Biggest Top Four Race in Years

After the recent midweek matches, the top end of the table makes for interesting reading. And I’m not talking about Chelsea and Manchester City. I’m talking about how there is a 5 point gap between 3rd place and 7th. This means that, in theory, in two weeks time, Liverpool, who haven’t been near the top four position-wise all season, could jump from 7th to 3rd. That is how tight things are in the race for the Champions League at the moment. 5 or 6 teams are all vying for a spot in the biggest competition in Europe, and every single team has a chance. No team ever seems to be safe when they have reached the top four this season though, with West Ham being a classic example. Not so long ago this season, the hammers were in the top four and things were looking very cosy, but, within just 2 or 3 defeats, they were down to 8th, 4 points away from 7th place. That shows how if you want to be a top team you’ve got to keep on winning, which is what teams like Arsenal and Manchester United are capable of doing. But that doesn’t mean we should rule out Southampton.

They have shown that when the team is fit and firing at all cylinders, they can beat anyone on their day, but injuries and key players not performing at times this season has lead to them sliding down the table very quickly. But one, credit to them for one getting this far, and two showing that they will only be satisfied with European football, and even 6th place will be a disappointment. But, their midweek draw once again proves that even  the tiniest of slip ups, like missing one good chance (in their midweek game against West Ham) can affect your season massively.

In terms of Manchester United, they are the favourites to come 3rd, and will be tough to beat, so a good run of games could put them in a great position and leave it to the rest of the teams to battle for 4th. But they need to be wary of the other sides, as one or two slip ups could cost them, and Arsenal, Southampton, Tottenham and Liverpool will be ready to pounce.

All 5 teams have their strengths and weaknesses,  and Harry Kane is definitely one of Tottenham Hotspur’s strengths. The 21 year-old is likely to be selected for England the next time the chance comes, and in 2015, has scored as many league goals as Lionel Messi (8), and double as many as Cristiano Ronaldo (4). He has also already in this year won the January player of the month, and won the North London derby with two goals to beat Arsenal.

So, with 13 games left this season, it is still all to play for. But, the question is, who do you think will make the top four?

Derby Day

On another dramatic and exciting Saturday of English football, two huge derbies took place, both significant in each teams season, and their pride. In the early kick-off, we saw Tottenham turn around a 1-0 deficit to go on and win the match 2-1, thanks largely to their 21 year-old wonderkid Harry Kane. In the later kick-off however, in a tight game at Goodison Park, the score finished at 0-0. Elsewhere at the 3o’clock kick-offs, a late winner from Sadio Mane secured a 1-0 win at QPR, a 1-1 draw between Hull and Manchester City, a 2-1 victory for Chelsea against Aston Villa, a 1-1 draw between Sunderland and Swansea and a win for Crystal Palace over struggling Leicester.

Looking at the North-London derby between Spurs and Arsenal, after Ozil had opened the scoring with a nice finish for his third goal in three games, 21 year-old Harry Kane kept up his fine record in front of goal this season with two great goals, further encouraging his possible selection for England. Roy Hodgson was of course in the crowd to see, and he would have been very impressed with Kane’s second goal in particular, a stunning header to beat David Ospina at the far post. His fighting spirit and technical ability to score goals, the English youngster is starting to become a Robin Van Persie style penalty box predator.

In yesterday’s other games, there was a bit of hope for Aston Villa, with there first goal in 10 hours and 59 minutes surprisingly came against the mighty Chelsea of all teams. Other moments of note would be Jermain Defoe’s second goal since returning to the Premier League, and Sadio Mane’s cool finish in the 93rd minute to seal a hard fought win for Southampton over QPR at Loftus Road.