Premier League: The Battle For The Top Four


The most open Premier League season in history? It’s certainly shaping up that way. Though it does seem like Liverpool will romp their way to the title, the rest of the standings are very much up for grabs.

While for some teams this is not good news (such as the sides who usually bank on a top-six finish or, in the case of Arsenal, sides who would be certain to avoid relegation), it has provided a window of opportunity for mid-tier teams who could end up higher in the league table than they would usually expect.

And for the neutral observer, it’s exactly what they want from a Premier League season. Only ten points separate the sides in 1st and 10th place, and we’re more than a third of the way through the season.

So who’s looking good to claim the much-coveted Champions League spots? Let’s take a look.


Nobody should be surprised that Southampton are having a good season, given the hard work they’ve been doing behind the scenes in recent years. However, few will have expected them to do this well; they’ve only lost three games, and two of them were against Manchester United and current title-contenders Tottenham.

Their good run of form — especially at home — has meant that they’re hotly tipped to do well by the , no matter who they’re coming up against. It’s a long season, but if Southampton can build on their bright start, then a top-four finish will be there for the taking. Indeed, this may well be the best opportunity that the Saints have to book themselves a spot in the Champions League next season, given the inconsistency of the teams around them.

Leicester City

leeds united v leicester city premier league
Premier League: The Battle For The Top Four 2

Given Leicester City’s form and current points tally, you’d imagine that a top-four finish would be the least they were hoping for. They’re only a handful of points away from the top of the table, and though it would take a monumental slip-up from Liverpool to let their title defence fade into obscurity, Leicester do have a history of overcoming the odds, as football fans will remember.

To grab themselves a top-four finish, they’ll have to be slightly more consistent — they’ve lost five games and drawn zero. If they’d turned a couple of those defeats into draws, they’d be even closer to the summit of the table.

The So-Called Big Six

If you want to understand just how strange this season has been, think of this: Manchester City, the side that has, along with Liverpool, dominated English football over the past few seasons, are currently sitting in 8th place.

They’re closer to Crystal Palace, Leeds, and Newcastle than they are to the league-leaders. Everyone’s waiting for City to get their act together, and really, they have to be considered shoe-ins for the top-four, even if they’re struggling at the moment. But what if it doesn’t happen?

The other teams who have historically made up the top-four are also looking vulnerable. Arsenal are nowhere to be seen, and both Chelsea and Tottenham have faltered recently. It seems like all these sides will endure a season of transition, which is why so many other teams will feel that the Champions League places are up for grabs.

It sounds crazy to say it now, but Aston Villa are not a million miles from the top. If they win their two games in hand, then they’d be second — can they keep it going? In a season unlike any other, you’d be crazy to write them off, especially when they’re not near the top by accident. They’ve been playing great football.

If things keep going as they are, then England’s representation in the Champions League next season could look very different to that of previous seasons.

And that would only be good news for the Premier League as a whole, not to mention fans of the clubs who have, up until now, had no hope of playing Europe’s top teams.