The best Premier League battle in years

Sebastien Bassong wary of top four competition

Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong believes that this Premier League season is the most competitive for a long time. With the season now well underway the Cameroonian believes as many as seven clubs could battle it out for the top four spots and an all-important place in next year’s Champions League.

The 25-year-old told talkSPORT: “The league is getting crazier and crazier. We can’t even pick who is going to be in the top four or who is going to get relegated.

“It is really interesting and there will be a lot of teams involved in the title race.

“It is going to be a tough season, you have to win regularly and keep the levels really high no matter who we are playing against.”

Take a look at the runners and riders chasing the holy grail of Champions League football and make your own mind up over who will achieve their goal.

Manchester City

The top team in the country at present and looking completely unbeatable. After trouncing rivals United in the Manchester derby they confirmed their rightful place in the top four and having grabbed their first Champions League win against Villarreal last week they are going from strength to strength in the fight for trophies here and on the continent. With the ocean of talent at their disposal and the world-class talents on show in the form of Aguero, Silva and Balotelli, they are virtually guaranteed to finish it the top four and more than likely as Champions.

Manchester United

Fergie’s team are wounded at the minute but it should turn out to be nothing more than a blip in the machine that is Manchester United. The Red Devils have made the most consecutive appearances in the competition than any other side, currently on a run of 16 seasons. Although he’s been quiet in the last few games, Wayne Rooney will surely play a big part in the team’s success and the young blood of Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley will want to show they can be the next home grown legends at Old Trafford. It would be a brave man to bet against them making a return next year. Expect them to chase City all the way.

Chelsea

Under young buck Andre Villas-Boas, the Blues have made an understated start, flying under the radar into third place and only a point behind Fergie’s men. With eight years fighting at the top under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, the experience is there to continue that battle despite the fresh face of the manager. Having reached the final in 2008 only to lose on penalties, they will want to keep trying until the fully repress the demons of that day. The disciplinary record may affect them, having had five players sent off already this season but the players at the club are likely to be able to guide the club into the top four even if a few more see red.

Tottenham Hotspur

With three places pretty much certainly taken, fourth place is the one everybody else is fighting for. The Spurs side have got a taste of the Champions League now and are determined to get back. The Europa League is not a consolation for Harry Redknapp and the teams he selects for those games reflect how little he cares for it. Having started the season against both Manchester clubs they were unfairly near the bottom, but five wins in the last six games have put them right in contention. Last season the squad was strong but tired towards the end and Harry will be hoping that the acquisition of Adebayor and energetic Scott Parker will be enough to steer them back to the Promised Land.

Liverpool

Everybody’s dark horse for the League this season have disappointed so far, failing to turn their dominance into points on occasions, particularly in front of the home crowd against Norwich. Having said that, the side was very strong in the second half of last season and are in a much better position than twelve months ago so if the form they should early in 2011 comes back at the turn of the year, they will be staking their claim come May. Luis Suarez and returning captain Steven Gerrard will be pivotal in deciding whether the fly or fall.

Arsenal

Following their horrendous start to the season everybody was wondering whether the Gunners would even reach the top half, nevermind Europe. But three consecutive wins in the league over Bolton, Sunderland and Stoke have put them in seventh, only six points behind Chelsea. And with Robin van Persie banging in goals from all angles, you wouldn’t 8-2 be an Arsenal fan right now.

Newcastle United

Dreams do come true, right? After the regular summer controversy at St James’ Park where three of the clubs best players followed Andy Carroll out of the exit door, one to the Championship and two following some uncomplimentary tweeting, it didn’t look too promising for the Toon Army. But nine games in they are the only team other than the mercurial Manchester City that are unbeaten and have looked strong and composed under Alan Pardew. Chiek Tiote is in good form and Collocini has been a rock at the back, while Demba Ba is showing the form that made West Ham take a punt on him. It could happen. That’s why we love football.

Who do you think will fill the top four? Comment below or follow me on Twitter @jrobbins1991.

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