Nothing To Fear
Lando78 sent us the following.
Since the start of the season the talk has been of the 'Big Four' becoming the 'Big Five', with City's new found riches catapulting them into the British elite.
Yet as the first phase of the Premier League campaign draws to an end a different question has surfaced. Has the Premier League become weaker?
Firstly, it was Arsenal who were to be the ones to fall away, criticised for making no high profile signings and losing the experienced Toure and powerful Adebayor.
At the moment Liverpool look like they are the ones to be thrown out of the big boys room suffering from the loss of Gerrard and injured Torres.
Digging deeper, one could put forward a case for United not looking convincing needing a controversial goal to beat City and not really looking like Champions in other games so far this season.
Further proof can be seen after another round of Champions League games last night with Europe's elite on show. The Madrid Milan games have shown a high level of skill and along with Barcelona one could argue that the domination of the Champions' League last four by English clubs looks certain to be broken - for this year at least.
Liverpool are looking like a team on the ropes without both Gerrard and Torres they are distinctly average and Benitez looks like a dead man walking. Arsenal although talented and aesthetically pleasing have already been beaten by both Manchester teams this season and have looked far from an elite team for a few years now.
United have lost to Burnley and Liverpool already, drawn with Sunderland and scraped wins over Wolves and City. More importantly they have not looked dominant in Europe so far this term.
All of the above teams have weakened squads and look poor man for man when compared to Barca, Madrid ad Milan this year.
The only real challenge to them on paper lies in London in the shape of Chelsea. Their squad, although ageing, is the strongest in the Premier League if not Europe, and they have been playing like champions too.
So maybe the emphasis shouldn't be on a new Big 5 but on a weaker Premier League at the top end. Only time will tell if this is true and if the rest of the league has made inroads on the three weakened teams.
One thing is for certain though, with only Chelsea definitely on another level, City should fear nobody and try to be in contact come the African Nations Cup when the Londoners' resources will be tested to the max. Of United, well any United fan will tell you that should Rooney be ruled out for a long period of time they'd be nervously looking over their shoulders and in the same position as Liverpool.
Premier League Top 4 Squads
Click here to see the Premier League Top 4 squads.