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‘Big 4’ victims of their own success



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‘It’s a mad league’ said Wayne Rooney after his side’s hard-fought 3-1 victory of Hull at the KC stadium, ‘There are a lot of teams dropping points and it’s really close.’The EPL has garnered an unpredictability in the 2009/10 season that seems to allude to the halcyon days of football when money was not the sine que non of its existence.

The emergence of clubs such as Aston Villa, Tottenham and Manchester City appears to have distorted the league’s traditional ‘top 4′ nature. Part of the reason for this has to do with the emergence of these super investors who are seeking admiration, worldwide fame, and the thrill of challenging an established order by ploughing money into clubs not already in the champions league.

But surely, you cry, that would make the league even more top heavy? Football can, and always has, allowed for an unpredicatability that can see teams such as Greece win the European chamiponship – it’s part of what makes it such a fascinating game – but the recent trend toward irregularity in the EPL is a by-product of an identifiable symptom: the trickle down effect.

As squads at clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, and Manchester United have grown ever more bloated over the last few years, cast offs and players who, although at one time were hotly tipped for stardom, have been unable to make the grade at these type of clubs, are turning to smaller teams. The money on offer and the profile has meant that rather than go abroad players are remaining in this country to resurrect their careers.

This allows teams like Portsmouth, even though they are bottom of the league, to boast young talents such as Jamie Ohara and Kevin Prince Boateng. Moreover, in the case of players such as Ohara, the big teams see the value in letting young talent go out on loan to other clubs, which is why we might see Jack Wilshere at Burnley in the New Year.

The integration of more and more players in to the league and the spending power of many of the clubs has eventually caused this evolution and the big four are now victims of their own continued success. They have raised the profile of the EPL and its standard to such an extent that it is now almost to their detriment. Long may it continue.