The transfer market has outdone itself again this summer, and we all know it’s not over yet. There is one burning question for an Arsenal fan as we look to the start of a new season; Are the big four still the big four?
To answer this we have to look at what it takes to be a top four team. Talent is obvious, but the real key is consistency. Can a team produce results throughout a thirty-eight game Premier League season lasting from August through May? This is the first installment in a series in which I look at some of the top teams in the Premier League and make the case as to whether they’ll have a spot in the top four after May 9, 2010. Manchester City has been the big spender in England this summer. Has Hughes done what he needs to do to get his team into the top four? I think not.
The signings of Santa Cruz, Tevez, and Adebayor will do a good bit to boost goal production, but the real problem for Man City last year was keeping the ball out of their own net. Last year’s average of 1.32 goals per game against them isn’t going to cut it. Can Kolo Toure keep the defense together? I have his shirt on right now as I type this and the answer is no. He isn’t the stopper that is necessary to keep a back line from giving up goals against offenses that are clicking.
What the team needs is a leader. They are a team chock full of ego, and they need a level head to pull them together and set them on a path. I haven’t seen much of Gareth Barry, but perhaps he can be the one to do it.
What should they do? Find a leader that the big boys making all that bank will follow for 90 minutes at a time. Someone who can remind them they are professionals playing a team sport, and to keep a team mentality through the ups and downs of a long season. Also, make it a team goal to win road games. Last year they were an abysmal 2-12-5 on the road.
My prediction They finish this season in fifth place and Hughes is gone by February 1.
Hopefully we can get some more of this out of Robinho. For the best celebration of last season go to 1:30. What do you think he's doing?