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Can The Big 4 Be Split?

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We are only a few games into the season and already we have seen a couple of unexpected results involving the big 4, these results may turn out not to be important at the end of the season but there does seem to be potential for slip ups from some of the big teams this year so does that open the door for a new member or two to the top 4?

Spurs and Man City have built up excellent squads over the summer and look to have the potential to compete with the top 4 this season, well for at least a while anyway. I am not sure that I can see either team winning the league this season but there is a potential that if they can keep their top players fit and on form then they have a realistic chance of breaking into the top 4.

What goes against this is that most of the players at both clubs have never been in the position where they could potentially challenge for a Champions League slot so whether they can see it through to the end or not is a different matter. An example of this was Arsenal two seasons ago when they looked on course for the title only to suffer a string of poor results in the title run in. The situation was slightly different with Arsenal with regards the Eduardo injury however it was still a young team that didn’t have the title experience.

Liverpool has suffered two defeats in their first three games and worryingly for fans the defeats were probably justified. Spurs were the better team when they played on the first game of the season and although Liverpool created a lot of chances against Aston Villa they were so open at the back and slack in midfield they deserved to lose the goals that they did.

Manchester United has lost the creative spark of Cristiano Ronaldo and haven’t yet replaced this which is obvious when you see the team play. However some of the other United players look like they could have more freedom to play now Ronaldo has gone and there is still a possibility of a top player turning up in a Man Utd shirt before the window closes.

Chelsea has only altered the squad slightly and look as strong as they have done for the last few seasons. As long as everyone stays fit the biggest blow to them could be the African Nations tournament at the start of the year.

Arsenal look a much improved team from last season and there looks to be room for more signings before the end of the transfer window. What will most likely be crucial for Arsenal, as it is every season, is the number of injuries that the club pick up if this can be kept to a minimum then Arsenal are in for a shout of the title this season.

Man City and Spurs certainly have the quality in their team to put up a fight with the big 4 and although Liverpool and Manchester United in particular look weaker than they did last season I just can’t see either dropping out of the top 4. It is certainly going to be a good season this year with more competition for the top 4 places which can only result in a more viewing pleasure/nail biting tension for the fans.

Written by Danny Watson, a sports journalist who blogs about football news.

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  1. adjan

    August 27, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Well, I guess it’s time for someone to break The Big Four. Spurs and City have to be up there amongst the clubs capable of doing this. Villa? I don’t think so. I mean they’ve played very well against Liverpool but they haven’t really strengthened their squad, unlike Tottenham and Man City. Martin O’Neill lost Gareth Barry in the summer and he hasn’t replaced him yet. On the other hand, City have made some terrific signings, they are not only very strong up front, but also in defence. Some classy defenders have been bought by City, like Lescott and Toure. They seem to have strength in depth with a couple of players competing to play on each position. What I don’t like about City’s Big Four Challenge is their manager. Will he make it? I really doubt it, but it’s good he’s been given a chance. Tottenham haven’t really signed anyone, but their manager is some kind of bonus for them. Had he been in charge at the beginning of last season, Spurs would have easily got 6th place, maybe even higher. Also Spurs’ players seem to be in great shape. I mean Defoe is scoring, I loved Modric and Palacios in the last couple of games, defence is playing well. I think they might be able to make it this season and I hope they do.
    But for me the real question is who out of The Big Four fails. I’m tipping Liverpool, they’ve sold Xabi Alonso and haven’t really replaced him. I mean I don’t think Aquilani is capable of filling the gap, he doesn’t have Alonso’s creativity, ability to play someone through.
    Arsenal seem very strong at the beginning of the season but it might be also them to finish 5th, if the other clubs do well.
    Chelsea and Man United will fight for the Championship, there’s no doubt about that for me. My early call would be Chelsea, but you never know.

  2. oliver

    August 27, 2009 at 11:28 am

    RE: Chelsea has only altered the squad slightly and look as strong as they have done for the last few seasons. As long as everyone stays fit the biggest blow to them could be the African Nations tournament at the start of the year.

    Tournament runs from Jan 10th –> Jan 31st. Chelsea’s fixtures for that period are (including a couple of weeks preparation):

    12/26 Birmingham City (AWAY)
    12/28 Fulham (HOME)
    1/9 Hull City (AWAY)
    1/16 Sunderland (HOME)
    1/27 Birmingham City (HOME)
    1/30 Burnley (AWAY)

    Not the worst set of fixtures possible

    • Gary

      August 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm

      Oliver, thank you!! Enough with this incessant ANC talk! I could see if any of those teams were Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, or Citeh, but there are not so with Anelka and Sturridge up front and a healthy Joe Cole, Chelsea will be fine.

  3. Ford Prefect

    August 27, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Depth is Key to breaking the barrier–Not playing in Europe is an advantage for both Spurs and City, as they’ll be able to keep legs fresher for the final stretch–Either have a legitimate shot at it–Dark Horse candidate is Villa– Don’t think they have the depth to get there-although I never underestimate O’Neill’s ability to get more than expected out of players

  4. Sam E P

    August 27, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Looking at Spurs in the Carling Cup this week shows the depth of the team now – even their second tier has International players and keen youngsters. They finished last season strongly under Harry and look good for a winning season – fourth? Who out of the top 4 will miss out?

  5. Tyson

    August 27, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I think Liverpool could be the break away this season.

    With Xabi Alonso gone his Howitzer like passes are gone too. He was a good player but more importantly he was a player who contributed to the formation exceptionally well. With his contributions gone goal count will plummet.

    Arsenal are doing well but we shall see how long they keep it up. If anything though Arsenal is testament to how badly negative attitudes like Adebayor can affect a team. He was their second highest goal scorer but an asshole and his negative mentality did more bad for them than good which says a lot about how important mentalities and attitudes are in football.

    Manchester United have the biggest and richest most vast squad right now. They can win matches with Rio Ferdinand, Van Der Sar, Vidic, Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves out. There probably isn’t a team in the world that could do so well with 5 first team players not being able to play.

    There’s little doubt they will be challenging for the title. Chelsea on the other hand have a pretty rich squad and a pretty smart manager that tries to get them to pace themselved from game to game and its working quite well. I’d say they are the biggest threat to Uniteds title.

    Manchester City is full of mercenaries that only care about money. You only have to look at the effect Adebayor leaving has had on Arsenal. Some players have a nasty attitude and only care for money. These kind of players destroy and ruin teams as they only care about personal glory in a team game. Manchester CIty is full of throw aways who would have never looked twice at the club had it not been for the money.

    Tottenham Hotspurs on the other hand have a positive energy and vibe about them and they are obviously enjoying their football and are ambitious about going places. Redknapp has settled them down well so things should go relatively well for them.

    • Huh

      August 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm

      See your still talking utter nonesense!

  6. Ian M

    August 27, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Although I’m a Spurs fan I feel Manchester City have the better chance of breaking into the top 4 this season. Spurs still look a little brittle at the back but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them.

    Unfortunately I don’t agree with your prediction for Liverpool. They look ‘stale’ and the Gerrard/Torres thing has, I suspect, now been worked out by most teams/coaches and thus will be less effective a weapon this time around. I think they’ll drop out of the top 4 this year and Rafa will be sent packing when this becomes apparent to the (American) Owners towards the end of the season.

    Chelsea are about where they were last season with United slightly down with the loss of Ronaldo. Arsenal are the enigma – we’ll have to see how that unravels over the course of the campaign.

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