Top 4 Predictions: Premier League
The unpredictable nature of the Premier League continued with half the season already done, no one seems to want to run away with the title or the top four places. In fact, only Tottenham and Manchester City won from the top four with Leicester and Arsenal losing their away games.
The league leaders were edged out by Liverpool and this was the first time they did not score in a league game this season. Claudio Ranieri stated that both Mahrez and Vardy weren’t 100% fit and that could have played with their performances.
Arsenal though were hammered 4-0 at St. Marys though you could argue some of the decisions leading up to the goals did not go their way. Tottenham though did well to defeat Norwich City 3-0 thanks to a brace from Harry Kane and this could well be the charge that leads Spurs to the Champions League places.
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Champions League or bust
Finishing the season in the top four is one of the most important requirements for a manager of any of the big clubs and with the amount of investment provided for the big clubs, getting a return by qualifying for the lucrative Champions League is even more important these days.
Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are normally the teams that want to fight it out for the top four slots but this season, as seen by the performances of almost every club in the top half, the race for the top four is wide open.
While a couple of slots are more or less confirmed with Arsenal and Manchester City almost sure of going through, based on past history in the league. The other two places are vacant as everyone expected Manchester United and Chelsea to be there, but that is not how the season has panned out for the two teams.
Chelsea have had to sack their manager while Manchester United are on the verge of doing the same with Louis van Gaal. The Blues do seem certain on missing out on the top four being 13 points behind fourth placed Tottenham while Manchester United could also be the team that misses out as
Louis van Gaal cannot seem to get things right, the side being three points behind the fourth placed Spurs.
New boys on the horizon
So which club makes it into the top four at the end of the season? Tottenham, if they play like they have been all season are sure shots to get in. Mauricio Pochettino has done an amazing job with the young team and certainly if they can keep Harry Kane fit or at least, get a few more goals from the other team members, Spurs will be making it to third in the league standings behind Arsenal and City, in no particular order.
The fourth spot could well go to a team, not from the big four. Everton, Crystal Palace and even Watford have done exceptionally well this season and could all have a hand to play as to who makes it into that fourth spot but if Leicester can ensure that Vardy and Mahrez at least, play to 70-80% of their ability in the second half, we could see the underdogs for the Premier League title make it into the top four.
Leicester do have a tough run facing Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal in quick succession, if Leicester are in the top four come the end of February, it could be a party time for Vardy and co with a trip to the Europe’s elite club competition.