Neville performs U-turn on top-four forecast as he predicts where Man Utd, Newcastle and Spurs will finish
Gary Neville has changed his top four prediction ahead of the Premier League run-in with the former Man Utd defender now tipping Newcastle to qualify for the Champions League.
The race to finish in the top four is heating up as teams enter the business end of the season with leaders Arsenal and second-placed Manchester City clear of the pack.
Newcastle are in the driving seat for a top-four finish with Eddie Howe’s side in third place, level on points with fourth-placed Man Utd, but with a much better goal difference.
Tottenham are now just three points behind but Newcastle and Man Utd both have a game in hand on Cristian Stellini’s outfit, while Brighton are still just about in the conversation but they would have to win both of their games in hand on Spurs to stand a chance.
Neville predicted in March that Newcastle would probably just miss out as they lacked the experience of Man Utd, Tottenham and Liverpool.
Speaking last month, Neville told Sky Sports: “Newcastle have got a clear run until the end of the season. (Manchester) United have progressed in the FA Cup and the Europa League makes it more difficult for them with the fact that they’ve Casemiro suspended for the next four matches, which is a big difference.
“Newcastle with these last two wins are in a position whereby they’ll have a real go at it. But I still think Liverpool, Tottenham and United have got a little bit more experience.
“This is the time to hit form. Eddie Howe won’t be getting carried away but he’ll be a lot more confident after this week.”
But following a brilliant week for Newcastle, in which they beat Man UtdBrentford and West Ham, Neville now thinks Howe’s men will qualify for the Champions League.
Neville told Sky Sports: “What a week for Newcastle. To beat Manchester United, West Ham away and then Brentford away that’s a tough week and to get nine points – that’s a brilliant performance.
“I didn’t have them down as top-four probably three weeks ago and even after the (Manchester) United game, I thought ‘well they’ve got three tough away games now in West Ham, Brentford and Aston Villa.
“‘You’ll probably drop points in that and it will give Tottenham and Liverpool maybe a chance’.
“But looking at them now, watching them closely against Manchester United where I thought they were absolutely brilliant, I think they will finish in the top four now because their confidence will be so high.
“I thought Man United were really poor against Newcastle. But what we’ve seen with this side under Erik ten Hag is that they do respond and they do bounce back.
“They were dominant against Everton but beating Brentford was really important. Six points from that week doesn’t look so bad now.
“They do respond and come back which will mean they do finish in those Champions League places.
“With Tottenham, they were pretty fortunate against Brighton. But it gives them a chance, they’re still in it.”
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