Arsenal appear to be in the driving seat for the race to secure a coveted Champions League spot. However, there’s still plenty of football to be played between now and May.
The top four race is arguably one of the most enthralling issues to be decided, and there are a few teams still in the picture.
Expect plenty of twists and turns as we enter the home straight, but who will falter as the finishing line comes into sight?
Freebets has provided an overview of what we know about the top-four race, and how the odds are shaping up for the contenders.
Arsenal on the up
At the moment, Arsenal seem to be well primed to bring Champions League football back to the red half of north London for the first time in six years. For the past few seasons at least, the Gunners have been well off the pace, and they have been mere also-rans.
Nevertheless, Mikel Arteta has injected some much-needed belief into his squad. While there may be some concerns about the strength in depth, as well as issues to resolve at the end of the campaign, namely Alexandre Lacazette’s future, the Gunners have been in a rich vein of form.
Although they endured a sobering 2-0 defeat at home to Liverpool earlier this month, but they bounced back and produced a disciplined display in their 1-0 win away to Aston Villa. Of course, the game in hand Arsenal have over their top four rivals Tottenham and Manchester United stands them in good stead, and they are five points behind third-place Chelsea, so they may prefer to look up instead of down. The Gunners are currently at a short-priced 1/2 with Paddy Power to finish in the top four.
Can Antonio Conte deliver for Tottenham?
This season feels like a seismic moment in Tottenham’s history. And it hinges on one man in particular – Antonio Conte. It is fair to say that Tottenham have been a work in progress under the Italian tactician, but they have somehow hauled themselves back into contention for a top four spot after displaying remarkable levels of inconsistency. The 3-1 win over West Ham before the international break was the first time Tottenham have secured back-to-back victories in the Premier League since December.
Spurs have had a habit of taking one step forward, and then a few steps back. Nevertheless, there is more dynamism about Spurs going forward, and with another trophyless season to contend with, a top four finish would put a smile on the faces of the fans.
Harry Kane has returned to form, plundering home seven goals in his past seven appearances. Although he was unable to net for the fifth league game in a row against West Ham, he did recently surpass Wayne Rooney for most away goals scored in England’s top flight. The England international has always been indispensable to Spurs, and his goals could fire his side into the top four, and it would potentially be the perfect farewell gift were he to leave the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the summer.
Anyway, Tottenham have been given an intriguing price of 9/4 with William Hill to secure a top-four finish.
Manchester United on the fringes
It seems funny to think that Manchester United are on the fringe of things, as they have been so accustomed to competing in the Champions League, and of course in the past, success in Europe’s elite competition.
But it has been a rather unforgettable campaign for the Red Devils. The departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer paved the way for Ralf Rangnick – who is set to move upstairs at the end of the season – but he hasn’t brought the high-intensity level of pressing the supporters were hoping for. A last-16 defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid was disappointing, and there have been question marks the entire campaign surrounding Harry Maguire.
He has been scapegoated, and while Cristiano Ronaldo has been a source of criticism, his hat-trick against Tottenham proved that class is permanent. Manchester United are trading at 4/1 with William Hill if you fancy a cheeky punt.
Are West Ham done and dusted?
It seems like West Ham’s race has been run, and they look destined to miss out on a seat at Europe’s table after their defeat to Tottenham. It has of course been a promising season for the Hammers, who are still involved in the Europa League, so a more likely route to the Champions League would be by winning that competition.
David Moyes has done a tremendous job, and if you are feeling brave, then the Hammers, who are six points off the top four are at a distant 75/1 with Paddy Power.