Calhoun
  • 3.13 Cleveland Browns: OT Shon Coleman
  • 3.14 Carolina Panthers: CB Daryl Worley
  • 3.15 New England Patriots: G Joe Thuney
  • 3.16 Philadelphia Eagles: C Isaac Seumalo
  • 3.17 Buffalo Bills: DT Adolphus Washington
  • 3.18 Atlanta Falcons: TE Austin Hooper
  • 3.19 Indianapolis Colts: OT Le’Raven Clark
  • 3.20 New York Jets: OLB Jordan Jenkins
  • 3.21 Washington Redskins: CB Kendall Fuller
  • 3.22 Houston Texans: WR Braxton Miller
  • 3.23 Miami Dolphins: WR Leonte Carroo
  • 3.24 Cincinnati Bengals: ILB Nick Vigil
  • 3.25 Green Bay Packers: OLB Kyler Fackrell
  • 3.26 Pittsburgh Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave
  • 3.27 Seattle Seahawks: RB C. J. Prosise
  • 3.28 Kansas City Chiefs: Selection forfeited for violating Anti-Tampering policy.
  • 3.29 New England Patriots: QB Jacoby Brissett
  • 3.30 Arizona Cardinals: CB Brandon Williams
  • 3.31 Cleveland Browns: QB Cody Kessler
  • 3.32 Seattle Seahawks: TE Nick Vannett
  • 3.33 Detroit Lions: C Graham Glasgow
  • 3.34 New England Patriots: DT Vincent Valentine
  • 3.35 Seattle Seahawks: OT Rees Odhiambo
  • 3.36 Denver Broncos: S Justin Simmons

Rosberg on pole in Russia as Hamilton’s woes continue

Nico Rosberg claimed pole position Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Russia, but his cause was helped by more bad luck for teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes drivers looked set to fill the front row of the grid after dominating practice and the early stages of qualifying.

However, a power unit failure ruled Hamilton out of Q3 to hand Rosberg a comfortable run to pole.

The German driver duly delivered, recording a time of 1:35.417 to finish 0.706 in front of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

“I was quite confident that the lap was good enough out there, because in Q2 the Ferraris were quite far away and I knew Lewis wasn’t taking any further part in qualifying,” said Rosberg.

With Vettel due a five-place grid penalty after an unscheduled gearbox change, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas will join Rosberg at the front of the grid.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Williams’ Felipe Massa, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Force India’s Sergio Perez round off the top six, with Russian driver Daniil Kyvat securing eighth place.

Hamilton has endured a difficult start to the season and is 36 points behind Rosberg after just three rounds.

He started the previous race in China from the back of the grid after his car broke down in qualifying.

“I went out at the end of Q2 to get a feel and I lost the same power as I lost in China,” Hamilton told Sky F1. “There’s nothing I can do. I never give up.”

The Mercedes team are unsure at this stage if Hamilton will be penalized for the repairs they will make on his car.

“If Lewis didn’t have bad luck he’d have no luck at all at the moment,” said Sky F1’s Martin Brundle.

Q1 saw the Renaults, Manors and Saubers eliminated, with P17 to P22 filled by Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer, Felipe Nasr, Pascal Wehrlein, Rio Haryanto and Marcus Ericsson.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, McLaren’s Jenson Button, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, and Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez exited qualifying in Q2.

Qualifying results:

  1. NICO ROSBERG MERCEDES 1:35.417
  2. SEBASTIAN VETTEL FERRARI 1:36.123
  3. VALTTERI BOTTAS WILLIAMS 1:36.536
  4. KIMI RƒIKK÷NEN FERRARI 1:36.663
  5. FELIPE MASSA WILLIAMS 1:37.016
  6. DANIEL RICCIARDO RED BULL 1:37.125
  7. SERGIO PEREZ FORCE INDIA 1:37.212
  8. DANIIL KVYAT RED BULL 1:37.459
  9. MAX VERSTAPPEN TORO ROSSO 1:37.583
  10. LEWIS HAMILTON MERCEDES

Hamilton leads the way after Friday practice sessions at Sochi

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton topped the standings after Friday’s two practice sessions for Sunday’s Formula 1 race in Russia.

The reigning world champion recorded a best time of 1:37.583, over half a second in front of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who was hit by electrical problems.

Nico Rosberg led the way after the first session but was forced to settle for third, 0.867 seconds behind his Mercedes teammate.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished in fourth place, with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo rounding off the top five.

Hamilton struggled to keep pace with Rosberg during the morning session, but gradually showed his quality despite suffering a couple of spins.

Vettel had set the fastest time 30 minutes into the second session, but the German suffered an electronics failure which forced him out.

Hamilton took full advantage on soft-compound Pirelli tires to roar ahead of Vettel and the rest of the field.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas finished sixth, with Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat in seventh.

Jenson Button in the lead McLaren, Felipe Massa (Williams) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren) completed the top ten.

Kvyat, Russia’s only current F1 driver, said on Thursday he was hoping for a strong showing from the Red Bull team in Sochi.

“Lately we have been competitive on most of the tracks – doesn’t really matter, any kind really, starting with Australia, Bahrain, China we always looked in quite good shape,” he said.

“I think Sochi also in the past for us maybe hasn’t been the easiest track, as a team, but now we are just coming to any track and we are just trying to extract everything the car has got and I believe also here we can fight for quite strong points.”

“We will do our best and I think the car is looking in great.

The 21-year-old collected his second ever podium in last outing in China two weeks ago.

Practice Two Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton 1:37.583
  2. Sebastian Vettel 1:38.235
  3. Nico Rosberg 1:38.450
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 1:38.793
  5. Daniel Ricciardo 1:39.084
  6. Valtteri Bottas 1:39.185
  7. Daniil Kvyat 1:39.193
  8. Jenson Button 1:39.196
  9. Felipe Massa 1:39.289
  10. Fernando Alonso 1:39.400

Oshie trio gives Capitals early advantage over the Penguins

T.J. Oshie’s hat-trick goal nine minutes into overtime secured a 4-3 win for the Washington Capitals over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference second round play-off series.

Oshie’s wraparound effort barely crossed the line, but was upheld after a four-minute video review.

“I haven’t won too many championships in my lifetime,” Oshie said. “Maybe through the youth years. That’s kind of the stuff you dream about when you’re a kid playing in the backyard by yourself is scoring the OT winner and getting a hat trick. It was awesome.”

The series between the Capitals and the Penguins has been eagerly anticipated, particularly the meeting of star men Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in seven years.

Capitals’ boss Barry Trotz believes the opening encounter lived up to the hype.

He said: “It went into overtime. You saw the skill level on both sides. You saw the resiliency on both sides. You saw lots of star power. You saw some great saves. You saw special teams that were pretty strong.

“I think it’s going to build more and more as we go along.”

Highlight of the game for the Penguins was Evgeni Malkin’s stunning backhand goal which briefly gave them a 2-1 lead.

Both Ovechkin and Crosby produced solid performances, with the Russian forward bagging an assist on Oshie’s second goal.

Ovechkin praised Oshie’s impact on the game: “Great effort by Oshie – make his move, go behind the net and put pucks in the net,” he said.

“In overtime, every shot is a good shot. We have plenty of chances in OT. We got one and we move forward.”

Elsewhere, Wednesday’s opening Eastern Conference second round playoff game saw New York Islanders seal a 5-3 victory against Tampa Bay Lightning.

Shane Prince (2), Travis Hamonic, John Tavares and Cal Clutterbuck scored for the Islanders, while Thomas Greiss made 33 saves to guide his team to a 1-0 series lead.

The Western Conference second round series get underway on Friday, with Dallas Stars facing St Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks meeting Nashville Predators.

Kavanagh says McGregor has to be on the UFC’s New York card

While questions over whether Conor McGregor will fight at UFC 200 still rumble on, his longer term status with the promotion is also unclear.

McGregor tweeted on Sunday that he was back in the July event, with UFC boss Dana White denying that was the case the following day, but it was White’s comments during a press conference on Friday which raised bigger questions.

White confirmed McGregor was out of UFC 200 and was likely to face the winner of an interim featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar at a later date.

The UFC boss said that fight was likely to take place before the promotion’s mega-event at Madison Square Garden in November, news which didn’t go down well with McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh.

“That was hard to hear – I really think that’s going too far,” he said.

“McGregor was bold, but it wasn’t anything that bad. If we get the slap on the wrist for 200, we definitely can’t be put on the naughty list for New York.”

With a large Irish contingent in the city, the New York event is an important one for McGregor.

His refusal to travel to Las Vegas to promote his fight against Nate Diaz didn’t go down well with White who seems intent on ensuring the Irishman is punished.

Kavanagh accepts that reinstating his fighter into UFC 200 is unlikely, but says leaving him out of the MSG blockbuster would be foolish.

“As an Irish guy in New York, the first card in Madison Square Garden, I think Conor would show up anyway and fight someone in a changing room if White doesn’t put him on the card,” Kavanagh added. “We have to be put on the New York card.”

With the fallout from the McGregor row set to continue for some time yet, one fighter who doesn’t agree with his stance on promoting events is Miesha Tate.

The women’s bantamweight champion is set to defend her title against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 and believes McGregor should have fulfilled his obligations.

“I understand that he has an obsession with beating Nate right now and he wants to stay focused and stay the course at all costs,” said Tate.

“I get it. But at the end of the day it says in your contract when you sign that you have to do reasonable promotion.

“This is reasonable promotion – I have never had the UFC ask me to do unreasonable promotion.

“They’re very accommodating – whatever they can do to make your life easier, they’re really accommodating. They try to make this as easy as possible.”

“It’s not unreasonable to ask to come in here for a day and give some promotion – this does huge things for the fight.

“We actually ended up having to pick up the pieces of Conor not being there – we had to film more.”

“It is what it is, but I think that Conor should be here definitely.”

Jones v Cormier 2 confirmed for UFC 200; McGregor definitely off

Jon Jones will fight Daniel Cormier – assuming both fighters recover from respective injuries – in a light heavyweight title unification bout in Las Vegas on July 9 at UFC 200.

Jones v Cormier 2 replaces Connor McGregor v Nate Diaz as the headline fight for UFC 200 after McGregor was removed from the UFC 200 card for no-showing a contractually mandatory promotional appearance earlier this month.

His opponent at UFC 200, Diaz, also backed out of the event saying that he would be going on vacation if he wouldn’t be up against McGregor.

The McGregor saga has overshadowed UFC’s promotional activity for the marquee July event, with McGregor recently tweeting that he would be back for UFC 200 before UFC President Dana White had to issue a clear rebuttal saying that McGregor would not be on the card.

This leaves Jones v Cormier as the headline bout – the fight was originally scheduled for UFC 197 as Jones’ comeback fight but was postponed after Cormier withdrew three weeks prior to the event due to injury.

Cormier is still recovering from his injury and hopes to be fit in time to fight in July. Jones, who won convincingly against Ovince Saint Preux last Saturday, injured his foot during the fight but is also expected to recover in time.

Jones and Cormier have history – they were booked to meet in UFC 178 for Jones’ light heavyweight title and brawled during a press conference promoting the fight. Jones withdrew from the fight due to a leg injury but they ultimately met at UFC 182 in early 2015, Jones winning via unanimous decision.

However, Jones was stripped of his title a few months later after a hit-and-run incident, with the title vacated. Cormier then defeated Anthony Johnson for the vacant belt at UFC 187, and later successfully defended it against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192 in Houston.

Jones had eight successful title defenses before being stripped of the title, and both men will feel they are the deserving champions, with Cormier confident that he can beat Jones the second time around.

UFC 200 will also feature the women’s bantamweight title fight between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes and the interim featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. McGregor is expected to face the winner of the Aldo-Edgar fight the next time he steps into the Octagon.

Jury Verdict: Hillsborough’s 96 victims ‘unlawfully killed’

The jury at the new inquests into the Hillsborough disaster have said the 96 people who died at an FA Cup semi-final in April 1989 were unlawfully killed.

A panel of six women and three men gave their decision at an emotionally-charged court hearing in Warrington for the conclusion of the longest jury proceedings in British legal history.

Families and survivors from the Hillsborough disaster have campaigned for justice for the victims, arguing failures by police and other organizations, and that claims of misbehavior by Liverpool fans were designed to deflect blame.

The jury had been told to answer a questionnaire of 14 questions, as well as record the time and cause of death for each of the Liverpool fans who died at the game against Nottingham Forest.

Police errors “caused or contributed to” the dangerous situation that developed on the day of the Hillsborough disaster, the jury concluded.

The coroner, Sir John Goldring, had directed the jury in his summing up that they had to be satisfied that the South Yorkshire police chief superintendent in command at the match, David Duckenfield, “was responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence of those 96 people”.

The 96 victims – aged 10-67 and including 26 parents and 37 teenagers – died following a crush in the central “pens” of the Leppings Lane end at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground.

South Yorkshire police denied any mistakes were made and claimed they had been overwhelmed by drunk, late and ticketless Liverpool fans.

Lord Justice Taylor’s official report in August 1989 blamed police for their mismanagement on the day and criticized them for blaming supporters.

The families have battled ever since to argue against the police’s case and to gain justice for the failures that caused the deaths.

The first inquest, held in Sheffield between November 1990 and March 1991, saw a jury return a verdict of accidental death – something the families and survivors have campaigned against for over two decades.

Three judges overturned that inquest in December 2012, following the publication of a report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission are still conducting an investigation into possible criminal offences committed by police officers and others leading to the 96 deaths.

It is also looking into allegations of perjury and perverting the course of justice by police officers in their quest to blame supporters.

White watches Paige VanZant wow audience on dance show as McGregor row rumbles on

UFC President Dana White put Conor McGregor to the back of his mind as he watched another of his fighters wow the audience on Monday night’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ TV show in the US.

Paige VanZant and partner Mark Ballas produced a stunning performance as they danced to the funky Austin Powers theme song, scoring 28 out of a possible 30 points.

Despite receiving a 10 from one judge the duo found themselves in danger of elimination, but that fate befell ex-NFL quarterback Doug Flutie and his partner, Karina Smirnoff.

The UFC strawweight is proving popular with the audience and fans of the show, with a victory not beyond the realms of possibility.

White certainly seemed to enjoy VanZant’s performance as he watched alongside former UFC star Chael Sonnen.

The UFC boss has had a difficult few days as the row over McGregor’s participation at UFC 200 rumbles on.

White told the Los Angeles Times on Monday there was no deal in place for the Irishman to fight at the event, despite McGregor claiming otherwise on Twitter.

White said: “We haven’t talked to Conor or his manager since the press conference (Friday). I don’t know why he would tweet that.”

McGregor was scheduled for a rematch against Nate Diaz at UFC 200, but a disagreement over promoting the event caused McGregor to ‘retire’.

He subsequently retracted his statement and his coach, John Kavanagh, remains hopeful a resolution can be found and says his fighter is still training for the event.

“I’m 51 percent optimistic and 49 percent pessimistic, if you want to know my feelings on it,” John Kavanagh told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.

“At some stage you’ve gotta see that maybe it’s pointless to upset so many fans that want to see this fight and ignore the kind of numbers that are gonna be brought in.

“The way the world is now, you don’t have to be physically at places to be involved in things.

“I don’t know what this obsession is with Vegas. UFC is a global sport, not a Vegas sport. I don’t see why everything has to be done there.”

“It seems to be swinging the right way and we’re aiming and we’re training for 200. We’re hoping for good news.”

Leicester – Tottenham Premier League title race looks set to go to final day

England’s Premier League heads into the final stretch with everything still to play for at the top of the table.

Tottenham Hotspur’s 4-0 win at Stoke City on Monday night helped them close the gap on leaders Leicester City to five points with four games to go.

Both teams are at home this weekend – Leicester face Swansea City on Sunday, while Spurs host West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

The Foxes will be desperate for a victory against the Welsh club, with Claudio Ranieri’s team facing three difficult games to round off the season.

City travel to Manchester United on May 1, before hosting Everton at the King Power Stadium the following week.

A final day trip to Chelsea on May 15 could be a daunting challenge if they still need points to secure the title.

Spurs follow up the Albion game with their own visit to Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

With Southampton at home and Newcastle United away completing their fixtures, three wins and a draw could be enough for Mauricio Pochettino’s team to pip Leicester at the post.

Everything appears to point to a final day showdown being played out at St James Park and Stamford Bridge. Spurs’ opponents Newcastle could need a win to avoid relegation, while Leicester’s record of just one victory from the previous seven meetings with Chelsea suggests both teams could face a difficult final 90 minutes.

It looks like any two from three for the remaining Champions League places, with Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all in the running.

Liverpool could yet make a late bid, although they would need a big collapse by the teams above them to force their way in.

With games against Sunderland, Norwich City and Aston Villa to come, Arsenal should secure enough points to claim one of the two places.

Their trip to Etihad Stadium on the penultimate weekend of the season could be pivotal for Manchester City’s hopes of a top four finish.

City host Stoke City this weekend, but must also travel to Southampton and Swansea in their last four games.

Just two points separate Arsenal and City, with United a further two points behind, but the Old Trafford team have what looks to be a favorable run-in.

They will fancy their chances of putting a dent in Leicester’s title hopes and their final three games against Norwich, West Ham United and Bournemouth all look winnable fixtures.

At the foot of the table, two from Norwich, Newcastle and Sunderland will join Aston Villa in the Championship next season.

Norwich are currently out of the drop zone, a point ahead of Sunderland who have a game in hand. Newcastle are a further point adrift of their local rivals.

All three teams have difficult games to come, although Newcastle will see games against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa as their potential route to escape.

Their home game against Spurs on the final day could well prove crucial at both ends of the table.