Premier League Top 4 Predictions
With around about nine games left of the Premier League season to go, the race for Champions League qualification is really heating up. It’s been one of the most competitive seasons in recent years and a number of teams are in with a chance, but who’s going to prevail in the race for the top four? Here are my predictions.
A couple of months ago, Leicester looked like a certainty to finish in the top four. They were battling it out with Manchester City for second place, but their recent form has been alarming. They’ve barely been scoring any goals (until their 4-0 victory over Aston Villa tonight) and their standards have slipped. They’re still best placed out of all competitors, but they need to continue arresting their slide in form if they want to maintain their current position. Brendan Rodgers needs to get Jamie Vardy back amongst the goals and get his team playing the way they were in the first half of the season.
I’ve actually enjoyed watching Chelsea this season and if my preferred English team wasn’t Manchester United, I’d be cheering them on more than most teams. I rate the way that Lampard has them playing and the way he’s brought through the younger players has been really good to see. However, as is the case with a lot of the top teams this season, inconsistency could prove to be their downfall. This always tends to be the case for younger sides, and they’ll need to make sure they don’t drop points in silly games if they want to qualify for Europe’s elite competition. If they play like they did in their 4-0 win over Everton at the weekend every week, however, then they should be fine.
I don’t know how to feel about United. A few weeks ago I was slating them, and while I still don’t think Solskjaer is good enough the team has certainly been performing a lot better recently. A 10 game unbeaten run doesn’t come along magically and a 2-0 win over arch rivals City at the weekend has given fans real hope. However, the fact that they always have the potential to drop silly points and are still involved in three competitions makes me think they’ll struggle to get over the line. Bruno Fernandes has made a massive difference to their play and I hope they qualify, but my gut tells me they won’t.
In my opinion, Wolves are the most underrated team in the league at the moment. I know everyone loves their style of play and their ability to beat the big boys, but I still don’t think they’re talked about enough. In the space of two seasons, they’ve made their way to the last 16 of the Europa League and are still competing for the top four- and that’s after being promoted. Teams like Wolves usually struggle if they qualify for Europe (look at Burnley a few years ago) but they’re doing great. If they keep picking up results they have a great chance at making the top four, and it would be nice to see them do it.
What a story this would be. Chris Wilder has worked wonders and their defending has been inspirational; they have the second best defensive record in the league. Coming into the season I thought they’d be battling relegation, so no matter where they finish now it’ll be considered a success. Most neutral fans would love to see them in the Champions League, but I think it’ll be a step too far for them. They’ll finish in the top ten no bother, but at least one of Tottenham and Arsenal will leapfrog them.
Mourinho is one of my favourite managers and it pains me to see him in charge of this Spurs team at the moment. I think with a full summer he’ll make them a force, but a combination of a lengthy injury list and dreadful defending is seriously hindering their top four chances. He’s already said that qualifying for the Champions League with this Spurs side would be his greatest managerial achievement and I don’t think he’s far wrong- it’s looking more and more unlikely with every passing week.
The Gunners have looked better in recent weeks and Arteta is working with the youngsters on a consistent basis, so they look like they’re going to improve. Their poor performance in the first half of the season will make the Champions league spots a little too difficult to reach, however, and they should focus on qualifying for the Europa League instead.
5th– Manchester United
9th– Sheffield United