Who Should You Back to Finish in the Top 4?
Manchester City and Manchester United look to have already booked their places in Europe’s elite competition next season, but who will be joining them?
With over €100m in prize money on offer to the winner, it’s little surprise why the race for the Champions League spots has become one of the key aspects of a Premier League season.
Manchester City and Manchester United look to have already booked their places in Europe’s elite competition next season, but who will be joining them? We’ll find out, below:
Arsenal – 6TH
Time is running out for Arsène’s men to put together a run of victories that would see them come into contention for a Champions League spot.
Their away form has been their Achilles’ heel all season, with seven of their eight defeats coming on the road. That’s left them eight points adrift of fourth spot with only eleven games remaining.
The North London club welcomed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to their ranks during the January transfer window, but neither player has yet been able to put an end to Arsenal’s inconsistent form.
With the English League Cup final this weekend, Arsenal could find themselves eleven points adrift of Chelsea by the time they welcome Manchester City to the Emirates on the 3rd of March.
Key fixtures: Man City (H), Manchester United (A)
Key stat: The Gunners have scored 71% of their goals at home this season.
Chance of making the top four? 15%
Tottenham Hotspur – 5TH
What a contrasting week it has been for Tottenham Hotspur. Buoyant after their midweek comeback in Turin, the men in white were brought back down to earth with a bump on Sunday after League One’s bottom club, Rochdale, held them to a 2-2 draw.
That timely reminder of what can happen when your standards slip could prove beneficial to the North London club in the long run. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are currently on a nine-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, which has seen them pick up points against the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
In Harry Kane, they have the league’s top goalscorer, so keeping him fit could prove vital if they’re to fulfil their ambitions of another top-four finish.
Key fixtures: Chelsea (A), Manchester City (H)
Key stat: Spurs have scored one goal or more in their last seven away games.
Chance of making the top four? 65%
Chelsea – 4th
Whispers over Antonio Conte’s future threatened to derail Chelsea’s season last month, as his side were knocked out of the League Cup and suffered a 4-1 drumming away to Watford in the league.
The 48-year-old Italian’s position looks to be safe for the time being, however, and comprehensive victories over West Brom and Hull City have gone some way to restoring calm at Stamford Bridge.
There are sterner tests to come for The Blues. Out of every team competing for a Champions League spot, Chelsea have the toughest set of fixtures on paper.
That’s reflected in the latest bookmaker odds, with stakers.com currently listing Chelsea as fifth favourites to finish in the top four.
Key fixtures: Manchester United (A), Manchester City (A), Tottenham Hotspur (H), Liverpool (H)
Key stat: No other team in the league has picked up more red cards (4) than Chelsea.
Chance of making the top four? 35%
Liverpool – 3rd
Liverpool’s front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have been causing chaos for defences across the continent.
The Reds are this season’s top scorers in the Champions League and they have been knocking in goals for fun in the Premier League as well.
As we approach the business end of the season, Jurgen Klopp’s team are currently enjoying a 13-match home unbeaten run in the league.
When all of this is combined with the fact Liverpool have the easiest run-in of all the Champions League contenders, it suggests that it might take something special to stop their march up the table.
Bookmaker Stakers certainly seem to think so, with odds of just 29/25 available for the Merseyside club to finish in the top four come the end of May.
Key fixtures: Manchester United (A), Everton (A), Chelsea (A)
Key stat: Liverpool have scored in 86% of their away matches.
Chance of making the top four? 80%
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