More On How The Big Six In The Premier League Will Approach The New Season

Posted: July 18, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Two seasons ago three of the “big six” started their campaigns with new managers in charge. Pep Guardiola had arrived, with much fanfare and hype, at Manchester City and he would go on to lead them to….er….third place in the Premier League, 15 points behind the winners, and absolutely nothing else.

José Mourinho rode into town, checked himself into the Lowry hotel as if anticipating a short stay and then led his new club, Manchester United, to an underwhelming sixth place finish. He did redeem himself, however, by winning both of the B trophies. He picked up the Carabao Cup and the Europa League with the latter ensuring qualification for the Champion’s League.

Antonio Conte made his way quietly into Stamford Bridge and, having absolutely no midweek distractions, such as European football, won the Premier League at a canter.

So the least successful of the three new boys was the one expected to be the most successful.

The same new boys lined up again the following season with very different results. Pep Guardiola had now got the hang of this Premier League football lark and walked away with it racking up record numbers of points, wins and goals. He also won the Carabao Cup so was reasonably pleased with the way the season had gone.

José Mourinho was now the one who won nothing but, this time out, he did finish second which was a vast improvement on the sixth place of the previous season. United ended the season 19 points behind the winners though so his end-of-term report would certainly have included the words, “must” and “improve”.

Antonio Conte now had the Champions League to contend with so he only managed to win the FA Cup this time out. His problems at Chelsea were compounded greatly by him leading the team to a fifth place finish meaning that they missed out on the Champion’s League for the following season.

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The over-achiever and the under-achiever, certainly in the last few years

Of the old school, Arséne Wenger had overstayed his welcome by at least one year although many gooners would add a few more to that figure. He won nothing and finished sixth, yet again failing to qualify for the Champion’s League. He was politely asked to do one which was actually spun as him stepping down from his job.

Mauricio Pochettino overachieved yet again and finished fourth with Jürgen Klopp dragging Liverpool, kicking and screaming all the way, into third place AND into the Champion’s league final where they lost to Real Madrid thanks to Loris Karius.

This coming season two of the “big six” will start out with new managers. Unai Emery has replaced Stubborn Old Man at The Emirates and Maurizio Sarri has finally been given the Chelsea job thanks to a last-minute agreement between Antonio Conte and the club that they will see each other in court.

What would constitute a good season for the new men? Well, a finish in the top four would represent a significant improvement for Arsenal even if they win nothing. Emery is probably not under massive pressure to deliver a trophy in his first season although he does seem to have the knack in the Europa League so that may be worth watching this year.

Maurizio Sarri, on the other hand, will immediately be under pressure to deliver. His stated targets will be to win the Premier League, reach the final of the Europa League and he will probably be expected to win a cup. However, as long as he gets the club back into the Champion’s League and doesn’t fall out with the players, his job should be safe for a couple of seasons.

In truth this season looks, on the face of it, similar to last season. Manchester City still have the best squad and Manchester United still have the second best squad so the battle appears to be for the final two places in the top four.

A stronger challenge from both Arsenal and Chelsea is expected so this will pile the pressure on Mauricio Pochettino and Jürgen Klopp and the latter, unless he buys a top class goalkeeper, will struggle. Just ask Pep what it was like when he had Claudio Bravo as first choice!

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Daniel Levy wonders if his manager will fall for the same excuses again or if he will really have to spend some money!

Tottenham need to buy a couple of players and are running out of time with the transfer window closing in less than a month so this coming season could see the return of Arsenal and Chelsea to the top four with Liverpool and Spurs missing out.

It will be interesting, yet again.

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