Michael Owen’s predictions, including Manchester United v Chelsea and Carabao Cup final

The visit of Chelsea to Old Trafford on Sunday and the Carabao Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester City later in the day are the highlights of another wonderful weekend of action.

Brand Ambassador Michael Owen again shared his thoughts exclusively with BetVictor.

Leicester City v Stoke City

Leicester City have only lost one of their eight Premier League home games under Claude Puel and I expect them to improve on that record against a Stoke City side who begin the weekend just one place off the foot of the table.

Stoke have gone eight away games in the Premier League without a win although they did play well in the first half at the Vitality Stadium in their last away game. Jamie Vardy has scored in three of his five Premier League games against the Potters including in the last two at the King Power Stadium.

Prediction: Leicester City 2-1 Stoke City

Bournemouth v Newcastle United

Eddie Howe’s side host Newcastle at Dean Court (Picture: Getty)Bournemouth have won their last three Premier League home games, but I feel they may have to settle for a point against a Newcastle side who defended well and took their opportunity in a terrific win against Manchester United last time.

The Cherries will make club history – a fourth successive home win in the Premier League – if they beat United but I feel the Magpies will take a point back home from the south coast.

Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Newcastle United

Brighton v Swansea City

Glenn Murray is one of Brighton’s key players for the remainder of the campaign (Picture: Getty)Swansea have won 14 points in seven games since Carlos Carvalhal took charge at the Liberty Stadium and if there is to be a winner at the Amex I feel the Swans might take all three points.

Only three Englishmen (Kane, Sterling and Rooney) have scored more Premier League goals than Brighton’s Glenn Murray (8) has so far this season and the striker has found the back of the net with three of his last four shots.

His goals between now and the end of the season will play a crucial part in the Seagulls’ fight to maintain their Premier League status.

Prediction: Brighton 1-2 Swansea City

Burnley v Southampton

Mauricio Pellegrino is under pressure at Southampton (Picture: Getty)Turf Moor averages just over two goals per game in the history of the Premier League and I expect to see another tight, close affair at the weekend.

If we are to see a goal that might be enough to split the teams and it is worth noting that the Clarets have only picked up five points from the last thirty on offer.

Prediction: Burnley 0-0 Southampton

Liverpool v West Ham

Mohamed Salah will be bursting with confidence ahead of the clash with West Ham (Picture: Getty)West Ham went 45 games without a win at Liverpool before August 2015 but they are unbeaten in their last three ahead of the Hammers’ visit to Anfield.

That said the Reds have scored four in their last two Premier League games against the Irons and it should be noted that West Ham boss David Moyes is without a win in 14 previous visits to Anfield as a manager with Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland. I cannot see past a home win.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 West Ham

West Brom v Huddersfield

Alan Pardew’s side have lost their last four matches in all competitions (Picture: Getty)A must win game for bottom-of-the-table West Brom who go into the weekend five points adrift of Stoke who are one place in front of the Albion.

The Baggies have had their share of Great Escapes in the past and they will never give up, but I think they need to gain all three points to have a realistic chance of survival and I feel they will.

The atmosphere is likely to be a very tense and an early goal might calm the nerves for the locals at the Hawthorns.

Prediction: West Brom 1-0 Huddersfield

Watford v Everton

Everton’s squad have been training in Dubai (Picture: Getty)There were five goals and a missed penalty in the reverse fixture at Goodison back in November and I think both sides will find the back of the net at Vicarage Road.

The Blues have shipped at least four in their last two away league games and you have to go back to February 1961 for the last time Everton conceded four or more goals in three successive away league games. I would suggest Sam Allardyce has been working on the Blues’ defensive shape and system in Dubai where the players enjoyed some warm-weather training last week.

Prediction: Watford 1-1 Everton

Manchester United v Chelsea

Willian has scored three goals in two matches for the Blues (Picture: Getty)Chelsea will be looking to do the double over Manchester United for the fourth time in Premier League history at Old Trafford, but they were beaten 4-1 at Watford in their last away league game and they remain vulnerable at present despite the brilliance of Eden Hazard and Willian.

I do not expect to see many goals in what promises to be a tight tense affair – on and off the pitch.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea

Crystal Palace v Tottenham

Can Crystal Palace stop Harry Kane scoring at Selhurst Park? (Picture: Getty)Crystal Palace have lost their last five Premier League games against Spurs and Harry Kane has scored twice and had one assist in his three Premier League appearances at Selhurst Park. Eagles’ boss Roy Hodgson needs to find a way to keep the England striker quiet but that is easier said than done.

Spurs have picked up more league points than any other side so far in 2018 (15) and are the only side unbeaten in the Premier League so far this year. Palace have only kept one clean sheet in their last 27 London derbies and Spurs are likely to be too classy for the hosts on Sunday.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Tottenham

League Cup Final

Arsenal v Manchester City

Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola come face-to-face at Wembley (Picture: Getty)The first time these clubs have met in a major final although Arsenal have beaten City on the two previous occasions they have met at Wembley in the 2014 Community Shield and last season’s FA Cup semi-final.

Pep Guardiola has only lost one of his six previous major finals and I think City can bounce back after their shock reverse to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup earlier in the week.

I expect to see chances at both ends but it is City to land their first but not last piece of silverware this season.

Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City

Michael’s weekend wager: Leicester West Brom and Liverpool at 7/2

Michael Owen is a Brand Ambassador for BetVictor. For more tips from Michael read his column here.

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Liverpool star Mohamed Salah reveals why he is a completely different player to the one who flopped at Chelsea

Mohamed Salah has scored 30 goal in all competitions for Liverpool this season (Picture: Getty)Mohamed Salah believes he is a completely different player to the one who struggled to make an impact during his short-lived Chelsea career.

The Egypt international was signed by Jose Mourinho in January 2014 but was hardly given an opportunity to impress at Stamford Bridge.

Salah subsequently resurrected his career in Serie A with both Fiorentina and Roma before returning to the Premier League last summer following a £35million move to Liverpool.

The 25-year-old has been in sensational form, scoring 30 goals in all competitions, spearheading a Liverpool forward that has earned a reputation as one of Europe’s most potent attacks.

Explaining his development, Salah told the BBC: ‘It’s easy to play with this kind of quality.

Salah was given few opportunities at Chelsea, making just 13 league appearances (Picture: Getty)More: Football

‘If you look at me now and five years ago, everything has changed both mentally and physically.

‘I’m trying to improve myself every day. I always like to put myself under pressure to improve more.

‘I give all my life to football, I only think about football. This is what is on my mind all the time.’

Liverpool are currently 18 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City but Salah insists it is his goal to win the Premier League with Liverpool at some point in his career.

He added: ‘I can tell the fans we work 100% to try and win something for the club..

‘It’s a long time since the club won the league. It’s my dream to win the Premier League – but I want to win it with this club.’

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Chelsea preparing to use Michy Batshuayi to sign Manchester United and Liverpool target Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund

Christian Pulisic has become a key player for Borussia Dortmund and USA (Picture: Getty)Chelsea are considering using Michy Batshuayi to beat Manchester United and Liverpool to Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic, according to reports.

Since leaving America in 2016 to sign for Dortmund, Pulisic has become a big player in the Bundesliga, attracting attention from a number of clubs from across Europe.

The United States international has been linked with Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool but reigning champions Chelsea have also emerged as potential suitors.

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The Daily Mail say Chelsea have monitored his progress closely over the past year and are keen to bring him to Stamford Bridge before the World Cup starts in the summer.

Dortmund are reluctant to lose Pulisic, 19, but could be tempted to strike an agreement with Chelsea if Batshuayi is incorporated into the deal.

Michy Batshuayi is enjoying a fine run for Dortmund (Picture: Getty)

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Belgian striker Batshuayi joined Dortmund on loan last month and has impressed for the German club, scoring five goals in three games, including braces against Cologne and Atalanta.

It is claimed Dortmund are already plotting a permanent move for the 24-year-old and their desire to secure his signature could give Chelsea an opportunity to sign Pulisic.

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The Blues refused to sell Batshuayi in January but Antonio Conte has shown little faith in the player since he arrived in west London from Marseille.

He failed to become a regular for the Italian boss last season, with Diego Costa impressing as the club’s first-choice striker, but scored the goal that clinched the Premier League title in May.

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Andreas Christensen would keep Virgil van Dijk out of the Chelsea team, says Frank Lampard

Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool last month in a world-record deal for a defender (Picture: Getty)Frank Lampard insists Andreas Christensen would still be in the Chelsea side even if Antonio Conte had spent a world-record sum on Virgil van Dijk.

Dutch defender Van Dijk was linked with a number of clubs last summer – including Chelsea – but he eventually joined Liverpool in January for £75million, a record fee for a defender.

Lampard was coming to the end of his career at Stamford Bridge when Christensen joined the club’s academy as a teenager. The Chelsea legend says he always knew Christensen had what it takes to develop into a key player for the Blues.

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Speaking to the Evening Standard, Lampard said: ‘Even if Van Dijk had come in, the player Christensen is, he’d have handled anything.

‘You put a team around those players even at his age. He wouldn’t have had a problem whoever they signed.

‘I trained with him a fair bit when I was still there. We were all very aware of his abilities. He came over to join in senior sessions when he was 16 and was very impressive.

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Andreas Christensen has developed into a key player for Antonio Conte (Picture: Getty)‘Some young players were not ready for the increase in speed of the game, to make decisions and choices on the ball when they were invited to join in.

‘But even at that young age you could see he had a composure and an awareness about him that made him fit straight in.’

After joining Chelsea’s academy at the age of 15, Christensen was sent on loan to Borussia Monchengladbach and spent two productive years at the German club.

He broke into the Chelsea first-team at the start of the current campaign and has not looked back since, replacing David Luiz as the club’s first-choice centre back.

Frank Lampard has heaped praise on the young defender (Picture: Getty)More: Football

‘Chelsea take a lot of criticism for loaning players out but Andreas is a perfect example of how it’s done right,’ former England midfielder Lampard added.

‘It is massively important for the academy and the young players to see Christensen in the first team now. He is a great example for everyone.

‘The young players can learn from his application. He has shown if you do things right, apply yourself, you will get your chance.’

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Manchester United players dominate most popular shirt sales in 2018, with Alexis Sanchez top

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hardly played this season (Getty)Manchester United players have dominated the most popular football shirts sold in 2018, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic a surprise inclusion in the top 10.

Data from SportsDirect.com reveals the top 20 names sold on the back of football shirts since 1 January.

It is perhaps unsurprising that Alexis Sanchez, who made a high profile switch from Arsenal to Old Trafford, tops the list. Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward recently revealed that the excitement around the Chilean’s arrival helped the club set a new record for shirt sales in January – three times the previous best.

Sanchez’s team-mate Paul Pogba ranks second on the list, despite him enduring a difficult start to 2018.

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Alexis Sanchez has proved popular in terms of shirt sales (Getty)Ibrahimovic is the only other Manchester United player in the top 10, with the Swede’s inclusion something of a surprise. The 36-year-old has managed to play just seven games this season due to injury. There have also been reports that he could soon be leaving for LA Galaxy.

The figures, which represent online sales through Sports Direct’s UK website, show Barcelona shirts featuring Philippe Coutinho on the back have proved popular.

Philippe Coutinho moved to Barcelona in January (EPA)Also in the top 10 is Mesut Ozil, who recently extended his contract with Arsenal.

Top 20 names sold on the back of football shirts since 1 January 2018

Alexis Sanchez – Manchester United
Paul Pogba – Manchester United
Harry Kane – Tottenham
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Eden Hazard – Chelsea
Philippe Coutinho – Barcelona
Kevin de Bruyne – Man City
Mesut Ozil – Arsenal
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Manchester United
Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal
Sergio Aguero – Man City
Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United
David De Gea – Manchester United
Heung-min Son – Tottenham
Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
Dele Alli – Tottenham
Marcus Rashford – Manchester United
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Arsenal
Christian Eriksen – Tottenham

Data provided by Sports Direct, ‘the home of football’. Shop now at SportsDirect.com

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Chelsea and Arsenal most likely to miss out on the top four, predicts Phil Neville

Arsenal were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham on Saturday (Getty)Phil Neville has predicted Arsenal and Chelsea will be the sides most likely to miss out on a place in the top four following the latest round of action.

Defeats for Arsenal and Manchester United and impressive wins for Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham have shaken up the top six over the weekend.

Man City beat Leicester 5-1 and coupled with a shock defeat at Newcastle for Manchester United, Pep Guardiola’s side look more certain to win the title than ever.

‘Obviously first position 16 points clear is Man City – the league’s done,’ Neville told Match of the Day’s Facebook page.

‘It shows the gulf in class between Man City and the rest of the league.’

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Sergio Aguero scored four at the weekend (Reuters)Neville then went on to place Manchester United second, Liverpool third and Tottenham as his favoured choice for the final Champions League qualification place ahead of reigning champions Chelsea.

‘Because of Manchester United’s defeat today, Liverpool’s good form and Tottenham’s good form the second to fifth positions have been really condensed. It’s really tight. One point between United and Liverpool now. It’s a difficult one to call.

‘Arsenal [who were beaten 1-0 by Spurs on Saturday] are out of it for me.

‘Chelsea in fifth, they’ve got a big game against West Brom on Monday.

Antonio Conte’s side take on West Brom on Monday (Getty)‘I’ve said all season United will finish in the top four and finish second and I’m not going to change my mind now.

‘I think Liverpool are going to be the next best team in third position and then it’s between Tottenham and Chelsea.

‘It’s whether Chelsea can get their ship in order I suppose as we know Tottenham have got quality, they’re a settled team, they’ve got a good system, a great manager.

‘It looks at this moment in time that Chelsea are the team that are going to have to fight hardest to finish in that top four.’

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Chelsea, currently fifth, take on West Brom on Monday evening when they will have the chance to move a point above fourth-place Spurs.

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Liverpool join Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in transfer race for Leon Bailey

Leon Bailey is into double figures this season (Picture: Getty)Liverpool will go toe-to-toe with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United for the signature of Bundesliga star Leon Bailey, reports claim.

The Reds ended their interest in Monaco winger Thomas Lemar this week, leaving Arsenal with a free shot at the pricey attacker.

Jurgen Klopp thinks Lemar has his heart set on a switch to Barcelona in the summer and has ordered his Liverpool transfer chiefs to move onto other targets.

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And the Mirror claim Bailey is the man leading the list of potential replacements for Philippe Coutinho.

Chelsea saw a bid of over £20million turned down by Bayer Leverkusen for Bailey last January.

The Blues though, have not not been put off and are confident they can strike a deal for the hugely-talented 20-year-old in the summer.

Chelsea have already seen one bid rejected for Bailey (Picture: Getty)

Michael Owen’s Premier League predictions, including Tottenham v Arsenal

Tottenham entertain Arsenal in the North-London Derby on Saturday in what is the pick of this weekend’s Premier League action. Before things get started with that clash at Wembley, BetVictor brand ambassador Michael Owen makes his predictions for all 10 games…

Tottenham v Arsenal

Spurs lost the reverse fixture 2-0 at the Emirates earlier in the season but I think they can get revenge for that loss against an Arsenal side who still have to prove they can be as effective on the road as they are at home.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made a promising home debut against Everton last weekend and has scored four goals in his four previous games against Spurs when with Borussia Dortmund.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut (Getty)Premier League leading scorer Harry Kane has six in six against the Gunners and I think it will be the hosts who keep the points in what promises to be an entertaining clash with plenty of opportunities at both ends.

Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Arsenal

Everton v Crystal Palace

Does Sam Allardyce know his best XI? (Getty)Palace have not lost at Everton in their last four Premier League visits and the Eagles have actually won more times at Goodison (4) than at any other ground in the Premier League. The Blues need to bounce back after an abject performance at the Emirates and, worryingly, I am not convinced Sam Allardyce knows what his best XI is.

Two former England managers in opposition and I feel they will share the spoils at Goodison.

Prediction: Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace

Stoke City v Brighton

Brighton have only scored six times away from home in the league this season, three of those came at West Ham, and haven’t scored a goal in their last four visits to Stoke. I would be surprised if there were many goals in the Potteries but suggest my old club will edge a low-scoring affair.

Prediction: Stoke City 1-0 Brighton

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Swansea City v Burnley

Swansea have improved out of all recognition under Carlos Carvalhal and they will certainly not be lacking in confidence having beaten Liverpool and Arsenal at the Liberty in recent weeks.

The Swans put eight past a hapless Notts County in the FA Cup on Tuesday and Burnley are without a win in their last nine games.

The Clarets did show against City at Turf Moor last week however that they are capable of giving anyone a game and I expect to see a tight, close affair, but if there is to be a winner I think the Swans might keep the points.

Prediction: Swansea City 2-1 Burnley

West Ham v Watford

Watford impressed in a 4-1 win over Chelsea on Monday (Getty)West Ham are unbeaten in their last four home games but Watford were sensational against a below-par Chelsea on Monday and I feel they can get a point at the London Stadium.

I enjoyed watching the Hornet’s mix of pace and power at Vicarage Road earlier in the week, but Watford have only picked up five points from the last 30 on the road and this game has a draw written all over it.

Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Watford

Manchester City v Leicester City

Jamie Vardy is in a fine run of form (Getty)City are unbeaten in their last 25 home league games, but they have had their share of injuries of late although both Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane are likely to be available to Pep Guardiola sooner rather than later.

Jamie Vardy has scored in his last three league games. He has some way to go to match his record run of 11 in the Foxes’ title season of 2015/16 but I feel Claude Puel’s side will score at the Etihad. That said it might not be enough to take a point.

Prediction: Manchester City 4-1 Leicester City

Huddersfield v Bournemouth – Sunday

Huddersfield have lost their last two home games by a three goal margin and go into the weekend in the relegation zone for the first time this season. Only Spurs and Manchester United (12) have picked up more points in 2018 than Bournemouth but I expect the Terriers to show their true colours against the Cherries in a game of few opportunities.

Prediction: Huddersfield 0-0 Bournemouth

Newcastle United v Manchester United – Sunday

Paul Pogba will hope to return to the starting XI (Getty)Two of my former clubs go head-to-head and I feel United will take the points at a ground where they have won more away Premier League games (12) than at any other club.

The Magpies are without a win in their last eight Premier League home games but, surprisingly, Jose Mourinho has never won a league game at St James’s Park in six previous attempts.

Paul Pogba was left out of the United side against Huddersfield at Old Trafford last weekend but I expect the Frenchman to be back in the starting XI and a winning side at the weekend.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1-2 Manchester United

Southampton v Liverpool – Sunday

Mohamed Salah is now up to 20 in the Premier League (Getty)Congratulations to Mo Salah on reaching 20 goals in his debut season in the Premier League with the promise of many more to come.

Virgil van Dijk returns to St Mary’s for the first time following his big-money January move and is likely to start. Liverpool have won both Premier League games he has not played in since he became eligible for the Reds, however, and not won either game he has started.

Saints begin the weekend just two points above the relegation places despite winning at the Hawthorns on Saturday. Sadio Mane is another former Southampton player and the striker has scored six goals in his last five games at St Mary’s. I expect to see goals with Liverpool getting more than their fair share and giving Jurgen Klopp his 50th Premier League win in his 95th game in charge of the Reds.

Prediction: Southampton 1-3 Liverpool

Chelsea v West Brom – Monday

Antonio Conte saw his side well beaten by Watford last time out (Getty)Chelsea have won all three-league games against the Baggies since Antonio Conte took over and a month ago, you would have thought this was a banker home win. The champions have conceded seven goals in their last two league games against Bournemouth and Watford, however, and looked completely out of sorts at Vicarage Road on Monday.

Conte will demand his side bounce back against an Albion side who go into the game bottom-of-the-league. The Chelsea faithful will demand three points and an emphatic victory and I think the Blues will keep the points.

Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 West Brom

More: Manchester United FC

Michael Owen is a Brand Ambassador for BetVictor. For more tips from Michael read his column here.

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Mohamed Salah reveals he spoke to Jose Mourinho after Liverpool played Manchester United

Mohamed Salah is still on speaking terms with Jose Mourinho. (Getty)Mohamed Salah reveals he still speaks to Jose Mourinho and insists he has a ‘good relationship’ with the Manchester United manager.

The Egypt international joined Chelsea in Mourinho’s second stint at Stamford Bridge but was given a limited chance to impress before he was sent out on loan to Fiorentina and then Roma.

Salah ended up moving to Liverpool for £36.9 million last summer and has been one of Jurgen Klopp‘s standout performers this season with 28 goals in 34 games.

But despite struggling to get a game at Chelsea, Salah is not holding a grudge against Mourinho.

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Salah says he has a ‘good relationship’ with Mourinho. (AMA/Getty Images)‘We talked at Chelsea when I first came back from the loan spell at Fiorentina,’ Salah told FourFourTwo magazine.

‘We also spoke after the match against Manchester United this season and have a good relationship. We didn’t talk much , but it was OK.

‘Three years ago I didn’t play much, but since day one back in England I wanted to show what I can do. I think I’m doing well.’

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Arsenal and Tottenham to miss out on top four finish, predicts Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney believes Arsenal and Tottenham may fall away (Picture: Getty)Wayne Rooney believes north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham will struggle to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season.

With 12 games of the 2018-19 campaign remaining, the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League is on with six points separating sixth and third place.

The two Manchester clubs have pulled clear at the top of the table and Pep Guardiola’s City have one hand on the trophy having only lost one game this season.

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Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal face a battle to secure the final two top four spots and Rooney feels Spurs and Arsenal may fall away.

‘I think Chelsea are a great team,’ Rooney told Sky Sports. ‘I think they will make the top four definitely.

‘I think obviously there seems to be a few issues with [Antonio] Conte but I’m sure they’ll get sorted out and they’ve got enough quality there to finish in the top four.

Chelsea won the title last season but will have to settle for a top four place (Picture: Getty)‘You’d think so [that Manchester United will finish in the top four]. It’s tight, Tottenham have come into it, Liverpool.

‘So it is going to be tight, two of those big six teams are going to miss out. I just think Chelsea, Man City, I fancy Liverpool and Man United.’

Rio Ferdinand, the former Manchester United and England defender, believes Eden Hazard will ‘carry’ struggling Chelsea into the top four.

But he reckons Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who are currently third, will slip out due to their leaky defence.

Tottenham and Arsenal are in a battle to finish in the top four (Picture: Getty)More: Football

‘I’ll go Man City, Man United, Spurs and I’ll put Chelsea in,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport. ‘The Hazard effect, if he continues to perform and he stays fit, then he carries them into the top four.

‘I think Liverpool will slip out the top four. Defensively they’re not strong enough. Going forward, though, they’re fantastic and great to watch.’

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