Given that only Manchester City are left in the Champions League and no one cares for the Europa League, I thought I’d give my thoughts on the traditional top six in the Premier League.
I will look at the seasons they’ve had and what we might expect in the next campaign.
Let’s work from the top down: Liverpool.
Who can deny what they’ve achieved? Well, Covid-19 almost did, but it all worked out in the end.
Despite missing out on the Premier League record for overall log points, they were untouchable for most of the campaign.
Defending their Champions League title wasn’t to be, losing over two legs to Atletico Madrid.
They are no doubt the best team in England, but ahead of the new season I’m not sure we’ll be seeing the same type of dominance.
Everything will be expected of them, but traditionally repeating those sorts of highs aren’t often seen.
Long-term transfer target Timo Werner chose against joining them and it appears that we won’t be seeing big movement in the upcoming window.
The squad as it stands is excellent, but with all those around gearing up to strengthen, it’ll be a gamble by the board if they expect to see the same type of outcome.
Manchester City are definitely the second best team in England.
I know that seems like an obvious statement, going on league positioning, but they’re miles ahead of the chasing pack.
After poo-poo’ing Fifa’s Fair Play bollox, they’ll be back in the market again after adding Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres.
I’m not sure whether Ake is the answer to the long-term replacement of Vincent Kompany, but we can expect Pep Guardiola to have another £100m worth on the bench.
They won the League Cup, but that’s just not good enough for the type of investment.
Manchester United deservedly ended up in third place. They did enough to warrant it, but it’s nowhere near where they should be.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer inherited a team that finished on 81 points in second place.
He managed 66 points and sixth, then spent £200m and hit the same mediocre total again!
For me they just look too safe, too average, no spark.
The quality is there, but the tactics stifle what could be a much more progressive philosophy.
It’s all due to the pressure of spearheading the “biggest” club in England. I’m afraid we’ll be seeing more of the same in the new season.
Frank Lampard (for me) has done an amazing job at Chelsea. Fourth place was a huge victory and an FA Cup final a bonus. All this while losing Eden Hazard and having to deal with a transfer ban.
Incorporating eight academy faces into the first team is what we (old-school Chelsea fans) have been wanting for years.
It’s worked out well, but there are huge issues to deal with if the Blues are to be considered properly competitive next time around.
A double pasting from Bayern in the Champions League and a defence that all too often looked Sunday League highlighted the massive job.
On the transfer front, there’s no doubt huge investment is happening.
But with forward positions filling up, we’re waiting to see who will be recruited in goal, centreback, leftback, all positions that desperately need reinforcements.
At times this season past, I really enjoyed watching Leicester.
Considering the squad, I’m still amazed that they compete at the top end of the division. A lack of depth took its toll following lockdown and it all just caved in.
Until then there’s no doubt they were deservedly ahead of the likes of Chelsea and United, thanks to better organisation and better football.
As with what happened following the great Claudio Ranieri season, looks like a couple of key players will be lost.
Recruitment has been a strong point for the Foxes, but I’d predict we’ll be seeing a downward trajectory.
Spurs are in a mess!
The players are simply not responding to Jose Mourinho.
After years of excitement and progressive football under Mauricio Pochettino, feels like I’m watching Wimbledon plus Heung-min Son and Harry Kane.
Chairman Daniel Levy can’t be sleeping well. Tottenham fans don’t like Jose and it looks as if decent and reliable, rather than world class is the philosophy moving forward in the transfer market.
Mind you, the Gareth Bale rumours might just add a little spark.
I love what Nuno Espirito Santo has done at Wolves. Unfortunately for me, looks like this is about as good as we’re gonna get out of them.
They’ll probably be losing Adama Traore and a couple of other key players Leander Dendoncker comes to mind. As a footballing side, when they’re on, they’re amazing to watch.
Given the coach’s philosophy and ability to get the best out of his players, it would be interesting to see what could be achieved given the backing at a big money club.
Well that’s the top six then there’s Arsenal. Winning the FA Cup really was massive for them. Without it, things would be pretty depressing. I think we can see plusses in the job Mikel Arteta is doing, but man, when you think of the Gunners under Arsene Wenger this is awful.
By the way, if you get a chance, check out Anelka Misunderstood on Netflix.
Proper good watch
My top six for next season: Liverpool (just ahead of) City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal, Leicester.
Stay safe good people, let me know your thoughts at [email protected].