Will The Premier League Top Six Contain Any Different Clubs Next Season Or Will The Status Quo Be Maintained?

Posted: May 26, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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It depends. If the question relates to the top six being the same six as usual then there is unlikely to be any difference. If, however, it is questioning whether the finishing order will be the same as this season, then that is more debatable.

On the first point, clubs who would think they may have a chance, however slight, of breaking the hexopoly, include Everton if/when they employ Marco Silva, West Ham United now that they have managed to appoint a top manager and Newcastle if they can get rid of Mike Ashley and replace him with somebody considerably richer.

These are all pretty big “ifs” and, in truth, it is unlikely that any of them will be ready to challenge for the top six places as soon as next season.

New managers generally don’t achieve very much in their first season as it is seen as a settling in period during which time they get to know the players and the owners and can then gauge the true potential both financially and on the pitch.

You may notice that Burnley, who finished seventh this season, have been omitted from our “top six challengers” list. This is because we think that expecting them to maintain the standard they have set when other clubs, with far bigger budgets, are improving all the time is probably expecting too much.

So, with a few reservations and provisos then yes, the traditional top six can be breached but it will take some doing and here’s more reasons why.

Champions Manchester City are looking to improve their squad. That is a daunting prospect for everybody else when considering how they strolled to the Premier League title last season, breaking seven records on the way.

Manchester United, having finished second, are also looking to improve and will be spending another fortune this transfer window. Hopefully, Mourinho will be looking to bring in players who are actually good enough to get in the team this time!

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Two of Mourinho’s signings are already playing elsewhere!

Of all the millions spent on Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba along with the wages for Alexis Sánchez and Zlatan Ibrahimović the fact that only three of these seven are regular starters and both have been somewhat out of form recently, whilst two have already left the club, means that Mourinho has to get his act together in the transfer market.

Tottenham Hotspur, as everybody will now be aware, have just had Mauricio Pochettino sign a new contract which, as the saying goes, “ties him to the club for the next five years”. This, of course, is totally untrue and if a really big club decide they want the Argentinian as manager they will just pay the compensation required and he will leave.

This, at present, is not going to happen as, despite all the plaudits he receives, Pochettino has actually won nothing.

Talking of leaving Spurs, Toby Alderweireld will be doing just that and he may not be the only one. This is where Pochettino really needs to earn his corn by convincing Daniel Levy that he needs to spend a lot of money.

Liverpool will just carry on regardless. Jürgen Klopp never appears to have a plan and just seems to muddle through life. He does, however, manage to do it very successfully and could turn his team into genuine contenders with the addition of just a goalkeeper, although we expect maybe two or three additions to the squad, with Naby Keita already due to arrive after signing last season.

What may come as a surprise to some people is that the result of the Champion’s League final and the way Liverpool lose will determine, in Klopp’s mind, which positions he thinks need strengthening.

Chelsea will have a new manager and, realistically, anything could happen. They are one of the two or three clubs where a new manager IS expected to win things in his first season and this can work both ways.

If they get the appointment wrong they will win nothing and could be one of the clubs at risk of losing it’s top six place. If they get it right, however, who knows?

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Maurizio Sarri contemplates which would be more detrimental to his health – smoking 100 cigarettes per day or becoming manager of Chelsea!

Similar can be said of Arsenal although, unlike Chelsea, it is a long time since they had to appoint a new manager. Unai Emery has been well received and has the experience required at a club like The Gunners. The only doubts may be that he never actually won anything of note during his time in Spain other than the Europa League whilst his trophy wins at PSG don’t really count.

Will Arsenal fans be happy with top four and competing, for a short while, in the Champion’s League before dropping to the Europa League and occasionally winning it?

During the last few seasons of Arséne Wenger’s reign this is why they wanted him gone! With the exception of actually winning the Europa League this is almost precisely what the Frenchman was achieving prior to his last two seasons when he couldn’t even get into the top four.

Having said all that we expect Arsenal to comfortably maintain top six status next season.

So the top six are forecast to remain the same unless something remarkable happens at one of the “serious” challengers, it is just the order which may change a little from this year.

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