Spurs will finish 5th Burt predicts.. | Vital Football

Spurs will finish 5th Burt predicts..

#1
Premier League title predictions: How the contenders compare and my top six
How will the most open title race in many a year end?

Jason Burt
Chief Football Correspondent
18 January 2021 • 2:33pm




With just five points separating the top six it is the most open Premier League title race this century. We have been here before but it was back in 1996-97 that sixth-place Aston Villa were similarly just five points off the top. That was after 20 games, a couple more than the situation this time round, and ended with Manchester United winning the league with just 75 points – which remains the lowest total to finish first in the Premier League. So it appears a similar tally will take the title this season.
But how will it end? Here are my predictions.
6. Everton
There is an expectation that Everton will be caught by Chelsea and maybe even Arsenal but what should encourage them and their supporters is not just the inconsistency of others but the fact that manager Carlo Ancelotti has found different ways to win in recent weeks.
Winning five of their last six league games has brought them back into contention with the victory over Wolves achieved without Dominic Calvert-Lewin or a recognised centre-forward. Ancelotti’s experience is key, of course, and he has been in this position before of negotiating a team into European competition.
He does not win many leagues but he does fight at the top and it would be some achievement to see off Chelsea, in particular, and take Everton from 12th last season into the top six. Any higher appears unlikely unless the team is further strengthened this month.
Everton will also benefit, as will Aston Villa, from not being in European competition. The problem for Villa is how far behind they are falling in games played. If Chelsea are not in the top four and unless they win the Champions League then Frank Lampard cannot expect to survive as manager. In fact he may be in danger soon if Chelsea fall further out of contention.

5. Tottenham Hotspur
Finishing outside the top four again would be a big blow to Tottenham and Jose Mourinho. The club and manager are geared towards Champions League football and it will hurt them both not to be in it for another season especially when, usually, he wins leagues in his second season.
But in many ways Spurs are a very un-Mourinho-like team. He sets them up as one – with their brilliance on the counter-attack through Harry Kane and Son Heung-min – and emphasis on a sound defensive base but must be infuriated with their inability to close out games, summed up by the recent draw against Fulham.
Such inconsistency may prove costly while it will eat at Mourinho that with a couple of key additions in January he will feel he can address some of the issues. Not that it looks like Spurs will spend, at present. Gareth Bale has been a disappointment and a distraction but if he could turn things around in the second-half of the campaign then things may be very different while the treatment of Dele Alli is just not helping anyone. Spurs’ best bet for success is a cup competition. It would represent first silverware since 2008 but will not, really, be enough.

4. Leicester City
Given they can go top if they beat Chelsea at home on Tuesday then Leicester are definitely in the race. Last season they came in for some harsh criticism with the drop-off in their results as they went from being Liverpool’s nearest rivals to finishing outside the top four, winning just two of their last nine league games.
But that is unfair as a crippling injury list has to be factored in. Leicester have a strong squad but not one strong enough to cope with the number of key players they were missing. They just ran out of steam. A more legitimate criticism is whether they and manager Brendan Rodgers can cope when the pressure is on. One defeat in 10 in all competitions has taken them back up the table but do they have the mental resilience to stay there?

Harvey Barnes has been in great form for Leicester Credit: Getty Images
Jamie Vardy has just turned 34 but remains the key although Harvey Barnes is becoming a growing influence and key players are back.
Leicester appear well set to qualify for the Champions League which would be a remarkable achievement. More than ever though this season may be about keeping their first-choice players fit especially with clubs who do not have strength in depth. If Leicester have more luck than in the last campaign they can do it.

3. Manchester United
No-one expected United to be involved in the title race, never mind top, which, actually, is kind of weird given the huge levels of investment in the team in recent seasons. Even so they deserve credit and it is some feat to go 16 games unbeaten away from home.
The opportunity is undoubtedly there to win the title for the first time since 2012-13 and clean sheets against City, at home, and Liverpool, away, are impressive even if the games were less so. It is hard to think of a player coming into the Premier League who has had such an immediate and transformative impact as Bruno Fernandes and even when he is peripheral against Liverpool he almost wins the game.
The key, though, feels like sustaining Paul Pogba’s form and his new-found discipline. When he does not try to do too much he is far more effective. Defensively United are stronger and they remain devastating on the break even if they still feel like a team of moments rather than something more substantial.

Paul Pogba went close to scoring the winner at Anfield Credit: Shutterstock
If City and Liverpool leave the door open then United are best-placed to take advantage. The question may be whether they and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can deal with that kind of pressure in the second half of the season?

2. Liverpool
When Liverpool blew away Crystal Palace 7-0 on December 19 it felt like it was the signal for them to push on. Festive fixtures against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton were favourable. They were five points clear and should have built on their lead. Instead they won none of those games and drew with United and claimed just three points.
Before that it definitely felt like they were the team to beat but the signs of public frustration from Jurgen Klopp – who has appeared tetchy - have been telling. Maybe it betrays the realisation that they made a strategic error in not recruiting another central defender last summer and relying on the injury-prone Joel Matip as back-up to Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it felt a gamble and Liverpool are paying the price while the absence of Diogo Jota has also been felt with the famous front three not quite firing, especially Roberto Firmino. Liverpool must be tempted to sign a central defender this month and – with the right recruit – it could well make the difference.
Otherwise they are taking another gamble. They are having their blip now and remain in contention but it is a risk that may leave them short.

1. Manchester City
Remarkably, given how often the leadership has changed this season, City are yet to be on top. They will go above Manchester United if they win their game in hand and certainly it feels like they are the favourites now. It is a very different City, though. When they ran away with the league in 2017-18 with a total of 100 points they conceded just 27 goals and with only 13 conceded so far this campaign they may just beat that total. The difference is then they also scored 106 goals and this time they have just 29 – with six teams having scored more.

John Stones has enjoyed an upturn in form Credit: Getty Images
Their current run is impressive. They have conceded just three goals in 15 unbeaten games in all competitions, which has included 12 wins, and Ruben Dias is proving to be one of the signings of the season while the assured return of John Stones has been an unexpected boost when he appeared on his way out. He is still just 26. With Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake City have strength in depth in central defence in stark contrast to Liverpool and that may be the clincher. The concern is scoring goals and also having had to go on such a strong run just to get back into contention.
 
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SmithAndJones

Vital Squad Member
#5
One of the better journos, his analysis on PL TV appearances is usually pretty sound. From a neutral perspective this article is entirely sensible and well reasoned. From a fans perspective obviously Spurs and Chelsea fans in particular will disagree. Ultimately he may well be correct with his top three, and with City winning the title, albeit things seem to change every fortnight. Spurs really do need to finish top four, and I'm still optimistic that Mourinho will find a way of finishing fourth. Leicester as of right now are performing better than us but may well fall away, and maybe Lampard and his new players need another season, which Frank probably won't get.
 
#6
One of the better journos, his analysis on PL TV appearances is usually pretty sound. From a neutral perspective this article is entirely sensible and well reasoned. From a fans perspective obviously Spurs and Chelsea fans in particular will disagree. Ultimately he may well be correct with his top three, and with City winning the title, albeit things seem to change every fortnight. Spurs really do need to finish top four, and I'm still optimistic that Mourinho will find a way of finishing fourth. Leicester as of right now are performing better than us but may well fall away, and maybe Lampard and his new players need another season, which Frank probably won't get.
I too thought it was a well laid out shot at predicting the Top 6; for us to finish 4th we'll have to really up our game now and that means taking gambles again to win games - if we set ourselves upright and you look back at when we went with an attacking intent for the whole 90 mins, we can do it, but it will be very very tough, as for Leicester they were my 'dark horse' other than the two favorites, pick for the PL this season and apart from one poor couple of games, I still think that they'll be there or thereabouts.

Without Madison they just don't look as good, with him they are as good as any in the top 6 currently.
 
#8
Sixth is where I opted for in the poll without using the appliance of science and unless we win one of the cups it will not be a good enough return to satisfy the aspirations of the Board, the fanbase or I suspect the manager.
 
#9
I'm confused.....

Spurs will finish 6th Burt predicts.
then
5. Tottenham Hotspur

:lol:

I do like Burt's comment on Dele...."while the treatment of Dele Alli is just not helping anyone". Nice to see one of the respected journo's explore this narrative, rather than what we normally read on this topic.

I'm sick of Leicester. Come on Jose.......kick their arses over 38 games !!!
 
#10
I'm confused.....

Spurs will finish 6th Burt predicts.
then
5. Tottenham Hotspur

:lol:

I do like Burt's comment on Dele...."while the treatment of Dele Alli is just not helping anyone". Nice to see one of the respected journo's explore this narrative, rather than what we normally read on this topic.

I'm sick of Leicester. Come on Jose.......kick their arses over 38 games !!!

I too am sick of Leicester. However, I am also sick of Dele. Tanguy has shown him up.
 

SheringhamNo10

Vital Reserves Team
#11
ha ha - so we're not going to win the PL anymore!?
I was convinced that we could win the league at the start of the season with our current squad.

I still think there is a chance, so long as we attack more against the so called lesser teams.

City are finding their feet and realistically they are my title favorites now.

I’ll happily take 4th right now.

Especially if you throw in a trophy or two 👍🍾
 
#12
I too am sick of Leicester. However, I am also sick of Dele. Tanguy has shown him up.
So Ndombele was at Spurs for 4-5 years and had been bought for £5m. Dele was the newbie, bought for £60m and on £200k a week. Let me think who would have got the opportunity and who would have shown who up.

The place we have got to is nothing to do with one having a superstar attitude and the other being a lazy bastard.

There is no point observing whether a horse drinks or not if you didn't bother to lead it to the water in the first place.
 
#13
So Ndombele was at Spurs for 4-5 years and had been bought for £5m. Dele was the newbie, bought for £60m and on £200k a week. Let me think who would have got the opportunity and who would have shown who up.

The place we have got to is nothing to do with one having a superstar attitude and the other being a lazy bastard.

There is no point observing whether a horse drinks or not if you didn't bother to lead it to the water in the first place.

When did you start murdering metaphors? :grinning:
 

Walthamstow wanderer

Vital Football Hero
Staff member
#16
We can attack well . As good as anybody .
We can defend well , again , as good as anybody .

it’s just that annoying bit in the middle that is letting us down at the moment .,
Get that right , for the whole ninety odd minutes , and stop the others even getting at our back four , and we are home and dry .
Dier was the answer , but was needed elsewhere .,
Sissoko was the answer but was found wanting .
PEH is part of the answer and maybe Ndombele’s new found fitness is going to help .
The demise of Winks and Dele certainly hasn’t helped .
Injuries ( constant ) to Lo Celso, Lamela , and Bergwijn ,are causing problems .
Kane is constantly dropping back , deeper and deeper to try and stop the constant flow onto our Defense that will always crumble at least once .
Once we get the middle sorted and stop the invite to attack , third place is ours this season .
Davies / Reggie left , Aurier /,Tanganga right ?
The right side is our weakness . Its where most of the danger comes from .
It would be interesting to see the stat on where exactly we do let the opposition in the most .

I know it was Fulham , Spammers , Sheffield United, the penalty build up against Barcodes , ( I think ) , Calvert -Lewin first day of the season ? . I can’t remember now ........ too many goals ago ,
 

SmithAndJones

Vital Squad Member
#17
We can attack well . As good as anybody .
We can defend well , again , as good as anybody .

it’s just that annoying bit in the middle that is letting us down at the moment .,
Get that right , for the whole ninety odd minutes , and stop the others even getting at our back four , and we are home and dry .
Dier was the answer , but was needed elsewhere .,
Sissoko was the answer but was found wanting .
PEH is part of the answer and maybe Ndombele’s new found fitness is going to help .
The demise of Winks and Dele certainly hasn’t helped .
Injuries ( constant ) to Lo Celso, Lamela , and Bergwijn ,are causing problems .
Kane is constantly dropping back , deeper and deeper to try and stop the constant flow onto our Defense that will always crumble at least once .
Once we get the middle sorted and stop the invite to attack , third place is ours this season .
Davies / Reggie left , Aurier /,Tanganga right ?
The right side is our weakness . Its where most of the danger comes from .
It would be interesting to see the stat on where exactly we do let the opposition in the most .

I know it was Fulham , Spammers , Sheffield United, the penalty build up against Barcodes , ( I think ) , Calvert -Lewin first day of the season ? . I can’t remember now ........ too many goals ago ,
Agree with pretty much all of the above Walt, other than maybe the 'third place is ours'. That's not out of the question, but even if we sort out some of the current problems, and we need to do that quickly, there are a lot of very closely matched teams at the top end of the PL this season. That's not a bad thing as far as this PL season being one of the most competitive ever, it does mean though that we could finish anywhere between second and seventh.
 

Pompey Yid

Vital Squad Member
#19
If we are to push on we're going to need a couple of players to step up. I don't foresee us finishing out of the top 4 however, not unless we have an injury nightmare like we had last year. Lightning surely can't strike twice.
Steve you are probably right there, injuries could have a big say, not just us though.

Walts survey of the teams play/set up is generally correct, for me it is our erraticness, is that a word lol! well you know what I mean, in our every week play.
 

Walthamstow wanderer

Vital Football Hero
Staff member
#20
If we are to push on we're going to need a couple of players to step up. I don't foresee us finishing out of the top 4 however, not unless we have an injury nightmare like we had last year. Lightning surely can't strike twice.
I think it has to be Bale that steps up . His preferred position on the right , if fit , would stop most attacks down the oppositions left , due to the perceived counter attack .
I know I’m generalising, but I’m sure a fit and furious Bale gives us third .,