With some describing this as the most open season ever, the battle for the top four spots in the Premier League will be a closer than ever before. With up to eight teams all vying for a chance to compete with Europe's finest next season, the question is: who will be there come May?

Its is Southampton and Everton that appear to have an outside chance of making it to fourth or above. With Southampton's excellent defence and Everton possessing the lethal Romelu Lukaku up front, anything is possible.

However, it is highly unlikely that these two teams will manage to qualify given the lack of depth in their squad and all-round quality. Despite their bright starts to the season, Europa League qualification should be the aim for these two teams.

So now we are left with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea to decide who will make the top four. Let's start with the certainties - Chelsea.

It is hard to see how Jose Mourinho's men will not finish in the top two, let alone top four. The sheer depth of quality that he has at his disposal will ensure he will have a crack at the Champions League once more next year - especially if he can manage to get the best out of Fernando Torres. 

Despite not having the greatest start, City will also be right at the top and my prediction is that they will finish second or third this season. They have some star individuals that will carry them up the table. Sergio Aguero has made a cracking start to the season, scoring seven league goals already.

With the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure performing better and better as the season progresses, it is hard to see City not being in the Champions League next season.

So that leaves us with four teams going for two positions and we can see how this is going to be close. All four outfits possess quality individuals so it will inevitably go right down to the wire.

However, I predict that Spurs and United will miss out on a top-four finish this season, leaving Liverpool and Arsenal to claim Champions League football.

The reason for this is that Liverpool possess the so called 'SAS' - Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez - partnership, which would carry most teams to the top end of the table. With the likes of Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho supporting them, I think that Brendan Rodgers' team will just nick fourth spot.

As for Arsenal, well they are a class act with the ball despite lacking a bit of defensive know how. They will be unlikely to drop points against lower teams in the division as long as they can keep the ball for large spells of the game. This is something that comes naturally to their superb midfielders.

So why won't United and Spurs make it? Despite having an equally potent strike force as Liverpool in Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, it is at the back where United will lose it.

They have conceded a number of soft goals of late. Until they get a solid paring in the heart of defence, I cannot see them challenging the top teams. They are also very light of quality in the centre of the park and need a new creative face in January to solve this.

So, lastly, why will Spurs miss out? I actually think they could end up in sixth position. Despite spending big in the summer and bringing in the likes of Christian Eriksen and Paulinho, I still think that they will have to wait another year until they have a realistic chance of competing to win the league.

They have lost their game changer in Gareth Bale and, despite bring in lots of new talented players to replace him, none of these will manage anywhere near the 26 goals Bale got last term.

Andre Villas-Boas has admitted that record signing Erik Lamela is struggling to adapt to the English game and this proves it will take time for Spurs' new recruits to get up to the standard required to replace the superstar. They can no longer rely on just one man to get them the three points time and time again. 

Overall, it is extremely hard to call and a few injuries, January signings and managerial changes could make a massive difference to the standings, However, I think that Chelsea will win the league with Liverpool in fourth and Arsenal and City filling second and third spot.

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