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Are Villa, Spurs And City The New Guard?

Gary Lineker this week joined the growing list of pundits and journalists who believe that a change in guard is taking place in the Premier League.

They would have you believe that Spurs, Villa and City are on the march and backed with more money than a sheik`s Gold account, the old guard of Liverpool, United and Arsenal are on the wane.

So why have the managers of these three teams not been banging their own drum to the media beat?

For since the start of the season fans from Villa, Spurs and City have been treated to a never ending barrage of modesty from their managers.

Tasked with breaking into the top 4, Martin O Neil, Harry Rednapp and Ex-Blues boss Mark Hughes had been careful not to get carried away by proclaiming themselves contenders for the Premier League Crown.

In fact, none have been quick to say that a top four finish is within their grasp with Rednapp attempting to divert pressure away from himself and Spurs by proclaiming City as the best equipped squad outside the top four to break the monopoly.

MON has been even more coy, stating on several occasions that Villa`s chances are considerably less than this time last year and regularly championing City, Liverpool and Spurs as stronger than his Midlands side.

Mark Hughes was less negative if more regimented in his views before his dismissal last month. Seemingly reading from a Cook-prepared script, Hughes was always quick to throw bucketfuls of water on any flames of hysteria that might spread through the Eastland`s faithful.

A top six finish was his target he told us and achieving that would be a major improvement on previous seasons according to Sparky.

Of course the money spent by Sparky meant that a top six finish was the bare minimum to keep his job and reputation after the vast amount of money spent on his new look City team.

Even though the manner in which he was sacked was laughable, every Blue deep down knew that he wouldn`t prove his worth in the time given to him by the City board, and his playing down of City`s chances only weakened his players resolve and board`s support.

Harry Rednapp and Martin O`Neill are also in the same boat as Top Premier League boards and supporters want dynamic leaders with the strategic nous of Napoleon, the battlefield ferocity of Alexander the Great and motivational skills of Winston Churchill.

These are the men that win campaigns and Mancini knows he must deliver Champions League football at least or he`ll be replaced by a Mourinho or Hiddink at the end of the season.

So it refreshing to see City`s new boss come in and say what we all really know, that City can push for major honours and should be up there contending for the title.

For it is this winning mentality over all other things that will push City up into the upper echelons of the Premiership. There is no surprise that the four teams that regularly contest the top spots are those teams who boast the most arrogant and self-righteous managers.

These managers "guarantee" success in Benitez`s case and each player in Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and United`s squad believes that it can and will be achieved every campaign.

Players like Rooney, Gerrard, Essien and Gallas epitomize this winning mentality and without it there is no amount of money that can push a team to win at Birmingham in the snow.

So amidst all of the laughter that has surrounded the transfer of Patrick Viera to City this week, one thing could be heard loud and clear.

Viera`s taunting of United and City going for the title, which at first appear brash and arrogant, but on reflection just go to show that he is still a winner and knows nothing else.

After winning every major honour at club and international level the former indomitable Gunner`s captain has the mindset that City need, which is why he was brought in by his old boss Mancini.

If City are to win the title they will need more shepherds like Viera in their flock and less sheep like twenty million plus Lescott and thirty million plus Robinho.

For it is these warriors that forge championship winning sides and top spot must be City`s main target from now until the end of the season.

If they believe and Mancini can keep them organized defending as a top team then City must be in with a strong shout of a top four finish and some cup silverware along the way.

If Spurs and Villa are to tag along then a change in mindset is needed there too and only then can the changing of the guard go from wishful thinking to stonewall reality.

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The journalist

Writer: GloucBlade Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 10 2010

Time: 12:11PM

Your Comments

New guard or pretenders to the throne?
Arsenal should be safe in there top 4 spot - they havn't needed money to stay there in the past, and so it shouldn't affect them that others do have it now. Villa, as MON rightly points out were in a better position last year. I can't see them breaking the top 4, for a couple of years at least. but they are at least heading in the right direction.
spurs have been spending like a top 4 side for severl years now. they certainly have the players to do better than liverpool, although as you point out, you need a winner. a "gerrard", or "torres" - and i don't see that in them. you do seem to have it, but possibly this year is a year too soon. we'll find out I guess.
It's man u and liverpool though that need to watch out. Liverpool have two world beaters. and tat's it - the rest of there squad is no better than pompeys - it really is that bad. Man u - they have a good squad, but no world beaters (rooney aside, who i still don't think is up there with gerrard, lampard, drogba, torres, fabregas, and viera). It will be interesting to see how they cope in the next few years - I wouldn't be surprised to see them slip well off the pace. afterall, there's only enough room for one team in machester...
Pompey are you Arsene in disguise?
pompey: you have to look at transfers-out as well as ins. There has been a vast turnover of players, but we have kept our books in plus, each year...unlike certain other PL-clubs:p But if we manage to get one good season and keep our best players, it could be a turning point. I still believe ManCity as a more serious candidate to qualify to a CL-spot than Spurs....but maybe both can fit in? :)
Definately yes. The big 4 have shown this year they aint so big anymore. Results are proof enough that the EPL is about to change for the better.
whay Vieira said was'' ive been in an Arsenal team that was 11 points behind at Christmas and STILL went on to win the title. i see the same things at City as we are only 10 points behind Chelsea with a game in hand and 2 games behind man u, so why should'nt we go for the title this year'' if that is just an idle threat then i like it as us city fans have never had players say such things in the past, and now with the investment that the owner's are prepared to put in why not go for the title, ''IF you aim for the star's you may get the moon'' mentality is of winner's and Vieira is definately classed as a winner no matter what other 'pundits' say about this age, his football brian is still the same, just look at what Ali Benarbia did for us in the old Keegan's reign.... bring it on i say....
If City win the league this year I'll run naked around Carlo Ancelotti's back yard(What's his missus like)! Norway Spurs, who would you class as your w/c driving forces at Spuds? Dawson's done alright but he's not up there as a consistent match winner/saver. Thats the missing link for me a John Terry type.
Lando78: Totally agree, we do miss a leader. Dawson is aspiring, but not quite there. If Modric keeps playing at the level he is currently at, he will get the same legend-status as Zola did in Chelski. Perhaps we have some in the making? (Gomes, Dawson, Bassong, Corluka, Kranjcar, Modric, Huddlestone, Lennon, Defoe) After all, you cannot become a winner before you have won anything? :) In my opinion, we only need a bit luck this year, and the future may be bright.
refereesfavourbig4 - I wish. But you have to look at there spending compared to so many other clubs - he actually makes a profit, doesn't pay big wages, and... and... yup, if i didn't support pompey, i'd support arsenal. anyway...
actually, I quite like man city too, but that's another story. NorwaySpurs, you can look at outs as well as ins. i mean - just look at pompey. we brought in about 100million worth of players, and sold about that too. You have to remember though, about wages, tax...etc. it's more than just buying and selling players, and I have a feeling (not based on anything, so it could be wrong. feel free to correct this) that your wage structure is similar to ours was. i.e. non existant.
as for spurs/man city getting into the top 4? if I were a liverpool fan, i would be scared. I think totenham have the edge right now, as there players have gelled much better - mostly becuase they all knew each other from when they were at pompey. sure, they don't have a "winner" - but they have quite a few wo are prepared to give it there all - and quite a few who know where the goal is. and I think that is what will clinch it for them over liverpool this year.
There is a wage structure. Only Spurs and Arsenal clubs to have wages below 50% of their turnover or something like that. I don't know the details, but everyone says the economy is very healty at the club. pompeycarpet: Really? Because of their gelling at Pompey? It is 3 players, not 7.....and Defoe came from us initially. But I totally understand it if you hates us, I hate ManUtd:)
Talking of Spurs and Pompey, what are your views on Kabul who seems to keep being linked with City? He has all the physical attributes to succeed at the top level but seems a little vain to be able to rough it with the likes of Rooney and Terry (saying that Torres and Ronaldo both look like lady boys!) Seems like a confident fellow but asides looking like a Stargate Alien guard not sure what to make of him.
a lot depends on what manager liverpool and the rags bring in once rafa and the drunk at the swamp leave there clubs.
I wish Mancini was playing down the Kaboul rumour instead of the Ansaldi one... :( I think theres some good sensible posts on here, especially regarding 'match winners' and gelling. Spurs lack a gerrard, rooney, lampard character but they are a close unit and better overall than liverpool imo. City have players like Tevez who can be a match winner, and now Viera- however, we will take longer to get. If we click we can compete at the top, but for now spurs and villa are slightly more balanced than us.
Lando: Always liked Kaboul. Gutted we sold him so soon. He is big, is okay in the air. He is somewhat of a playing CB. He is better than most CB's with the ball in his feets. He does overlap runs more than the usual CB!!! (don't know why). His positioning is not flawless, and is his biggest problem. The reason he didn't perform with us, is he had to play with other promised players like Dawson (Who also had a terrible season when partnering Kaboul). Too little routine. If I were City, I would find someone better:) But he may become good one day, only problem is I think you need someone very good right now :)
If we win what has become our game in hand against Blackburn it will cement a number of sides resurgence and the continued revitalisation of a league that had become mind numbingly boring under the wobbling Big Four procession. All credit to the clubs named here and Brum for raising their game and showing that the Big Four are no longer invincible.
Johnny Baguette
Hopefully the Blackburn game goes ahead so that we know for sure where all the teams in the top 7 are having played the same no. of games.
i do hope it will be a city,villa,spurs and everton top four in years to come. with arsenal liverpool,chelski and the rags fighting against the drop and playing to half empty stadiums.
LOL that would be a turn up for the books Irish if all of them were ousted! Norway cheers for your comments on Kaboul and sounds like we can do better. Chiellini, Vidic or Chivu anyone?
Time will tell. What's new this time, i think, is that the teams you mentioned have good players and quality mangers. Liverpool, in particular, are playing a very dicey game and could be in decline. City, with their riches, are the most likely to usurp the big four. I hope so because the fact is that football had become boring. The dominace of the top four was too extreme. Chatting to supporters of those teams, they do seem to be deluding themselves. I really believe that change is now finally afoot; we could be on the verge of a new age. One of these four, no doubt about it, will fall soon.
Jinkin Jimmy Dimmock
The loss of Ronaldo signalled an end to United's dominace, and they are effecively now in transition. Anybody looked at Utd and thought: hang on, they are well beatable!! When i watch Spurs, Villa and City there is freshness about them that i just don't get when i watch the old guard grinding away as usual. Ars**** play flowing football, but it's all very familiar. United are boring without watching Ronaldo and thinking 'what is he going to do next? And Chelsea, they've rarely been a thrilling team to watch, have they?
Jinkin Jimmy Dimmock
Patrick Viera at City? I don't think it'll make any difference either way.
Jinkin Jimmy Dimmock
JJD: Freshness and Villa in the same sentence? Villa is boring! In fact I think Villa and ManUtd look very much the same this season - most dangerous from counterattacks. Utd dominating more games though, but they haven't got any creativity in midfield like Spurs and ManCity and Arsenal has.
Thats a fair shout in terms of creativity, but the teams who combine creativity and that boring organisation and solidness will be the winners come May.
Good article Lando - created a lot of good discussion among Vital members of different clubs. My view is that one place (Liverpool) at the top table is there for the taking and we will be competing for that with Spurs - sorry Villa fans, not this season. Next year i see the rags failing to turn up at the table also and that would leave two places to be fought out between us, Spurs and Villa.
liverpool are the most likely do drop out and im going to say spurs look the most likely to take their place mainly due to the consistency they have shown this year as well as the depth they have compared to other teams in a similar position. As for United, Arsenal and Chelsea being knocked out of the top four spots, its really hard to see, Chelsea will always have the money needed to maintain the position even though they have somewhat of an aging squad, Manchester United, despite all their problems this season are really only one or two key signings, plus the selling of berbatov, from being something like what they have been in the last few seasons, Arsenal have been performing consistently enough over the past few seasons, and with the likes of Song, Walcott and players like Vela who may be very good potentially, its hard to see them doing any worse than fourth place.
what I find very weird is the fact that even though Chelskey have only this window to buy players, cause of their ban for the next 2 windows, they are still not buying anyone. I mean their squad is ok at most, but in the long run they are bound to lose some of them..... They have to have squad players if for nothing else, to play in the cups...
JJD,with or without tranaldo,ive always found the rags boring to fact if anyone can come on and explain why they would want to support such a drab club id love to hear it.
Vangogo I agree it is a strange one that and makes me wonder what is happening over there. Surely they should buy another CB, a young quality midfielder like Silva and a David Villa to tie them over until the ban ends. Lets not give them any ideas though eh!
On the Rags front, its imperative that they hold onto Ferdinand and Rooney as they have to replace Giggs, Scholes, Berbatov, Neville, Vidic, Vander Sar .... need I say more! The fat Bob Marley, the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Winker's Mini Me and the rest just aren't up to the job. On the otherhand, The Rag board might have Mourinho lined up with a 100 million pound transfer chest come May.
They were exciting to watch a couple of seasons ago when they were killing teams on the counter. But they are as dull as ******** dishwater.
Jinkin Jimmy Dimmock

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