Premier League Preview: The Race For Top 4

Writing an earnest preview of the title race in the modern competitive landscape of the Premier League is somewhat disingenuous. Luckily, the battle royale for Champions League qualification is likely to compel throughout the season.

Given the dominance of City and Liverpool, we effectively have four teams fighting for two positions in the top 4. In Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham, the best of the rest of the Premier League are roughly similar in quality. Who prevails over the course of the Premier League season will come down to who has their act together.



Paddy Power has Chelsea as the joint favourites to qualify for the Champions League again at 4/6. The Blues enjoyed an, erm, notable season last year. The club signed a £90 million striker who the coach didn’t appear to want, who appeared not to want to be there either. That, combined with the crumbling of the Abramovic era limited Chelsa’s potential. 

They may be the bookies’ favourites, but they are an unknown quantity heading into next season. Raheem Sterling, while an incredible signing, is still their only first team recruit. With several players seemingly on their way out, Chelsea have work to do in order to have a coherent squad. It’s anybody’s guess as to how stable they will be. Thomas Tuchel is good, but is he brave new era good?


Read: Erik ten Hag And Mikel Arteta Coming For Pep Guardiola’s Position



The joint favourites for top 4 have to perform this year. That’s mainly because Antonio Conte will probably leave them whether they succeed or not. Having said that, Spurs are looking ominously like a Conte team now. They’ve added Richarlison, Djed Spence, Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet and Fraser Forster to the team that edged their North London rivals to fourth place last year.

Conte has his wing-backs and enough backup for the reliable Harry Kane and Heung-min Son. They will have to navigate playing in Europe’s premier competition as well as a league campaign, but Spurs are probably the safest bet to finish in the top 4.


Manchester United

According to the bookies, United are the third favourites to reach the Champions League at 7.5. On the who-has-their-act-together-ometer, however, they are dead last. Erik ten Hag has been hired to build a long-term project and restore Old Trafford’s identity, but it will take time.

The presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, if he stays, will limit the impact ten Hag can have in his first year. If you want to know what players think, just look at his former apprentice Frenkie de Jong’s utter refusal to join them. Lissandro Martinez is a good signing, but he is not enough to knit a team of disparate parts together.


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If we were awarding league positions based on who has their act together, Arsenal would finish above all their top 4 rivals. However, they are the fourth favourites here at 15/8 and there is a reason for that. The Gunners have not been genuinely competitive for a while, and choked on the chance to usurp Tottenham in the table last season.

However, the signings of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from City add quality and elite mentality to a young team who can only improve. The days of David Luiz and Willian are gone. Arsenal have a squad that’s going to develop together over the next few seasons.

If they can get over their tendency to be paralyzed by opportunity, Arsenal could surprise people next season.