Premier League preview: Race to fill the Champions League
With Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City set to battle it out for top spot in the Premier League this season, we concentrate on the three teams that will be hoping to grab fourth spot and secure a place in the Champions League.
Arsenal – 4/7 to finish in the top four
Arsenal’s summer has been blighted by transfer rumours, with both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri rumoured to be leaving the club.
Reinforcements have been acquired in the shape of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho and Carl Jenkinson, but any success could depend upon a ball winning centre-half joining the side.
In Arsene Wenger’s 15 seasons at the club, Arsenal have never finished outside the top four and we’re backing him to continue that record.
Liverpool – 1/1 to finish in the top four
Kenny Dalglish has just overseen the biggest summer spending spree in Liverpool’s history and many are tipping them to claim one of the Champions League spots.
The midfield may have been bolstered, but the success of Liverpool’s season is set to hinge on the form of striking duo Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.
New signings Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam may improve the service to Carroll, but we think Liverpool will just miss out on fourth spot.
Tottenham – 11/4 to finish in the top four
Spurs’ strikers managed a total of 17 goals in the Premier League between them last season and Harry Redknapp knows they must improve on this if they are to secure a spot in the Champions League for the second time in three years.
Spurs failed to win seven of their 12 Premier League games after mid-week European fixtures and with the Europa League potentially involving an extra 20 games, we think Spurs will once again miss out on the top four.
Even without Fabregas and Nasri Arsenal should still have too much for the chasing pack but their grip on fourth spot is loosening and this season Liverpool and Tottenham will close the six point gap from last season.