Over the past couple of seasons, one of the most exciting aspects of the Premier League has become the race to finish in the top four and guaranteeing Champions League football.
Although no silverware is on offer for finishing in 2nd, 3rd or 4th position, the revenue that is generated makes this a high priority for many managers.
For the past couple of years Tottenham have always been ‘thereabouts’ and in amongst the top teams, for example in the 2011/2012 season they had been 10 points clear of Arsenal, however following a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Arsenal in late February, there season crumbled somewhat and they eventually finished a point behind Arsenal in 4th position. Usually, despite throwing away such a lead over their neighbours, most Tottenham fans would be satisfied with Champions League football the following season, unfortunately for them, Chelsea went on to win the Champions League title that season and despite finishing 6th in the league, earned there right to defend the trophy automatically therefore pushing Tottenham into the Europa League.
It was a fairly similar story last season for Tottenham fans, with only 10 games to play Tottenham were in 4th position and 7 points clear, but Arsenal had a very impressive run in and took 26 points from a possible 30 to eventually finish above Tottenham in 4th, and resign them to playing Europa League football again next season.
The race for top 4 next season looks set to be even tighter than before with so many teams being competitive amongst the top 6. Manchester United and Manchester City look set make their presence known again and with Mourinho returning to Chelsea as there new manager, he’ll be looking to get them challenging for the title as well. That looks set to leave Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton fighting for the final top 4 position. Arsene Wenger could be facing a massive season in charge at Arsenal with many fans turning their back on him last season; he looks set to make a big-name signing in bringing Gonzalo Higuain to the capital from Real Madrid and perhaps Wenger will be looking to make more of an impact in the league this season rather than settling for just Champions League qualification. Liverpool are in a similar situation, so used to finishing amongst the big boys in the league, there highest position since the 2008-2009 season is 6th back in 2011. Brendan Rodgers has completed some quick signings so far this summer and appears to be looking to strengthen the side further before August and Champions League qualification will be the target of many Liverpool fans. Everton are perhaps one side that I can rule out of the top 4 running, they’ve lost manager David Moyes to Manchester United and top scorer Fellaini could also be heading for the exit, new manager Roberto Martinez may need a season to settle in before challenging for Champions League football.
That leaves us with Tottenham, they have been active in the transfer window already this summer, but the biggest news for Tottenham fans is likely to be the news that Gareth Bale looks set to stay. This could be the final season for the Welshman at the club, he will be aiming for Champions League football and will know in the back of his mind, he could walk into most, if not all, clubs involved in the competition next season. While I don’t believe they will be too far away again, I still don’t think Tottenham are capable of making the top 4 next season unless they sign some big names before August. Other teams around them look to be strengthening and they may struggle to compete with the ‘Big Four’ clubs next season.
StanJames are currently offering odds of 2/5 for Tottenham to finish outside the top 4 next season.
Chelsea – 1/7 Coral
Arsenal – 4/6 Betfred
Tottenham – 2/1 Bet365
Liverpool – 12/5 Betway
Everton – 22/1 Coral
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