Who the pundits predicted for top four at start of season with Chelsea on verge of embarrassing Souness, Neville and Co

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FRANK LAMPARD’S Chelsea side were written off at the start of the season with pundits believing they wasn’t good enough to finish in the top four.

But they are on the brink of qualifying for the Champions League as they sit in fourth spot with just one game left to go in the top-flight.

A draw at home against Wolves on Sunday will secure them a spot in Europe’s premier competition next year.

And they would also finish in the top four if they lose to Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, and third-placed Manchester United beat Leicester who sit in fifth spot.

All pundits were right in backing Liverpool and Manchester City to finish in the top two, and some even thought Arsenal could sneak into fourth.

But the Gunners languish in tenth after a disastrous campaign, with an eight-placed finish the best they can hope for.

Here SunSport runs you down predictions made by pundits at the start of the season.

The ex-Liverpool maestro was unsure on who would win the league this season, but knew the Reds and the Citizens would be battling it out.

He also backed the Red Devils and Tottenham, as he deemed Chelsea and Arsenal as not good enough.

He said: “I still think, even though [Harry] Maguire will make them [United] better, it doesn’t make them good enough to challenge at the top.

“I see it being between the big two again [City and Liverpool.]

“The nearest challengers will be Tottenham – and after that United. Neither Arsenal or Chelsea are good enough.”

The former Manchester United right-back backed Manchester City to be crowned Champions, with Liverpool finishing as runners-up.

He then opted for Spurs to come third, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to end up in fourth.

In a dig to Chelsea, he commented: “I think United will get into the top four.

“I think they’re stronger [than Chelsea]. I think Chelsea will struggle to score goals.

“Centre-forward is a problem for them and losing Eden Hazard is just devastating for them.”

Like his fellow Sky Sports pundit, the Reds legend opted for Pep Guardiola to win his third English top-flight title.

And he then tipped Liverpool, Spurs and then Arsenal to follow suit.

Alluding to the Gunners’ front three of Pierre-Emerick Aubbayemg, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe, he said: “I think the firepower Arsenal have got maybe just edges them above Manchester United.”

Just like Souness, Ferdinand was unable to determine who would win the league out of City and Liverpool.

All he knew was that they would be levels ahead of the rest of the pack, with Tottenham and former employers United flagging behind.

He stated: “I think Man United will be a better team this year than they were last year.

“Man City, Liverpool – but by a bigger gap than last season – Spurs, Man United.”

“It hurts man, it hurts. I’ve got to speak about Liverpool and Man City winning things and being better than Man United at the moment.”

The only pundit in this list to back Liverpool in winning their first championship since 1990.

He then went for City to come second, with North London rivals Spurs and Arsenal to come third and fourth.

Speaking after United’s 1-1 draw away at Southampton on August 31, Keown said: “I backed Liverpool in my pre-season predictions, and had City, Tottenham and Arsenal completing the top four.

“I’m standing by that, but fourth is wide open. Anyone could nick it.

“United seem to be dropping points for fun – a draw at Wolves when they should have won, a home loss to Crystal Palace, then 1-1 at Southampton.”

Before adding: “With what Chelsea are going through, Frank Lampard should be supported. Lampard has demonstrated he can get good performances out of young players.”

Redknapp stated at the start of the season that Chelsea fans are “deluded” if they think that the club should finish in the top four and win a cup.

And with the West Londoners occupying fourth spot – while they also have an FA Cup final to look forward to – Lampard has shown that his cousin Redknapp should have had more faith in him.

Speaking at the start of the campaign, he stated: “Of course, Lampard has to be treated differently because Chelsea have lost their superstar.

 

“Hazard was the one player that would produce a piece of magic to make a goal or score a goal.

“And if you think Lampard should finish in the top four and win a cup, you’re deluded. It’s completely wrong, you can’t have that expectation.

“This manager needs time, he’s going to give young players an opportunity and if he finishes in the top four, that’s an incredible achievement with this team.”

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