The Big Four No More?
Is this the end of the Premier League as we know it; the end of an era? Is ‘the big four’ soon to be a phrase only understood by those of us who dedicate our lives to learning the history of our clubs? Should we grab the person nearest to us and break down into a sobbing heap? Alright settle down. Blackburn Rovers lifted the Premier League trophy back in 1994-95. Since then only Manchester United (10 times), Arsenal and Chelsea (3 times each) have won the title. Since 1996-97, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool have owned the top four spots. With these top spots came Champions League qualification, bringing in extra income and supposedly widening the gap between the top four and the rest of the league. The last two seasons however Liverpool lost their spot to both Tottenham and Manchester City. Some believe it’ll be a simple swap, Liverpool for Money-chester City. I personally believe it’s more likely to split into two team tussles for the top six spots…
First and second: Manchester Utd vs Chelsea
Third and Fourth: Arsenal vs City
Fifth and Sixth: Tottenham vs Liverpool
United: Self-explanatory really, United have a solid squad. Add Ashley Young, youngster Phil Jones, and David De Gea waiting in the wings for Van Der Sar to retire. With Sneijder also a possibility, the current champs are still a force to be reckoned with.
Chelsea: A bit of an ageing squad, but definitely another strong force. With deals for Lukaku and Modric seeming unlikely now, attention has been apparently been turned to AC Milan’s star Alexandre Pato. Winning their 6 pre-season matches without conceding a goal, Chelsea are looking pretty solid.
Arsenal: You’d be a fool to say that I don’t want to see our lads lift the trophy this season. But unless something happens soon, I’m slightly worried. Fabregas. Don’t get me wrong, he has been my favourite player for years… But I’d almost like to see him go to Barca already. It’s obvious his mind isn’t at Arsenal, I think he’s had his best seasons with us and the longer this drags on the less his heart will be with the club. Slip Nasri into the middle and bring in Mata. Jagielka, I don’t think he’s worth what is being asked, but just splash the cash Wenger! I definitely see a possibility of our boys defying my predictions and fighting for the top spots.
City: Money bags, quality players, ego train (didn’t think Clichy would be the type to board the ego train!). Beat us to 3rd last season, hopefully we’ll make Clichy regret his decision. Enough said.
Tottenham: Keeping hold of Modric was a big success for them, some say a mass exodus could have been on the cards. A solid team still that I can see battling with Liverpool for 5th – 6th.
Liverpool: A proud club in a spot of bother. Dalglish needs to get them in the Champions League otherwise the spiral downwards could continue. With the new manager, Suarez, Carroll, Downing, Henderson and a couple more new faces I believe these guys could be tough competition. Conceding 3 goals in each of their 5 pre-season matches though… I can’t seriously see them outdoing themselves.
It’s gonna be an interesting season and definitely pretty tight. The end of the big four? Maybe.
The start of a new era of greater competition? Bring it on.