Arsenal heavily backed for top four finish, with one writer claiming champions Manchester City could drop out!
The four teams that will finish the 2014/15 Premier League season in the Champions League place, courtesy of the CaughtOffside team…
These aren’t in order, but: Chelsea, because their starting XI has a world class player in practically every position. Arsenal, because they always do despite being tipped not to, and because they have actually strengthened without significant loss for once. Liverpool, because even without Luis Suarez they will play extraordinarily exciting football, and the defence will be more solid this term. Finally, Manchester City. They possessed the best squad last term, and have made slight adjustments. Manchester United under Louis Van Gaal will be far better than under David Moyes, but the Dutchman himself has stated that it takes time for his teams to adapt. Unless they make a significant defensive signing and a top class midfielder, fifth might be more realistic this season.
Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United. Arsene Wenger has also greatly improved his squad, with Alexis Sanchez the standout and I expect them to finish second. City meanwhile will be as strong as ever and end up third, whilst the presence of Louis van Gaal as manager will edge United into the Champions League spots ahead of Liverpool.
Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United – All four teams have strengthened, and I’m backing Chelsea to secure the title. The Gunners have brought in Alexis Sanchez and the prospect of see him playing alongside Ozil, Cazorla and fully-fit Ramsey is an exciting one. This Arsenal team now knows what it takes to win trophies and will go close. Liverpool showed in their recent friendly against Borussia Dortmund what they are capable of. Expect the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho to step up to fill the void left by Luis Suarez. Throw in the likes of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, not to mention the reinforced back-line courtesy of Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno, and they look like they could take some stopping. Manchester United will, inevitably, be better under Louis van Gaal. Ander Herrera is the creative player they have craved for a long time, and will make a big difference. There is still plenty of title winning experience in their squad, and they shouldn’t be wholly judged on last year’s failures. The one team I expect to go backward is Manchester City, who have managed to spend big again, but are arguably yet to buy a player who will improve their team. Negredo is out for a while and Aguero has injury issues. Yaya Toure will be at the African Cup of Nations early next year, and they could struggle to score as many goals as they normally do.
I expect Chelsea to run City close, with Arsenal coming third. The Gunners will hand out a fair few thrashings and rack up a really healthy goal difference, but their lack of a plan B away from home will cost them too many points. A four-way battle for fourth place between Man United, Liverpool, Spurs and Everton is on the cards. I reckon the Red Devils will edge it.
Man United, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal.
Liverpool may find themselves ‘doing a Tottenham’ after opting (correctly) to sell Luis Suarez to Barcelona. They’ve spent a lot but that doesn’t necessarily translate to spending ‘well’, just ask Andre Villas-Boas.
Man United are my tip for the title under Louis van Gaal.
Chelsea have brought in some very good additions and have clearly funded such deals with sales of those Mourinho didn’t rate (Luiz and Lukaku) so don’t rule out another signing or two before the summer’s out. Man City’s strength in depth is frightening and Mangala alongside Kompany could work out to be the best centre-back pairing in Europe. Arsenal are a side on the rise and Wenger has, for once, spent more than he’s made from sales. Alexis Sanchez should, in theory, offer a very effective fresh attacking dimension and Debuchy is more than capable of filling the void left by Sagna’s departure. This is also an important season for the likes of Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, both need to deliver on their very obvious potential in order to mount a genuine title challenge.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United. Liverpool are doing what Spurs did last year in trying to replace one great player with several good ones, which could backfire. United won’t be bullied again this time around, though they won’t win the title.
I can’t see Liverpool keeping their top four place this season after losing Luis Suarez and with Man Utd sure to improve under Louis van Gaal and with possible new signings. I think it’ll be: 1. Arsenal, 2. Chelsea, 3. Man City, 4. Man Utd.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.
City could put out two sides who could both finish in the top, but they’re starting XI doesn’t look as relentlessly efficient as Chelsea’s this time around. Liverpool played an exceptional brand of football last season, and in Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, they have arguably the two most exciting young players in the top flight, ready to fill the sizeable gap left by Luis Suarez. Their only problem last year was the lack of depth, which has been fixed with eight signings, and a poor defence – which Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno should sort out. Arsenal always, always finish in the top four, and Alexis Sanchez will make doubly sure of this. Manchester United? A distant fifth.