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Jan 24, 2020, 6:41:00 AM

The Race for the Top 4 Premier League Spots

It’s nice to see different teams finally stand a chance in making the top four of the Premier League - something that should always be the norm.

One thing that people don’t know about arguably the greatest sports league in the world, the English Premier League, is that the matches aren’t always that good. This, however, goes hand-in-hand with one of the sports success secrets: it doesn’t matter if the stadium is packed or not but the quality of the matches will, in one way or another, remain the same. Seeing big-name teams go head-to-head in a showdown is fun and all that but simply because that’s the reality of it. These kinds of matches have too much at stake for both teams, hence the competitive nature. Which, conveniently, brings up the battle for the top four slots in the league.

A few years back, the battle for the top four in the league was mostly uneventful since it was almost certain these teams would always be there. They were better than the rest and their league placements showed for it. However, with the arrival of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, the top four was challenged. Now, there were four spots being challenged by the ‘Sky Six’. Sure, it made for the race for the top four spots interesting, but the same couldn’t be said for the matches themselves. The fact is that when two teams seem to be equally matched, the worse the match tends to be.

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In an ideal situation, the race for the top four spots would keep the stakes high and the tension even higher - but not involving teams that are more than capable of consistently making the top four. Last season provided a glimpse of this when Chelsea and Tottenham won a combined three games out of their last 20, taking the last two Champions League spots.

What the previous season failed to provide was the excitement of uncertainty, which this season has plenty of. Leicester is sitting in third, while the Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United could potentially break into top four at any moment. As for the ‘Sky Six’:

  • The Spurs are now being led by Jose Mourinho,
  • Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta significantly improved the club’s status since Unai Emery bit the dust (but he still is yet to solve the problem of always relying on David Luiz in sticky situations),
  • Manchester United have one of the highest wage bills yet can’t put together a proper midfield, can’t pose a threat on the offensive end, and rely too much on Paul Pogba, and
  • Chelsea looks to be the most promising to take the fourth and final spot but they’ve been consistently inconsistent all season long.

Truth be told, none of these teams deserves to be in the top four given their lacklustre performance. But since the league needs a top-four, there’s a race among clubs that could make it but have no idea how to.

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Words: Carlos Corpus

Image: PA