While it may not seem like it, we are already a little over ¼ of the way through the Premier League season. Although there is still a lot of football to play, the table is beginning to shape out and the fight for a top-four finish is on. So, with the international break upon us, let’s examine the best contenders for that illustrious top four.
Unsurprisingly, Thomas Tuchel’s side is currently on top of the table with 8 wins and only one loss in 11 games thus far. The defending Champions League winners started the season strong, winning the Super Cup against Villareal.
The Blues have kept this strong form up and have only dropped points this season against the defending Premier League champion, Manchester City who defeated them 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Their form along with their strong squad including players like Timo Werner, Edouard Mendy, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho among others makes them one of the most frightening sides in the League. Not to mention their manager, Thomas Tuchel, who has proven himself as one of the most tactically gifted managers in world football.
They are first in the League for that reason and are my favourites to win the title this season.
2. Manchester City –
In joint second place in the Premier League is Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The defending champions are widely considered to be one of the most talented sides in the Premier League with players like Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, and Jack Grealish among others. Their manager, Pep Guardiola is also one of the most decorated managers in the world and is not someone to bet against.
However, City has already dropped some key points against Southampton, Crystal Palace, and Tottenham this season. This tendency to drop points against lesser opponents along with their lack of a true striker will hurt their chances of winning back-to-back Championships.
That being said, don’t bet against City still challenging for the title and likely finishing within the top three, especially if they can bring in a true striker in the January transfer window.
3. West Ham United -
While listed at third in the Premier League table, David Moyes’ West Ham United is tied in points with Manchester City, thus truly sitting joint second in the league and are three points from front-runner Chelsea.
After what many thought would be a fluke finish last season, West Ham are back in the mix, beating Liverpool and Tottenham in the League along with Manchester City and Manchester United in the Carabao Cup.
With their lack of depth in key positions and a large reliance on a select few players, the January transfer window could make or break the Hammers chances of a top four finish.
However, with recent investment from Czech Billionaire, Daniel Křetínský, there is an expectation that West Ham will be going for it in the transfer window which could prove the security needed to achieve the club’s first top four finish in almost 30 years.
4. Liverpool –
Despite a recent run of tough results for Liverpool, including a defeat at West Ham and a draw with Brighton, the Reds have shown that when on form, they are one of the strongest clubs in European football, twice winning by five or more goals this season in the Premier League.
Their squad, despite some depth issues in certain positions, is one of the strongest in the league with superstar players such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Dijk and Roberto Firmino and one of the best managers in England, Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool currently sits four points out of first and have already played the three teams ahead of them in the table. If the Reds can stay healthy, expect them to finish in the top three along with Manchester City and Chelsea and to push for the title.
5. Arsenal –
After a tough start to the season that saw many questioning Arsenal’s manager Mikel Arteta, the Gunners have won four of their last six with the other two ending in draws. Because of this, Arsenal is now in 5th on the table and are two points off of the top four.
Despite a lack of true star power, like West Ham, Arsenal has several players in top form which has helped them dramatically. Because of this, there are questions around whether players like Emile Smith-Rowe and Aaron Ramsdale can consistently provide these top performances.
Nevertheless, Arsenal is playing great football right now. Whether they can keep this up is yet to be seen but if they can continue to get these kinds of performances out of their players, they can push West Ham for the fourth-place spot.
6. Manchester United –
Ah, Manchester United. What can you say? United have one of the strongest squads in the premier league with true superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and many more.
Despite this, United has struggled against talented opponents and seems to lack any real identity, often relying on Ronaldo and others to score last-minute goals to secure a late win or a draw. This is likely due to Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær who’s firing seems inevitable at this point.
However, Manchester United’s board has hesitated to act and continue to allow Ole to continue despite his failures. If they do not make a change soon, their season and even the future of the club seem to be in Jeopardy. If they act quickly, United still has a chance to challenge for the fourth-place spot, but, it seems current that they are destined to finish outside of a Champions League Spot.