The Premier League has borne witness to many changes in form and participants over the years, and while certain big names have fallen from grace in almost horrific fashion over time it was slowly established by certain elements that Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United could be considered the "big four".
While some have never agreed with the terminology it has been embraced by the media and has become a commonly used term in all forms of media coverage.
However, despite the continuing use of the term it is now emerging that a few sides are in very strong positions going into this season and that the strength has been growing in several different quarters for a number of years.
It seems to be only a matter of time before a power shift is seen and interestingly it may not just involve the most obvious protagonists. There are certain other sides that have been carefully going about their business and slowly building strong and experienced squads.
It could be a redundant term in relation to its current "members" by the time the World Cup rolls around. With the added prize of representing their countries at the world's premier tournament in South Africa next year, there will be several players across the league who will be lifting their games to new heights.
This could seriously effect the continuity of some of the sides in the league who have grown used to winning certain fixtures without seeming to bat an eyelid.
Out of the "big four" now there are four relatively solid squads though some are stronger than others. True strength will not be known until the transfer window has closed as managers leave their bargaining to the last few minutes.
With a few sides that are currently outside the "big four" having been strengthening over the years into more powerful positions to challenge the old guard of the league.
Tottenham, Everton, Aston Villa, and Manchester City are the obvious choices for games that could yield a stronger challenge for teams who in the past would have been confident of taking points from both fixtures.
Add to this Bolton, Blackburn and Fulham, as well as surprise package Hull City, who shone a beacon for clubs that have ambitions of putting up a sustained and vigorous challenge on their entry to the league.
You now have all sorts of possible problems for teams that have been taking their place in the top few places on the table for granted in the last few seasons.
When the shades come down on what looks to be another action-packed season of footballing action, perhaps there could be a vague or vastly different shape to the final table placings.
If it remains as it is it will be a testament to the vision and drive of the current "big few". If it is changed then it will be something that has been brewing for many years with many twists and turns.
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