Close sidebar

Opinion: Predicting Who Will Join Manchester City In The Top Four

Five into three does not go as the race hots up to join champions-elect, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the top four as the Sky Blues are now over the hill sauntering towards the Premier League title.

Twenty wins and two draws have seen City build up an unassailable 15-point lead on second place Manchester United. With the title race virtually over, the rest of the big guns will battle it for a place in the coveted Champions League spots.

After the hectic festive period and with the FA Cup break this weekend, let’s take a look at how things shape up at this stage of the season.

Second: Manchester United – current points: 47, current goal difference: 29

It has not been the greatest Christmas for Jose Mourinho’s men after successive draws with Leicester, Burnley and Southampton has seen any faint title hopes disappear.

However, they did respond to the slump with an impressive 2-0 win over Everton on New Year’s day.

With the best goalkeeper in the league in David de Gea, United will hope the likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku can see them have a strong second half of the season as they also look to progress
in the FA Cup and Champions League.

Verdict: Top four

____

Third: Chelsea – current points: 46, current goal difference: 25

Last season’s champions will lose their crown but they sit just one point behind United.

They did enjoy a brief few days in second before a late Hector Bellerin equaliser in a thrilling 2-2 draw against Arsenal ensured they would be back in third again.

Chelsea have not been as consistent as last season with more blips. This is arguably a result of Champions
League football as Antonio Conte has lamented the fact his squad is not as big as it should be.

There are strong rumours that the Italian will part ways with Chelsea at the end of the season.

In Eden Hazard, Chelsea have the best player in the Premier League on his day while they remain solid in the rest of the pitch. Another striker to help take the burden off the under pressure Alvaro Morata would
help.

Verdict: Top four

______

Fourth: Liverpool – current points: 44, current goal difference: 25

It has been a great Christmas for Jurgen Klopp’s free-scoring Reds who possess one of the most lethal attacks in Europe.

Recently named African Player of the Year Mohamed Salah has been the signing of the season with an incredible haul of 23 goals to date.

Liverpool also broke the world record for a defender in signing Virgil van Dijk to put an end to
that saga. The Anfield club will hope the Dutch £75 million-rated defender can help plug some holes in a leaky defence.

On the downside, it appears likely they could lose Phillipe Coutinho this month with Barcelona reportedly preparing a £140 million bid for the Brazilian.

He would be a substantial loss half ways through a season.

Verdict: Top four

______

Fifth: Tottenham – current points 41, current goal difference: 21

Pochettino’s men have not been flying as high domestically as they have been in the last couple of seasons but
they remain in touching distance of the top four and Harry Kane lead the scoring charts yet again.

Spurs have had their slip-ups at Wembley but they have also had some big wins there.

It is perhaps their form away to their rivals which is a big stumbling block.

However, Tottenham do possess the firepower with Harry Kane up top with Son Heung-min, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli in support to push those above them all the way. The injury to Toby Alderweireld has been a big blow though.

Verdict: Miss out

______

Sixth: Arsenal – current points: 39, current goal difference: 39

There is no doubt that the Gunners continue to go backward under Arsene Wenger, as they could be braced for another season in the Europa League.

From a neutral point of view, they have given us some of the best games of the season against Man
Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Their front three of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette are up there with the best, however.

That said, Sanchez and Ozil are likely to depart in the summer while Wenger needs a specialist holding midfielder and commanding centre-back to strengthen chronic weaknesses that have existed for several seasons now.

The Arsenal grip on top four was broken last season as they wilted while rival teams moved on.

That looks to be the case again this season.

Verdict: Miss out

Vincent O’Shea, Pundit Arena

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.