3 Realistic contenders for a 7th place finish in the Premier League

With most of the media hype focussed on the title race in the Premier League, we often tend to forget that several other teams also compete in the division to achieve their desired goals. 

Indeed, the race for the top-four or Champions League qualification, the battle for the Europa League spot and the relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table ensure that each season of Premier League football has plenty in store for all sets of fans to savour and admire. 

Given the recently-established big-six hierarchy in English football involving Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs, the other clubs have found it difficult to break the top-six lock. 

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Instead, they have shifted their focus towards battling it out for the best-of-the-rest or the 7th spot in the Premier League standings to earn themselves a coveted spot in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League. 

The likes of Southampton, Everton, West Ham, Burnley and Wolves have all secured the best-of-the-rest position in recent years and with that in mind, let us take a look at 3 potential contenders for that spot in the 2019-20 Premier League season.

1. Leicester City

Having narrowly missed out on the seventh spot last season following a late flurry since the appointment of Brendan Rodgers, Leicester City will be hoping to make a return to Europe this term. 

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And if the first four games of the ongoing campaign are anything to go by, few would back against the Foxes being the favourites to finish as the best-of-the-rest in the Premier League this term, with Rodgers’ side currently placed third in the standings just behind Liverpool and Man City. 

It might be too early to make a call but Leicester have certainly got the firepower in all departments to mount a strong challenge for a Europa League qualification spot, especially after a summer of heavy spending which saw the club acquire the services of Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet, Ayoze Perez and James Justin. 

Jamie Vardy and James Maddison continue to be the club’s key driving forces in the attacking third and with youngsters like Hamza Choudhury, Caglar Soyuncu, Filip Benkovic, Wilfred Ndidi and Harvey Barnes in the ranks, Leicester certainly look strong enough for a good run this season. 

2. Everton

Everton have always been considered as one of the odds-on favourites to finish as the best-of-the-rest in recent times but the Toffees have failed to replicate their heroics since Ronald Koeman guided them to a 7th-place finish back in the 2016-17 season. 

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A late flurry of positive results towards the end of last season, which included victories over Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United, reignited hopes of replicating such a feat under Marco Silva but the Merseysiders fell agonisingly short of achieving their desired target. 

Now with Silva still in charge and after a couple of summers of heavy recruitment to enrich the squad with quality signings like Richarlison, Bernard, Theo Walcott, Moise Kean, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes, it’s now or never for Everton to fulfil their ambitions. 

The Toffees, though, will need to keep up their consistency levels to be successful in their pursuit of a Europa League qualification spot, as opposed to last season, where they dropped points against some of the lesser fancied sides in the league.

3. West Ham

West Ham did ever so well to secure a top-ten finish in their first season under Manuel Pellegrini, and the club invested heavily to bring in Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller this summer. This clearly outlines their ambitions to kick on and challenge for a European spot. 

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A well-oiled attacking unit consisting of Felipe Anderson, Haller, Fornals, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere, Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio will definitely be the key to their success, although Pellegrini should ideally look to shore up his defensive midfield and central defence in January.

With such quality attackers at their disposal, the Hammers look capable of beating any opposition on a given day but consistency in the latter stages will be the primary deciding factor in the race for a European spot.

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