Premier League deja vu creeping in again

March 6, 2009

As Dimitar Berbatov sluggishly rolled in Manchester United’s winner at Newcastle United on Wednesday it suddenly occurred to me that the Premier League season that threatened a different story is heading for a very familiar ending.

At the top, the midweek matches saw United record their 11th consecutive league win and strengthen their grasp on the title, while Chelsea and Liverpool consolidated Champions League spots and Arsenal made up ground on an Aston Villa side which might just be running out of steam.

At the bottom, this season’s potential shock began to evaporate as Tottenham Hotspur showed their true capabilities with a 4-0 drubbing of relegation-rivals Middlesbrough.

The season promised heroics.

Liverpool, who looked for much of the season to be in with a chance of the title have fallen away badly, while Chelsea have spent the campaign fighting internal battles and have nothing left for a title push.

So with no shock at the top, what about the bottom?

Well, Newcastle and Spurs finally look capable of avoiding the drop, despite dancing with relegation all season and if Middlesbrough were to join West Bromwich Albion in slipping into the Championship there wouldn’t be too many raised eyebrows.

It would appear normal service has been resumed and whilst the efforts of Aston Villa to mount a Champions League challenge and Hull City and Stoke City to compete with the big-boys are commendable, the Premier League will have wait another season for a shock.

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Theres 2 options.

1) This is just the beginning – It’s all down to the influx of foreign/New owners. 2 examples. Villa seem to have an owener who is doing things the ‘right’ way. Stays out the way. Employs a good manager. Lets him use his knowledge of the game to build a competitive team based on ‘team work’ but filled with talented Englishmen and a sporadic dose of foreign players to help them. I think Villa will continue to be in and amongst the top 4, mainly because O Neill knows what he is doing, he has shown himself to be an incredible manager throughout the English divisions and in Scotland – eg 2 – Newcastle, New owner, got too involved, set up a bad system, it backfired. This could of course could be down to Newcastle very good ability to simply self-combust every 2 seasons.

theory 2 – Its just ‘one of those years’ – They come along every now and then. Norwich finished 3rd once didnt they? Ipswich 4th? Sometimes you get an odd season exacerbated by odd situations (Blackburn winning it was down to a wealthy owner throwing cash at a project)

Frankly, I hope its the former, because the Premier Leauge needs an era where a team like Villa, with a conciensious owner, a good, stable management team and a team of youthful, good, English players who are pushing the national team, along with a smattering of the best talent from abroad, can achieve great things. Villa should be a blue print for all premier league teams in the top half, Newcastle and Tottenham included.

Posted by chris snape | Report as abusive

I Chris. I agree, the Villa owner is doing things the right way and that’s the problem. If it doesn’t work out, they finish fifth this year, sixth next and then slip down further what hope is there for anyone?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive