Newcastle, Tottenham & Liverpool: Who will clinch that final Champions League spot come May?
With both Manchester City and Arsenal picking up their own action-packed victories last weekend, we look set for what will be another epic Premier League title chase during the second-half of the season.
Likewise, while Manchester United might have suffered more last-gasp heartbreak as they slumped to a 3-2 loss away at the Gunners on Sunday afternoon, Erik ten Hag’s resurging squad also find themselves sat in pole position to claim a much-needed top-four return.
However, in a campaign that has seen former European champions Chelsea fall by the wayside, it appears the race for that final lucrative Champions League spot is firmly hanging in the balance.
Although the likes of Brighton, Fulham and Brentford might all have their sights set on making real history this season, we have taken a look at three standout contenders to claim fourth-place come May and the latest Premier League top 4 odds as we approach the last half of the season.
Current Top 4 Race Standings
|6||Brighton and Hove Albion||19||9||4||6||37||27||10||31|
Turning to Eddie Howe 14 months ago in an attempt to help Newcastle avoid the drop, few would have expected what has been a monumental rise under the former Bournemouth boss.
Eventually cruising their way to Premier League safety last season, the Magpies are now in the midst of a remarkable purple patch and they have an historic top-four finish within their grasp.
With the mood around St. James’ Park at the highest it has been in recent memory, Howe’s high-flying squad have also lost just one of their 20 Premier League appearances so far this season.
Gaining a reputation for their defensive steel and shipping just 11 top-flight strikes on either side of the World Cup break, Newcastle’s astonishing rise has undoubtedly been aided by their controversial Saudi-backed takeover in October 2021.
With new recruits such as Sven Botman and Bruno Guimaraes making an immediate impact since arriving in the Premier League last summer, the Magpies are simply looking to keep up the same momentum they set during the first-half of the campaign.
Best Odds: Newcastle to finish in the top-four – 8/11 with Coral
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Eventually falling just a single point adrift of defending their Premier League crown last season, it is no secret that Liverpool were desperate to mount another genuine title charge this time around.
However, watching attacking talisman Sadio Mane end his tenure at Anfield last summer after making the move to German heavyweights Bayern Munich, Jurgen Klopp’s side have publicly failed to find any kind of consistency on either side of the festive interval.
Putting in another toothless display on Saturday lunchtime as they had to settle for a 0-0 stalemate at home against a struggling Chelsea, Liverpool have won just one of their five domestic appearances across all competitions since opening 2023.
Although Klopp’s superstars might have dragged themselves to the knockout stage of this year’s Champions League after an early scare, the German tactician will know that he could face a domestic uphill struggle during the second-half of the season.
Remarkably ending the weekend’s Premier League fixtures sat 10 points adrift of the top-four, this could be the first time that Liverpool have not booked an automatic Champions League ticket since 2016.
Best Odds: Liverpool to finish in the top-four – 27/10 with SBK
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Mounting what was a thrilling late charge during the final few weeks of the 2021/22 campaign as they snatched a top-four finish from north London rivals Arsenal, it appeared that Tottenham were really enjoying life under Antonio Conte.
However, while Spurs’ 1-0 victory at Craven Cottage on Monday night might have moved them within just three points of breaking back into the Champions League spots, Conte’s future in the capital has remained a huge talking point and there is some growing unrest among the Tottenham fanbase.
With many left uninspired by the 53-year-old’s pragmatic approach, Tottenham have won just four of their last 11 Premier League appearances on either side of the World Cup break and they have continued to gain a reputation for their extended struggles on home soil.
Although Spurs might have followed Liverpool in eventually dragging themselves to the knockout stage of this season’s Champions League, Conte’s inconsistent squad are tipped as a real outside pick to secure back-to-back top-four finishes come May.
Best Odds: Tottenham to finish in the top-four – 3/1 with William Hill
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