Premier League Top Four Battle - Which Teams Will Prevail?

By Martin Green28 March 2021
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Diogo Jota

The battle to secure a top four finish in this season’s Premier League table could go right down to the wire. Man City are running away with the title and Man Utd are priced at just 1/20 to finish in the top four, but the other two Champions League berths remain up for grabs. With just nine rounds of fixtures remaining, the top half of the table is looking extremely congested, and these teams are all in with a chance:

Leicester

The Foxes currently occupy third place after picking up 56 points from 29 games so far. They won their last two matches before the international break, and they are now best priced at just 2/5 (1.40) with William Hill to secure a top-four finish. However, they looked all but certain to pull it off last season, only to suffer a spectacular meltdown towards the end of the campaign, so they cannot afford to grow complacent this time around.

Leicester suffered a blow when James Maddison and Harvey Barnes were injured, but manager Brendan Rodgers has displayed great versatility by pairing Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy up front. The results have been highly impressive. The Foxes are now seven points clear of fifth placed West Ham, but they need to keep winning. Their next two games are against Man City and the Hammers, while they still have to play Man Utd, Chelsea and Spurs this season, so a 2/5 bet on Leicester does not look particularly appealing right now.

Chelsea

The Blues have been phenomenal since sacking Frank Lampard and bringing in former PSG manager Thomas Tuchel to replace him. They are unbeaten in all competitions since Tuchel took the reins in January. In the Premier League, they have secured six wins and four draws from 10 games, conceding just one goal in that time.

Chelsea have picked up clean sheets in their last seven games, despite facing La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid twice, plus Man Utd, Liverpool, Everton, Leeds and Sheff Utd. Their form is extremely impressive, and they are now up to fourth in the table, five points behind Leicester, but two clear of West Ham. They are 4/9 (1.44) with Paddy Power to finish in the top four, and that looks like a good bet. You would have to place a large stake to make it worthwhile, but a 44% return on your investment between March and May would be attractive to some investors.

West Ham

The Hammers have slipped out of the top four after picking up just one win from their last four matches. They were 3-0 up against Arsenal last time out, but ended up slumping to a 1-1 draw. It is strange to see them enjoying such a lofty position in the table, considering their somewhat limited resources and general predilection for mid-table finishes, and they could find themselves tumbling further down the standings before the season is out. Unibet has 6/1 (7.00) on West Ham finishing in the top four, but that looks like a bet to avoid.

Tottenham

Spurs are just three points behind Chelsea after winning four of their last five games. However, the club is in a crisis situation following a North London Derby defeat to Arsenal and then a 3-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League. Tottenham still have a league cup final to look forward to, but the best way to salvage something from the season could be to secure a top four finish.

Their firepower is immense. Harry Kane is a goal machine, Gareth Bale can be unplayable at times and Lucas Moura is a fantastic talent, while Son Heung-Min should return from injury to star in the run-in. The worry for Spurs is the defence. They still have to play Man Utd and Leicester this season, but they have several winnable games too, so some bettors might fancy a speculative punt on Spurs at 7/2 (4.50) with Unibet.

Liverpool

The Reds have mounted one of the most underwhelming title defences in Premier League history. They finished 18 points clear of Man City last season to end a title drought stretching back three decades, but they currently trail Pep Guardiola’s men by 25 points. There are clear mitigating circumstances, as central defenders Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have missed most of the campaign through injury, but it has still be very disappointing for Liverpool fans.

They are five points behind Chelsea and 10 behind Leicester, with just nine games remaining. That is a sizeable gap to make up. However, a lack of Champions League football next season would make recruitment difficult as Jurgen Klopp plans to overhaul his squad, so they will surely make a concerted push for a top-four finish. They play Arsenal on Sunday, and they still have to go to Old Trafford, but their run-in looks reasonably comfortable.

If the front three can start firing again, overhauling the teams above them in the final stages of the season might well be possible. Liverpool are 11/4 (3.75) with William Hill in this market, which could be an interesting bet, but right now the shorter odds available on Chelsea look like the most appealing option in the top four race.