As the Premier League season is well underway now, attention is already turning to which team can secure a coveted top four spot. Securing one of these spots not only means Champions League qualification but also represents a significant status symbol, bringing with it financial incentives and of course, bragging rights over rivals.
After scouring through the bookmaker’s odds, it seems choosing a top 4 is no easy task. There are a number of clubs that can potentially finish in the top spots but the odds are tight. According to the bookies the favourites for the top 4 are as follows:
In recent seasons, Pep Guardiola’s men have shown what it takes to be champions. Winning 5 of the last 6 Premier Leagues including the last 3 consecutively.
Also on the back of completing a history making treble, the Spaniard’s squad shows no sign of slowing. Can the Citizens make it a historic fourth consecutive league title?
City will be expected to start the season as they ended the last; with Erling Haaland leading the line supplied by a cast of world-class supporting players in the form of De Bruyne, Grealish and co.
Transfers in: Notable transfers include the acquisition of Josko Gvardiol to strengthen the left side of defence and Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea to replace Barcelona-bound Ilkay Gundogan.
Last season finish: 1st, 89 points.
A successful season last time out for the Gooners, despite their title charge faltering towards the end of the season.
Mikel Arteta’s men will be buoyed by their new arrivals and Community Shield win over Manchester City. They hope this will be a sign of things to come this season – getting one over City.
The added stress of Champions League football will be a welcome stress at the Emirates as they have not played European football in the CL since the 2016/17 season. It will be interesting to see how their squad copes.
Transfers in: Arsenal haven’t been afraid to splash the cash in the summer transfer window; the arrivals of Declan Rice and Kai Havertz from London rivals West Ham and Chelsea respectively and versatile Ajax defender Jurrien Timber brought in to bolster a league title push.
Last season finish: 2nd, 84 points.
Jurgen Klopp will be disappointed with the Red’s campaign in 2022/23, only managing 5th place and ultimately Europa League football.
However, this and their midfield overhaul could be the catalyst to a strong season this time out without the added pressure of Champions League football at Anfield.
Whether or not their strengthening is enough for a title charge we will have to wait and see. But ever present Mohammed Salah and new captain Van Dijk will be looking to improve on last season’s position.
Transfers in: Over €130m spent by Klopp before the start of the season in the form of Dominik Szoboszlai, World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and Japanese international Wataru Endo. A definite upgrade on what was a failing midfielder last season after the departures of club captain, Henderson and Fabinho and other notable departures include Firmino, Milner and Naby Keita.
Last season finish: 5th, 67 points.
The red half of Manchester under Erik Ten Hag will be hopeful of a push this season to bridge the gap between 3rd and the title race.
Despite fans’ protests against owners, the Red Devils have spent another small fortune on incomings this season to try and bolster their squad; it remains to be seen whether or not they are the right fit for the club after a shaky start with just 3 points from their opening 6 available.
Transfers in: The most notable incomings come in the shape of goalkeeper Andre Onana replacing David de Gea, Mason Mount in attacking midfield and young striker, Rasmus Hojlund for a whopping €75m.
Last season finish: 3rd, 75 points.
As is often the case, bookmakers can predict league standings wrong. It is always worthwhile having a look at who the leading New Zealand bookmakers judge to be outsiders for finishing in the top 4, this is where the value is. Backing Man City to finish in the top four isn’t exactly exciting or rewarding, is it?
After finishing in the top four last season, Eddie Howe’s Newcastle will feel hard done by to not be included in the favourites for top 4 this season, especially after bringing in real quality in Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento.
Tottenham Hotspur will want to bully their way back into the fray under new manager, Australian, Ange Postecoglu. The lack of European football may be a bonus to his side, however the departure of club captain and leader Harry Kane leaves a sour taste and uphill task for the Lilywhites.
Brighton under De Zerbi will be looking to start on the front foot this season and could see themselves as dark horses for a top four finish this campaign much like Newcastle last season.
Todd Boehly’s new toy, Chelsea have a mammoth task ahead if they want to finish in the Champions League places this season. Fresh faces aplenty at the Bridge but can Pochettino gel them together and get them playing football and picking up points?
The race for the top 4 encapsulates the drama and unpredictability of the Premier League. As teams jostle for position, the promise of Champions League football and the allure of the top 4 continues to keep fans on the edge of their seats.