Traditionally, the top four teams in the Barclays Premier League table successfully qualify for Europe’s elite club competition. This year, there are seven teams in the running. Here is my prediction on which teams will make it into the Champions League come the 2015/2016 season – and who will miss out.
Sitting pretty in the first position in the league and currently five points ahead of their nearest competitor, Manchester City, Chelsea are unbeaten since New Year’s Day. Sure, their form has dipped since they wowed audiences in the first half of the season, but they are still well on form to not only qualify for a Champions League position, but to win the Barclays Premier League.
As well, coach Jose Mourinho has plenty of experience when it comes to holding off his rivals for the crown, so expect Chelsea to finish on top, come May. The only thing that may deter them is a sudden onslaught of injuries, and I find it a little hard to see this happening to them at this stage.
Final League Position: 1st
The Blues of Manchester have not fared well at all since the turn of the year. They have won just five games altogether, chalking up defeats against Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Barcelona and Liverpool. They are a mere shadow of the side that they have been, in the first half of this season.
However, Manchester City have one thing going for them, in their quest to make it into the Champions League next season, and that is a comfortable seven-point cushion over the fifth placed team, Liverpool. So it will be very hard to see them having a major collapse and finishing outside the Champions League spots. At the same time though, the Blues will find it very hard to catch Chelsea and give themselves a shot at the title – with their patchy performances of late.
Final League Position: 2nd
The Gunners slipped up against Monaco in the Champions League, and barring a miracle, will see themselves being shown the door in the return away leg. But they managed to get the Monaco defeat out of their system, with a 2-0 win against Everton in the league, the following weekend. This was quickly followed by another victory, a morale-boosting 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers.
But I think that in terms of their bid for Champions League qualification next season, an exit from the competition this season, will help the Gunners. That’s because without European football to focus on anymore, Arsenal will be able to focus solely on domestic competitions – and their injury-prone squad won’t be stretched as much, due to this. Moreover, Arsenal have plenty of experience when it comes to the crunch in the latter stages of the season – so I can see them making it again into the Champions League next season. However, I think they probably won’t quite be able to catch Manchester City and improving their position, barring another miracle.
Final League Position: 3rd
The Reds have chalked up some stunning performances since the turn of the year and I think that they are now well on position to overtake they bitter rivals to the final Champions League spot, come May. With important victories over fellow Champions League rivals Tottenham, Saints and Manchester City, things are looking good for Liverpool.
Moreover, Liverpool are also out of the Europa League, so they do not have any more European distraction, and they too, can focus on the domestic competitions.
Liverpool still have Arsenal and Manchester United to play, and these two games will be the deciding games for them in their Champions League qualification quest. But I think that the Reds will make it, by the skin of their teeth because of their good form of late.
Final League Position: 4th
With Van Gaal at the helm, Manchester United have been grinding out wins of late, and emerging victorious at games that they barely deserve to win. These include their game against Newcastle last night, where the gallant Magpies had more than deserved a point from it. Their two defeats, against Southampton and Swansea though, were both very important games that they shouldn’t have lost.
However, that said, Manchester United still have yet to play Liverpool, in a game that will be winner-takes-all in the quest for a Champions League position. If I am to analyse current form though, I will go with the Reds for that game, while Manchester United will most likely qualify this season… for the Europa League. That’s why the Reds will pip Manchester United to the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.
Final League Position: 5th
Tottenham have not been getting the results of late. They lost the Capitol One cup to Chelsea, and have not won in the League since they defeated the Gunners in the North London Derby at White Hart Lane.
One thing that will help Tottenham in their quest for a Champions League spot, is that they can focus solely on the League, now that they are out of all other competitions. But Tottenham will not have the steam to last the entire season. After all, the Premier League is a marathon, not a sprint. Despite striker Harry Kane’s brilliant form this season, he will not be able to do enough for Tottenham to get them into the Champions League places. It is a gap that’s become too far for them to close.
Final League Position: 6th
To put things simply, the Saints completely lack experience in their battle for a Champions League position. They had already surpassed expectations with their brilliant performance in the first half of the season. It would have been a wonder and really a dream come true, if they actually did go all the way to the end – but we weren’t actually expecting them to, anyway. So it is no surprise that they appear to have run out of steam now, and the goals now seem to have dried up. Sure, they won 1-0 against Crystal Palace in their latest game, but I think this wasn’t really too surprising.
Still though, I think that the Saints have surpassed all expectations of them with a likely top-ten finish, considering what had happened to them last season. They lost their manager and many of their key players to rival Premier League clubs, but were still able to do so well. No matter where they finish in the League table, they can be proud of their own season.
Final League Position: 7th
My predictions on the teams qualifying for the Champions League 2015/2016 are: Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal & Liverpool
other blog posts
- BPL Mid Season Report Card 2014/2015
- Why are Southampton FC Performing So Well?
- Meeting BPL Legends at the Carlsberg Ultimate Football Event