An open race for the 4th EPL spot?

The Top 3 teams in the EPL are, at least, within the Top 5 teams in Europe:

  • Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, Bayern, Real…

There is a case for Dortmund (as always), Ajax (who is having a great year again) and may be even Atletico Madrid but teams like PSG, Juve, Barcelona and Man Utd or Sevilla or Villareal are looking a bit off the pace SO FAR… the December reality may not be the May-June reality…

In the EPL, the top 3 teams have widened the gap with the rest of the pack until now whether it is Man Utd, Leicester, West Ham, Tottenham and ourselves. At this stage, we cannot totally discard them but Wolves and Aston Villa or Brighton do seem to be fighting more for a Top 8 finish but who knows..

The interesting thing is that there are 5 genuine contenders for the 4th and last Top 4 sports and it is hard to tell which team will come on top comes the end of the season.

  • Man Utd has a deep and talented squad and now a very good coach so there is a chance that they kick-on…
  • Tottenham has a good squad and strong coach as well and they may start winning games more regularly in the second half of the season
  • West Ham has been playing well this season and building on last season’s progress
  • Leicester has a core group of players that knows how to get things done and a very good coach as well
  • And then we have been rather good, built a good set-up and shoring things up defensively mostly…

So who will land the prized 4th spot?

  • Project Arteta?
  • Project Conte?
  • Project Moyes?
  • Project Rangnik?
  • Project Rodgers?

I am, of course, hoping for Project Arteta but the other teams have talent and proven coaches so it won’t be easy….The direct games against these teams are going to be key to securing the Top 4….What’s your take?

COYG! Let us finish in the Top 4 and start building a Champions-League worthy team….

16 Responses to An open race for the 4th EPL spot?

  1. RA says:

    Very interesting, RC.

    I suppose we could eliminate the clubs in the top 3 – Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool.

    That leaves only the fourth place – and then we can look at the runners and riders for that position, such as Arsenal, Manure, Wham, Leicester, the Spuds.

    There may also be a dark horse or two as well as the above, so much tho I would like the Gunners to get fourth place, I think it would be impossible to make any definitive guess at this time.

    I would be interested to learn the opinions of others tho.

    We would be doing well to reach the Europa Cup, maybe?

  2. allezkev says:

    Arsenal are the only one from that group of five not to have european football and the travelling stress that that puts on your squad and which could just tip it our way?

  3. LB says:

    I am pleased that we are even in the running for forth, let alone actually achieving it.

    Happily aboard the Arteta project, all good from where I sit.

  4. RC78 says:

    RA – I think the 4th spot is the only realistically highest achievable position for us this year.

    I think Allezkev is right that we do not play in Europe so this is clearly an advantage for us but the other teams mentioned may not be going too far in the European jouts. So thisadvantage may not play for too long.

    Another factor is the African Cup of Nations. This may hamper us with Partey, Auba, Pepe but it may impact others too….

    So all and all, we have some advantages but also some upcoming challenges.

    At the beginning of the season, I was hoping for a Top 6 + a Cup win.

    But now, I am cautiously optimistic and may wish to see our club achieve a Top 4 + a Cup win. Too much to ask? Maybe…I would not be upset if we “only achieved” a Top 6 + Cup Win πŸ˜›

  5. Las says:

    Tough question to aswer RC buuut….
    of course I want us badly to grab the fourth place trophy but to be honest I am already happy that we climbed above Manure, Spuds and Lesta considering the horrorshow we started the season.
    We will see, if we coukd get a result on Thursday and keep up the good work then we might.
    There are must wins on the road like against the Toffies next Tuesday and WHam is coming in the Emirates. I f we get at least 7 points from the possible 9 then I will fancy the Project Arteta.
    The AFCON will be testing for all the teams except Spuds. But I believe we have the necessary backup like AMN and Martinelli and Balogun.
    COYG

  6. RC78 says:

    Ray Kennedy passed away today…RIP legend

  7. allezkev says:

    Very sad news RC

  8. RC78 says:

    Indeed…

  9. RC78 says:

    Anybody fancies writing a pre-match? You can post it as a comment here and I will make a post out of it.

  10. RC78 says:

    Just a quick PSG interlude here: Pochetinno is so disappointing that he should be named Head Coach of Man Utd tomorrow – forget Rangnick! Pochetinno has only 1 game plan it seems but he does not know how to put it together…When I think that Tuchel was sacked and replaced by Pochetinno, I can only be upset with Leonardo…Tuchel just voiced his concerns about the involvement of non-technical staff in the technical decisions and he got sacked…now we have a mute Pochetinno who finds excuses. Yesterday, we played Nice who is now coached by Galtier (excellent coach by the way, maybe we should Pepe there on loan…) and we did create some chances but purely because we have a few players that can create chances on their own, it has nothing to do with the team set-up nor the football flow – it is just raw talent of players like Mbappe, Messi and Di Maria…Neymar is injured, and he complained about that…You cannot complain about Neymar’s absence or any of our starters’ absence in the French League, it is only a valid excuse in the Champions League…

    Donnarumma – Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes – Dino Dembe, Danilo, Gueye – Di Maria, Messi, Mbappe…

    It is not a poor line-up by any strech…It is just that Pochetinno does not know how to bring the best out of his team and stars.

    We all know that Messi likes to play as a false 9 so let him there. We also know that Mbappe likes to play on the left wing BUT he needs someone like Benzema, Cavani, Giroud up front to shine and we also know that Di Maria is comfortable playing as part of a midfield 3 although he prefers to play as a winger so why not play with Icardi from the on-set or ask Dino Dembe to play further up the pitch as a striker if you need someone to be more aggressive? How we let Cavani and Kean go still beats me…

    Donnarumma – Haki, Marqui, Kim, Mendes – DI MARIA, Danilo, Gueye – Messi – ICARDI, Mbappe

    What about that? Nice almost won the match thanks to some really good counter attacks. They just set up to counter against us. Pochetinno always gets nullified by Galtier. It is simple: Ask your wingers to block the Full-Backs and ask your full-backs to block the wingers. Then make sure your DM-CM play close to the CBs. You then have a chance against Pochetinno’s PSG.

    The last time PSG played well consistantly was when L. Blanc was there. We played possession football 433, everyone knew what they had to do. If he came back, I think we would be better again but he would just need to add that pressing intensity aspect to the team’s game but I ve more faith in him than in Pochetinno…

    Anyways…interlude over πŸ™‚

  11. RC78 says:

    I think PSG should set up like AFC πŸ˜›

  12. fred1266 says:

    Is it really the coach or the actual side cause for the past year PSG has been seriously under performing

    When Manu knocked them out CL
    The Barcelona comeback
    IMO not giving Bayern a proper fight in the finals 2 years ago

    Prime example Neymar missing some sitter in the game against City where city dominated

    I think u might be right with them needing a giroud type player just watching Liverpool day have firmino /jota who links team for salah to shine

    Are the days of the galaxticos over and you need a proper team with every has a roll?

  13. fred1266 says:

    Is it really the coach or the actual side cause for the past year PSG has been seriously under performing

    When Manu knocked them out CL
    The Barcelona comeback
    IMO not giving Bayern a proper fight in the finals 2 years ago

    Prime example Neymar missing some sitter in the game against City where city dominated

    I think u might be right with them needing a giroud type player just watching Liverpool day have firmino /jota who links team for salah to shine

    Are the days of the galaxticos over and you need a proper team with every has a roll?

  14. RC78 says:

    Hi Fred – I think that you are right, for the last 12 months so basically since Pochetinno took over, we have been heavily underperforming.

    When Tuchel was with us, we had our best season in the history of our club with all national trophies won and a final in the CL. Now I felt like vs Bayern, we played solidly but that miss from Mbappe cost us the game, it was always going to be a 1-0 victory who ever scored first….

    Before Tuchel we had Emery and he was unable to get the best of our team in the Champions League but at least at national level, he did OK except in 2017-8 but overall, we played better under Emery than under Pochetinno.

    Now, is the pb the coach or the team? I think there r a few pbs:

    1. Leonardo made some mistakes with (i) letting Tuchel, T. Silva and Cavani go and not replacing them with the same quality coach and players although there could be a case for S. Ramos once he is fully fit but let us see, (ii) brining in Pochetinno knowing his credentials; (iii) recruiting Donnarumma and Messi this year, (iv) always wanting to be in the lime light.

    2. Not building the team around Mbappe and not extending his contract in time.

    3. Our midfielders are underperforming. From Paredes to Wiljnaldum, but why? That part of the pitch was a strength of ours historically (Guerin, Valdo, Rai), (Motta, Verratti, Matuidi)…Now we have names: Wijnaldum, Paredes, Verratti / Herrera, Gueye, Raphinha…Having a strong midfield is key and for now, it seems that our friend Pochetinno is unable to find a good balance between defense and attack but that balance is ahieved through a solid midfield and it seems Pochetinno is just focusing on overaloading the wings but who is making the runs to the box?

    Anyways, for now, Pochetinno is seen as an impostor in France and by PSG fans.

  15. fred1266 says:

    Yea he likes of gueye and wijnaldum are great midfield a bit shocked day have taken ligue q by storm since dey qe so great in prem

    After seeing what tuchel doing at Chelsea yea it shocking day let him go

    Even hakimi not prospering

    U think it was a mistake in signing messi

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