Man Utd are top-four certs among five Premier League lessons

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Manchester United are on the march and it’s the Red Devils’ recent surge which sees Louis Van Gaal’s men grab the headlines in our weekly roundup of Premier League action.

1. Manchester United will return to the Champions League next season (Southampton 1-2 Man Utd)

Punters only have to look at United’s new price of 1/7 to make the top four places in order to deduce how ominous this five-match winning streak really is. Their latest triumph at St Mary’s epitomised the spawny nature of the run, but also reinforced the sharpness United possess up front, boasting players such as Robin Van Persie, to punish wasteful opposition teams. Imagine what Van Gaal’s side would be capable of if they bought a world-class defender or even started playing well?

2. Nemanja Matic is a massive miss for Chelsea (Newcastle 2-1 Chelsea)

Jose Mourinho may have apportioned blame for a first competitive defeat of the season on the St James’ Park ball boys, but in reality Chelsea’s vulnerability without their suspended midfield rock was far more culpable. The Blues’ squad is still the most comprehensive in the league, making them worthy 4/9 favourites for the title, but swapping the Serbian enforcer for John Obi Mikel was like trading champagne for bucks fizz.

3. Charlie Austin and home form combined can keep QPR up (QPR 2-0 Burnley)

When your home form is the eighth best in the Premier League, you have a player who has scored eight top-flight goals by mid December and you are beating the teams around you, it forms the essential ingredients for a tasty survival soup. QPR are now 8/13 to do just that.

4. Hull and Bruce are in all kinds of bother (Hull 0-0 West Brom)

In stark contrast, Hull have now slipped into the relegation places following an eighth game without taking maximum points, totting up only four of the last 24 available points. The gravest problem facing the Tigers is they can only match that miserly tally with the same amount of goals. They need to find their ‘Austin’ quick, else reducing odds of 12/5 to go down will quickly shrink.

5. West Ham could genuinely become the surprise top-four package (West Ham 3-1 Swansea)

With regular top-four candidates Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton all doing their level best to extend their stays in mid table, there has never been a better opportunity for a surprise entrant into this exclusive club. Having already beaten Manchester City and Liverpool, 22/1 shots West Ham, in fourth, will have to be taken seriously sooner rather than later after another fine win.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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