Dividing the Premier League Clubs Into 8 Different Categories

Photo by Sean Burke 2012

Editor’s note: In an interview with The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning last week on Beyond The Pitch podcast, the Irish pundit explained how the Premier League is three divisions in one: The top six, the bottom six and everyone in between. EPL Talk’s Jack Tomczuk did five better and categorized the league into eight buckets.

The 2011-2012 Barclay’s Premier League can be broken into several categories. While this isn’t a prediction of who will end up where in the table, it instead groups clubs together, and makes the Premier League easier to digest for the new soccer fan.

Here are the eight different categories:

1. The Frontrunner: Manchester United. The Red Devils are the consensus pick to repeat as champions. Sir Alex Ferguson is undoubtedly the best manager in England, and his squad is adding depth. The acquisitions of Ashley Young and Phil Jones show that United are determined to challenge for Champions League and Premier League glory.

2. Deep Pockets: Manchester City and Chelsea. Both of these clubs are serious contenders to win the Premier League. Both ownership groups used their financial might to catapult up the table. City have added Sergio Aguero and Gael Clichy. Chelsea have bought young stars like Romelu Lukaku to go along with Fernando Torres.

3. Looking to Reclaim Past Glories: Liverpool and Arsenal. Both of these storied clubs are in trophy droughts. Liverpool have not won silverware since 2006, while Arsenal’s last trophy came in 2005. Liverpool have added Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing, while Arsenal are still dealing with the Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri sagas. Both clubs will want a top-4 finish.

4. The Outsiders: Tottenham. Spurs find themselves on the outside looking in. Luka Modric may still leave White Hart Lane, and Harry Redknapp has still not added a top quality striker. Tottenham will find it difficult to qualify for the Champions League.

5. In the Middle: Aston Villa, Everton, Fulham, Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, and Bolton. This group of clubs will reside in the middle of the table. Aston Villa and Sunderland have added key pieces to their squad. West Brom will be looking to build on the success they had during the second half of last season. Do not be surprised if one or more of these clubs makes a deep cup run.

6. In the Fight: Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic. Both of these clubs expect to be in yet another grueling relegation battle. Wigan lost Charles N’Zogbia to Aston Villa, so Roberto Martinez will look for one of his young players to step up. Wolves have added players like Roger Johnson and Doug De Vries, but Mick McCarthy’s side will still be fighting relegation.

7. Drama Clubs: Blackburn and Newcastle. Both of these clubs have gone through turmoil this summer. Blackburn is plagued by their disillusioned owners, while Newcastle are in hot water over the Joey Barton Twitter drama. Newcastle have already lost Joey Barton, but they have brought in Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye, and Gabriel Obertan. Blackburn could sink to the bottom of the table very quickly.

8. The Newcomers: Norwich City, Swansea City, and QPR. The newly-promoted clubs will have to prove that they can handle Premier League competition. Going into the summer, many believed that the QPR would storm into the Premiership. After an offseason of confusion, QPR will now have a fight on their hands to stay up. Many neutral supporters will be rooting for Norwich and Swansea. Norwich looks to be the strongest of the clubs after bringing in six players so far this summer.

In conclusion, this Premier League season should be very exciting. There are questions to be answered at the top, middle, and bottom of the league. Are Man City ready to take the next step? Are Arsenal serious title contenders? Will Swansea’s style of play make them the next Blackpool? Can Fulham prosper under new manager Martin Jol? How will the Joey Barton situation play out at St James Park?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments and enjoy the season.

26 thoughts on “Dividing the Premier League Clubs Into 8 Different Categories”

      1. By “The Outsiders,” I mean that Tottenham are not quite up to top-4 level by yet they are in a much better place than “In the Middle.” If Modric leaves, that will be a big blow to Tottenham’s chances.

        To be fair, I would say that Spurs are not a big money club, and they certainly are not trying to reclaim past glories.

        Hey, I am a Gooner, but I do admit that some Arsenal fans are starting to live in the past. Mainly when Piers Morgan asked Arsene Wenger to bring back Henry on Twitter, but Morgan is a bit annoying.

        I tried to write this piece objectively :)

        1. Haha I really have no objections to this article whatsoever – in fact I agree with a lot of it. Considering that Spurs have neither offloaded their dead weight nor brought in reinforcements at striker yet, it’s perfectly reasonable to place them there. I certainly hope they manage to do both by the end of the window though – I much prefer Harry the Wheeler-Dealer to Harry the Thumb Twiddler.

          As for Arsenal, I think it’s fair to put them in that spot as well, but if Wenger continues to sit on his hands and Fabregas and/or Nasri actually do leave… this may be the season when the bottom drops out on him. Pure optimism of course 😉

  1. Fulham? the middle? Fulham has been like the 6th club in London, let alone the country. Yeah they had a nice run under Hughes, finished atop the cluster last season, but Fulham is a small club. Millwall has a better fan base.

    Many will say a club can be defined by itself, and that being how big the stadium is in which the play… In London these are the top clubs by stadium size. 1. Arsenal. 2. Chelsea. 3 Tottenham. 4. West Ham 5.Charlton 6. Crystal Palace 7. Fulham 8. Millwall 9. QPR and perhaps it should be pointed out that Fulham played at Loftus Road when they came up, home of QPR.

    sorry but Fulham are a bounce club… You clearly don’t know any Fulham supporters. or even ever talked with one. ohh and I mean one that lives in London. yeah,

    1. Fulham last three Premier League finishes: 8th, 12th, 7th. The size of the stadium and fan base did not really factor into the decision to put them in the middle. Where would you have put Fulham?

      1. With West Brom. just hoping to stay up. Fulham may have had a nice final position, but if you look at last years table they where not world beaters and could well have been in the struggle to stay up… Look at the squad. there is nothing that even makes you think they are even mid table. BTW they have one of the smallest squads of an established PL squad.

        I have know Fulham fans for two decades… every year the hope is to stay up. anything else is gravy. and please don’t present the Duce fans or American Fulham… not the same.

        1. And where exactly did West Ham finish exactly? Its the league table, not the “fan base” that determines the final outcome

        2. I have known west ham supporters. for over four decades and apart
          from blowing bubbles they are all used to yoyo. and cogratulations
          on your great start to staying in the championship

        3. Ha ha mate that’s very funny coming from a team who finished dead last in the league and have apparently better players than Fulham. Where do i start??? Schwarzer – Green
          Upson- Hangeland
          Duff-Boa morte
          And that’s to name but a few.
          Yes mate your right we are a small team. A small team STILL in the prem and while your watching your lot play the likes of Doncaster, Bristol and Hull we will be in Europe AGAIN playing proper teams. You may have a bigger stadium but your squad is crap !!!!!! COYW

    2. As Jack said, Fulham’s last three finishs have been 8th, 12th, and 7th. They are in ‘The Middle’. It’s not that complicated. You singled them out for some reason though..

      1. I actually think Fulham could finish as high as 7th this season with Jol at the helm and Everton’s financial woes. Not sure why fandom or stadium size are even being brought into the discussion. They clearly fit in that middle class of clubs.

        1. They could possibly end up 7th, but as of right now, they are a middle class club, as Jack and you and I point out. Tricky decided to pick on Fulham for some reason or another.. haha.

    3. Is this guy for a real? ‘a bounce club’, thats coming from a West Ham fan, lol. Absolutely clueless have a look at the hostory….. get with it mate. Europa league final, Fulham have been in prem for 9 years now.

    4. A West Ham fan calling Fulham a “bounce club”, funny as anything I’ve heard for a long time. 7th, 12th, 8th, European final and European football this year…..all in the last three years! 10th consecutive year in the top flight.

      Wembley must be the biggest team in London on the basis of his “big club” league….nonsense post, nonsense club run by dirty little porn kings (or queens)

    5. HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa__________________HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

  2. Interesting to note that the front runner as mentioned above got to the position by spending loads of money – and understand that might spend more !!!!

    1. dude take a chill pill and relax! United have barely spent any money during the last 2 years so basically we’re still spending from the money we got out of christiano ronaldo’s sale. As for this year’s transfer activity, i didnt see anyone talking about liverpool spending 50M + without releasing most of their fringe players who are being payed high wages (which was somehow what united did with the departure of schole, VDS, heargrives, wes brown, o’shea, bebe and obertan) Even Arsenal bought a 17 year old kid with no premier league experience for 15M ! As for chelsea and city, there’s no need to even speak about them.

  3. “Newcastle have already lost Joey Barton, but they have brought in…”
    When did this happen? Thought he was expected to play on Saturday?

  4. I’ve never been a Newcastle fan, but this season I’m curious to see how they play. Alan Pardew seems to have reinvented the side bringing in a bunch of new, young, more technical(?) players. Ben Arfa (basically new), Cabaye, Marveaux, Obertan (I’m curious if he’ll show more quality in a team that should rely on him a little more). Something like the following, although Barton will surely displace someone (who?) if he stays:
    —Defense (less interested in this)

    I’d be suprised if Enrique stays, although he always was the most interesting of the back four.

    Anyway, could be interesting.

    1. Granted I am biased as a Newcastle supporter, but I think a lot of pundits are writing off Newcastle based on the drama around the club. Nothing really new there, Newcastle always has been a dramatic club, seemingly one step away from disaster and one step away from great success (ok maybe overdoing it there but just trying to make a point). My point is that I think Newcastle should be improved from last season to this season, although there is still the shroud of doubt in my mind due to Mike Ashley’s seeming knack to shot himself in the foot.

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