In very recent times the Premier League "Big Four" have dominated the Premier League. Well with recent injections of money to some of the teams outside of the Big Four, this season is shaping up to be on of the best and closest yet.
The idea of this article will be to write about the teams that have got what it takes to finally crack the Big Four.
Everton are considered to be the best team outside the Big Four, consistently finishing fifth or sixth in the league. This season with the correct transfers which is David Moyes gets right Everton could posess a serious threat to the teams above them.
What I think that Everton are missing is a holding midfielder which hasn't been filled up since Lee Carsley left the club. Stephen M'Bia has been linked with a move to Everton ever since the beginning of last season. A price tag of about eight million could tempt his current club Rennes to sell him.
I also think that a striker is needed to make Everton a bit more stable when an injury happens. It was very unfortunate that Yakubu suffered that injury but he should be back and scoring goals.
Louis Saha has suffered injuries pretty much his whole career and that is why a striker is needed. Michael Owen and Jo are two names being thrown about for that striking role.
The last position that I think needs to be looked at is right back with Tony Hibbert just not cutting it for me. Kyle Naughton would give the Everton backline a bit of a spark and would add speed on the other flank.
With Gareth Barry leaving the club to join money bags Manchester City and Ashley Young expected to leave the club, those two players will need to be replaced.
Aston Villa have recently been moving up the table and finishing in the UEFA Cup places (now named Europa League). Manager Martin O'Neill has done a great job at Aston Villa and is now looking at taking the club to the next level.
I forgot to mention that the backline will need looking at as well with Martin Laursen's retirement so that is where I will start.
It was a sad end for Martin Laursen who had to retire due to injury and Wilfried Bouma expected to do the same thing so two names have been thrown up which are David Wheater and Sylvian Distin. I know those two names are not the names that you would expect to improve a team but these two are decent defenders and will come pretty cheap.
Now in the midfield there is a huge gap which Gareth Barry has left and soon to become even bigger with the departure of Ashley Young. There have been a number of rumors going around who should replace Ashley Young, those names are David Bentley, Steven Defour, and Stewart Downing.
It was reported that Aston Villa offered Ashley Young for David Bentley's signature but nothing has eventuated. My choice for replacing Ashley Young would be Stewart Downing as he would come cheap since Middlesbrough are in the Championship and he is currently injured, but of course that is if Ashley Young leaves the club.
Gareth Barry was a real coward to leave Aston Villa clearly only going to Manchester City for the money but that is now over and out of Aston Villa's control. A couple of names have been thrown around with Jermaine Jenas and Tom Huddlestone being the main candidates to go to Aston Villa. Aston Villa's attack line seems to be alright with some up and coming talents being revealed last season such as Nathan Delfounso.
Money bags Manchester City look as though they can crack the Big Four this season with all their money. Being linked with pretty much everybody in the entire universe.
So far Manchester City has bough Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz who are both talented players but with the rumored news of Carlos Tevez switching Manchesters and Samuel Eto'o's big money move which asks us the question, how many more strikers do Manchester City need?
Manchester City probably have the biggest squad which means what happens to the players that aren't playing, do they leave to find first team football or wait and take the chance they are presented with?
Manchester City's defensive issues seem to be the big problem and are looking for the player they think will stabilise goals being conceded. Joleon Lescott seems to be the favorite to switch teams but Everton are battling to keep the England defender and will not sell unless a reasonable offer comes through.
With saying all that I think that Manchester City seem to be getting their act together and are on their way to fulfilling the owners task of winning the tittle.
With Harry Redknapp in control it finally looks as though Tottenham have a chance of cracking the Big Four's stranglehold in dominating the league. Their defence looks pretty solid and if Ledley King can stay fit this could be Tottenham's season.
Mr Redknapp will be restocking his troops with some big names set to leave the club such as David Bentley, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Darren Bent. With Roman and Darren set to leave the manager is in real need to find reinforcements for their current strike duo of Jermaine Defoe and Robbie Keane.
Tottenham has been criticised as being a far from great place for youngsters to be brought up by rival fans but I don't think that is the case at all. Although Gareth Bale hasn't really improved to his potential and neither has Giovanni dos Santos I think that Tottenham still have a great facility for youngsters.
I'm not really the biggest fan of Tottenham but I think that it may be the season that they finally crack the Big Four.
Last season Fulham showed a consistency that we have not seen before from them, well I have not seen from them before but anyway Roy Hodgson brought in some great players with Mark Schwarzer probably being the pick of the bunch.
Fulham were an impenetrable wall at home last season managing to beat Manchester United which is a very hard task for any team to do. Brede Hangeland was also a big part of Fulham's success and now looks as though he will leave for a bigger club.
What I think Fulham are missing is a striker, they have Andy Johnson, Bobby Zamora, and Diomansy Kamara just to name a few, but I don't think that these three can work well together.
Diomansy was dynamite towards the end of the season and I think that his strike partner could be either Jo or Tuncay who are very decent strikers in their own right. The better choice would be Tuncay as he is a very underrated forward that can score goals even though he didn't show that at Middlesbrough.
I think that Fulham are set to have one of their best seasons yet in the Premier League and are, in my book, rank outsiders to finish in a Champions League place.
Who Is Going To Fall Out Of The 'Big 4'?
The answer to that question in my opinion is Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has done a great job in producing wonderful and talented "kids". I used the word kids as most of their team is made out of 20, 21, 22-year-olds. The purchase of Thomas Vermaelen won't help Arsenal that much and if they lose Emmanuel Adebayor I think that they will be in deeper trouble.
In my opinion Arsenal need to look for a new goalkeeper, defensive midfielder and a striker if Emmanuel Adebayor leaves the club.
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