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Are Villa, Spurs And City The New Guard?

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.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Sunday January 10 2010
Time: 12:11PM


New guard or pretenders to the throne?
10/01/2010 12:17:00
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.
10/01/2010 12:47:00
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.
10/01/2010 12:48:00
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...
10/01/2010 12:51:00
Pompey are you Arsene in disguise?
10/01/2010 12:52:00
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? :)
10/01/2010 13:04:00
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.
10/01/2010 13:20:00
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....
10/01/2010 14:47:00
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.
10/01/2010 15:04:00
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.
10/01/2010 15:13:00
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