Premier League top four: Paul Merson’s verdict on clubs fighting for Champions League qualification | Football News

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Sky Sports’ Paul Merson is back to give his verdict on the fight to finish in the Premier League top four after a series of interesting results last weekend that opened the race.

With Manchester City clearing at the top of the Premier League and Manchester United, who are second, with a healthy gap to the chasing pack, the rivals look set for a top-four spot, but who will join them?

Leicester, West Ham, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton all hope to secure Champions League football for next season and with just nine points separating third and eighth it looks like it will go all the way.

So who does the Magic Man think will play Champions League football next season?

Here, he goes through each contender before predicting who will end up in the top four …

Paul Merson’s four previous predictions…

1) Man City

2) Man Utd

3) Leicester City

4) Liverpool

Table…

Image:
What the top half of the Premier League table looks like after last weekend’s results

The lights …

Leicester

Image:
Brendan Rodgers hopes to do better than last season and reach Champions League

Position: 3e
Games played: 30
Points: 56

Merson says: “Man City was a tough game for them, but it’s not now. Before the game we all probably thought Chelsea and Tottenham would win points over them so in the end it wasn’t so bad.

“For me, I think Leicester will be fine. They have three tough games to finish, but by then who knows what these teams are going to do in terms of European commitments and position in the league. It’s all about timing and we saw that with Liverpool’s victory. at Arsenal.

“I think if Leicester can win at West Ham this weekend they seem to have dead certainties of being in the Champions League next season. I say this because of the game they have after this weekend’s shock at London Stadium. These are very winnable games and could have sewn it all up before those last three tough games.

“They are already one step ahead with the gap of four points which also helps massively. “


Sunday April 11 4:00 p.m.


Kick-off at 4.30 p.m.


West Ham

Jesse Lingard
Image:
Jesse Lingard’s sparkling form helped Hammers place in the top four

Position: 4e
Games played: 30
Points: 52

Merson says: “What a huge victory for them at Wolves!

“I love West Ham. I like their run-in matches. These are really nice matches. If they were Liverpool, Chelsea or Spurs games you’d say they were a shoo-in for the top four. , but it’s West Ham and there’s that lingering doubt. You just don’t know how they will withstand the pressure of the break-in.

“An injury here and an injury there and all of a sudden they could be in trouble. They’ve already retired Declan Rice and Michail Antonio got injured on Monday, so they won’t want to lose too many players.

“However, I cannot walk away from their matches. They got everyone’s best matches in my opinion.

“It’s a huge game for them against Leicester this weekend. If West Ham can win then you look at Leicester and start to worry. They might then have a bit of trouble. But if Leicester wins, you worry about West Ham’s chances. That’s it. how quickly things can change.

“It’s a unique opportunity for the Hammers and I really think they have every chance. “

Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel - Chelsea (Credit: David Klein / CSM via ZUMA Wire)
Image:
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea suffered a heavy blow to their chances last weekend

Position: 5e
Games played: 30
Points: 51

Merson says: “Chelsea kept everyone interested.

“We were watching Chelsea walk along, and we all thought they had an easy win over West Brom, but all of a sudden they don’t win, and everything is wide open again.

“I found the loss to West Brom very strange. I didn’t like the replacement when Thiago Silva was sent off. He had the players on the field to go straight to the back four. They would have created chances and I just felt they needed attacking players on the pitch. West Brom was always going to score. It is a dangerous animal with little pressure on them. Thomas Tuchel played their hands with the defensive change.

“Forget about Silva being sent off, you can’t concede five goals against West Brom. I don’t care who you are, you can’t do that.

“As for their top four prospects, it’s a big blow. Chelsea have yet to go to Manchester City. Brighton at home is a dangerous game, West Ham away is a tough game and there is a London derby against Fulham. They also have Man. City away and Arsenal at home and European commitments, where they have a great chance of reaching the semi-finals and potentially a final.

“But the bread and butter at the end of the day is the Premier League. The problem is, you have a trainer there on an 18 month contract, at the moment. What do you do if you are him? Do you want to win the Champions League or get into the top four? If I have a five year contract I know what I want but with a short term contract I want to win the Champions League.


Saturday April 10 5:00 p.m.


Kick-off at 5.30 p.m.


“Why would you change your team? Why wouldn’t you play your best team against West Brom? It tells me he wants to win the Champions League. “

“I can’t believe the result against West Brom. They must have won the game. For the race for the top four, it was huge. Now I find it hard to see Chelsea enter the top four. I think they are really against him after a bad result. ”

Tottenham

Position: 6e
Games played: 30
Points: 49

Merson says: “I’m not giving Tottenham a chance to reach the top four at all.

“They have two tough games ahead against Man Utd and Everton and I don’t expect them to win either of those games. They then have tough matches at Southampton, Leeds, Aston Villa and Leicester.

“I just don’t see how they make their way. They are seven points behind Leicester at the moment and that’s a lot of points at this point in the season. Too many points really when they have Man Utd, Everton, Leeds and Leicester playing.

“It’s too much for Spurs. “


premier league


Sunday April 11 11:45 p.m.


Liverpool

Diogo Jota celebrates after leading Liverpool past
Image:
Diogo Jota celebrates after leading Liverpool in big win at Arsenal

Position: 7e
Games played: 30
Points: 49

Merson says: “Liverpool’s victory at Arsenal gives them hope.

“You would expect them to be Aston Villa, especially if Jack Grealish is still missing. But then they will have the return leg against Real Madrid. Do they have an eye on this game? This is the problem with European football teams.

“That’s exactly what happened to Chelsea this weekend. If you take one eye off the ball, you will be punished, and that can seriously hamper you with all these teams so lumped together.

“One thing in Liverpool’s favor is that they have good matches. But will they be fully focused as they seek to reverse the game against Real Madrid? If there was a full house at Anfield I would really expect them to. but behind closed doors it’s a tough question I’m not sure they can do that and it might help their candidacy for the top four.

“It was a bad loss though, and it could have knocked them off the prank. It was really poor in the first half. They were blown away and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back.

“I think the last place is between Liverpool and West Ham. “


Saturday April 10 2:30 p.m.


Kick-off at 3:00 p.m.


Everton

Position: 8th
Games played: 29
Points: 47

Merson says: “What a bad result for Everton on Monday.

“They missed too many chances and in the end it was a very bad result.

“They weren’t clinical enough and when you’re in that position you have to stick the ball to the back of the net.

“It’s now been three league games without a win and their chances are dwindling rapidly. But that’s how quickly things can change.

“They looked good and they also had some decent matches, but at the moment I just don’t see where the next win will come from.

“I’m not giving them a chance to sneak into the top four. “


Monday April 12 8:00 p.m.


Kick-off at 8:15 p.m.


Merson’s verdict in the top four: it’s between West Ham and Liverpool!

Merson says: “It’s the Premier League and that’s why it’s loved around the world.

“Anyone can beat anyone every day and the weekend results prove it. The race for the top four is now wide open.

“Eight or nine games to play, that’s where it all starts. I’ve been fortunate enough to win two league titles and the title race starts in the last eight or nine games. Bad results can really start to hurt you. Take West Ham against Leicester this weekend, a loss for West Ham could be critical. You can potentially say goodbye to their chances with a loss.

“It’s the magnitude of the games at the end of the season.

“West Ham has one of the greatest opportunities in club history to get into the top four and into the Champions League. This is a unique opportunity, the ultimate for this West Ham team. I don’t think it’s a chance that comes back!

“Do I think they’re going to do it?” I’m not sure, but they have the timeline to do it. I can’t stress how important the game against Leicester this weekend is to them. I think they have to do it. beat Leicester.

“Obviously Manchester City and Manchester United are, and I think Leicester is succeeding. For the last place it’s between West Ham and Liverpool, and I just stay Liverpool, but it’s going to be so tight.

“A lot will depend on what happens in some huge games in the weeks to come. “

Paul Merson’s top four in the Premier League: Man City, Man Utd, Leicester City et Liverpool

The race to qualify for the Champions League continues live on Sky Sports this weekend with Liverpool vs Aston Villa, Crystal Palace vs Chelsea, West Ham vs Leicester City, Tottenham vs Man Utd and Brighton vs Everton.

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