The Premier League top four battle: Who could earn a place amongst Europe's elite?
The Premier League looks set to feature a thrilling three-way battle for the title this season. Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool all look well-equipped to mount title challenges.
However, that would leave space for one more team to guarantee their place in the UEFA Champions League next season.
The top three positions look nailed-on
Between the trio at the top, either could come out of this Premier League season with the trophy. Beyond them, there's a significant gap in quality to the remainder of the teams in the top half.
Manchester City is the favorite to retain their title according to many sportsbooks, including Spreadex who currently offer them at a price of +100. Meanwhile, Arsenal and Liverpool are also offered at fairly slim odds of +260 and +360, respectively. Many bettors will be making the most of the Spreadex sign-up offer, which includes free bets that can be used on anything from the title odds to the relegation battle this campaign.
If the title race goes as expected and the trio compete at the top throughout, then that leaves one more space for another English club to enter the UCL next season. Several teams could be in with a chance of claiming the final top-four spot.
Newcastle United qualified for the UCL for the first time in two decades last season, and they look well-positioned to remain a UCL club into next season and beyond.
The Toon have amassed 26 points in their opening 14 games, which isn't quite up to UCL standards, although they're only a matter of a few points out of it.
The team's long-term servants like Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier have been invaluable so far this season. The former has recorded seven goals in 14 appearances, and the latter put up an immense eight assists in 20 outings across all competitions.
Newcastle proved last season that they are capable of breaking into the last four, and this season they are the clear frontrunners to repeat that historic feat.
Tottenham looked well in the mix for the battle until injuries plagued the squad and notably put starman James Maddison on the sidelines.
If not for their injuries they would have been expected to without doubt finish in the top four, however now Newcastle have made up ground on them - as they were sat just a point behind Spurs' tally of 27 after 14 games.
Son Heung-min will need to consistently provide creativity and goals for his team if they're to maintain their top-four pace. Their aspirations rest mainly on him while a host of his co-stars are unfit.
Aston Villa occupied the third position after 14 games, largely owed to their incredible home form, including a victory against City. Their 32-point tally meant at that stage they were even ahead of the reigning Premier League champions.
The likes of Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz have been remarkable for the Villains this year, however, they will likely struggle to maintain their momentum when the latter rounds of the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday nights come around.
Ultimately, Villa has an early lead in the top-four race, and Spurs have the most impressive talents on their books - although injuries will affect their quality on the pitch well into 2024.
Newcastle are arguably the leading contenders to achieve the final UCL spot, as they have the experience of last year to build from which should give them the edge over Villa and injury-hampered Spurs.
Cover Credits: Turbologo