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As Newcastle continue to race for 4th has the Manager of the Season already been revealed?

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As the race for the Premier League title seems destined to go down between Manchester City and Manchester United, there’s still the question as to who will finish in the other two Champions League spots.

It is pretty safe to say that whoever finishes as the best team in London will gain one of those places. With Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal all contending, one is going to be disappointed at the end of the season. You have to mention Liverpool in this race who will fight tooth an nail for that final Champions League slot, bolstered by the return of Luis Suarez.

Tottenham are in pole position at the moment especially after Chelsea threw a 3 goal lead away to Manchester United. A draw at Anfield did not hit Tottenham’s hopes at all but the draw left Liverpool with a lot of ground to cover.

The fresh news over the weekend is reports that Andre Villas-Boas will be out of a job if Chelsea don’t qualify for the Champions League. That is the extent of Roman Abramovich’s obsession with the the Champions League. Chelsea have a host of ageing stars that AVB must be allowed time to replace and build his own squad with his own players. Can you really spend the figure Chelsea paid Porto for his services and not give him time to complete a much needed overhaul?

A season without Champions League football might just wake some of the overpaid prime donas at Stamford Bridge to the fact that their player influence that has caused to many managers an early exit isn’t necessarily the way forward. Drogba is likely to leave this summer while Terry, Lampard and Ashley Cole have looked shadows of the players they were.

Arsenal meanwhile have had a patchy season at best. All the unrest over the summer regarding who was going definitely affected their early season. Losing Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri to Manchester City and Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona left Arsene Wenger scrapping the barrel in the transfer market. Arteta has been quietly decent and Oxlade-Chamberlain has enjoyed a recent run in the team and impressed. None of the other signings have really made a positive impact. In my eyes Oxlade-Chamberlain has even left the purchase of Gervinho in question. Injuries to Sagna, Jenkinson, Wilshire and Gibbs have affected the team for the worse. Once everyone is fully fit Arsenal have a starting XI to rival anyone.

North London rivals Tottenham have enjoyed a brilliant season. Harry Redknapp’s decision to treat the Europa League as a place to play fringe players has left his first team fresh for the league. When fringe players have been called upon they already have match practice and fitness. With a midfield boasting Lennon, Bale, Modric, Parker and van der Vaart they have been a real force.v

Adebayor has been a revolution and more like the player from his Arsenal days. Redknapp must be considering not spending this summer and adjusting the wage budget at tottenham. To reach for the Champion League unfortunately you have to pay the top wages. A lot will depend on Redknapp in the close season. It will be slightly hypocritical if he was to leave for the England job while Tottenham dug their heels in over the sales of Bale and Modric.

Liverpool have had so many on and off field issues this season. I think it will ultimately be a season to soon for them. Although Luis Suarez will be back with a point to prove, there are just to many areas of Liverpool’s squad lacking in Champions League quality. More replacements are needed and are more consistant performance level is required next season if they are to push into the Manchester and London monoploy of Champions League sides.

It’s only fair that I include Newcastle United in this debate. Alan Pardew is questionably the manager of the season given the resources and players he has worked with. A solid defensive unit and a strong team ethic see his side currently occupy 5th place. Who is to say with their quiet approach they won’t spoil a few more established clubs noses come the end of the season.

I don’t see it as five clubs vying for two spots as I think Tottenham will have enough to grab one of the spaces. That means it is a four way fight for one place. Chelsea and Arsenal will be current favourites but don’t rule out Liverpool or Newcastle as they go about their business.

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3 comments

  • BillytheFish says:

    If Newcastle finish top 6 they will be delighted…Top 8 would also be a great achievement.

  • toon army says:

    I would be delighted to finish in the top 8, I like that we’re under the radar and prefer it that way as we go quietly about our business for once and it’s not a soap opera

  • Firebug666 says:

    It may be too soon for Newcastle to think about a champions league spot, but while it’s there for the taking you have to say we have a chance. Alan has done a masterful job with our club. Manager of the year? He gets my vote. I’m not confident about winning at spurs, but with Cabaye and Tiote coming back for the wolves game you have to say we have a real chance.

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