Paul Merson does not think Manchester United will finish in the top four and has also tipped Chelsea to miss out on the Champions League.
United began the season in dreadful form, with defeat to Brighton and Brentford. The Red Devils’ 4-0 humbling by the Bees prompted pundits to question the desire and commitment of a number of players. However, new manager Erik ten Hag has managed to turn things around, with four successive top-flight victories.
From the foot of the table, the Old Trafford giants now sit fifth. They are only three points behind league-leading Arsenal and two adrift of great rivals Manchester City.
Chelsea are one place and two points behind the north-west giants. But they will need to regroup after Thomas Tuchel was sacked and replaced by Graham Potter.
Merson gave his top-four predictions before a ball had been kicked.
The former Arsenal star felt Manchester City plus Liverpool and Chelsea would occupy three of the Champions League spots.
He felt United would miss out and, while his stance has not changed in that direction, Chelsea have also fallen from his list.
“It’s still early doors, but I think the Premier League top-four this season will be Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal in whatever order,” he told Sportskeeda.
“Chelsea will obviously have a thing or two to say. But we’ll have to wait and see how Potter performs at Stamford Bridge.”
United with much work to do
Potter has yet to have any influence on the Blues and will take up his duties next week. But Ten Hag’s methods appear to be bearing fruit at the Theatre of Dreams.
However, Merson feels Manchester United do not have enough to reach the Champions League.
“As for Manchester United, I don’t think they’ll make it because they still have a lot of work to do in terms of their squad,” he added. “They’ve won four league games in a row, including victories against Liverpool and Arsenal. But I’m yet to be convinced by them.
The Gunners missed out on the top four last term, with Spurs pipping them to the post. But the Sky Sports pundit sees no reason why Mikel Arteta’s charges should not stand the test of time.
“Arsenal are good and I believe they are in there for the long run. And I’m still backing Liverpool to turn it around in the coming weeks to secure a UEFA Champions League spot,” he continued.
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