There is a situation brewing in the Premier League and it involves a breakaway top three, leaving one of around seven serious contenders fighting it out for fourth, but who will be left upright come May?
West Ham are the current occupiers of the hallowed berth ahead of the final round of fixtures, while Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United above them have eyes on the bigger prize.
Despite Andy Carroll’s protestations that the reinvigorated Irons can win the title, 750/1 and a whole host of reasons says otherwise.
Not least the 11-point gap to Chelsea, while 16/1 on a first ever appearance in the Premier League’s top four still feels over adventurous, though the way the established powers beneath them are playing, it’s not outrageous.
Naturally, top-four ever-presents Arsenal under Arsene Wenger will attract the vast majority of the money at 2/5, though even by the Gunners’ own soft-centred standards, they perhaps look less like certainties than ever before.
At this stage Liverpool are write-offs, despite appearing next in the market at 11/2, but even with a fit-again Daniel Sturridge to return in the new year it’s a leap of faith for even the bravest punter.
Southampton’s bubble has not only burst but evaporated in recent times thanks to five successive defeats in all competitions and the autumnal overachievers look unstable 13/2 chances as a result.
Having achieved the feat twice in the last five years Tottenham are perhaps the most intriguing and promising participants in the market at 7/1.
Spurs are taking a while to gel under new management, though Mauricio Pochettino’s charges are up to seventh and only four points shy of the Hammers’ current marker.
If they can act shrewdly in the January transfer window, and crucially, bring their home form up to speed, the Lilywhites look well placed.
Impressively, Spurs already have the third-best away form in the division, but White Hart Lane is their Achilles heel thus far, only accounting for 10 of a possible 24 points.
Four points from their last two at the Lane bodes well, while Everton’s Europa League commitments have left the 14/1-rated Toffees too far off the pace, needing a miracle.
Newcastle and Swansea, eighth and ninth, have blown too hot and cold whilst their squads’ thinness also accounts for their respective 66/1 odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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