It’s not just the Grand National winner that’s pretty impossible to pick.
Saturday’s race may have been won by 4/1 favourite Tiger Roll – the first back-to-back champion of the showcase race for 45 years. But, in the main, the race is pretty much a lottery, due to the large field and challenging jumps at Aintree.
There’s a considerably smaller number of runners in the disgustingly lucrative battle to finish behind Manchester City and Liverpool in the race for a top four place in the Premier League. Yet it’s proving equally tricky to predict who will cross the line in those all important places. With the top two several furlongs ahead of the rest, it’s been left to Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United to battle it out between themselves for Champions League qualification.
Four into two just doesn’t go and with five and six hurdles respectively to go, it would take a brave person to hedge their bets on which two will pip the others to the winning post.
It wasn’t that long ago that Spurs were ploughing a lone furrow, but they’ve been reined back in by two of their fiercest London rivals and a resurgent Manchester United.
However, just as the Red Devils came galloping up on the outside, they’ve fallen back a little, despite deciding that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would become their full-time jockey for the foreseeable future.
Their run-in perhaps looks the trickiest of all and, while the distance to make up isn’t that daunting, United have seemingly left themselves with possibly too much ground to make up.
If Arsenal could match their home form on away turf, they’d be home and hosed. Yet there appears to be plenty of stumbling blocks for them to overcome as they embark on the final furlong.
Which leaves Spurs – adapting to a new surface at their new home – and a bizarrely inconsistent Chelsea leading the way.
All four clubs are in varying states of transition and neither could be considered odds-on to get the job done. So it’ll be absolutely amazing to see how things unfold as they jockey for position in the coming weeks.
Just a few games ago I was convinced that United would power through and secure the most unlikely comeback. Now I’m not so sure – which hurts on a personal level being a Red.
The only way to try to call it is to look at the form sheet and try to predict how the runners and riders will fare across the remaining jumps.
So that’s exactly what I’ve tried for the second time in the last month or so and decided to stick my nose out (no laughing at the back) and publish my thoughts. I’d love to hear and see what you think about it all and maybe we’ll publish some of your predictions next week.
Until then all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy the ride as we see which pair makes it over the final fences unscathed.
Race for top four
In the order of: P Ps GD
3 Chelsea 33 66 +23
4 Tottenham 32 64 +26
5 Arsenal 32 63 +25
6 Man United 32 61 +18
Last five league games
Chelsea D L W W W
Arsenal W D W W L
Man United W W L W L
Tottenham L D L L W
Still to play
April 13 Huddersfield H
April 20 Man City A
April 23 Brighton H
April 27 West Ham H
May 6 Bournemouth A
May 12 Everton H
April 15 Watford A
April 21 Crystal Palace H
April 24 Wolves A
April 29 Leicester A
May 4 Brighton H
May 12 Burnley A
April 14 Liverpool A
April 22 Burnley H
April 28 Man United A
May 4 Watford H
May 12 Leicester A
April 13 West Ham H
April 21 Everton A
April 24 Man City H
April 28 Chelsea H
May 5 Huddersfield A
May 12 Cardiff H
3 Tottenham 77 points
4 Arsenal 74 (superior GD)
5 Man United 74
6 Chelsea 73
LAST WEEK – WE ASKed…
Which pair are most likely to finish in the top four?
Arsenal/Man Utd: 29%
Spurs/Man Utd: 19%
Legends are nearly here
In less than a week, two of Norwich City’s greatest players of all time will be in King’s Lynn.
Iwan Roberts and Darren Huckerby are the first – and hopefully not the last – special guests for Caney’s Corner Live, brought to you by Your Local Paper.
Lots of people have already snapped up tickets for the event, which will see the Canaries’ legends join myself on stage at the Duke’s Head Hotel to discuss all things football, past and present, and much more.
VIP tickets, costing £25 and including a meet and greet, reserved front row(s) seating, signed print and professional photo with both players were snapped up in three hours.
But there are still a limited number of standard £15 tickets available – some of which may possibly be sold on the door. The only way to guarantee your attendance is to buy one in advance by either visiting eventbrite.co.uk and searching Caney’s Corner Live or popping into Your Local Paper’s office in 29 King Street, King’s Lynn (cash only).
- This week’s poll…
Should there be more combined professional male and female golf competitions?
Get involved, vote and comment, on Twitter