Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal? We asked five writers to predict who will finish in the final top-four spot
The race for the Premier League’s top four looked to be run a couple a weeks ago.
But things change fast in football and matters are far from cut and dry with just 15 games left to play.
The trio are all far from complete sides and securing a place among Europe’s elite is going to be far from straightforward.
We’ve asked five writers to predict who will win the battle and – understandably – opinions are divided.
Ben Green: Failure to secure a top-four finish would be an absolute disaster for Maurizio Sarri in his maiden campaign, and while that looks a distinct possibility, the recruitment of a world-class striker could swing the pendulum in their favour.
Gonzalo Higuain looks set to join the ranks in west London, which will not only inject fresh impetus, but also add goalscoring proficiency in the final third. The last time the Argentine marksman worked under the guidance of Sarri he netted 36 league goals, which spells significant trouble for Arsenal and Man Utd.
Chelsea’s main concern has been the lack of an elite striker, and so should Sarri address the issue, they will be a real force in the second-half of the season.
Sam Long: Sarri’s men have hit the wall and appear to be at a loss for new ideas.
Defeat at the Emirates Stadium needs to serve as a wake-up call. Sarri has criticised his players in the hope of getting a reaction and I am backing him to get it.
Chris Smith: Given the immense firepower of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, I’m struggling to see past Arsenal. The Gunners may have been wildly inconsistent of late, but the way Unai Emery totally out-thought and out-manoeuvred Sarri in their 2-0 win over Chelsea shows just how tactically astute the Spaniard is.
Chelsea just cannot match the attacking prowess of Arsenal, while I expect the bubble to burst for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United very soon. Add the fact that Emery is getting his defenders back fit and you’ll do well to stop the north Londoners from here.
Neither Arsenal nor Chelsea look capable of the consistency required to finish in the top four, leaving a gap open for United to sneak into. The Red Devils look good under Solskjaer and, after beating Spurs recently, have shown they are not just flat-track bullies.
Marcus Rashford under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Premier League:
⚽ vs. Cardiff
✖️ vs. Huddersfield
⚽🎯 vs. Bournemouth
⚽ vs. Newcastle
⚽ vs. Spurs
⚽ vs. Brighton
Form of his life. pic.twitter.com/t7iClV5cF9
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 19, 2019
Unlike Chelsea, who are struggling due to the clash between a lackadaisical squad and a tactically demanding coach, and Arsenal, who have a multitude of issues, Manchester United have shed so many of their woes by sacking José Mourinho.