Last season, it was Tottenham Hotspur who beat the other contenders to finish fourth on the Premier League table but according to Paul Merson, Arsenal might be able to achieve that feat this time around.
Manchester United have been very slow in the transfer market and even though they have made a few signings the club are yet to address the major issues that plagued the squad last season.
However, Spurs and Arsenal have been very active in the market this summer and both the North London clubs have made some really great signings. The pundit feels Arsenal and Tottenham will eventually fight it out for the fourth place on the table but the Gunners could have a slight advantage because they will be playing in the Europa League.
Merson has told Sportskeeda: ‘I’ll put Manchester United in the reckoning for a place in the top four because they are a massive club, but they haven’t done enough business at this point in time to stand a chance of securing UEFA Champions League football, so it should be between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
‘If I had to pick one of the two north London sides, I’ll have to go with Arsenal. Tottenham’s participation in the UEFA Champions League this season could be an issue for them, as they’ll have a bunch of tough mid-week games to cater to in between their Premier League commitments.
‘They don’t really have a big squad, which could make all the difference. Arsenal, on the other hand, should be able to manage their domestic commitments as the UEFA Europa League isn’t that high in terms of quality, at least in comparison to the Champions League.’
Which club is likely to finish fourth next season?
Arsenal have made a few impressive signings this summer but we don’t think they or even Manchester United will be able to grab onto that final Champions League spot.
Both these clubs are in a major rebuilding phase so they will take some time to adjust and reshape their side next season. However, Antonio Conte is a serial winner and Spurs have become a well-oiled machine under him.
He was the primary reason why Spurs have been able to get back into the Champions League and we feel he will be the trump card for them this season as well.
He’s a manager who’s gone through almost all the emotions in top-tier football so nothing much can daze him anymore whereas someone like Erik ten Hag still needs to adjust to the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta might have passed the litmus test but he is still searching for a stable starting XI. Yes, playing in the Europa League is a tad bit easier as compared to being in the UCL but it’s also true that Thursday night fixtures at really odd and faraway venues can very easily give rise to fatigue and unwanted injuries.
Arsenal and Manchester United are giants clubs so they will most certainly challenge for the fourth spot on the Premier League table but we think this one is for Spurs to lose.