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The Premier League is beginning to take shape. The top six are starting to pull away from the rest and all that remains now is to see in which order they finish.

This is all a little better than in previous years when the top four has usually consisted of Manchester United, City, Chelsea and Arsenal, not necessarily in that order.

Other than last season when Leicester City gatecrashed the party there is a familiar look to four of the top six but two new arrivals are threatening the natural order of things.

Tottenham Hotspur have finally found a manager with the ambition and talent to make something happen at White Hart Lane and Liverpool, after years in the wilderness, appear to have also found their soul-mate in Jürgen Klopp.

The Spurs tale is particularly impressive because Mauricio Pochettino has had to tailor his management style to suit the austerity of Daniel Levy. It is a pity that more clubs aren’t run in the same way as Tottenham because it would certainly promote the forwarding of young English players such as Dele Alli, who got his chance because Spurs tend not to throw £50 million away every time there is a perceived problem.

Liverpool have spent more than Tottenham but, again, have not yet gone to the ridiculous levels of Chelsea, the Manchester clubs or even Arsenal, where Arsene Wenger has finally realised that it is not HIS money that gets spent on transfers.

So where does this all leave Manchester’s United and City? At one stage and, admittedly, for a very short time, they were both outside of the top four, the first occurrence of this phenomenon since 2001, according to Sky.

All that money and, for what seemed only a few minutes, they weren’t even among the four best teams in the Premier League. It just goes to show that good management is equally as, if not more important than, the amount of money available to spend. Of course it is a big advantage if you have the best manager AND the most money, a situation which was assumed to be the case in Manchester, although which club best fitted the description was a topic for some debate. It will require improvement from both to finish in the top four but I expect them to achieve it without too much trouble.

Chelsea, whilst not quite having the most money, do appear to have the best manager. Certainly on current form. Antonio Conte may have stumbled upon his best formation after a poor start to the season but he has seen what it can achieve and he has brought the best out of it in a very consistent fashion. Helped, no doubt, by the lack of European football, a little appreciated favour done for them by José Mourinho, Chelsea look unstoppable at present and when you consider that the FA have helped them by giving them more rest over the Christmas period than any of the other top clubs, there is really no excuse for them not winning the title this season.

Arsenal, as usual, are about to demonstrate their ability to internally combust. Whilst writing this I watched the Bournemouth-Arsenal game which ended 3-3. Granted it was a good comeback from Arsenal but the fact that they were 3-0 down at one stage is proof that the pin is precariously close to the bubble.

Nobody should be surprised at this scoreline, Arsenal do it every year and this goes a very long way to explaining why they haven’t won the title in such a long time. It also explains why they won’t win it this time. The difference is that, this season, there are more challengers so the Gunners could very easily finish outside of the top four if they take their eye off the ball for too long.

So my predictions for the top four, which will no doubt be completely wrong, are as follows:

Champions: Chelsea
Second:         Manchester City
Third:            Manchester United
Fourth:          Liverpool

Please feel free to agree with me in the comments section and have a very happy and prosperous new year.

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Comments
  1. Efe says:

    I agree with your opinion.

    Like

  2. James Taylor says:

    I am very happy you are back! Missed your candid point of view. I for one disagree with you. Top four shall be Chelsea, United, City, Liverpool. I think we have had some terrible luck over the first half of the season, but Ibra always seems to have the flash left in him. According to a lot of pundits, isn’t it the mark of a champion to win a game even when playing poorly?

    Like

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