When we last looked at the contenders for the top four Premier League places there was just a quarter of the season gone and it was shaping up to be to be one of the most unpredictable in years. Now there are just 12 games to go, it is a good time to take another look at the league standings and see who is still in contention.

In a season with so much drama and suspense there have also been a few surprises and even at this late stage, there are still no runaway candidates for the top spot. The top four has a new look this year and there are currently just 4 points separating the teams.

In our earlier prediction we picked out Arsenal as favourites after their superb start to the season saw them set the early pace. Since then, they have had a few blips but have managed to remain right in the mix. The Gunners have a habit of struggling this time of year and this season has been no exception with just one win in the last 4 games.. They also failed to strengthen in the January transfer window and have the lowest goal difference of the current top four. These factors, combined with the tough Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich, could all work against Arsenal when it comes down to the wire in May and the Arsenal fans could once again be left disappointed.

However, a top four finish seems to be the clubs priority at the moment. We picked out Liverpool as the team most likely to grab fourth spot in the league and Brendan Rodgers and his team have proved that the early season form was not just a fluke. With the luxury of one of the deadliest strike forces in the league and no European football to distract them; they are still favourites for fourth place and could even finish higher with some vital games at Anfield coming up.

As predicted, Southampton have fallen away after their excellent start to the season but we did suggest a top eight finish would be an excellent result for them, and that is exactly where they are at the moment under the steady guidance of Coach Mauricio Pochettino. Despite trying to paint his team as underdogs for the title, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have spent £115m on players since the summer with a net spend of £50m thanks mainly to the sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United in January. Before the season started, Chelsea were many people’s favourites for the title but they had a slow start as some players struggled to adapt to the new system. They also had a lack of fire power up front but have gradually improved as the season has progressed and the away win against Manchester City was a defining moment in the return of “The Special One.”

Both Chelsea and Manchester City have yet to travel to Anfield and these two games could have a massive effect on where the title ends up this season. Man United had a stumbling start to the season under David Moyes but after so many years of success under Ferguson it was always going to be a hard act to follow. Like many observers, we expected The Red Devils to overcome their poor early form and challenge for a top four place but the revival just has not happened. In fact, as the season has gone on, the tactics of David Moyes have been dramatically exposed and the team looks like a shadow of its former self. United are well out of the race for the top four and will miss out on the Champions League for the first time since 1995.

Manchester City were also many people’s pre-season favourites for the title but on our last review they were 6 points behind Arsenal in 5th place having have lost four games out of eleven. Their problem back then was their away form and if they had continued with that form, they would now be well outside of the top four. Luckily for City fans, Manuel Pellegrini has addressed their away form and City now look a dead certainty for a top four finish. After spending £90m since the summer, the owners will surely be expecting another league title at the Etihad.

Andre Villas Boas has now departed but Spurs keep picking up valuable points under new boss Tim Sherwood. They will have to keep up their current form and hope that one of the teams above them slips up if they are to squeeze into the top four. They are just three points behind Liverpool but the Merseyside team have a vastly superior goal difference. With so many new players and a change of manager, this could turn out to be another season of transition for the team from North London. After a bright start to the season, Everton have constantly flirted with the top four under Roberto Martinez but they finally seem to be drifting away. They are now 8 points behind their neighbours in red and have an inferior goal difference; at this stage of the season that is a huge gap to close. So, with just 12 games to go and just four points separating the top four, let’s take a revised look at who will come out on top this season.

Manchester City (available at 5/4) Chelsea (available at 17/10) Arsenal (available at 10/1) Liverpool (available at 17/2) For betting purposes, Arsenal offer the best value at 10/1. For a second place team just a point off the top with 12 games to go, this is a big price. Their recent form, including the defeat at Anfield, has pushed them out in the market but they are still right in the mix and are worth a small punt at this price.

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