English Premier League Battle for top Four.

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Manchester City players during a training session.
Manchester City players during a training session.

English Premier league clubs return to action this weekend and so does the battle for the coveted top 4 spot. The top 3 are realistically unreasonable with 9 points separating 3rd place Chelsea and West Ham. Arsenal and United are in a battle like the good old days but this time not for a league title but for the Champions League spot. West Ham, Wolves and Tottenham are of course very much alive in this race too which will prove intriguing.

A look at the sides involved in the top four race:

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West Ham

West Ham United training session

West Ham had an impressive start to the season under David Moyes and looked capable of clinching the top four spot. However, successive losses against Wolves and Manchester City in November and Arsenal , Southampton in December dented their hopes. They have played one more game than their top 4 rivals and have a tricky run in of fixtures that includes the top 3 and the like of Arsenal, Tottenham, Wolves, Leicester and Brighton. It looks like it will be a real challenge for David Moyes’ side.

Arsenal

Arsenal, currently 5th on the table had their worst start to a season in 67 years. Arteta’s side had lost their first 3 matches and were languishing at the bottom of the table. Arteta, who was under pressure has however overseen a massive turnaround by the Gunners. Arsenal have looked different in recent times and look to have improved. They have a game in hand and are just a point away from West Ham. The Gunners are the only side in the top four race that are not involved in a competition. Arsenal fans will be hoping that this helps in their quest for the top 4 spot.

Manchester United

Manchester United Training session.They are back in action today.

6th place United are still in the Champions League though have had mixed fortunes in the League. They recently drew against Wolves, lost to Aston Villa. Ronaldo’s United bounced back with wins against Brentford and West Ham but dropped points in their 1-1 draw against Burnley. They have tough fixtures up ahead with Southampton, Brighton and Leeds in February, and the top 3 in March, April. The Red Devils have a depleted squad with Van de Beek, Amad and Martial all sealing January exits on loan. Can Rangnick steer United to a top four finish?

Tottenham

Tottenham have the most games in hand of the top four challengers.The big questionn though is whether Antonio Conte’s side will be able to turn these into much needed points. This would hand them a big advantage and would boost their hopes. The problem is the fixture congestion that may arise as a result of the three games in hand they have. Spurs bolstered their squad with the signings of Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski. Conte will be hoping these two make an impact.

Wolves

Wolves are on 8th place and have been good this season. Though the 3rd lowest scoring side, they have been one of the best sides defensively this season. Bruno Lage’s side have only conceded 16 goals in the league this season, a fete only bettered by Manchester City. Their defence could be their biggest strength in their quest for a top 4 finish.

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