Arsenal may well be odds-on to qualify for the Champions League next season, but the last decade of Premier League football suggests that they will have extreme difficulty finishing in the top four.
The Gunners occupied fourth spot in the Premier League standings on New Years’ Day following their home victory over QPR, but this position has proved difficult to hold on to or build upon in recent campaigns.
In the last ten Premier League seasons, half of the teams to have been positioned fourth on January 1st have failed to finish in the top four come the end of the campaign.
Particularly worrying for Arsenal may be that four of these failures have arrived in the past six seasons, with Spurs the latest to fall short after a bright start last season.
With six teams still largely considered to be in the hunt for Champions League football, 5/6 may be too short in the Premier League odds that Arsenal finish in the top four.
This price may also be too short given that Arsenal have already slipped to fifth in the standings after suffering defeat at London rivals Fulham.
Tottenham may have thrown away great opportunities to finish in the top four a few times in recent seasons, but they should have little trouble returning to the Champions League next season.
In all of the last decade, no team to have been sat second or third in the Premier League standings on New Years’ Day have failed to finish in the top four.
This bodes well for Tottenham and so punters fearing another end-of-season collapse look safe in taking the 4/11 on Spurs retaining their present top-four spot.
Chelsea may be popular at 8/13 to finish in the top four despite their recent struggles under Andre Villas-Boas, while Liverpool are the outsiders of the leading contenders at 2/1.