Battle for Fourth: Who Will Be Playing Champions League Football Next Season?

With Manchester City, Liverpool and potentially Spurs battling it out for the 2018/19 Premier League title, that leaves one other very key spot to be filled in the league: the fourth and final Champions League spot.
Over the past couple of decades, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal have all been mainstays in the competition, but only one will be taking part in the world’s most coveted club competition next season (that is, unless Arsenal sneak into the competition by winning the Europa League).
Indeed, Chelsea have entered the competition in 14 of the past 15 seasons, while United and the Gunners have qualified for 13 of the past 15.
So just who will make the cut this season?

Chelsea
 

After starting the season brightly, the Blues floundered over the festive period under Maurizio Sarri, falling not just away from the title chase, but also running the risk of missing out on the Champions League too.
The signing of Gonzalo Higuain provided Chelsea with some much-needed firepower up front, and could well be enough to help the Blues secure a top four spot, especially with a midfield containing the likes of Eden Hazard, N’golo Kante and Willian – to name but a few.

But hot on their heels is…

Manchester United
 

The Red Devils have looked much more like the Sir Alex Ferguson teams of old since former player, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was surprisingly appointed after Jose Mourinho’s dismissal just before Christmas.
The return of high-intensity counter-attacking football has helped Solskjaer get off to a flying start as boss and, despite the club looking well out of the running at the start of December, United could well take what had looked like Chelsea’s spot in the Champions League.
Of course, one of the most important fixtures of the run in will be Man United vs Chelsea predictions and head-to-head records leaving little to choose between the two sides. Indeed, whoever was the home team has won this tie in the previous two seasons, while the pair played out a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in October.
Like Chelsea, United also have an insurance policy – albeit an unlikely one, in that they could also grab a Champions League place by winning the competition this season.

Arsenal
 

The outsiders to grab a place in the top four are Arsenal, who look like they’ll need a significant rebuild before they’re back challenging for the title.
It’s been a mixed season under Unai Emery, and it’s hard to see the Gunners ousting United or the Blues. However, Arsenal can sneak into the Champions League if they manage to win the Europa League, just as United did a couple of seasons ago.
That said, you can never quite rule out the Gunners, especially when they have a player in the ilk of Mesut Ozil who’s no longer guaranteed a place in the starting eleven. There’s no lack of firepower either at the Emirates, with Patrick Aubameyang proving to be a fantastic acquisition from Borussia Dortmund a little over a year ago.