The Joy of Six

By , Posted on 23rd November 2011 - Posted in: Football News, News

Though no one who has followed English football in the past few years would express any surprise at seeing the Premiership set alight by two teams from Manchester and London, the fact that neither of the teams people are lavishing high praise on at the moment includes Man United, Arsenal or Chelsea feels like something of a novel experience.

With Newcastle muscling their way into the top echelons of the Premiership, the form of Spurs and Manchester City has given English football’s much toted flagship a real shot in the arm. As Spain laments the farce of its ‘two-horse’ La Liga, English football can at last bask in the glow of having a genuinely competitive top flight. The Big Four has suddenly become the Big Six. Though Geordies will quite rightly argue their case for inclusion one suspects they may have trouble holding their own at the business end of the table once the season rolls into December. But no matter, the fact remains that a genuine and healthy competitiveness is now levelling the playing field more than it’s done for at least a decade.

The Arsenal/Man United duopoly that morphed into the Chelsea/Man United version has now evolved into a wider cartel. Yes, there may be an awful lot wrong with the foreign billionaire ownership of our top clubs but no one can say it hasn’t (through accident perhaps, rather than design) created the sort of league we all wanted to see.

United still remain the team to beat but there’s a real sense their noisy nouveau riche neighbours are about to address that. Astonishing to think that at the time United were claiming their second European Cup, in 1999, City were struggling to get out of League One.

Down in north London, the transformation of Spurs owes less to the chequebook and more to the astute leadership of wily manager Harry Redknapp. With derby rivals Arsenal suffering something of a confidence crisis and the core of Chelsea’s great team of the ‘noughties’ showing its age, Spurs have emerged this season as London’s finest, last year’s Champions League campaign imbuing in them a solidity and belief they’ve previously lacked.


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