The Premier League is set to return this weekend and as always, one of the most discussed topics is the race to the top four.
Securing the Champions League seems to be more important than ever for the top six clubs in the country and with the whirlwind season that awaits us, the race promises to be the most competitive one we’ve seen in a while.
In this post, I lay out an early prediction on which four clubs have the best chance of clinching a spot in the Top Four currently and wrap up with some thoughts on the teams that I feel will miss out.
Things looked very uncertain for Manchester City a few months ago but the latest developments around the club have been quite positive.
The UEFA ban restricting them from the Champions League for two years was lifted which was vital for keeping hold of stars like Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne, and Raheem Sterling.
Furthermore, manager Pep Guardiola has seemingly been given a vote of confidence from the board and he has already strengthened the ranks with the captures of the highly-rated Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake.
Pep might still need some time to find the right balance but things are looking well for City on the domestic front and the players will be motivated to retake back the Premier League title.
Whether they will succeed remains to be seen but the club is definitely in good stead to keep hold of their place in the top four next season.
The current Premier League champions have enough resources to secure another Champions League spot next season, however, there are a few things that should worry Liverpool fans as the new campaign moves closer.
Most importantly, fatigue will be a big factor now that the players had very little rest in the summer and Klopp doesn’t have the same depth as some of his competitors.
The Reds have been unable to attract any players besides young Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas and there is a big possibility that they will have to sell one of their main midfield engines Georginio Wijnaldum to Barcelona.
Now that the team has won the title, expectations will be high and this season will be a huge test for Jurgen Klopp and his side.
And for now, I can’t see how they will be able to replicate the form that saw them romp to the top spot, however, their Champions League status should be safe.
The London Blues are quickly becoming one of the most exciting teams in the league and there will be a lot of buzz surrounding them when the campaign kicks off.
This is mainly because of the terrific business that the club has done throughout the summer by bringing in Bundesliga starlets Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, as well as England international Ben Chilwell, Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech and veteran Brazilian Thiago Silva.
Such purposeful buying is rare to see and we should give the club big credit for sealing those deals, especially with the current climate of the football transfer market.
Lampard’s squad looks ready to make a statement and definitely has the quality to mount a title challenge.
My feeling is that their defense will find it hard to stay consistent but the firepower that the team possesses up front should be enough to guarantee them a place in the top four in the end.
United’s form towards the end of last season makes them a big contender for another top-four finish this year.
Offensively, the team is looking great with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial but it is their new-found defensive solidity and spark in midfield that has a chance to get them back to the top.
Harry Maguire has settled in nicely and has consistently improved since joining the club, forming a solid partnership with Victor Lindelof. They will be the main men once again and the emergence of left-back Brandon Williams and Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s stable performances have provided a new dimension to this backline.
But what has really transformed the team is the creativity that Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes has provided since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon.
Fernandes is definitely in the running for one of the best signings in 2020 as he immediately started contributing both goals and assists for his new club.
He has a chance to form a deadly partnership with United’s newest signing Donny van de Beek, and Solskjaer can also rely on Paul Pogba to pull the strings in midfield.
The manager will have to focus on getting the balance right in the center of the pitch which will not be an easy task, however, United’s squad looks great on paper and a good early start can be the springboard they to make this season count.
They will need David de Gea to return to his best form if they are to challenge for the title but their prospects of securing another top-four finish are looking good.
Conclusion and Final Words
As you can clearly tell, I have Arsenal and Tottenham to miss out on the top four this year.
The Gunners will probably come close as Arteta has improved a lot since joining the club, however, there is still a lot of work ahead.
Keeping hold of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a big boost but this team is in dire need of more goals and I’m not certain there is another prolific goalscorer currently on the books.
The capture of Gabriel Magalhaes and the returning William Saliba look exciting but they are both young players with zero experience of playing in the Premier League.
I back the team to continue in an upward trend but it does look like it will be early for Arsenal to get back into the Champions League this year.
The same goes for Tottenham who may be in for a highly-disappointing campaign.
Things haven’t looked much better with Jose Mourinho at the helm and there is still a possibility for the club to lose some of their star players before the season begins.
Their transfer business has been decent but we can’t expect players like Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emilje Hojbjerg to instantly make them a serious contender.
Keeping Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min will be vital but even with another brilliant season from them, I just can’t see Spurs making it to the top four.