......if they are only finishing 3rd, could we go and occupy one of those two spots above them?
I'd love to think that we can, but realistically it's very unlikely. With Richarlison out I think we'll see 5 points from our next three games; he's vital to our success.
Having no experienced cover for the forward line is bound to hurt us. Also, we all know that the goalkeeper is a problem; he hasn't cost us points (yet) but if he carries on like this he inevitably will at some stage. No side can win the league without a dependable goalkeeper.
James is unlikely to play in every game and we would miss him massively. Obviously, if DCL gets injured or suspended, or simply loses form, that would also be a huge blow. We're unlikely to be able to get a decent forward in January; the most we could hope for would be Tosun coming good or Simms stepping up.
Of course, there's room for optimism; Holgate will be back soon, Godfrey looks very promising, and the midfield, already good, should improve as they familiarise themselves with each other's style of play; it's amazing to think that Allen, James and Doucoure been with us for less than seven weeks.