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Blackpool, Spurs, Arsenal and Man City Grab The Weekday Headlines

Britannia Stadium Stoke City v Blackpool Premier 11/12/2010 D J Campbell (Blackpool) celebrates first goal Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Despite what some of the readers may think, I’m not a supporter of the Big Four clubs in the Premier League. I enjoy watching them. But I enjoy watching them the same as I do the other 16 that form the Premier League. But what I do especially enjoy is a couple of days like Monday and Tuesday where the headlines didn’t revolve around the massive clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool winning matches. Instead, over the past 48 hours, I was chuffed to see that the headlines (from the matches that is, not the off-the-pitch drama) featured wins by Blackpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Yes, Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester City are no minnows, by any means, but it’s refreshing to see that the powerhouses of Manchester United and Chelsea, especially, are stumbling. As a result, it’s giving other teams more exposure. And it’s also giving more of the praise to teams that set out with an attacking style of play in mind such as Blackpool (who kicked off with a 4-3-3 away at Sunderland today), Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal (the Manchester United game excepted). Imagine if more teams in the Premier League adopted these tactics.

It’s incredible to consider that Blackpool is only six points behind Chelsea. And Ian Holloway’s side has a game in hand over the Blues. For a team that has such a puny budget compared to Chelsea and for the Seasiders to be that close to Roman Abramovich’s side is absolutely amazing.

It was also heartwarming to see Manchester City on top of the Premier League table, if only for a couple of hours.

Wednesday marks the last day out of four consecutive days featuring Premier League matches. I love this time of the year, and I love the fact that Blackpool, Man City, Spurs and Arsenal are doing so well. Now if Bolton can beat Chelsea on Wednesday to leapfrog them into fifth place, that would be brilliant.

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  1. redskin

    December 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    you dropped a tiny bollock mate.
    “the last time man city were top of the highest league in england was
    81 years ago.”
    i am sure you remember that they won the title in 1967-68.

    • The Gaffer

      December 30, 2010 at 1:48 pm

      Oops, good catch. It’s probably 81 years ago since they were top during the Christmas week?

      The Gaffer

  2. Brad in SoCal

    December 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Who says you have to win at home? Go, Blackpool! (But please don’t wake us up!) 🙂

    As for the “Big Four,” based on the last few games:
    Why is Rooney running around on the wings? Bring back Ronaldo!
    Boring, boring Chelsea!
    Inconsistent Arsenal.
    Liverpool–didn’t they used to be good?

  3. Carolyn

    December 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Chelsea only won the EPL title after Abramovich spent loads of money. Many people accused them of buying the title when they won it for the first time. The same thing that City are doing now. So why the anti City sentiment? United have spent loads of money and have been successful. People forget United paid about 34 million pounds for Berbatov which was a transfer record at that time. They’ve spent big on lots of other players. Spurs have spent big too and they are near the top of the table. Big clubs will always spend big and are the reason why they stay at the top of the table. Aresenal are the only exception as they have bought much more wisely and bringing in youngsters and have stayed at the top end all the while.

  4. F*NK

    December 29, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I’m not sure how you can say it’s ‘heartwarming’ to see City at the top… If you’re against the ‘top 4’ you should realize it’s because these clubs have the most money to spend to bring in talent young and old. Saying it’s ‘heartwarming’ to see City top takes any and all credibility from this article.

    • The Gaffer

      December 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

      The last time Manchester City were top of the highest league in England was, I believe, 81 years ago. That’s a pretty heartwarming achievement to see them top of the table even if it’s just for a couple of hours.

      Yes, they’re overflowing with money but they haven’t been part of the Big Four until this season (we’ll know for sure by the end of the season).

      The Gaffer

      • M

        December 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

        The reason some (including myself) don’t find it so “heartwarming” is because they bought their way there, which is completely different from it being a genuine “achievement”. They haven’t built up a quality side over several seasons (as Tottenham seems to be doing) or fighting with an attacking, never-say-die underdog attitude (the way Blackpool is). They just opened up a massive wallet and straight up bought their way to the top. Manchester City’s success is everything that so many of us complain about in football, so how could we find it “heartwarming”? It is the exact same reason that the rise of Chelsea didn’t warm people’s hearts, and why their downfall makes so many giddy.

        • The Gaffer

          December 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm

          M, I know and I understand where you’re coming from, but it’s definitely nice to see a different club in first place in the Premier League. Yes, they’ve bought their way there, but City comes from a long tradition of having fans who have been through all sorts of hell and depression from a club that has been as low as the third tier of English football and now look where they are. I’m sure City’s rise won’t be so heartwarming when they begin to monopolize the top of the table, but for the time being I’m enjoying it.

          The Gaffer

          • Evan

            December 29, 2010 at 2:13 pm

            Great point Gaffer

  5. evridis

    December 29, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I’m not quite getting this. All of a sudden Arsenal isn’t one of England’s “big clubs” anymore? Sure, they haven’t won anything in 5 years, but neither has Liverpool. Arsenal has consistently placed in the top four over the past ten years, which more that can be said of Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as making it to the second round of the CL. Every home game is sold out and thousands are on the waiting list for season tickets.
    I also don’t get it when you say they are “doing better”. They’ve lost more games and have less points than at the same stage last season. Beating Chelsea does not give you more points than beating Blackpool you know.

    • The Gaffer

      December 29, 2010 at 9:21 am

      Evridis, the two most successful teams in English football history are Liverpool and Manchester United. Arsenal were huge in the 30’s and have had great spells in the 70s as well as early ’00s, but it’s been quite some time since they last won a Premier League trophy. Chelsea, meanwhile, have been one of the most successful teams for the past 6 years.

      Arsenal may have lost more games and have less points than at the same stage last season, but so have the other top clubs in the league. If Arsenal has any chance of winning the Premier League trophy, this year is probably their best shot with Man United stumbling and not hitting their stride quite yet while Chelsea looks like they’re going through a transitional period.

      The Gaffer

      • evridis

        December 29, 2010 at 9:47 am

        If you’re so focused on success through history, how can you include Chelsea as a big club? I was referring to the past 10-15 years, not the ’30s.

  6. up man city

    December 29, 2010 at 3:26 am

    dear, Russel. it is not fair to wish man city ill luck n stuff. do u know y clubs like everton or sunderland can not win d EPL? their big or talented players r taken away by clubs like man utd or d spanish n italian giants. pls, try not to be closed minded when making judgements. big bucks go a long way winning trophies. i like what is happening at spurs at d moment but u never know what ll happen to d likes of bale, rafeal, or modric next term. it is football. ll bale pass an opportunity to play at madrid or man u? ll spurs pass by a 60-70 million bid 4 d player? i think not. it is football. it is d world now. u what u ve got to get what u want. i like d writer of ds post, i m like him too. i don’t really support any club really ( i m a Nigerian). but love to watch quality football. bolton, newcastle n sunderland display some of ds. do not be biased mate.

    • wisdom

      December 29, 2010 at 4:58 am

      yes I like what is happening now. every teams is fighting for success, no more weaker team in epl. if you don’t put in good performance forget about wining it.

  7. Russell

    December 29, 2010 at 1:50 am

    How can any neutral be happy to see Arabian United topping the english premier league?
    Just as with Chelski some years ago when money bags Abramovich bought success, we now have Man City ( a real nothing second rate club) proving that modern day football is just about having the most money and splashing the cash around to overpay already overated prima donnas. Our beloved game lies in ruins. Only a realistic salary cap can overcome the inevitable implosion that must be iminent. Thank goodness Tottenham have brought some joy back into the English game this year with some truly British up and at ’em footballing phylosophy. I just hope the money men crash and burn real soon.

    • Why?

      December 29, 2010 at 10:33 am

      Oh dear you look like another plastic Utd fan who thinks football started 1n 1992 either that or you seem to go along with the Utd did it with buttons and the right way (which they certainly did not). United’s team that won the league for the first time in something like 34 years (big club eh? Or a real nothing second rate club?) they spent more than any other team by miles £18m+ on the squad that won the league that year!!! Most squads costings being around £6-8m mark.
      On your Spurs bring joy tale are you real they have spent a absolute fortune!!! With only 2 or 3 clubs spending more!! When Utd were buying Veron & ferdinand for £28m and £30m nearly ten years ago City were signing players such as Steve Howey and Sun Jai the rest of the league couldn’t even come near Utd’s spending of this time ether, so stop talking cxxp Utd have bought the league same as Chelsea and others before. In every league in the world the one’s with the most money are the most successful it‘s what keeps them at the top, end of.

  8. AntiOnan

    December 29, 2010 at 12:00 am

    What is quite funny is that I can still remember when MU were relegated, Chelsea were our nursery side, Liverpool were in the second division and Arsenal were just that “other North London side”.
    Until Liverpool proved that money is the main need for success it was an open field to any quality side. But their period of dominance was the first start of the “top four” in concrete with MU only realising this with Ferguson and Arsenal with Wenger. Just imagine the “top four” without those two managers and you would only have the money of Chelsea and the cash of MC to beat…no small feat but possible.

    Holloway is the manager of the season IMHO with Coyle not far behind as managers who have had to do things the hard way. Not everyone is as lucky as Redknapp who has an astute chairman like Levy to back him & I see a total absence of the supposed “wheeler/dealer” reputation of Redknapp in action at WHL and so I wonder how he could have played any role in Portsmouth’s demise.

    Mind you, if THFC win something this season I will have to place ‘arry first but not just yet.

    • The Gaffer

      December 29, 2010 at 12:09 am

      AntiOnan, great points mate. It’s really been a season of great football managers doing wonders (Holloway, Redknapp and Coyle) as well as a season of attacking football winning against the evils of defensive football.

      Everything could change between now and the end of the season, but so far I’ve really been enjoying this one more than others. It really has been an eyeopening season in many ways especially with the rise and fall of Chelsea.

      I remember Chelsea in the old Division Two in the late 70s. They were in the same division as Sunderland, Birmingham City, Fulham and, my team, Swansea City.

      The Gaffer

  9. Evan

    December 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Great piece. I agree 100%. It’s great to see the usual top 4 faltering. Blackpool’s attacking style will hopefully inspire some of the promoted clubs next year to do the same. This is my favorite premier league season in memory.

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