Spurs 'soft', Man Utd 'dismal' - Alan Shearer on why Leicester can make top four

Match of the Day 2 analysis

If I was Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers I would be rubbing my hands together and thinking what a brilliant opportunity I have got this season.

While Liverpool and Manchester City are miles ahead of everyone else at the top of the table, the other teams who are usually in the chasing pack have all got major issues.

The Foxes are the 'best of the rest' in third place at the moment, and they should be seriously thinking they can stay there.

Snapshot showing the top of the Premier League: 1st Liverpool, 2nd Man City, 3rd Leicester, 4th Arsenal, 5th West Ham and 6th Bournemouth
Liverpool are the only unbeaten team in the top-flight this season. Leicester have lost once, like Manchester City, Arsenal, West Ham and Bournemouth.

Rodgers targeted the top six over the summer and from what we have seen so far, his side not only have a brilliant chance of making it, the top four is a real possibility for them too.

They definitely should not be scared of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Tottenham, because their recent performances have shown us there is absolutely nothing to fear.

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Leicester 2-1 Tottenham: Brendan Rodgers praises 'outstanding' Foxes

'Spurs have got a softness about them'

Leicester played poorly when they lost to United last week. However, they showed their qualities when they beat Tottenham on Saturday and deserved the three points.

Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs team are having a difficult time at the moment, especially away from home - they have not managed a league victory on the road since January.

Tottenham have led by a goal at half-time in their past three away matches - against Arsenal, Olympiakos and now the Foxes - but failed to win any of them, which tells you they have a softness about them that they do not seem able to put right.

They had a brilliant season last time out, reaching the Champions League final and making the top four of the Premier League for a fourth successive year under Pochettino - but they still seem a long way from reaching the next level and mounting a serious title challenge.

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Leicester 2-1 Tottenham: Mauricio Pochettino refuses to criticise VAR after defeat

'Arsenal and Chelsea have big problems at the back'

Arsenal showed great character to come back from 2-1 down to beat Aston Villa with 10 men on Sunday but that win does not disguise the fact they have got huge problems defensively.

It is not just their back-line at fault, because their midfield does not have enough players who seem able to track runners, but defensively they are all over the place.

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Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa: Gunners showed amazing team spirit to win - Unai Emery

Chelsea, who have not kept a clean sheet in eight games this season, are in a similar boat.

They showed against Liverpool that they carry a threat and will always score goals but, unfortunately for boss Frank Lampard, they always look like conceding them too.

A lot of their players are young and naive, so you are going to get a lot of inconsistency from them - and that is costing them goals.

They will put in some good performances - like they did in their defeat by Liverpool on Sunday and their win over Wolves last weekend, but they won't always get the right results because of their inexperience.

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Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool: Blues deserved a point - Frank Lampard

Man Utd performance 'unacceptable'

At least Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs put in some effort over the weekend - Manchester United did not even manage much of that in their dismal defeat at West Ham.

Old Trafford boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was very positive when he faced the media afterwards, but he must be aware of just how bad his team were.

I understand why he defended them, because he has some young players and he does not want to destroy their confidence by criticising them in public, but I think he will be saying different things to them privately.

They were poor all over the pitch against the Hammers, lacking fight as well as any creativity, urgency or spark in attack. It was simply unacceptable.

Snapshot showing 7th to 12th place in the Premier League: 7th Tottenham, 8th Man Utd, 9th Burnley, 10th Sheff Utd, 11th Chelsea, 12th Crystal Palace
Tottenham, Manchester United, Burnley, Sheffield United, Chelsea and Crystal Palace all have identical league records this season, with two wins, two draws and two defeats from six games

'Rashford needs more movement in the box'

It is now clear that United took a massive gamble when they sold striker Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan and asked players who are either untried or unproven goalscorers to replace him.

Marcus Rashford has huge talent, but he still has a lot of improving to do. Mason Greenwood has huge potential, but it is a big ask for him to lead United's attack at the age of 17.

With Anthony Martial injured and Greenwood ill, they did not even have a recognised centre-forward on the bench to replace Rashford when he limped off after an hour at London Stadium on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
Marcus Rashford went down unchallenged in the second half of Sunday's 2-0 defeat at West Ham.

I have some sympathy for Rashford, who failed to score in open play for the sixth successive match this season, because it would not give me great hope of getting 25 or 30 goals if I was playing in that team - but he has got to help himself too.

We still don't know if the 21-year-old is going to end up as as a centre-forward, but if he is going to be a top-class striker with a killer instinct then his movement in the box needs to improve dramatically, and he needs to learn to score the ugly goals as well.

Solskjaer needs a plan B

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West Ham 2-0 Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 'very positive' despite defeat

United's squad is lacking in midfield as well as up front, something that was highlighted by their bench on Sunday when they sent on Jesse Lingard, Fred and Angel Gomes to try to rescue a point.

But Solskjaer has to find some more creativity from somewhere, so it is vital he gets more out of Paul Pogba when the France midfielder returns to fitness.

One of United's strengths is sitting and hitting teams on the break, but they also have to find a way to break down sides who defend deep themselves.

We saw them struggle to do that when they lost at home to Crystal Palace in August, and it was exactly the same against the Hammers, who were well organised and did not give much space away.

It is fine if playing on the break is United's plan A, but what else are they going to do when that does not work?

We have not seen anything to suggest that Solskjaer has found an answer yet, but the one consolation for him is that some of the other big clubs are struggling too.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

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