Thursday, 20 August 2009

Is the recession creating a more level playing field?

According to his boss Owen Coyle, Robbie Blake's famous for hitting crisp volleys. Before last night, his reputation for foot-to-eye co-ordination didn't extend much beyond Nelson. It does now! Burnley's deserved victory over mighty Manchester United in their first Premier League game at Turf Moor raised eyebrows from Manchester to Madrid.

But does it raise questions about the top-flight? In a flegeling season, we've already seen Wigan beat Villa then lose at home to Wolves, Liverpool beaten at Spurs and Hull and Birmingham giving Chelsea and Manchester United sturdy opposition.

Are these merely surprise early-season scorelines and performances or are we to read something into them?
Is the Premier League becoming more competitive because of the economic climate - or will the resolve of lesser clubs be broken come October?
Will the big four order be broken by Spurs, City or Villa?
It does of course come down to the size of the squad at your disposal, and United have started slowly before. You sense Arsene Wenger's control of his multi-national youths will yield an exciting season with the highs and lows you'd expect of an up and coming squad.
But ... I wonder if the lack of transfer activity will give some of the West Hams, Fulhams and Blackburns of the Premier League a mental boost to think "hey, maybe we can challenge higher up than we thought!"
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