Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Premier League OddsChecker: Who are the leading contenders to land that final Champions League spot?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 22 Dec 2021

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Watching both Chelsea and Liverpool drop points on Sunday afternoon, Manchester City managed to extend on their buffer at the top of the table as they stormed their way to a 4-0 romp against Newcastle at St. James’ Park.

Confirming that they will open Christmas Day leading the title chase, many from across Europe have expected what could turn out to be a real three-horse race in the battle to claim this year’s Premier League crown.

However, with the likes of Newcastle, Burnley and Leeds battling it out to maintain on their top-flight status, we could have another eye-catching tussle with the final Champions League spot up for grabs.

In what could turn out to be another real scrap to land a top-four finish, we have taken a look at who are the bookmakers’ favourites.

Manchester United – 1/1 with 888sport

After bringing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford over the summer, many Manchester United fans expected their side to be battling it out in the title chase.

However, after making the decision to part way with now-former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær last month, the English giants once again find themselves in a battle to clinch another top-four finish.

Turning to Ralf Rangnick on an interim basis until the end of the season, United are desperate to extend on their recent momentum after having their last two Premier League meetings against Brighton and Brentford get scrapped due to a coronavirus outbreak in their camp.

Claiming back-to-back 1-0 victories against Crystal Palace and Norwich since appointing the one-time RB Leipzig Head Coach, it is no surprise that many have tipped Rangnick’s new squad as a standout pick to once again pinch that fourth and final Champions League spot.

Arsenal – 3/1 with Betfair

Picking up what was a thumping victory away at a heavily-depleted Leeds last weekend, Arsenal do appear to have really found their feet as we inch closer to the New Year.

Eventually romping to a 4-1 win away at Elland Road after watching all the other Saturday fixtures get scrapped, the Gunners currently find themselves holding a four-point buffer in that lucrative fourth-place.

While Mikel Arteta’s men might have come under scrutiny once again for their last-gasp 2-1 defeat away at Everton earlier in the month, Arsenal have certainly come roaring back.

Although the north London outfit might have failed to secure any kind of European finish last season, the former Premier League champions have won each of their last three top-flight appearances.

With the likes of summer arrivals Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White making an immediate impact after moving to the Emirates over the summer, Arsenal suddenly find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.

Tottenham – 5/1 with Unibet

Although Tottenham might have endured a torrid fortnight after dealing with their own coronavirus outbreak, Antonio Conte’s side really came flying back out of the traps on their return to action.

While Spurs might have eventually had to settle for an action-packed 2-2 draw at home against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, the Lilywhites showed the clear improvements they have made since bringing in the ex-Inter Milan boss.

Despite controversially seeing their Europa Conference League adventure come to an end on Monday, Tottenham have their sights set on clinching a top-four return this time around.

Unbeaten in each of their five Premier League matchups under Conte, the north London outfit will also be boosted by the fact that they still hold a trio of games in hand over their bitter local rivals.

West Ham – 7/1 with Betfair

While West Ham might have seen Saturday’s meeting against Norwich get postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Canaries’ camp, the Hammers should have enjoyed much-needed December break.

Although David Moyes’ men might have once again gained a host of plaudits since opening the 2021/22 campaign, the one-time Manchester United boss has seen his side endure a recent wobble.

Last seen getting hit with a fully-deserved 2-0 defeat away at Arsenal, a result that saw them drop out of the top-four, West Ham have now managed to win just one of their previous six Premier League matchups since returning from November’s international break.

Hit with long-term injuries to both Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma, the east London outfit will know that they must kick-start their campaign if they’re to go one step further than last season.

With the January transfer window just around the corner, don’t be surprised to see the Hammers dip into the market.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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lorene fredrick
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