The 2018-19 premier league season is without question one of the best in recent times. The brilliant and extremely high quality battle for the title between two wonderful sides (which will be decided on the final day). The energy and freshness that Wolves play with. The scrappy relegation battle. And then there’s the battle for top 4.
Is it exciting? Yes! Is it fun to watch Arsenal, Chelsea and United battle it out? Nope. It genuinely looks like they’re trying to get into next season’s Europa League. To be fair, the way the sides are playing, winning the Champions League next season will be pretty difficult and the Europa League could be what these clubs actually deserve right now. I’m not including Spurs in the conversation for the top 4 race (they have been defeated 13 times and yet will finish comfortably in the top 4. Not sure what that says about the standard of the teams below them…).
Every time one of Chelsea, Arsenal or United drop points and present an opportunity for the other two to catch up/extend their lead, those too drop points! Don’t get me wrong, I love how close and “competitive”(?) this battle is. But the quality on show at times is just appalling. It’s getting to the point where we might as well hand over the 4th spot to Wolves. At least they play hard every game and it’d be fun to watch them in Europe.
Chelsea and Sarri will probably be the most disappointed if they were to miss out on a top 4 spot considering the way they started the season. For a brief period at the start of the season they were playing the best football in the premier league. But then it happened. The Chelsea dressing room happened. In fighting. Players not giving it their all. Staff not being 100%. The manager losing composure. It all just appears chaotic. Emery has actually done a decent job at Arsenal so far considering the side he has to work with and the quality of the opposition. And it is far too early to judge Ole at United.
These clubs just need to play out the season, maybe give a few youngsters a chance and get the season over with. If they want to even get close to the likes of Liverpool and City, there’s a lot of work to be done. Spending big in one summer won’t do it, because even Liverpool and City will be looking to improve (!). They have to find a way to get the best out of the current crop and find players who fit the team rather than just big names (which is what Chelsea and United tend to do at times). It’s about changing up your systems and thinking outside the box.
When it comes to signing players, Arsenal, Chelsea and United won’t miss out on top targets if they don’t get Champions League football. Chelsea can pay any player anything they want. Arsenal are a big, big club to play for regardless. And United have both history and deep pockets.
Players will come. The job now for the three managers is to focus on the rebuild of their respective teams. Start next season fresh and hungry. Sarri and Emery would have had a full season behind them and be clear on what they want. Ole will have his first pre season and transfer window.
I can see next season being a really good one. This season was a huge slap in the face to the clubs chasing the title contenders and they desperately want to be a part of THAT race. I’ll write one of these review/previews at the end of next season too. Hoping for a similar article title (minus the parentheses!).