Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United And Liverpool. The Top Six Are Miles Ahead Of The Rest

Posted: January 8, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Everton, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Is it a coincidence that the six richest clubs in the Premier League currently occupy the top six places in the Premier League?

I suppose it depends upon your view of Leicester City’s achievements last season. If you think, like many others, that their winning the title was a one-off, freakish, yet sensational story then the natural order of things has been restored.

If, however, you think that the Leicester story can be repeated by either themselves or another unfancied club, then the amount of money a club has available to buy players is less relevant.

Usually, if a club has plenty of money it will attract one of the best managers in world football. This means that a very powerful partnership is formed. The best managers in world football, with the possible exception of Carlo Ancelotti, are currently managing the top six teams in England.

But what about Real Madrid and Barcelona, I don’t hear you ask? They consistently beat English opposition in the European competitions and, whilst both very rich, cannot be said to have the best managers in Europe, never mind the world. In fact, a very strong case can be argued that Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid is a better manger than both of them.

What they do have, between them, is some of the best players in the world and, when that happens, the debate changes to whether you need the best manager or not when you have the best players, particulary when your domestic league doesn’t offer much competition.

Time will tell whether Luis Enrique and Zinedine Zidane are to be remembered as great managers, or just managers of great clubs. They will both have to leave their current jobs and manage elsewhere if they are to prove their worth in the same way as Pep Guardiola, José Mourinho, Jürgen Klopp and Antonio Conte have done. All of these have been successful with more than one team although it could be said that Jürgen Klopp’s success with Liverpool has been mooted up to now.

So can anybody challenge the superiority of the top six in England? Can it be done over a lengthy period or will Leicester’s example be the only one for a few years more?

Currently, the only other team showing any signs of being able to compete financially is Everton. They now have a rich benefactor who was certainly instrumental in securing the services of Ronald Koeman, a manager who had found his comfort zone at Southampton and required considerable persuasion to leave it. Even so, there is very little talk of Everton being contenders for the title in the near future. The top four still seems to be the height of their ambition in the short term.

Does anybody else have a chance of breaking into the elite at the top? At present it is very doubtful. Clubs below the current top six do not have the income or even the potential income to compete financially. This means that they will always be approaching their football the way it was meant to be for everybody. They will have to be excellent at scouting players and managers so as to get to them before the richer clubs.

Even when this is achieved they will still lose their better players and managers. The bigger clubs will just sit, vulture-like, waiting to see what they can pick off the bones of the smaller clubs. Then there is little they can do about it. Ambitious managers will always move to bigger and better challenges, not to mention money, as will players.

So for the time being and until something drastic changes, the top six, with the possible addition of Everton making it a top seven, will continue to dominate the table for the foreseeable future. At least we have the comfort of knowing that, not too long ago, it was a regular top four and, before that, a regular top two. So a couple of teams have been adding themselves to the elite each couple of years.

The problem is that now there doesn’t appear to be any teams sat on the periphery with the money, manager and potential to join the elite. It looks like we are stuck with this lot for a while yet.

Still, it’s not a bad mini-league and the relegation scrap is always enjoyable, unless you support a team who is involved in it!

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