The fight for the Premier League top four has never been more competitive than it is this season, but who are the favourites to get Champions League football?
Historically, the top four has been a fight between the big six. But Aston Villa has started knocking on the door, and even Brighton & Hove Albion was in with a shout last season.
Last season, the top 4 was comprised of Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Newcastle United.
This year, though, there will be 8 teams who fancy their chance of finishing in the top four.
Entering the Champions League is a big deal for any team. If you spend successive seasons outside of it, you may struggle to attract top talent, as well as generate less revenue.
If one of the ‘lessers’ clubs manages to force their way in, it can really help them kick on for future seasons.
Manchester City had a fantastic season last year, with Pep Guardiola leading the club to the coveted ‘Treble’ done only once before by rivals Manchester United in 1999.
The Blues bagged the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League. And they want to do it again this season.
Premier League Top Four Odds – Top 4 Finish Predictions 2023-24
Manchester City – 4/6
Manchester City has been dominating the English Premier League since 2008, when Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan acquired a controlling share in the club.
The investment and subsequent signing of Pep Guardiola as manager has led to a period of significant success for the club.
Since then they have won Premier League title in 2011/12, 2013/14, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2020/21, 2021/22, and 2022/23.
They became only the fifth club in the history of English football to win three top-flight titles in a row and, as of now, has won the Premier League title 7 times since its inception in 1992.
Their success in the Premier League era has established them as one of the most successful clubs in the EPL, but can they add to that tally this season?
It hasn’t been a perfect start, and both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs are knocking on their door.
But if they hold their nerve, Manchester City could make it four in a row.
Arsenal – 4/1
Arsenal FC has a distinguished history in the Premier League, marked by periods of great success.
They won their first Premier League title in the 1997/98 season, five years after the inception of the EPL.
They became the second team to secure a double by winning both the Premier League and FA Cup titles in the same season.
Their second Premier League title came in the 2001/02 season with a seven-point lead over second-placed Liverpool.
The 2003/04 season was historic for Arsenal as they became known as “The Invincibles” by going unbeaten throughout the entire Premier League season, a feat unprecedented in the modern era of English football.
It was also their third and last Premier League title to date. So can they finally break their hoodoo and finish as one of the Premier League top four clubs this even – or even go on to win it?
They’ve started well and have beaten Manchester City in their first clash of the season. With this kind of momentum, the odds are looking good for Arsenal.
Liverpool – 11/2
Despite some notable departures ahead of the current season, Liverpool FC is still hoping for a place in the Premier League top four.
With Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Roberto Firmino, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leaving the club, it was time for Jurgen Klopp to spend some money.
And he did, purchasing Dominik Szoboszlai for £60 million from RB Leipzig, Alexis Mac Allister for £35 million, Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich for £34.2m, and Wataru Endo from VfB Stuttgart for £16.2 million.
So, can the new additions ensure that Liverpool stays competitive and make an earnest bid for the title?
Mo Salah has gotten off to a great start, and the wins are reasonably consistent. They may not be the team of a few years ago, but don’t write them off just yet.
Tottenham – 10/1
Tottenham Hotspur has had a journey of ups and downs in the Premier League, and while they have been competitive, they haven’t won it yet.
Last season, they finished 8th in the League under the management of Antonio Conte, Ryan Mason, and Cristian Stellini.
And despite the departure of Harry Kane for €100 million to Bayern Munich, it looks like Spurs are in the best shape of their lives.
With new manager Ange Postecoglou at the helm, they have just served up their best-ever start to a Premier League season after eight games, showcasing their growth from a mid-table team to a competitive side challenging for a spot in the Premier League top four.
Son Heung-min and James Maddison are firing on all cylinders, and if they keep up the win rate, they could very well be crowned champions at the end of the season.
Newcastle United – 40/1
Newcastle United has been a member of the Premier League for all but three years since the competition’s inception, totaling 91 seasons in the top flight as of May 2023.
In that time, they have won four League titles and six FA Cups and last season, under the management of Eddie Howe, they secured a 4th place finish in the Premier League.
With Champions League football beckoning, they will be spread thin and may not have the depth of squad enjoyed by some of their rivals.
But big signings, including Sandro Tonali from AC Milan, Harvey Barnes from Leicester City and Tino Livramento from Southampton, may be what they need to take it to the next level.
Usually, we would be writing about Manchester United and Chelsea as part of the Premier League top four, almost as a foregone conclusion. But to this season!
Currently stuck in 10th and 11th place, respectively, both clubs are having a less-than-ideal start to their seasons.
The problems at United don’t just stop with injuries. The club has been decimated financially, and any hope fans had that it would be sold to somebody who might actually care are fading with every passing day.
Chelsea started out badly but have recovered slightly over the last couple of games, boosting their chances of improving their position.
On the upside, part of their problem has been a lack of team chemistry, but if Mauricio Pochettino can work some magic, they might still be in with a chance of a Premier League top four finish.