Four Clubs, One Place!
I think that barring a major collapse, we can pretty much assume that Chelsea, City and Arsenal are fighting for the title and are already shoe ins for top four places.
Again, aside of a major collapse or title winning run from someone else, it would seem that we have a race between Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and United for the one remaining top four place and though United are slightly adrift, their history, makes them a team that you can`t discount, even without their former master. There is of course still a week or so to bring in new faces, however is this always a guarantee of improvement? We can always consider the games between the top teams and the old adage of "Six Pointers" come into play. First, here are the key games the four have to play.
Liverpool: Everton (H), Arsenal (H), Man Utd (A), Spurs (H), Man City (H), Chelsea (H). Spurs: Man City (H), Everton (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Liverpool (A). Everton: Liverpool (A), Spurs (A), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Man Utd (H), Man City (H). Man Utd: Arsenal (A), Man City (H), Liverpool (H), Everton (A). We do of course also have to consider other cup and European commitments and how they will stretch and tire the squads. Liverpool and Everton are still in the FA Cup and you assume will be keen to make a good impression in a bid to win silverware, United are in the Capital One (for now) and still have the Champions league, whilst Spurs have the Europa and the dreaded Thursday games. Liverpool and Everton, don`t have the distraction of Europe. Will that be a key to their own season?
Squad Strength and depth, experience, confidence, momentum and of course luck, are all keys to how a team finishes a season. All have top quality and you also feel there is room for improvement in all four, as new players and system settle, which makes this a hugely difficult one to call. Do Liverpool have the one or two outstanding players such as Suarez and the leadership of Gerrard, as key. Have Spurs started that run and are at last fulfilling their pre season expectations? Everton have perhaps surprised people with how quickly they have embraced the Martinez methods, but do they have the squad depth? United have the experience, and still have match winners, but have they also lost their aura?
My heart says Spurs, but my head honestly doesn`t have a clue. The next few games will give us a better indication and certainly with Spurs, will this be the indicator that Tim Sherwood has what it takes? The same of course applies to Moyes and Martinez. What might be the decider is how team cope with a slip up or loss of that key player. Could Liverpool be the same without Suarez? Everton with our Lukaku? But also what will happen to United if and when they get Rooney and RVP fit and firing, whilst Spurs will surely benefit from returning Vertonghen, Paulinho and several others, who might also be fresh legs for the season run in...