With the 2012/13 Premier League season over and all 20 places settled, those clubs that narrowly missed out on a top-four place will be looking to make amends next term.
So, which teams could occupy the top four at the end of next season?
With the departure of the greatest football manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, there is a lot of uncertainty around how well United will do next season.
Is there going to be a slight period of transition? Or will the machine just keep on producing? I feel they will carry on their amazing success.
By appointing an experienced Premier League manager who gets the best out of every player, United have kept it relatively safe. They know what David Moyes will bring, and he knows what to expect.
I would be very surprised if United were affected too much by the managerial change, and even if they were, it wouldn’t be enough to deny them a top-four finish.
Prediction: Top four
Another managerial change in Manchester and more uncertainty about how this will affect the team.
Whilst the new manager hasn’t been confirmed yet, whoever walks into the dressing room will have a squad littered with stars that have experience of winning the Premier League as well as a bank account looking pretty healthy.
Although they missed out to their bitter rivals this season, I think we can be sure it will a closer run title race next season which could include other sides than just these two. However close it is remains to be seen, but it’s highly likely City will be in the top four again.
Prediction: Top four
This season has been quite successful at Stamford Bridge when all things are considered. Rafael Benitez has done an exceptional job in retaining a Champions League place and bringing home a European trophy.
In all honesty he probably deserves the job full-time, but we know who will be getting that role. With Jose Mourinho likely to be seated firmly in the Chelsea dugout next season, Chelsea’s route into the top four looks pretty assured.
Like City, Chelsea has a bit of money and will probably bring in a few top quality additions. I feel Chelsea will have a big chance of winning the title next season, let alone a top-four finish.
Prediction: Top four
The three teams above are the teams I expect to contend the title and, therefore, I felt that they were assured of a top-four finish. The other teams in contention are Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.
If Arsene Wenger elects to spend a bit of money this summer on established, quality players, they have a real chance of competing for the title. If not, I can’t see them making the top four next season.
This season Arsenal did exceptionally well getting the fourth position when it looked like they were out of it a couple of months before. With Spurs and Liverpool set to strengthen, I can’t see Arsenal getting it again next season unless they spend well.
Tottenham have arguably the best player in the Premier League. If Gareth Bale stays, Tottenham can really push on and compete with the big boys. If he doesn’t, they won’t get top four - simple as that.
Whilst Spurs need Bale to stay, they also have to bring in players of real quality. A proven striker and a quality centre-back are definitely needed, as well as better competition around the squad. I personally reckon Bale will be staying so Spurs could be even better than this season.
The season of transition at Anfield is finished. Although achievement wise it lacked a lot, performance wise it gives encouragement. Liverpool played good football this season, and looked a lot stronger towards the second half once they were better used to Brendan Rodgers’ style of play.
The additions of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge also look promising. Attacking wise they look good, and with the addition of one more striker/attacking player they could look even more frightful going forward.
Liverpool really need to strengthen their defence next season, though. A quality centre-back should be high on their list as they have made a lot of mistakes in defence.
Keeping Luis Suarez is also essential and should they manage to fix these issues they can have a really good season.
Whilst I expect the race for 4th spot to be mighty close, I feel like the edge will be with Liverpool.
The way they have improved is encouraging and I expect a good season at Anfield next year. Therefore, Liverpool take the last place in my predicted top four.
Feel free to comment your suggestions and opinions.
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