Shaun Wright-Phillips believes Arsenal’s impressive start to the season means Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham are all battling for a place in the top four in the Premier League.
The Gunners have emerged as the Premier League’s first pacesetters, having won five of their first six games.
Mikel Arteta’s side, who finished fifth and narrowly missed out on the Champions League last season, beat Crystal Palace on the opening day and then proved too strong for Leicester City, Bournemouth, Fulham and Aston Villa.
Arsenal suffered their first setback of the season earlier this month at Old Trafford as they lost 3-1 to Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United.
Despite the defeat, Arsenal remain at the top of the Premier League ahead of this weekend’s games and Wright-Phillips cannot see the Gunners drop out of the top four.
As a result, the former England winger believes Chelsea, Man United and Spurs will be battling for a top four position, while Manchester City and Liverpool are expected to be in contention for the title.
Defending champions Man City are currently tied for second with Antonio Conte’s Tottenham, both sides unbeaten in the league, while Brighton are fourth without a manager.
Manchester United have won their last four league games to move up to fifth place, two points ahead of Chelsea, who responded to an underwhelming start to the season by sacking Thomas Tuchel.
Liverpool, champions in 2020, are in seventh place – six points behind early leaders Arsenal – and have won just two of their six league games.
Wright Phillips narrates Metro.co.uk: “I was impressed by Arsenal last year and this season they top it off with consistent performances.
“Last season when they were in the bottom half they had a lot of criticism but they stuck to their guns and Arteta kept playing the football he knows and how he wants them to play.
“In the end, Arsenal fans were disappointed not to make it to the Champions League, but what they achieved last year to get that position was fantastic.
“Now they’ve built on that with the signings they’ve done with people like [Gabriel] Jesus and [Oleksandr] Zinchenko comes in as well [Fabio] Viera getting fit again, they are massive additions.
“It gave them depth in areas they didn’t have before, especially on the front lines. They’ll have a lot of games in a row, the World Cup of course and then straight back into it, so they have the depth to deal with injuries.
“That will be very important for them at the end of the season and if they can maintain that consistency a place in the top four is gone.
“Then it comes down to Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur fighting for last place.
“I honestly don’t see Liverpool stopping there. Once they’re up and running and all their players are fit, they’ll be back to what we’re used to.
“I still think they’re going to be difficult to stop and obviously Manchester City are playing the way they play and with that extra striker I can’t see other places becoming available.”
Former Man City and Chelsea star Wright-Phillips also discussed Tuchel’s sacking at Stamford Bridge, claiming the Germany boss deserved more time, particularly after the club’s spending spree over the summer.
Asked if Chelsea were right to sack Tuchel, ThePuntersPage ambassador added: “No, and in my opinion it’s a hard no.
“When you’ve gone ahead and given someone £250m you’ve shown the fans, the club and the world that you support that manager.
“That surprised me because in 15 months he has brought back three of the most difficult trophies to win. Firing someone out for what they’ve done in such a short amount of time is weird.
“I can feel what Chelsea fans must be feeling, maybe not as deeply as they do, but I can certainly understand some confusion and disappointment at this decision.
“It was a shock and I don’t understand why at all, but then you think, was there something else going on to make all of this happen?”
After all football in Britain was postponed last week out of respect for the late Queen Elizabeth II, the Premier League will resume this weekend despite the cancellation of three more games ahead of the Queen’s funeral.
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