Who Will Finish Top 4 In The Premier League: Another Look
Which clubs will finish top 4 in the Premier League this season? Today Amit Singh takes at look at top 4 betting and second look at his top 4 pre-season predictions.
The race for the title is incredibly open, as is the race for a top four spot. Eleven games into the Premier League season and it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict, with eight teams feasibly in the mix for a top four finish.
At the beginning of the season I assessed each contenders chances, but many of my predictions have failed to come into fruition. So who now looks most likely to finish in the top four?
Will Arsenal Finish Top 4?
Previously I, like many, felt that Arsenal would be in a race for the top four, not in the title race. That looks to be incorrect, as Arsenal are currently top of the league. In spite of that though, their recent defeat at Old Trafford may leave some to believe that Arsenal may face a rocky patch (although they do traditionally struggle at Old Trafford).
The nature of the title race this season means that arguably six teams are in it, all of whom will be chasing a top four spot, as well as the title, meaning things could go to the wire. I did predict that Arsenal would get into the top four in August and I continue to hold that belief given that they have been there and done that and that they generally look stronger. That being said there are question marks over the squad's depth, particularly a concern if Olivier Giroud gets injured.
Will Liverpool Finish Top 4?
Liverpool were a side I tipped as having an outside chance at finishing in the top four earlier this season. Liverpool however have been in brilliant form this season under Brendan Rodgers and now sit 2nd in the Premier League after eleven games.
Rodgers' 3-5-2 formation appears to be working well, particularly with the prolific form of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge up front, with the pair having scored 16 of Liverpool's 21 league goals. With almost unrivalled fire power they can certainly be in the mix come May, the only concern is whether the 3-5-2 is cohesive enough against top teams with the club failing their only major test in that formation, a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in a limp showing. Smashing the lesser sides could be enough though and a 1-0 win earlier this season versus Manchester United will go some way into giving the side confidence that they can go the distance against the top sides.
Could Southampton Finish Top 4?
There was some outcry when Nigel Adkins was sacked by Southampton last season, to be replaced by the relatively unknown Mauricio Pochettino. Since then, Southampton have gone from strength to strength and the decision looks absolutely inspired with Southampton now sitting in third position in the Premier League. This hasn't been a run of games against weak sides, Southampton went to Anfield and won 1-0, as well as getting a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, a game they could have won on another day after a very good showing from Pochettino's men.
That being said, Southampton's attempts to sustain a top four bid will be seriously tested in the next few weeks with their next two fixtures being away at Arsenal and away at Chelsea. Southampton also face Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton before the end of the year. In truth, a top eight finish would be incredible for The Saints, who are unlikely to sustain their current form.
Are Chelsea Top 4 Certainties?
Chelsea were widely tipped as one of the hot favourites for the Premier League title by the bookmakers. Despite performing in bursts, the club have been inconsistent and are now sitting in fourth, having drawn and lost their last two league games. Chelsea's November form is traditionally dismal, but the fans will feel that with Jose Mourinho at the helm they will surely finish fourth, if not possess the quality to mount a title bid.
That being said, with how tight some games have been already this season and surprises around the corner, any prolonged periods of bad form could see the side slip out of the top four and into trouble. Mourinho will hope that his side can gel and come to terms with his tactical approach though, and begin to play with more cohesion and consistency.
Are Manchester United Top 4 Certainties?
Premier League Champions Manchester United might have been a shoe in to finish in the top four earlier this season. A rocky start under David Moyes though saw some people write off their chances and assume that they'd end up in next season's Europa League.
Three wins on the spin though and four wins in their last five since losing to West Brom at home have given the club some momentum, and has also seen them rise above rivals Manchester City. With the fire power of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie up top they will surely finish in the top four, regardless of which of the four positions they occupy in May.
Can Tottenham Finish Top 4?
Tottenham have had a funny start to the new season. They've not really got going and have not won in their last two, yet they still sit just one point outside of the top four slots. With the second best defence in the league there is cause for optimism but at the same time the only teams who have scored less goals than them are in the bottom three.
Spurs can take solace from the fact that they're just a point off fourth and are integrating a host of new players into the squad. If the side gels, which it could, and goals start to flow then there is no reason why Spurs can't mount a serious challenge for a top four spot. That being said, they will need to get firing as soon as possible, or risk falling too far behind.
Are Manchester City Top 4 Certainties?
Most bookmakers had Manchester City as title favourites at the start of the 2013/14 campaign. Some dominant home performances, such as the 4-1 romp against Manchester United, would have compounded that view, as would a 7-0 mauling of Norwich. City though have been like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. At home City are a different animal and look unplayable having scored 20 goals and conceded just two.
On the road however they've been woeful, winning just one of six and losing four. Their away record is a concern, especially if we consider that they just lost to struggler's Sunderland away. City are eight now as a result of their terrible away form and a top four spot will not materialize if they cannot start getting points on the road. City do possess such incredible home form though, that even a slight improvement in away form will see them get into the top four.
So Who Will Finish Top 4 Then?
In truth, any of these sides, probably barring Southampton can secure a top four finish. There is also a possibility for Everton to spring a surprise, although they too might struggle to last the distance, given that they have a somewhat light squad in terms of depth.
Premier League Top 4 Odds - As At 19th November
Last season's top four though are suitable favourites to re-take the top spots, although few would be surprised if Liverpool or Spurs crept into the top four by the end of the campaign.
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