The title looks set to be Manchester bound but there is serious competition to finish third in the Premier League and guarantee a direct qualification to the Champions LeagueWhile the Manchester clubs tussle for the Premier League title, the battle for the remaining Champions League places and local bragging rights are overlapping in London, where Tottenham at 23/20 (2.15) are Sportingbet’s favourites to finish in third spot.
Following their recent surge of form, north London neighbours Arsenal are now just a fraction behind at 6/5 (2.20), while Chelsea are best price at 6/1 (7.0) in the race for a direct route into Europe’s elite competition.
Newcastle are the only non-London club quoted, but after defeat at the Emirates they are the firm outsider at 50/1 (51.0).
Tottenham’s edge is built on the single point that separates them from their great rivals, but three straight defeats mean they are short of momentum, an issue that can be all-important as the season draws to a close. They do have the more straightforward run-in on paper, however, with trips to Chelsea and Sunderland the biggest tests.
Harry Redknapp’s side can look forward to the least intimidating ride in their final four games too (QPR away, Blackburn at home, Aston Villa away and Fulham at home) and that could prove crucial if the battle goes to the wire.
Arsenal are the form side but must entertain Man City and Chelsea, while away days at Everton and Stoke could still prove potential banana skins for Arsene Wenger's side. The Gunners’ finale is away at West Brom, where they could only manage a 2-2 draw last season, and Robin Van Persie’s ongoing fitness remains essential to their top-four charge.
Meanwhile, Chelsea not only have points to make up under temporary boss Roberto Di Matteo but would likely need to beat their city rivals and get something from Anfield as well as the Etihad Stadium.
A big ask perhaps, but a home win over Tottenham on March 24th could yet change their fortunes.
Spurs still look the pick based on their fixtures, but confidence in the camp may have suffered in recent weeks. Back-to-back home games in league and cup should improve the mood, however, and put the long-time favourites for third back on track.
||Spurs to finish third at 23/20 with Sportingbet
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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
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