The Champions League; a tournament that is teeming with world-class players and elite clubs. The Premier League isn't short of quality teams itself, but who can grab those all-important Champions League places come the end of the season?
Chelsea and Manchester City should finish easily within the top four, I think everyone will agree on that. The class they have shown in this quarter of the season puts their competitors to shame.
Jose Mourinho's side look set to run away with the title, with Manuel Pellegrini's team expected to be snapping at their heels all the way. So, there's the top two places taken, the real question is: Who will steal the final two?
Unlike in previous campaigns, the Premier League has more than four of five contenders for the Champions League places; fresh new competitors come in the shape of Southampton and Everton. Ronald Koeman's side are surprising everyone as they sit second in the table behind league leaders Chelsea.
The Saints' brilliant run of form has got many people wondering if they can keep it up throughout the year, especially when the Christmas time period comes around. Playing several games in quick succession may be the downfall of Southampton, but we will have to wait and see. Performances as of late, however, look promising.
- Paulo Dybala wanted by Arsenal and Southampton
- Joel Campbell the target of loan talks from Inter Milan
- Stewart Downing reveals lowest point in his career was at Liverpool
Everton were dubbed as Champions League contenders before a ball was kicked this season due to their brilliant campaign last time around, just missing out on that fourth spot. However, Roberto Martinez's side are struggling domestically at the moment and that could be down to their new European commitments.
The Europa League is believed to be a hindrance for the clubs involved, and could well be the reason behind the Toffees poor form in the Premier League. If they carry on performing like this, however, the Champions League nights at Goodison Park will continue to be a dream.
Arsenal may be the only other definite top four finish. With summer signing Alexis Sanchez in the side, he can carry the Gunners to the Champions League himself and maybe, just maybe, push them through to the third place finish the Arsenal fans so desperately want to witness.
The injury problems seem to stack up every year for Arsene Wenger's side as the season goes on; you just sense the curse will come back to the Emirates Stadium once more to deny the Frenchman a top three finish.
Manchester United haven't got off to the greatest start under new manager Louis van Gaal,;even with all the money they invested over the summer, they cannot seem to string a run of form together. The start they had to kick off the Van Gaal era had many United fans jumping for joy, in the expectancy of their club breezing their way to the top of the table; in hindsight, it hasn't quite turned out like that.
Maybe as the year progresses, the money that's in the side will start to come good, after all, them huge price-tags have to be worth something, right?
Last but not least
Finally, we come to Liverpool; the Reds had a fantastic season last time around under Brendan Rodgers, coming second behind Manchester City, who narrowly pipped them to the title. However, rather like their Merseyside rivals Everton, Liverpool are under-performing, with new signings Mario Balotelli and Lazar Markovic struggling to fill the boots of Luis Suarez.
Some people may make a case for Tottenham, but I think their inconsistency will push them out of the top six this season. Mauricio Pochettino is seen as a great manager, but you wouldn't bet on the man staying at White Hart Lane for the entirety of the year, maybe the club need to start placing the blame on the players, not the boss.
So, with all that taken into consideration, who do you think will finish in the top four come the end of the season? One thing is for sure, we're in for one heck of a battle this time around.
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