Who Will Push The Big Four This Year?
The elite group that is the big four – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, have dominated the top four places in the Premiership for the past six year with the exception of Everton three seasons ago. But can this season be different and a club outside of this elite group break into a Champions League place?. This season has seen some clubs invest huge sums of money into players to try and break into club footballs biggest tournament.
Spurs have invested onwards and upwards of £90 million on players in the past two seasons and are still looking at players as Ramos tries to truly stamp his mark on the team. The new faces that have joined the squad certainly make it look stronger on paper, all that could be questioned is that with a lot of new players it takes time for them to settle into the teams system. The players to have signed this year are Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, Forward Giovanni Dos Santos, Playmaker Luka Modric, Winger David Bentley and hot prospect John Bostock. But they have also lost influential forward Robbie Keane to Liverpool which could be a huge blow unless he is replaced before the season starts. Other players to have left the club are Paul Robinson, Steed Malbranque, Teemu Tainio, Pascal Chimbonda. Last years finish of 11th is certainly not in the thoughts of the club this year.
Aston Villa are a team who have been on the up the last two seasons with Martin O’Neil at the helm. The main headlines the last few months is the will he not he saga of Gareth Barry, the player obviously wants to leave but question is will Liverpool come up the £18 million that Villa want. Despite this O’Neil has made some shrewd buys in holding midfielder Steven Sidwell from Chelsea for £5 million, goalkeeper Brad Friedel for £2 million from Blackburn who is one of the most consistent performers in the league. Other additions are American keeper Brad Guzan, Curtis Davies on a permanent deal. Villa though have lost influential defender Olof Mellberg who will need to be replaced before they can be taken seriously as true contenders. Bu the future looks bright with young stars Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor making great strides.
Everton were the team that had a the chance last season to break the domination but a poor finish to the season saw them barely make Europe by the end. Last season saw the emergence of Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka at the back, but with Everton not making any new signings and the loss of Tim Cahill to injury and the sale of Andy Johnson to Fulham it would seem they will not be making the extra step. With that said David Moyes is an excellent manager and will get the very best out of his young talented squad.
Manchester City have changed there manager after a fairly successful season under Sven Goran Eriksson. But the new man in charge has a good C.V and will no doubt bring a new professionalism that could take City to the next level. They have made a big signing in Brazilian striker Jo for £19 million and strengthened there back line with Tal Ben Haim. With young prospects in Joe Hart, Micah Richards and the flair of Elano and Petrov they could well have a chance to do something this year.
Portsmouth had their most successful season in their history last season and will be looking to build on that. With a very strong and athletic team they will be a force to be reckoned with especially at home. A major blow to them is the loss of midfielder Sulley Muntari to Inter Milan but they have add to the squad with Peter Crouch, Ben Sahar and Glenn Little. With Jermain Defoe in his first full season at the club and the reliable back four and goalkeeper they could well be a surprise package this season.