Each English Premier League season starts with predictions of teams breaking into the elusive top four, and with it Champions League qualification, and each season seems to end the same way – with Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool keeping their top four monopoly. In the last few years only Everton have managed to finish ahead of one of the top four, Liverpool, but have progressed since then.
This season sees the best chance yet of an outside team cracking the top four, with Manchester City’s buying power and Spurs progression under Harry Redknapp putting pressure on the top four. Added to this has been the big fours inconsistency, with United, Arsenal and Chelsea having lost 2 of their opening 11 games, and Liverpool’s nightmare start seeing them go down in 5 of theirs. Last season Liverpool finished 2nd with only 2 loses. City have had their best start to a season and currently occupy 4th position, at the expense of Liverpool. Although they have drawn their last 4 games City have only lost once, the least in the league. Their money is buying a good team, and with more to spend in January there’s every chance that they can crack a top 4 finish, and progress from there.
The same can’t be said for Spurs. Each season begins with Spurs as the side predicted to compete for 4th place, and with the exception of one season, when they finished 5th, they have been unable to sustain a real push. Redknapp has done wonders with the struggling team that he took over last year, but with the players at his disposal it would only take the right man to turn them into a competitive outfit. The start that Spurs made to this season filled all at White Heart Lane with optimism. They even led the table for a while. However they have been shown up in their games against United, where they were well beaten by 10 men, and against Chelsea and Arsenal, both who thrashed them. Their opening day win against Liverpool suggested that they had potential to last the pace, however it now seems that was more about where Liverpool are this season then how much Spurs have improved.
Spurs have improved under Redknapp and are enjoying a good start to the season, however when they’ve really been tested, against United, Arsenal and Chelsea, they have been truly out classed. Rather than competing with the top four, it is perhaps more realistic to say that Spurs have moved ahead of the chasing pack, the likes of Everton and Aston Villa, made the gulf in class between them and the top four is as far away as ever. Spurs will be competitive but their fans shouldn’t be looking at a top 4 finish but rather at a Europa League place. However City fans may be able to dream of a top 4 finish, especially with Liverpool’s struggles, but for Spurs that’s still more of an ambitious dream then a realistic goal. Still, a cup run may be within them.
pic from teamtalk.com