Is there a shift in the Premier League balance of power?


Despite the ability to really let my bias’ shine through here, it must be said that there is an apparent shifting in the balance of power that looms over the Premier League this season.  The events that transpired last season that resulted in Manchester United crashing back down to earth in the post-apocalyptic world caused by Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, last season was akin to the collapse of the Roman Empire; the Premier League became a free-for-all.

Of the last eight Premier League seasons, one of the two Manchester clubs hauled the trophy seven times; United banked five, while Manchester City netted two, both in the last three years.  In the last four seasons, United or City finished runner-up three out of five occasions, with Chelsea and Liverpool earning that spot in the other two.

Wayne Rooney becomes the new club captain at United during a time of internal strife in the aftermath of SAF’s departure; there’s no telling if he’ll ever win another league title

While United’s fall from grace signaled the collapse of the status quo in the country, that does not mean that City will be picking up the sword and carrying on the cities legacy as champions elect; this is where the shift in power comes into play.  If you want further proof, all you have to do is look at this summer for the evidence.

With City’s two league title’s in three seasons, on the surface, this was to be the shift in power surely.  However, with FFP coming into real affect, the Etihad club is not able to build on their recent success nearly as much as they had hoped.  With the transfer activity of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool this summer, a massive monkey wrench has been thrown into the City machine.

Stevan Jovetic and his fellow world class team mates at Manchester City could find themselves majorly effected by FFP to the point where the ascendency to the top may putter out

Unlike years past, City have not been able to break the bank to keep themselves at the head of the pack.  While the signing of Fernando and even Eliaquim Mangala (to an extent) was very good business, the rest of their signings really did not have the City stamp all over them; this could well come back to haunt them.  Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all have had far more success this summer in regards to not only this season, but moving forward in the coming years.

Chelsea’s summer netted them Diego Costa (one of the best natural predators in Europe), the midfield brilliance of Cesc Fabregas, Felipe Luis’ defensive prowess at left-back and Thibaut Courtois, who is widely regarded as one of the best keepers in the world at the moment.  As for Arsenal, they upgraded on Bacary Sagna with Mathieu Debuchy, captured one of England’s brightest youngsters in Calum Chambers and acquired one of the most sought after attacking players in the world when they captured Alexis Sanchez.

Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge lead the Rodgers revolution at Anfield that looks to be set for the long haul

Perhaps the most dangerous (in a good way) summer was Liverpool’s; the list of players they purchased is rather extensive, but the deals that brought Lazar Markovic, Emre Can, Divock Origi and Alberto Moreno signal the long-term building project that perhaps no other top club in the country can match at current.

While many see Chelsea and City battling it out at the top this season (and by some distance, according to many), it would be foolish to not only count out Arsenal and Liverpool this season, but the league table at the top could look very haphazard indeed over the coming years; United’s collapse and City’s restrictions means that the league is far more wide open than seasons past.

It is unclear how long United will be languishing outside of the top four, and there is every chance they could return to their old stomping grounds under Louis van Gaal this season if the Dutchman gets it right on multiple fronts.  That is not to say that United will win the league, but without Europe as a distraction, they could well finish 4th.  But what of the long term?  Even though LvG has had a successful career, how long can he be expected to stay at the club?  Any shortening of his expected stay could plunge the club into further despair.

Louis van Gaal and United legend Ryan Giggs are now in charge at Old Trafford; not even the Dutch mastermind may be able to help the club return to it’s glory days

What many should begin to consider, and what some have already, is that the Manchester governance at the top of the Premier League could well shift back to London or Liverpool in the long term.  City still have a legitimate chance at the league this season, but it is without question that London and Merseyside are arming for the long haul.

All Empire’s rise and fall, and usually, they never reach the same heights more than once.  United have been around for years, and City could well putter out now that they have to negotiate FFP.  Chelsea and Arsenal still have yet to have their true time in the sunshine, while Liverpool under Rodgers seem far more likely to rekindle days gone by.

No matter where your opinion lies, you cannot deny that the close nature of the table signals a potential shift in the balance of power; one that benefits football and those who support it.