By Jonathan Lewis | 23 FEB 2021
With only four UEFA Champions League positions up for grabs, who will be the lucky teams that manage to get themselves over the line at the end of the season?
What a strange season it has been! Due to the spread of Covid-19, most stadiums have been empty for the entire time. A handful of clubs were allowed to welcome back a small number of fans into the stands, however it didn’t last for long because of an increase in Covid-19 patients throughout the UK.
Never in our lifetime have we seen such a short pre-season, with teams like Manchester United and Manchester City only playing one or two games because the previous season they progressed in both the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. It was very difficult for managers to organize their players, especially during pre-season. Maintaining each player’s fitness has been a difficult task for most teams, as their bodies have had very little time to recover. Plus, in the Premier League, there is no winter break, unlike Germany and Spain.
It’s been a long and tough season for the players, however for us, whether you’re a fan, a punter or you just want something to do during the pandemic, it has been a roller coaster of a journey. If you want to put a flutter on who you feel is going to be in the top four, the best football betting sites will be able to give you odds.
The blue half of Manchester seemed to be taking a bit of a break last season when Liverpool started to run away with the league. City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, was pipped to take over the top job at Juventus, however, he ended up signing another contract extension with City.
Although they did hit a bad run of form during the season, right now they look unstoppable. Not only do we expect them to finish in the top four, but they are also favorites by a long shot to be crowned champions of this year’s Premier League.
They had a tough run of games recently, and with Kevin De Bruyne injured, teams felt like that might have had a chance. Phil Foden and Sterling played very well against strong opponents including Liverpool, Spurs, and Everton.
You’d be better off putting money down the toilet instead of placing your hard-earned cash on Manchester City not getting into the top four!
For a while there it seemed like United were in a title race, and if City slips up, they are in with a slight chance. However, the chances of that happening are very slim.
Last season United squeezed into the top four on the last day of the season after beating Leicester 2-0 away from home. The signing of Bruno Fernandes has been incredible for the Red Devils. His impact both on and off the pitch has been a joy to watch. The Portuguese talisman seems to have everything and he makes the team tick. United’s attack at times is looking similar to the Manchester United team of 2007-08. Sadly, there haven’t been any fans at the Theatre of Dreams to watch this new fast, attacking football.
Unfortunately, United is still struggling in other areas of the pitch. Many have pointed the finger at both center-backs, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof for not being up to Manchester United’s high standards, even after paying a vast amount of cash for both. David De Gea has not looked like himself for almost 2 years. Although he has had some great saves, he struggles one-on-one and from set-pieces.
We love the Premier League because it is probably the most unpredictable league in the world, but most imagine Manchester United will end up in the top four this season. If they fail to do so after the season they have had, there will be some serious questions asked about the manager and his coaching staff.
For the last three years, Liverpool Football Club has looked like they were back playing in the 1980s again. Klopp has produced fast attacking, high-intensity football that has been a joy to watch, even for those who follow different teams. Not only has this style of the beautiful game been entertaining, but Liverpool won the Premier League last season, the first time they have won the league in 30 years and the season before they took home the Champions League trophy.
Many people asked the question whether or not it was possible to keep up this high-intensity football year in year out. Especially this season, with a game every 3 days. Also, Liverpool were hit with a long list of injuries, especially in the heart of their defence with Virgil Van Dijk ruled out for the season.
Although Liverpool are going through a bad spell at the moment, it still doesn’t seem likely they will fail to reach the top four.
Jamie Vardy is at it again. After retiring from the England setup, the striker is fully focused on bringing his beloved Leicester City to the Champions League again. Even when nothing seems to be happening for Leicester during a game, Vardy seems to be able to score out of nothing. All great strikers have that mentality, and even at 34, Vardy still seems like a constant threat.
Brendan Rodgers has injected his fast-flowing football philosophy into the Leicester City players and they have looked like tough competition this season.
If you are gambling on who you think is going to reach the top four positions at the end of the season, keep in mind that Leicester are not the small club they once were. They have the experience and have plenty of Premier League champions still on their books. After narrowly missing out last season, Leicester won’t want the same thing happening again
Even though there is still a long way to go, the race for the Premier League top four places is tight. Who knows, we might even see a surprise team sneaking into next season’s Champions League.
After Lampard got the boot from his dream job, former PSG coach, Thomas Tuchel took over the hot seat at Stamford Bridge and he has been doing a fantastic job so far. They are right in the middle of the battle for the top four now, which didn’t look likely only a short time ago.
West Ham United:
I can’t imagine any West Ham fans would have predicted that they would be in a fight for a top-four position when David Moyes took over the manager’s position. They have played some good football and must be very pleased with themselves that they didn’t offload Declan Rice to Chelsea when they came calling. He has been incredible for the Hammers.
Carlo Ancelotti boasts an incredible CV. The Italian has managed some of the biggest clubs on the planet and has also succeeded in winning the Premier League when he coached at Chelsea. He managed to bring some big-name players into his side over the summer, and they have looked consistent for most of the season. It will be very interesting to see what happens at Goodison this year, as many of the fans feel they have the right man managing their side.
Jonathan Lewis is an MFF Staff Writer