Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has spoken exclusively to CaughtOffside to give us his predictions for the second half of the season.
The ex-Red Devil thinks that while you can’t rule out Tottenham and West Ham, it’s looking most likely to be between Arsenal and Man Utd in the race for the top four, with his old club coming out on top.
Arsenal are the team in form at the moment, but Chadwick expects that United will be a different prospect once interim manager Ralf Rangnick has had more time to settle and implement his ideas at Old Trafford.
Chadwick told CaughtOffside: “Arsenal seem to have got themselves going, they’ve got a good young team, a very exciting team. You’d hope United will kick on, and be there or thereabouts. I think Spurs will always be challenging now that they’ve got Antonio Conte, an absolute master at getting points on the board. West Ham are having another fantastic season, but have probably not got that strength in depth to sustain this.
“So it’s probably between Arsenal, United and maybe Spurs. Arsenal have that spot at the moment so it’s theirs to throw away, but there’ll be inconsistency there between now and the end of the season. I’m predicting Man United will do it – I think the new manager, once he gets his ideas across by maybe February or March, can really put his stamp on the team and pick up points consistently. Consistency is the issue, West Ham have been the most consistent but are now being hurt by injuries and suspensions. Arsenal have great young players but I’m hoping with my heart and my head that United can get fourth place.”
Chadwick also discussed the title race, saying he is surprised to see how Manchester City have now pulled ahead when it looked like being a very tight three-horse race just a few weeks ago.
“I think we all thought this would be the closest title race for years, but now it seems like City are sneaking away. They just keep on winning,” he said.
“It’s a shock to see Liverpool, who were playing some of their best football under Klopp just a few weeks ago, having a surprising loss at Leicester City. I thought Chelsea were the red hot favourites a few weeks ago but they’ve really dropped off. It’s strange to see, the results have been really inconsistent and I didn’t really see that coming.
“It looks like it’s City’s to throw away and I don’t see them letting that slip. Still, after seeing how Chelsea slipped up you can’t count anything out!”
Chadwick does, feel, however, that the English teams have a very good chance in the Champions League, suggesting that Chelsea and Liverpool could make up for missing out on the title by being one of the favourites in Europe.
The former United midfielder is unsure about the usual big names like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus being a force in the competition, saying Bayern Munich are probably the only non-Premier League side who can challenge for the trophy.
He said: “City under Pep are obviously desperate to win it, but I don’t fancy them. Chelsea won it last season and it’s hard to retain it, but apart from Bayern Munich, I don’t really see a team outside of the Premier League winning it.
“City, Chelsea and Liverpool are probably the top three teams in the competition, you look at Liverpool who’ve got an incredible record in the Champions League and always seem to be in the latter stages, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Chelsea or Liverpool won it, or maybe Bayern or City, it’ll be one of those four teams.”