Which EPL club will take the elusive Champions League fourth spot?
With almost all the EPL teams having played 16 games in the season so far, it has emerged that Manchester United and their noisy neighbours, Manchester City are favourites for the EPL title. But the interesting part lies in the third and the fourth place spots in the EPL standings, which are presently held by Chelsea and Everton respectively. There are still 22 games to be played. One would assume that Chelsea would take the direct entry into Champions League with a third position finish, but what about the fourth spot. It could be anyone’s game, with Everton, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool expected to vie for it. The ongoing seaosn has been an unpredictable one with teams losing matches, which they were expected to win with ease.
Everton and Tottenham have 26 points each in the present EPL standings table. They are the favourites for fourth position with their performances on the field making them worthy contenders for Champions League football. Everton have won six matches in the season so far, while Tottenham have won eight, with the goal differences being in favour of Everton. Everton have set the tone right with their impressive victory against Tottenham in their last match, but Tottenham have always been a serious competitor in the EPL, who lost out in the Champions league spot last year as well, after coming tantalizingly close. This might well just be their year.
Arsenal have been a regular feature in the Champions League, but they have been way off the mark, as they are presently seventh in the EPL standings with 27 points. They are a team who have always been major title contenders, but this season, they might be lucky if they just scrap through to the top four. Such has been the performance of the Arsenal team this season that voices from several quarters are even asking for Wenger’s head, who has been one of the best managers in the Premier League ‘s history. They have lost four matches in the competition, which does not augur well for them, and some of the victories that they have secured have not been convincing as well. After Van Persie’s exit from the Emirates, Arsene Wenger has not been able to come up with the best attacking combination in spite of getting Podolski and Giroud during the summer transfer window.
It may be unfair for one to ask Liverpool to grab the fourth spot, but their recent performances have been inspiring enough for them to find a place in this list of clubs. It might sound a Herculean task for the team, which ranks in 10th in the EPL standings, to finish fourth when the season comes to an end. When Brendan Rodgers took over the team, there were huge hopes from the Liverpool supporters, but he has not been able to pass that magic wand from Swansea to Liverpool. Though the team may be in 10th on the table, they are just four points adrift of Everton, who are in fourth place with 26 points.
There has been a marked improvement in Liverpool’s standings, as they were hovering around the relegation zone in the initial stages of the competition. They have been one of the most exciting teams on the park, but the worst when it comes to goal conversion, in spite of having one of the top goal scorers of the season, Luis Suarez. Their hopes would be raised if they got an established striker who can find the back of the net, hence the January transfer window for Liverpool could be the difference between a mid-table finish and a Champions league finish.
The 2012/13 season has been full of surprises, so it would not be surprising if there was a huge shuffle in the EPL standings by the end of the season. One would not be surprised if teams like West Bromwich Albion make it to the final Champions League spot.