The Big Four Are As Strong Ever Despite Media Reports Otherwise

illya mclellan@illya mclellan @illbehaviorNZSenior Analyst IOctober 7, 2009

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Players and fans pay tribute to Sir Bobby Robson whom recently past away prior to the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 9, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Recently in the press it has been reported throughout the world and the web that the recent few seasons powerhouses of the EPL had experienced a waning and were now becoming shadows of themselves.

Strangely enough, contrary to the media's much touted idea that the "big four" have weakened the table has taken up a recurring look for this time of the year despite the addition of a couple of new names and of course the new name phenomenon occurs every year and is not really anything new to people who are familiar with the competition.

Of course, there is the emergence of Manchester City, who gave Arsenal a slight pasting a few weeks ago and narrowly lost at Old Trafford.

Other than this there have been the usual hiccups and the "big four" as they are known in some quarters, keep doing the business, from week to week.

Tottenham were trumpeted for a couple of weeks as challengers for the title before being schooled by Chelsea and United. They are admittedly still in a strong position and will only have themselves to blame if they aren't right there for the season.

But all in all the leagues powerhouses are still smashing teams on the odd week before battling to draws or wins on the other week. This is a fairly typical beginning to a season, if anyone disagrees, take a look back into the league stats over the years since its inception.

Chelsea still look very strong and after the loss to Wigan it is able to be seen that they are only human when one of their own is sent from the field. Really this loss just demonstrated the old rule that any team that loses a player will struggle if the opposition plays measured and controlled football.

Chelsea are still in the strongest position with a team that has just beaten a fellow contender and played some nice football doing so. Not looking too stagnant at present, actually quite the opposite, effervescent even as they bounce back from a league loss to Wigan and beat Liverpool.

Shades of last year almost, though of course Ancellotti is a different manager and looks to know what he is doing so far, with the added benefit of taking the coaching plaudits of the recovery demonstrated with the victory over Liverpool. 

They look as strong as the have since their last title win.

Liverpool are stuttering as Benitez looks for answers. Mind you they have also played some lovely football this season so far and over the years since perhaps just after the new century have become like their former Europe dominating selves again, after a decade or so of lying dormant.

No longer should early defeats rattle them too much after the form of recent seasons.

With the return of Aquilani still to come they are in some ways an unknown quantity as the Italian is an accomplished player and could be just the man the team needs. Benitez as we all know, is not stupid and would have a fair idea of his incoming transfers abilities.

Similar in his long range passing skills to Alonso and also known for knocking the odd ball into the net, he could well take up the continental duties where the Spaniard left off. Which puts Liverpool in a strong position when he returns.

Still looking like a challenger and playing good football, easily capable of being right in it until the last game.

Manchester United seem strong though jittery as always at the beginning of a campaign. With injured players still to return they are also slightly depleted and the return of Hargreaves is something many think will have a positive impact on the side.

Mind you despite some terrible periods of play they have also at times been at their imperious best, reducing good sides to spectators as was seen at the JJB Stadium.

Of course, Chelsea went on to lose there which gave the United fans cause to chuckle, though after watching the Wigan v United game it was plain that it was more of a tussle than the 5-0 scoreline suggested.

Still extremely strong though not quite settled they are always there or thereabouts at the end and everyone would be surprised if they are not. Strong challengers as always.

Arsenal have had two losses but are again playing good football and schooling teams on occasion. Wenger is always about and it is well known he has a fair idea how to manage a side.

Playing some magic football at times they are also very much in it and showed at Fulham that this season perhaps they are more capable of battling to a victory in certain places this season.

Of course, there is the loss at City but these things happen before combinations are settled and happen to every team. After all, once again, there are no undefeated teams in the league now, a statistic that is close to mind for Arsenal fans after the efforts of a certain Wenger side a few seasons ago.

Will be in the mix somewhere as they have been recently, do have a new adversary to contend with in Manchester City, but as it is they play them once more, at home and the rest of the job is elsewhere. Consistency is the key for Arsenal and so far they have been hot and cold, but as the season progresses we will definitely see more quality from Wenger's side.

They are the "big four" and have been for some time, there is of course a new powerhouse in the Abu Dhabi financed Manchester City who have turned a few heads already with some good attacking play and reasonably shoddy defending.

They seem to be dangerous though which of course was demonstrated against Arsenal and Manchester United.

But despite this, it is in the most part business as usual for England's top sides and with all the worry over the new power-shift to the continent it was interesting to see Real Madrid lose to Sevilla at the weekend.

Sevilla of course are a typically strong side in La Liga and are right up there with Barca and Real. But the veil of invincibility is definitely gone after that result.

To read several articles throughout the media saying that the power has shifted and the English sides have stagnated was strange considering this season still looks like many before it.

There is a long way to go and a short time to get there, in a few weeks we will begin to really see if these predictions about stagnation etc are right. Of course either way there will be myriad articles written on the outcomes but don't be surprised if things are remarkably similar in all forms of football.


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