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Premier League Top Four Odds: A rundown of this season's race so far

Spurs' top four odds have dramatically shrunk since Antonio Conte's arrival in November
Spurs' top four odds have dramatically shrunk since Antonio Conte's arrival in November

Forget about the Premier League title race, this year's battle for a place in the elite top four poses a far more interesting prospect!

With Man City comfortably sitting atop the division with a nine-point leader over second placed Liverpool, the odds heavily imply that the crown will be remaining in Manchester for at least another season.

However, when it comes to the sides vying for that sacred final Champions League place, the field is wide open.

Man Utd, West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham appear to be the four clubs duking it out. And with two of those having changed managers just a couple of months back, coupled with the current PL winter break, we've decided to scour back through the market to provide a history for each team's odds to make the top four throughout the campaign.

In addition to this, we'll also be looking ahead to the coming months and assessing each of their chances to finish in that coveted fourth-place position according to a range of different factors.

Premier League Odds

Short-Priced Favourites

Before a ball was kicked, their order may have been a point of contention, but it's incredibly unlikely there were many not predicting Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea to make up 3/4 of this year's Premier League top four. 

This was well reflected in the bookmaker's ante-post prices where all three found themselves as odds-on favourites.

Pep's Citizens were the overwhelming frontrunners available at 1/33 ahead of the new season which is currently as short as 1/1000 now.

Jurgen Klopp and his Reds may have endured a frustrating campaign last time around, but their third-placed finish didn't deter the bookies. Bet365 had Liverpool at 1/3 ahead of the new season to finish there for the fifth consecutive time. Compare that to now and they've dropped to as low as 1/100. 

In Chelsea's case, they were actually the fourth shortest place behind last year's overachievers in Man Utd. They started out at 1/4 and despite a minor wobble in December, are priced at 1/20 to remain among this season's elite four.

4th. Man Utd - 7/4

If we're to believe those top three places are locked in, then currently in the driving seat for that fourth spot are the Red Devils. They may be nine points adrift of Chelsea in third, but at the moment they hold a one-point and one-game advantage over West Ham who are a place below them in fifth.

After finishing 12 points short of their neighbours Man City in last season's title race and strengthening considerably over the summer with the arrivals of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and the second coming of Cristiano Ronaldo, many anticipated OGS and Co to push on this time around.

And while that appeared to be the case in the first few matches of the season, questionable performances rapidly turned into frustrating results as the chinks in their armour began rearing their ugly head.

It would take a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Watford for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be finally given his marching orders by the club in November. At this stage tbhe Reds sat in seventh but were still odds-on at 5/6 for a top four finish. 

By the time Ralf Rangnick assumed the role of Man Utd boss on an interim basis on November 29th, his side had drifted ever slightly to 6/5 - the first time they'd been priced at odds against in the course of the season.

Since then, December's strong uptick in results was reflected in January's price of 1/1 which has once again gotten longer at 7/4 after a hodgepodge opening to 2022.

Utd Top Four_1

Difficult Fixtures Ahead

United may have a game in-hand over their nearest competitors in West Ham, but Arsenal and Spurs have played one and two fewer than them respectively. Man U's FA Cup and Champions League progression could also prove to be a distraction for them as their temporary German coach looks to secure UCL football before handing over responsibility to someone else next term.

Excluding West Ham who they beat last weekend, the Reds have a reverse fixture against each of the three teams above them, as well as Arsenal and Tottenham who will both be nipping at their heels for Champions League qualification.

Their final five matches look particularly ominous at this moment in time - with Arsenal (a), Brentford (h), Brighton (a), Chelsea (h) and Crystal Palace (a) rounding out their season.

If things go down to the wire like they very well could, you could argue that a few of these games may prove to be inconsequential for the likes of Brighton, Palace and Brentford, but if you're Man Utd, you certainly don't want to bank on this possibility.

5th. West Ham - 9/1

Even though they narrowly missed out on this exact spot in a truly spectacular 2020/21 season, the bookies expected quite the fall from David Moyes' men here.

West Ham were priced up at 12/1 to crack this season's top four, despite finishing just a point away from Leicester in fourth on that dramatic final day.

Two high-scoring wins and a 2-2 draw with Palace saw them backed into 8/1 come September. But only one win from three Premier League matches before the early October defeat to Brentford resulted in them slipping back down to 12s in the market.

A full-house of nine points from a possible nine, including an emphatic 4-1 win over Aston Villa on Halloween meant that West Ham came all the way in to 7/1 by November.

This was followed by another price fall as their 3-2 victory against Liverpool was enough to cause their price to plummet to 7/2 by the start of the next month.

However, the Hammers' turnaround in the West London Derby vs Chelsea proved not strong enough to maintain such a short price as an overall substandard festive period meant they were back up to 7/1 by the New Year.

That's since drifted a little further to 9/1 following back-to-back defeats at the hands of Leeds and then Man Utd before the PL's winter break.

Rice, Rice, Bye-Bye?

One factor that could swing for or against them depending on which direction it heads in is the uncertainty over Declan Rice's future.

The midfielder has become a household Premier League name with his performances over the previous couple of seasons. And after an impressive showing on the international stage at this summer's Euros, he's a player whose stock is continuing to rise.

But there's an aura of inevitability about his future in claret and blue. From almost the moment he broke onto the scene, speculation has surrounded his future. But West Ham's meteoric rise since narrowly avoiding relegation a couple of seasons ago, paired with the man's character and responsibilities as vice-captain could easily suggest he's going nowhere.

What the club won't want, but are in no position to avoid, is that lack of uncertainty. The player unfortunately holds the power in this situation, and he will be waiting to see how things fare this season before making a commitment either way, you'd expect.

But January rumblings and an upturn in fortunes for some of those clubs he's been linked with are enough to cause unrest in a player's mind and for someone as vital as Rice is to this West Ham team, that could potentially cause problems before the season's end.

Today's Football Tips

6th. Arsenal - 5/2

The Gunners have been just about everything we've come to expect from Arsenal over the past few seasons - entirely unpredictable.

This must have made them quite a difficult proposition to price up, because although they were entering this campaign off the back of two consecutive eighth-placed finishes, there have been signs of gradual improvement under Mikel Arteta.

Coming into it, you could get them at 5/1 to crack this season's top four. Which looked like a ridiculously short price after the calamitous start they made, suffering embarrassing defeats to Brentford and Man City in August, and conceding nine goals in three games without reply.

This left Arsenal as far out as 10/1 by September to achieve a Champions League spot. But things picked up from here and a month later, they had shortened considerably to 11/2, perhaps influenced rather heavily by a convincing 3-1 win in the North London Derby over fellow competitors Spurs.

For the next two months, Arsenal's priced would continue to fall - first to 7/2 by November and then subsequently to 11/4 in December as their march up the table grew stronger.

By the time the winter break came into effect, Arsenal are at 5/2 and sit just two points behind Man Utd with a game more to play.

Player Availability Issues

January has proven to be a rather frustrating month for Arsenal. No more so than because of the players available at their disposal.

A combination of Covid-related illness, injuries and AFCON absentees has meant that the Gunners are pulling from a depleted squad at the best of times.

This month's transfer window has also created further frustrations for Arteta and the Arsenal hierarchy. Complications with the Dusan Vlahovic deal appear to have the forward heading to Italy instead of the Premier League, and although there've been rumblings of a midfield recruit entering the door, nothing has yet materialised.

It does feel that Arsenal's selection problems have disrupted them more than they would any other club and this sets to continue for the foreseeable future, at least.

7th. Tottenham - 13/8

Last, but certainly not least, is Antonio Conte's Tottenham. If you'd have asked me, or anybody else for that matter, of who would be favourites with the bookies for a top-four place at the end of January, Spurs would have been bottom of the list among the candidates. But maybe that's a testament to their current manager more than any other variable.

After the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo, the Lilywhites were available at the same price as Arsenal for a top-four finish of 5/1 with Bet365. And by September 1st, they had come in to 9/4 following three straight 1-0 victories over Man City, Wolves and then Watford.

By the time Conte replaced the fallen Nuno in November, the latter had failed to produce a single without through September and his side's priced plummeted all the way down to 8/1.

This was the point where the Italian picked things up from, and he and his side haven't looked back since.

Although they suffered a shock defeat in Europe in his first month, Spurs gained four points from their two Premier League matches which saw a reduction in their December price to 5/1.

By January, they'd fallen again to just 3/1 - a point where only Manchester City, who had won all 11 of their games, had bettered Spurs' points per game tally of 2.3 since Conte's appointment.

Three defeats to Chelsea in less than three weeks may have left a sour note hanging over January, but right now, Tottenham are the shortest price of the four teams at 13/8.

Spurs Top Four

The Conte Effect

This price clearly reflects the job that Antonio Conte is doing at the club.

They look a lot more organised and difficult to break down during games, which is best exemplified by the fact that it took until just four days ago for them to suffer their first league defeat under his tenure - and this came away to Chelsea of all places.

But with the winning mentality that he brings, he can also just as easily create friction and unrest in the dressing room.

Dealing with a figure in the boardroom such as Daniel Levy is bound to rile up a fiery personality such as Conte's. If the Italian doesn't get his way with the board - which there's every possibility of - that is bound to cause an unwanted disturbance for him and his squad.

So much so that many are already foreseeing the man walking away early which would leave Tottenham and their quest for top four this season in complete and utter dire straits.

Top 4 Finish

Tottenham
WIN PROB: 95%
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£30 FREE BET
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£40 FREE BET
Arsenal
WIN PROB: 5%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
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8/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-18 02:35 Odds subject to change.
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