After this past weekend of games, the battle for the top four spots heated up between Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Southampton, Tottenham and Liverpool. All seven clubs are in the hunt, but only four will finish with the merits to qualify for the Champions League. Ultimately, only one club can be crowned English Premier League Champion.
Chelsea Football Club is leading the pack, ahead of Manchester City by five points. In 26 matches played, the Blues have only lost two and drawn six. Chelsea has the pace needed in players such as Hazard and Willian to stretch defenses, and lethal strikers such as Diego Costa and Loic Remy to punish the opposition by finding the back of the net. Chelsea’s back line is also top notch, with the likes of John Terry and Gary Cahill controlling the fort. Chelsea is also happy to have Cortious in net, who is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league. Although the Blues have recently dropped points against lesser-skilled opponents like Burnley, under the management of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea has a solid, creative, hard-working squad, ready to claim the title for the first time since 2010.
Just five points behind league leaders Chelsea, Manchester City has recently returned to form with a staggering 4-1 victory over Stoke City, and an emphatic 5-0 beating of Newcastle United. The former champions have welcomed back starting midfielder Yaya Toure, and new signing Wilfried Bony, from the Africa Cup of Nations. The two play integral parts of City’s squad. Toure protects City’s back four and gets his team going on the attack. The midfielder releases balls forward and often finds that killer pass through the lines of the opposition. Bony, who recently made a move to City from Swansea, has added another dangerous option to the striker position that already included the powerful trio of Dzeko, Aguero and Silva. With a return to form coming at an important time, Manchester City will be keen to knock Chelsea off the top and reclaim their English Premier League title.
Currently in third, Arsenal have recently been victorious over Crystal Palace, surpassing Manchester United and Southampton in the process. Arsenal’s style of football favor them to stay in the top four. Arsene Wenger has his squad playing quick, attacking and attractive football. Santi Cazorla is Arsenal’s creative spark in midfield, who along with the likes of Ozil and Sanchez, create a disaster for the opposition. The Gunners defensive problems may drop the club down to fourth at the end of the season, but Arsenal look to fit solidly into the Champions League spots.
A rollercoaster season is nowhere near finished for Manchester United fans, whose club just lost 2-1 to Swansea City this past weekend. New to the Premier League, United boss Louis Van Gaal has yet to find his favored starting XI, or implement his philosophy into the team. The Red Devils are currently sitting fourth in the table, but out of all seven teams pressuring for a top four spot, are in the worse form. United is struggling to excite fans. The football the squad plays is too slow and too possession-oriented. Although Manchester United is not performing to its capabilities, the Reds have only lost five matches throughout the whole campaign. Louis Van Gaal is pulling results out of his squad, and therefore, with this mentality, the Red Devils just might squeak out a top four finish.
Southampton, Tottenham and Liverpool are all on the outside looking in. Southampton has surprised everybody to this point, but do not have the depth needed to finish strong in a Premier League season. Therefore, the Saints’ form has dipped and because of this, the club will most likely just miss out on a season in Europe. Although Tottenham is playing well, the team does not have a strong enough squad to compete with the other clubs. Likewise, Liverpool will most likely pressure the top four clubs, but will not finish due to lack of quality in the side.
Although all the Premier League teams look to finish in the top four, only the clubs with enough quality and strength to do so actually achieve their goals. As most fans know, anything can happen, and teams can switch table positions every week. These season-ending predictions are based off of the form of the top teams and the results they produce:
Manchester City- 2nd
Manchester United- 4th