Manchester United and Chelsea finished 33 points behind, Tottenham Hotspur 40 and Arsenal 43. There’s an urgent need to halt the rot.
Stung by the 18 points gap between champions and runners-up last season, the big Premier League clubs have opened the purse. Manchester United and Chelsea finished 33 points behind, Tottenham Hotspur 40 and Arsenal 43. There's an urgent need to halt the rot. In Manchester City's case, the indignity of trailing by 18 points is unbearable. Liverpool's first championship in 30 years did not just turn the Premiership into mockery, it raised more questions than the answers it sought to provide.
City; who broke the record with 100 points only two seasons ago, and with by far the best squad and quality in-depth, have since retrogressed by 19 points. Not only did they miss out on the championship, but they also failed as well in Europe at the quarter-final stage and in the FA Cup at the semi-final stage. They are the league's second richest club but their reward after winning the domestic treble and community shield in the 2018-19 season, was the Carling Cup. A token.
United; still England's richest club and the world's third-richest behind FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, did not win any silverware and could only make the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Europa League. In their ranks are the world-class Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire, David De Gae, and Bruno Fernandez. Under Alex Ferguson, they only existed to win but since the Scots' retirement, the club is unsure of their purpose. Qualifying for the Champions League Europe is now a huge achievement that is celebrated with fanfare.
Arsenal; once England's second richest club, is now the fifth richest. Their commercial value has been sinking steadily with every season they haven't won the league and rapidly in each of the last four seasons when they failed to qualify for the Champions League. Theirs is a story of a club that simply lost ambition during Arsene Wenger's final years and direction after his retirement following 22 years at the helm. 43 points off the mark is a true reflection of their status.
Chelsea; easily the team of the past 15 years after turning trophy-winning into a habit and earning their place among Europe's elite, were unsure after Antonio Conte's successful but brief reign. Disturbed by a lack of identity, they sought for an old boy - club legend - to search for their soul. Frank Lampard's return via the dugout has reinvigorated a competitive spirit that is full of charm, romance, youthful exuberance, and energy. For style, they are back to the old elegance of the Frank Lebeouf, Marcel Desailly, Emmanuel Petit, Gianfranco Zola, Ruud Gullit, and Gianluca Vialli era. This is the Chelsea that made Londoners burst with pride. In Christian Pullisic, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, and Callum Hudson - Odoi, the flair brand is back but not the mean competitive edge that battles to win silverware.
Just when Spurs had hit an all-time high when they played in the final of the Champions League for the first time last year, they hit a rock. Not even Jose Mourinho; unused at being a cheerleader, can change this one. They were good enough to eliminate City and Ajax from last year's Champions League but finished seven points outside the top four last season. Same points with Wolves. Except for Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane, and Son Heung-Min, they are a team that lacks real quality across the pitch.
Champions Liverpool who are the new target for the chasers did not have deeper pockets or better quality than either of them. They simply had the best team and the best coach. As a team, they were hungry, angry, and ambitious. Driven by a desire and mission to write their history. They wanted to win the championship. To correct history. As a team, they believed that they could beat the best having come so close the season before. They had identified their weaknesses as a lack of belief, consistency, and balance. They knew exactly what to work on. They also identified their greatest strengths as Anfield, the attacking full-backs, center backs, and collective forwards.
Every squad member understood that this was a collective effort, not an individual. Mohammed Salah gave up his goals, Jordan Henderson his starting place, Divock Origi his popularity, and Dejan Lovren his seniority for the greater good. Liverpool are now a team of believers and winners. They have a stable team that has been built over three years. As the start of the new 2020-21 season beckons, the question is whether delving into the transfer market is the best way that City, United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs will dislodge the new champions.