Premier League top four
Frank Monkhouse | 30 April 2017
Four teams looking to squeeze into two places
Fast-approaching the end of the Premier League season and nothing has been decided at either end of the table. Just the way punters like it. There’s all to play for at the top, with just four points between leaders Chelsea and nearest challengers Spurs in second.
The battle for the top-four, and entry to the Champions League next season, sees three points the difference between Liverpool in third and Manchester United in fifth, Man City sandwiched between the two. Arsenal are four points off City in sixth after their win over Leicester on Wednesday. With Klopp and Pep’s boys dropping points down the home-straight, it remains anyone’s guess who will finish third and fourth.
Of course, it may not matter. If Man Utd win the Europa League, which they look more than capable of doing, the English top-flight will have five representatives in next season’s tournament. Great for the division, and for the game as a whole in England.
United’s form deserves more
On Thursday we will have a clearer picture of how that race is going to pan-out, with City hosting United at the Etihad from 8.00pm. Click here to place your bets on the match, including winner, first goal scorer and selected specials.
United win that Manchester Derby and not only will they secure the bragging rights, and finish the season with a 2-1 head-to-head record over their noisy neighbours, they would also leapfrog them in the rankings.
That would come as little surprise to punters as Mourinho’s troops have been amongst the most consistent sides in the country this year, and had they been a bit more clinical in the final-third, turning draws into wins, they could very well be challenging Chelsea for the lead by now. Ifs, buts and maybes. The away win is 16/5 with Coral, or there’s 15/8 on a top-four finish, regardless of the outcome of the derby.
City to keep rivals at arm’s length
City win and they would move beyond Liverpool up into third, all but securing their top-four finish. Qualifying for the Champions League remains Guardiola’s only chance of achieving anything this season, as he struggles to come to terms with football at this level. He has achieved some wonderful things in the game over the years, but attempting to win a Premier League has broken better men than him.
The previous two games between City and United this season have ended in one win apiece. Both taking place at Old Trafford, the blues won the first encounter, in the Premier League, courtesy of goals from De Bruyne and Iheanacho, while Mata made the difference when clashing in the EFL Cup.
Backers who want to side with home comforts on Thursday can have 4/5 on the locals. A draw, which would solve nothing, is 27/10 with us, leaving both sides with all to play for in the closing weeks. Neck and neck, a case of who blinks first.
Gunners won’t give up
Hands up who thought Arsenal were dead and buried! Arsene Wenger may or may not be on his way out of the club, but following their 1-0 home win over Leicester on Wednesday, Huth scoring a late own-goal, they are just four points off Man City and fourth.
Strangely enough, Arsenal fans may just be tuning in to the derby on Thursday hoping for a draw that would keep their outside chances alive. The Gunners to stage a late smash-and-grab is 10/3.