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Who deserves a fourth place finish?

So far in the Premier League the top 4 have been pretty locked in. With two Manchester teams up top, followed by Chelsea and Tottenham for most of the season. At the moment, Spurs sit in fourth, 4 points ahead of fifth place Arsenal.

The question here is who deserves the fourth place finish? Who deserves to play in the Champions League next season? Obviously a spot in Europe’s highest form of club competition isn’t guaranteed, but which team will fare best in the qualifying round?

Tottenham have shown that they can be a formidable side, but their problem is the lack of a dominant striker. While other top teams have a striker who can change the game at any moment (Van Persie at United, Aguero at City), Tottenham do not seem to have a man up top who they can rely in desperate times. They do, however, have the immensely talented Gareth Bale. Bale is a player capable of changing any game given the chance, but the problem lies in where he plays on the field. Although capable of playing a central role, Bale’s preferred position on is as a winger, where he can use his pace to outrun slower defenders. Tottenham, however, should explore the possibility of using him in the forefront of the attack, as his pace and play-making ability would change many outcomes of games.

Arsenal are nipping at the heels of Tottenham, having figured out their preferred formation and style of football that Wenger wants his side to play. Dominating the ball, using precision passing, and using speed out on the wings. Arsenal look very dangerous when they hit top gear. Maybe having figured it out a little too late, the Gunners have started playing with Frenchman, Olivier Giroud, upfront. As opposed to Lukas Podolski who has moved to a wide role. Since Giroud has scored 9 goals in the league matches he has played. However, Arsenal do have their problems. Their defence is mediocre at best during most games, and the team as a whole seems to lack a sense of urgency for a full 90 minutes. This was never more evident than when they played Liverpool recently at the Emirates. Down 2-0 it was only then that Arsenal seemed to kick into gear. Arsene Wenger’s failed attempts at bringing in more attacking options may cost the Gunners in the long run, as the quality options are thin if any of the key attacking players get hurt.

So who will make it to the playoff round to get into the Champions League this year? My money is on Tottenham. Even without a central striker and having to rely on Gareth Bale’s heroics a little too much they are still the better squad of the two teams pushing for fourth. It will be interesting to see if AVB can sort out the attacking situation with Defoe injured.

Gareth Bale is the key to Champions League qualification for Spurs, if he can continue his spectacular play as of late then Tottenham should stay in fourth, and possibly move up to third. The additions of Dempsey, Dembele, and Holtby will also be key as Tottenham need more players to produce than Bale.

What do you think? Who will reach the Champions League this year from the EPL?