Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea will likely obtain three of the four Champions League places available to those who finish favourably in the Premier League at the end of the season, according to former Liverpool defender and current Sky Sports analyst Jamie Carragher, who will have won himself some Arsenal fans by heralding their start to the campaign as like 'a house on fire' while naming Tottenham Hotspur as the side most likely to miss out on the top four.
'Tottenham have started well this season but I think they will find it very difficult to win the Premier League,' said Carragher, as quoted by Sky Sports.
Furthermore, the amount of money available to the White Hart Lane side, says Carragher, will pale in comparison to the funds the established top four can brag. He has argued that while Tottenham did spend over £100m in the summer, this was offset by the cash received from player sales and so repeat transfer window activity will be unlikely.
'They have spent a lot of money and when you do that people start to talk about you in terms of the title. Spurs have slipped out of the top four and the main aim when you do that is to get back in it, rather than looking to immediately win the league, and I don't think they are where Man City, Chelsea and Manchester United are at the minute.
'The money Tottenham splashed out in the summer was mainly what they got from Bale and they aren't going to be spending loads every year like the other top teams. Plus, the players Tottenham have brought in: [Christian] Eriksen, [Nacer] Chadli and [Erik] Lamela, are still finding their feet so it is a bit much to put them down as title contenders.'
Carragher also acknowledged the talent available to manager Andre Villas-Boas but their experience has come into question. Manchester United, Chelsea and City all have great experience in title-winning sides or, at the minimum, title-challenging… Spurs, he argues, lack this vital commodity.
'Villas-Boas has got a quality squad with plenty of strength in depth but a lot of those players have not been in title-winning or title-chasing teams before so you don't know how they will react at crunch time. And because of the sides they are up against, I reckon they might just miss out on a place in the top four; it's hard to say United, City and Chelsea won't get in those Champions League spots and Arsenal have started like a house on fire.'
While Carragher's latest comments will no doubt go down well with the red and white side of the North London and will attract the wrath of the Lilywhite sections, but is he correct?
By not even including second-placed Liverpool in his assessment of the top four and who will challenge for the crown, that is perhaps indicative that he believes Brendan Rodgers' team will also miss out on both ambitions despite their parity with top of the charts Arsenal.
While Manchester United have finally crept into the good half of the division, they have still recorded a hat-trick of losses after just seven games, have conceded nine goals and, despite claiming a victory before the international break, they now have a tricky fixture against the defensively-honest Southampton at the weekend.
Tottenham, meanwhile, travel to Aston Villa, but if Villas-Boas can solve the one glaring flaw in his selection… a reliable goal-scoring striker… then he may make Carragher eat his words come May.
Will Arsenal continue their blazing start to the season? Will Tottenham fail to make top four? Let us know in the comment section below…
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