Is the end of the Big Four nigh?

Thursday, 29 October 2009



This season’s Premier League title race was billed to be the most competitive in years and it certainly hasn’t disappointed us thus far.

The Big Four are no longer the untouchables and with the emergence of new sides like Manchester City, Aston Villa Spurs and Sunderland, their status is under threat especially in regard to Champions League football.

Without a doubt this is the season we see the end of the Big Four. After 10 games there is no clear leader emerging from the pack. It is Chelsea who top the table on 24 points while Manchester United lie second on 22 points; Arsenal and Tottenham are third, both on 19 points. Then there is only a point separating the teams from 5th to 9th.

In those opening 10 fixtures – the Big Four of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal have lost a combined total of 10 games, 7 of them to teams outside the top four.

Manchester United had an early lapse against promoted Burnley, but then went on an 11 game unbeaten run before being humbled by Liverpool last weekend, a game which threw up their real weaknesses.

Liverpool who only lost twice last term have been beaten four times after just 10 games, losing to Aston Villa, Tottenham, Sunderland and Chelsea. These teams they really should be beating if they want to win their first title since 1990.

Chelsea may not have lost any players in the close season, but they still don’t look the force they were under Jose Mourinho. Their away form is particularly worrying; having been beaten by Wigan and Aston Villa on the road, but Stamford Bridge still remains their fortress.

Finally, Arsenal like Chelsea have been beaten twice this season already, again both on the road, and to the two Manchester sides. They still however remain in contention even though they were tipped to be the one that would drop out of the Big Four. Their only signing in the transfer window was Thomas Vermaalen, but what a signing he has proved to be.

So, that begs the question is the end of the Big Four nigh? And the answer is yes.

There has been a clear drop in the quality of the Big Four’s football this season which has made things very interesting already, by throwing up some shock results. Also the Big Four have to contend with both domestic and European football and that is proving to be an achilles heel for some.

It certainly could mean we won’t have an English team in the Champions League final, or that they won’t be three of the four semi-finalists like previous seasons.

For now we are left with many unanswered questions, can Manchester United set the benchmark and become the first side to win four-in-a-row? Will Liverpool get back to winning ways in search for their first title since 1990? And can Chelsea or Arsenal bring back the Premier League crown to London?

But there is one very important question for you to think about – which side will break the Big Four?

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Touchline Views

This is a football blog by Ian Walsh, covering all aspects of the game - from the Premier League and La Liga to the slightly mental football stories we all love.

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