|It's increasingly looking like one the trio of Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham would miss out on the top four, can any of them change the narrative? (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
With Manchester United seemingly turning the corner following a run of good results, including their FA Cup 3rd round win over Everton on Friday, it’s down to Liverpool, Tottenham, and Chelsea to fight for the remaining European places.
The probability of log leaders Arsenal and defending champions Manchester City making the top four is as good as certain as death and taxes with Newcastle making strong points behind them; should United continue on this run and Newcastle defend their way till the end, what happens to the other trio?
Early season predictions have been thrown out the window, or how many thought the Gunners would be top by five points at this stage? Newcastle was rock bottom at this stage last season, no one ever thought they’d be mixing it at the top now, football is interesting.
What is wrong with Tottenham? When Spurs splurged on five new players in the summer, many thought they were ready to challenge for the title; as it stands, Antonio Conte’s side doesn’t look primed for a top-four push, do they indeed stand any chance?
Chelsea can easily hide under injuries but is there also a place for Graham Potter’s naivety? Two first-team players limped out of the home loss to Manchester City on Thursday, a run of ten games with just one win is unacceptable for any team, where does Chelsea go from here?
Liverpool has injury woes to deal with too but their problem seems deeper than that. The Kops lost at Brentford earlier in the week but can make amends with the game against Wolves in the FA Cup. League football is more important to Liverpool but they can also retain their FA Cup trophy.
Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham have similar problems yet have a different approaches to life. Liverpool likes to press hard but that has been inaccurate this season with teams beating their press too easily and now beating them to their own game.
Chelsea has no real identity. Over-reliance on individual brilliance and seemingly throwing money at every problem will not always solve the problem. Their summer signings have refused to click and despite the investment in the defensive area, they still depend on veterans like Azpilicueta and Tiago Silva half the time.
Tottenham will bore you to a coma only to hope Harry Kane bails them out when push comes to shove and when he doesn’t, they lose or draw. Heung Min Son has failed to spark this season, the defense is weak despite having a World Cup winner and ultimately, there’s no real creative force.
As it stands, none of Liverpool, Tottenham, and Chelsea would make the top four. Two slots are available for Europa and one of them will have to make do with the Conference league. Is this the strangest premier league season ever?