Sunday, 29 November 2009

Who's ready to step up?

(Martin O'Neill and Harry Redknapp are eager to qualify for the Champions League)

We are edging ever closer to the Christmas period where the games come think and fast and the League table starts to take shape. Bookies decide on respectable odds and the heat turns up a notch in the Premier League. I will look at, who I think , can break into the top four

On a rainy and eventful day in the Premiership, which saw three of the so called 'power four" not play, Champions League hunters will feel it was points dropped, not gained.

Manchester United won emphatically at Portsmouth and there is no doubt that they will be in the top two, battling it out with Chelsea for the tile.

Arenal who play Chelsea today have looked more accomplished this season and the likes of Song and Denilson have matured into quality players which has helped the side improve as a whole. The Gunners have started well, but I think they will finish third behind United and Chelsea.

This leaves one side left, who have been poor all season and that is Liverpool. It just shows that having both your top players not fully fit can affect your performance. They rely heavily on Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres who in turns have missed a huge number of games this season.

Liverpool have lost five games already this season, three more than they did all of last season. To add to their woes, they have been knocked out of the Champions League group stage, which will heap more pressure on Rafael Benitez.

This is why I feel it is going to be a long hard season for The Reds and instead of looking over their shoulders, they are now chasing the teams ahead of them. Need to improve fast if they are to have a chance of making the top four.

At the beginning of the season, I believed no one could touch the top four except Manchester City, but as is the case with football, you cannot predict anything.

Man City spent over £130 million in the summer on several top Premier players to help aid their push into the top four and after a good start to the season, they have now drawn seven games in a row. The problem with the City side is that it lacks balance and leadership. Yes going forward they look fantastic but they are leaking goals all over the place.

Conceding three goals at home to Burnley and drawing shows you are not world beaters just yet. Results like this has seen them slip down the table and aloud the likes of Aston Villa and Tottenham to sneak in and gather some momentum at the expense of the Sky Blues.

Villa and Spurs met in the late kick off on Saturday and had to settle for point each in a game which could have seen either side take all three. However, Harry Redknapp will be pleased with a point away from home, having seen them last year take just sixteen all season. Harry has turned Tottenham into one of the finest spurs teams in recent years. they are real candidates for the top four and currently lie in 3rd place.

Harry has done this by doing it his way and he doesnt't care who he upsets along the way. He didnt rate Darren Bent(Harry famously saying his wife could have scored one of the chances he missed in the previous season), he left in the summer along with four other players.

This paved the way for Peter Crouch to join up with former Pompey teammate Jermain Defoe. Roman Pavulychenko has been glued to the bench, but this is Harry's team and let's judge him come the end of the season. I think they will Push Liverpool all the way.

Martin O' Neill's men on the other hand came so close to breaking into the top four places but, faded away towards the end of the season. They are very similar to how they were last year, but Richard Dunne and James Collins were top signings who have sured up their back four.

It was also nice to see Stewart Downing on the bench who would hope to prove his doubters wrong and push for a place at next years World Cup. But, he needs to get into the Villa side first. for me Villa will be a hard side to beat, but will not makeit into the top four.

There are still many moments in the season, which could change a teams luck come the end of the season. I do think this is the season the 'top four' will be broken up but, who am I to decide? only the teams can do that.

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