The battle for a top-four finish: What the pundits think will happen


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Frank McLintock

Former Arsenal defender and double-winning captain

It was a blow to drop points against Everton in midweek despite winning against Fulham yesterday. But my point about Arsenal is, why are we getting so excited about finishing third or fourth? We should be challenging Manchester United, not finishing 20 points behind them. I think we'll make the Champions' League again but I'm bitterly disappointed if people think that's some sort of pinnacle. It just makes you think, how could they ever have let Robin van Persie go? Jack Wilshere is back, which is great to see; the last time when he came back after a long lay-off he was unbelievable, and I think it's been harder this time, but he could be vital in the run-in. As for the others, I think it's a bit too much for Everton now. Chelsea have been up and down, they've got very skilful players and Demba Ba's added to it. Spurs have been doing well and Bale was outstanding until he got injured; they need him back. The only thing is, Arsenal have always managed to finish ahead of them.

Prediction 3rd Arsenal, 4th Chelsea, 5th Tottenham

Glenn Hoddle

Former Spurs and Chelsea midfielder and manager

The problem for Spurs at the moment is that just when they need everyone fit and all guns blazing, they haven't got them. I was surprised they didn't go out and get another striker in January, and now [Jermain] Defoe's been injured when they need him to put pressure on [Emmanuel] Adebayor. And losing Gareth Bale was clearly a massive blow; take him out and they look a decent side but less formidable. So they're not playing as well as they have done, and March and April is the time when you've got to be in confident mood. They've got a lot of work to do and Manchester City is obviously a key game. I think Chelsea have got the depth to the squad and will get there. It will be a fight between the two old north London rivals for fourth place. I think Spurs might just miss out.

Prediction 3rd Chelsea, 4th Arsenal, 5th Tottenham

Pat Nevin

Former Chelsea and Everton winger

Even when Chelsea are not stylish and beautiful to watch, they look as if they can go and eke out a result, which is important at this time of year. [Fernando] Torres didn't get very good reviews at Fulham the other night but he worked his socks off and seems to have had an injection of power and pace now that he's not having to play up front on his own every single game. If they could get a win at Liverpool then Spurs will have to come to Stamford Bridge and really do something. If it wasn't for injuries Spurs would probably be favourites of the three, but since Bale's been injured plus Sandro, Defoe and Lennon they've looked the ones who'll miss out. Even when Bale comes back it's an awful lot to ask to be at the same stunning level, when he was world-class. I thought Arsenal against Everton in midweek looked to have a wee bit more fight about them in a physical match, and there's not much between them and Chelsea.

Prediction 3rd Chelsea, 4th Arsenal, 5th Tottenham