Football

Premier League: Who will make the top four?

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With the Premier League season 2013/14 already 16 games old and heading into the busiest time of the year, it may be time to look at the top four teams as it currently stands and give an analysis of form, strengths and weaknesses, as well as a prediction as to where these teams might be come May.

Arsenal

Strengths: Arsenal have been in fantastic form this season and look like a team that enjoys playing football. They have formed a spine to the team that seems to have a Barcelona-esque sixth sense as to where their team mates are and which balls to play at which times. It is a joy to watch and if this continues they could become the neutrals favorite once again.

With revelations such as Aaron Ramsey and striker Olivier Giroud continuing to perform well and star signing Mesut Ozil providing that bit of undeniable quality in attack, it is not without reason that Arsenal are leading the pack in December.

Weaknesses: Arsenal need another striker as soon as possible. Giroud may be scoring for fun but he is not superman and will not be able to continue until May without some sort of support.

Bendtner is simply not up to it and it becomes comical when he is introduced to instigate a fight back against teams like Manchester City with commentators sarcastically describing the substitute as "Arsenal's secret weapon".

Koscielny badly injured recently, one half of Arsenal's strong defensive partnership is out. This leaves Vermaelen, who has dropped in confidence, quality and reliability.

Final Prediction: 2nd

Liverpool

Strengths: Liverpool have a very strong attack in the form of the newly christened "SAS" - Suarez and Sturridge.

Suarez is an amazing forward who must be considered one of the top players in the world. He shows an amazing amount of skill, has a great knack of scoring great goals - particularly against Norwich - and is unbelievably consistent.

If he can keep out of trouble and stay scandal-free for the season then he might become one of the most valuable commodities in Liverpool's history.

Suarez has scored an incredible 19 goals in just 12 league games after missing the beginning of the season because of a ban. In his absence, Sturridge performed excellently with nine goals in eleven league games.

Liverpool have one of the most prolific strike forces in Europe and that includes partnerships like Rooney and Van Persie, Cavani and Ibrahimovic and Aguero and Negredo.

Weaknesses: Liverpool's strength might also be their weakness if the team becomes too reliant on "SAS". With Sturridge injured at the moment, Liverpool fans will be praying for Suarez to stay fit and disciplined.

If he gets a long term injury and it coincides with Sturridge's absence, Liverpool would lack firepower and they would find themselves becoming a lot less potent and a lot less feared by opponents.

Although Suarez has signed a new long-term deal and he seems to have left the days of biting, racism and sliding in front of rival team's managers behind him, he is still considered somewhat of a ticking time bomb.

The team cannot afford for him to get another lengthy ban. Although their stike force may be strong, the rest of the Liverpool team are still miles behind with players such as Allen and Kolo Toure not good enough to hold a sustained title challenge.

Final Prediction: 4th

Chelsea

Strengths: Chelsea have a very strong squad and have quality in depth. Mourinho could field two top quality sides on the same day and probably win both times.

Whilst Liverpool's strength is "SAS", Chelsea's is the "Three Amigos" Oscar, Hazard and Mata. They have lit up the Premier League and are dangerous even on an off day. Whilst Mourinho originally preferred Oscar, Mata has fought his way back into the team and has reminded us of his great first touch and amazing ability to find the final ball.

Summer signings Andre Schurrle and Willian are adapting to the league and offer alternatives meaning Chelsea can adapt their game to suit the opposition - This is what you want from a squad. Cahill has secured his place ahead of Luiz and Ivanovic has become an ever-green in the starting eleven.

Ramires continues to impress and has, reportadly, attracted interest from Real Madrid among others. Many individuals have done well this season and this has led to Chelsea sitting two points off the top of the league, however, if anyone deserves a special mention it is "Captain, Leader, Legend" John Terry.

After being cut out of the team when Benitez was in charge, he has made his comeback with the return of the Special One and has been the one reliable performer for The Blues this season.

Weaknesses: Chelsea's inconsistency has let them down this season. They beat Manchester City but lost to Stoke. They dominated West Ham and could not get a shot on target against Basel. One of the reasons Jose Mourinho won the league in his first year at Chelsea in 2004/05 is because of his mean defence but this season has already seen them concede more goals than the whole of that season.

They have been very leaky at the back and have not been consistent enough in front of goal with strikers Torres, Ba and Eto'o readily proving with every passing week that none of them deserve to start on a regular basis. Inconsistency has been the problem for Chelsea this season and the team's inconsistency as a whole can be seen in the players erratic and unpredictable individual performances.

Cech has been more prone to errors, Frank Lampard is either the "Lamps" of old or someone who slows the game down so extremely he could be going backwards and Fernando Torres... well... lets just leave it at that.

Final Prediction: 3rd

Manchester City

Strengths: Their home form and goal-scoring prowess. Manchester City look unplayable at home.

Before Tottenham arrived at the Etihad they boasted an incredibly impressive defense - within a few seconds Spurs were behind. Arsenal were invited for a drubbing and Manchester United went back to their side on Manchester with their heads hanging after conceding four goals.

City have a 100% record at the Etihad with eight wins, 35 goals and only 5 conceded. The Barcelona team of a couple of years ago would have been proud of that and the Bayern Munich team of today would be delighted with those statistics.

Aguero and Negredo have formed an unplayable partnership and they are scoring goals for laughs at the moment. With Yaya Toure instigating attacks, Nasri finding his feet and Silva back to the form of the title winning season all looks good for Manchester City.

On the Premier League 'home' table City would be leading the pack with 24 points and an average of more than four goals a game. With Kompany coming back into his stride and proving that he is indeed one of the best centre-halves in the world and Aguero's injury not keeping him out as long as originally feared, it seems that very little can stand in the way of the Sky Blues - or not at the Etihad in any case.

Weaknesses: Their away form! As good as MAnchester City are at home, they are poor on the road. If you were to look at the previously mentioned table but changed it to 'away' instead if 'home', City would find themselves in the bottom half of the table with an incredible eight points.

An average of only a point a game as well as a higher goals conceded to goals scored ratio, things look bleak for City when they leave the Etihad. It is hard to believe that it is the same Manchester City that walks out onto the ppitch at other staduiums. They struggle to score and let them in like it is going out of fashion.

Maybe, Manuel Pellegrini, sets his team out too defensively when on the road. Maybe, he is not confident enough to set out to destroy teams in their own stadiums. Maybe, he does not understand that in the English game it makes a huge difference whether you play a team like Stoke at home or away. City fans will hope that this will change and that they can start winning away from home as well but their home-sickness has made many people assume that City only have two settings: destroy or self-destruct.

Final Prediction: 1st

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Topics:
Liverpool
Manchester City
Arsenal
Chelsea
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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