Day of Reckoning for EPL Four Horse Race

The return of the Premier League action this Saturday will be quite telling. At precisely 2:15pm ET (7:15pm GMT), we’ll know whether the EPL is one of the most entertaining leagues in the world or whether it’s still a predictable and oftentimes boring four horse race.

After the full-time whistle blows, we’ll be able to reflect on a day of action where stronger teams from “The Other 16” battle against the top four (Everton against Man United, Spurs versus Arsenal, Portsmouth against Liverpool and, last but not least, Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers).

We’ll immediately see whether the likes of Everton, Spurs, Pompey and Blackburn are pretenders or contenders. If one or two of those teams can cause an upset this weekend, the argument could be made that we’re experiencing a new chapter in the history of the Premiership with the four-horse race being broken by teams who have benefited from the injection of new cash from the lucrative global TV deals.

These teams (Spurs, Everton, Blackburn and Portsmouth) are our best hope to break down the four horse race monopoly. Managers such as David Moyes, Mark Hughes, Harry Redknapp and, to a lesser extent Martin Jol, have the experience and tactical know-how to outwit Jose Mourinho, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez. We saw that two weeks ago when Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa was able to outwit Mourinho’s Chelsea. Was that a fluke? We shall see.

Of course, it’s ridiculous to judge an entire season by four matches in one weekend. But this Saturday does give us a rare opportunity to compare and contrast first hand the top four versus the “best of the rest.”

My hope, for the betterment of the league around the world and the entertainment value, is that shock results do happen this weekend. We need to see a higher level of play from all sides. We need to be convinced that this is a competitive league. We need to see the fear in the faces of the superstars. Lastly, we need to see how great they really are.

The more this can happen, the more it’ll benefit the English game in general and, in my belief, better prepare English teams to do battle in the Champions League where they’ll be facing much stiffer opposition.

11 thoughts on “Day of Reckoning for EPL Four Horse Race”

  1. I think that you are right symbolically, but not in terms of fact.

    What is going to determine whether those clubs can compete with the big boys is whether or not they start pounding on the little ones and climbing up the table. It is a boost psychologically, but realistically they aren’t more important than any other matches.

    West Ham got results against Man U and Arsenal last season, but that doesn’t mean they are on the verge of breaking into the top four. It has to be backed up by an entire year’s worth of performances.

  2. Yeah, you’re absolutely right that playing Blackburn, Everton, Pompey, and Spurs will prepare the big four for the CL.

    I mean, it’s not like three English teams made the semi-finals last year or anything.

  3. …And how many Premier League teams made it to the final? And how many of those finalists actually won the Big Ears trophy?

    The Gaffer

  4. Hmmm…Only one of Chelsea and Liverpool could make it into the final. ManU lost to AC Milan in the semis. AC Milan beat Liverpool in the final.

    Hmmmm…you’re right! Playing Blackburn, Everton, Pompey, and Spurs will help the English teams learn how to beat AC Milan!


  5. What a day tomorrow!
    Thank God for Direct TV-I get to watch my beloved Liverpool on Setanta Xtra!
    My predictions: Everton over United(overdue from last season); Arsenal over Tottenham(Spurs defense is still attrocious); Liverpool winning a close one over Pompey, maybe a tie; Chelsea-Blackburn: 2:1 or a tie.

  6. Gaffer,

    I agree with you. I’d love to see some change in the top four and I am a long-time Man United fan as you know. The EPL “title race” is often a bit dull, especially when you consider what was happening in La Liga at the end of last season with several clubs in the hunt right to the end.

  7. I dont mind if the top 4 dont change as long as its a top four we are talking about and not a top 2 by Xmas.
    I’ll be stunned if the top 4 win this week – Chelsea have the easy tie – Blackburn at home – and thats not easy.
    Its a great weekend – I have my viewing plan set up but am hoping Setanta dont give me the Liverpool score during United match and they probably will.

    PLaying these teams has nothing to do with Champions League however – if anything it detracts from their preparations for the midweek European games.

  8. Gaffer-

    What’s the tie breaker for points in the EPL standings? I don’t understand why Arsenal is on top of the table right now when Liverpool have a greater goal differential…

    Thank you.

  9. Anon,

    Arsenal currently has 13 points, to only 11 for Liverpool. Liverpool’s goal differential would only matter if the two teams were tied in points.

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