Tottenham are currently in fifth place, one point behind Manchester United in fourth Getty

Former Arsenal winger Paul Merson has backed the new and improved Tottenham Hotspur to finish above Manchester United in the Premier League this season. The north London club are currently in the fifth place, one point behind the Red Devils in fourth.

Mauricio Pochettino has received praise from various quarters for his role in building a young and dynamic Spurs team, who are unbeaten in the Premier League since the opening day of the season, when they lost to United at Old Trafford. The Argentine has built a team that suits his style, and they have one of the youngest squads in the league.

Merson, who made 289 appearances for Spurs' arch rivals Arsenal, has been impressed this season, and believes they should be taken seriously by the other teams in the top four. The 20-time English champions are also in good form having kept five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, but have come in for criticism for their defensive style of play.

"I've been very impressed with them and they've completely changed my opinion. What they did at the Emirates was phenomenal," Merson said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.

"They've got a great young squad and a very, very good manager in Mauricio Pochettino. The key for them is their best players need to stay fit."

"People have got to start respecting Tottenham and I definitely think they'll finish above Manchester United," he added.

The former Gunners star has also backed Chelsea to make it to the top four ahead of United, despite the Blues languishing in 16<sup>th place, 13 points behind the Red Devils in fourth.

"Chelsea have a lot of points to make up but I can see them going on a run while United are capable of drawing too many games."

"There's still a long time for Chelsea to make up that gap and, while it's a hard one to call, I fancy Chelsea to just edge it," Merson concluded.