Who will miss out on the Top 6 this season?
No one else could threaten the top 6 positions in the previous season of the Premier League. The ‘Big Six’ teams have done their job in securing the European spots for themselves.
This year, a couple of big names are facing the risk of being left out of the first six places. ‘Intruders’ such as The Foxes and Wolves have climbed up towards the top of the table again. With only nine fixtures remaining, there is everything to play for in the European spots zone.
We will focus today on the case of the North London sides, Tottenham and Arsenal, as they sit on the eighth and ninth places, respectively.
Arsenal had three wins in a row before the pandemic break
Only Crystal Palace has a similar run of form in the last three games played in the league. There never would’ve been a good time for the competition to be suspended, but if they were to choose, I think The Gunners would’ve opted for this to happen when Unai Emery was in charge, not Mikel Arteta.
Needless to say, Arteta restored the confidence of the players and I think he is about to rejuvenate the football that Arsenal had taught us with in the past decade.
The Spaniard coach crystallized a starting line-up and the seems to have found the ideal formation for the squad that he currently has.
The restart of the Premier League could be rough for the Londoners, as they will first travel to Etihad to face the reigning champions. However, I think Arteta’s first season in charge of Arsenal will be assessed based on the results obtained at the start of July, against Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and then Liverpool.
Three of these four teams are involved in the battle for the Top 6 so there are likely to be some `six-points` encounters, especially in the North London derby.
Spurs – winless in six games + knocked-out of the cups
Unlike Arsenal, Tottenham had some terrible results since they won against Aston Villa, back in the 16th of February. They lost five of their next six matches, including being knocked out of the Champions League – as we predicted – by a 4-0 aggregate and of the FA Cup by Norwich, the weakest team in the league.
This long break not only helped the players and the fans to forget about those losses but also solved Jose Mourinho’s problem with the injured key-players: Kane, Bergwijn, Son, Sissoko and Ben Davies are now available.
The question is: will this be enough for Spurs to make it to the top spots? For me, Mourinho’s Spurs resembles more and more to Mourinho’s Manchester United. Watching their play against Burnley or Chelsea in the last fixtures only made me realize I don’t even want to watch them playing.
The team with the most valuable bench will come out on top
With games scheduled every three or four days, it will be a huge challenge for clubs to keep their most important players fit for every fixture. Also, now with nine players on the bench and five available substitutions, it’s easy to see that teams who have stronger subs are more likely to benefit from this.
This is the reason why I think Arsenal and Tottenham will climb at least two spots in the table. Wolves and Sheffield United mainly rely on their starting eleven, as the quality of their reserves is low and they could face difficulties towards the end of the season, due to physical exhaustion.
I wouldn’t put all my money on either one of Arsenal or Spurs to make it to the Top 6, but my feeling is The Gunners will do it.
Lots of questions are still out there, waiting for an answer. Will Leicester qualify for the Champions League? Can Man. United reach the podium? And many more like these. But we’ll get to them in some of our future articles. The best thing is: we have Premier League back on the table!