Football News: Premier League prospects over the coming years


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Inspired by all the talk of 'we're on the way up and you're on the way down', I thought I'd take a look at each of the big 6 and consider their prospects looking over the next few years.

If you want to understand Arsenal's problems right now just look at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Here was a player with talent and athleticism that Wenger just couldn't figure out how to use effectively. Wenger should be lauded for his achievements over the years but he has lost his way now and Arsenal need a fresh and new direction to take them forward.

Looking at the squad there's a sprinkling of class but it's all approaching 30 and there's nothing to build the future around, even worse the real talent is eying the exit door, Sanchez has already left and Ozil doesn't seem thrilled to still be a Gooner. The signing of Aubameyang demonstrated that Arsenal still have the financial power to bring in top players but it's papering over the cracks, Aubamayang went to Arsenal because it was the only offer on the table not because he thinks it's the best move for his career.

The good news is that Arsenal have a model to follow. 6 years ago Liverpool had an aging squad that was at it's lowest ebb but a re-building programme started by Rodgers and continued by Klopp has shown it's possible to come back from the brink.

I think there's something rotten in Chelsea, what's their identity, which player really represents the club? They have a similar problem to Arsenal in that they have a collection of good talent but none of their players are really invested in the project. Hazard is good enough to be the star of a great team but he'd rather be elsewhere; Kante is an imperious midfielder but his style is to support attacking flair, he's not equipped to be the leader Chelsea need. I can't see Conte being at Chelsea next season so their prospects rest on who they bring in to replace him, they have the building blocks of a successful team and the financial muscle to bring in the players they need, now they just need the inspiration.

Twice in my memory have Liverpool looked as good as they look now, in 2009 and 2014. Sadly both those teams offered false dawns but there's a real sense that history won't repeat itself. The squad is young with the oldest leading player being Henderson at 27; there's little fear that our stars are looking to leave (this summer at least) and there's finally been a demonstration of real financial intent to compete with the big boys.

The squad still has problems but there's a feeling that Klopp has a plan to rectify them. If Klopp can keep the momentum up and hold this squad together then I expect the club to be competing for the biggest honours over the next 5 years.

Manchester City
The only thing to dampen the spirits of Liverpool is Man City. City still have more pulling and financial power than Liverpool and that's backed up by a manager with a history of achievement and a squad not only full of quality but full to the brim with some of the best young players in the world. Jesus, Sane, Sterling, Mendy, Stones, Laporte, Ederson and De Bruyne are all under 26, Guardiola is building a team to dominate world football for years to come. Is there a downside for them? Maybe they lack the glamour of the other giants and their players might secretly look forward to the day they get to train somewhere with sunshine but I'm clutching at straws. City fans should be very happy.

Manchester United
Things are less rosy for the 'other' Manchester team but nowhere near as bad as Liverpool fans would like them to be. Frankly the team is still in transition after the departure of Ferguson 5 years ago but there are some signs that Mourinho is the guy to take Utd back to the top. Many criticise Mourinho for his conservative tactics but to me he is laying the foundations for future success, first make the team efficient, then bring in the flair.

Since Ferguson left Utd have averaged less than 70 points a season, this season they're on course for 80 or higher, they averaged 57 goals a season under Moyes and Van Gaal, they'll likely score more than 70 this year. DDG, Pogba, Lukaku, and Rashford are players to build a top team around and they're surrounded by enough talent to keep Utd competitive whilst Mourinho identifies the other pieces to his puzzle. The question is will Mourinho stick around? He's not popular with the fans and the fact that he lives in a hotel does not suggest he's planning a long stay.

Tottenham Hotspur
The great white elephant, I'm convinced that Spurs have missed their window for success and that decline is on it way. When you're on your way up everyone wants in on the act and that's been Spurs over the last three years. They've been brilliant in the transfer market, Lloris, Dembele, Alderweireld, Eriksen, Son and Alli were acquired for less than £90million, that might buy you one of Harry Kane's legs in today's market.

On the pitch they've shocked the established order and they're can consider themselves a little unlucky that they've failed to add to their trophy cabinet. But this excitement brings attention, Pochettino has one of the best reputations of any young manager in Europe and will be on the radar of the biggest clubs, as will his star players who are all well aware that they're earning a pittance compared to what they could be getting elsewhere. The one thing that can save Spurs is real success but unless they triumph in the FA Cup this will be another year without a trophy.

Come summer Dembele and Alderweirled will have a year on their contracts, Eriksen and Son just two, unless Spurs offer them competitive wages they will leave and once the exodus starts it won't be stopped. Even Harry Kane will be tempted to move when he finds himself battling for a Europa league spot and Utd or Real Madrid come calling. Enjoy the good times whilst you can Spurs fans.

It's really hard to look past City as the team to beat for the next few years, they're already one of the best teams of the PL era and with such a young squad they should get even better. Today Liverpool look to be their closest rivals with Klopp's revolution looking to peak in the next year or two but you can't rule out the financial power and brutal pragmatism of Mourinho's United.

Chelsea also can't be ruled out, they were champions just a year ago and it's not a lack of quality holding them back, a new manager who can get everyone pulling in the same direction could fix their problems. Spurs may be able to keep up with the others for another season, maybe two but sooner or later the wheels will fall off.

Finally we have Arsenal, they're a team that need to be rebuilt from scratch, I can't see them being competitive for a couple of years yet but with the right manager they've got the money and the reputation to come back, I wonder if Pochettino would be interested in the job.

Written by PutneyRed

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