The notion of the big four was always somewhat of a media creation, carried along by the Sky Premier League hype. But it did have a base in reality in that more often than not you could predict the top four for the coming season from your beach towel in July. The phrase gained a bit more relevance when the top four clubs qualified for the Holy Grail that had become the Champions League. Now though, there are six teams who expect to finish there year in year out, with half a dozen more with realistic ambitions to break into it.
So what does that entail? First and foremost, it is about building a squad, not a team. Our limp showing in the Champions League showed we need plans B and C, and more often than not those plans are going to need a different set of players than the ones doing plan A in the Premier League to such good effect on the weekends.
There aren’t too many in football who would disagree that our starting eleven would be a match for and on their day beat any team in the league. Just by casting an eye over the premier league betting odds week in week out will back that up. But we are woefully short when it comes to strength in depth. Which other team in the EPL has just two recognised forwards (I’m talking out and out strikers, not attacking midfielders playing a more advanced role)? Especially when one of them is not even seeing the trees never mind pulling any up.
Our lack of depth is particularly damaging due to the fact we will be fighting on four fronts again next season, and also down to the high intensity football Pochettino plays. We saw what happened in the tail end of last season. We can’t and shouldn’t expect the same players to do it every week, with no realistic replacement on the bench or in the reserves.
By thinking, acting and believing we will achieve something is by no means a guarantee, but it is a long way to actually doing it.