3 teams outside the Big Six who could win a Premier League title this decade | Premier League 2019-20
The race for the Premier League title in 2019-20 has hardly been an exciting one; Liverpool have simply steamrolled anyone in their path and now the Reds look set to become just the 7th side to lift the famous trophy.
But while nobody could’ve expected their total dominance this season, Liverpool are at least considered one of the Premier League’s so-called ‘Big Six’, alongside Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal. That means that their inevitable title win still won’t be a stunning as the achievement of Leicester City in 2015-16.
The Foxes were famously relegation candidates in 2014-15 before suddenly rising up the table to shock the world by winning the Premier League in the very next season – but since then, the Big Six have again largely dominated.
But could the new decade see another club rise up to break that dominance and perform a miracle just as Leicester did? Possibly, and if it happens, it could be one of the following 3 clubs that achieves it.
#1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Many fans were stunned in the 2018-19 season when newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers were somehow able to finish in 7th place in the Premier League. But, the truth is that their strong season perhaps wasn’t all that strange after all. Sure, it was a big achievement for a promoted team, but Wolves were never an ordinary promoted team.
Not only are the Midlands-based side considered one of the richest clubs in the world thanks to their 2016 buyout at the hands of Chinese investment group Fosun International – which has the backing of businessman Guo Guangchang, who is reportedly worth around $6.7 billion – but they also count vaunted Portuguese ‘super-agent’ Jorge Mendes amongst their closest advisors, thanks to his links with Fosun.
It was Mendes’ influence that allowed Wolves to bring aboard players like Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho, as well as securing the services of their highly rated manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
But Wolves’ success hasn’t all been about Mendes; Nuno is a truly fantastic coach, as it’s easy to see the improvement in players like Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez since arriving at Molineux to work under him.
With the fears that Mendes would simply use the club as a shop window of sorts for his players now seemingly fading away – Wolves haven’t sold any of their stars since arriving in the Premier League. It’s clear that the Midlands side are very serious about breaking into the elite level. And with billions – and the coaching ability of Nuno – behind them, they’re definitely equipped to pull off an upset Premier League title win this decade.
Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton are a club who have threatened to break into the Premier League’s elite for some time now – they even qualified for the Champions League back in 2005 – but for various reasons, usually due to poor recruitment or the wrong choice of manager, the Toffees have been flattering to deceive in recent seasons.
However, off the pitch they’ve got everything that a club would require to break the dominance of the ‘Big Six’. Everton have a huge fanbase, look set to be moving to a huge new stadium within the next few years, and have the backing of a billionaire owner in the form of businessman Farhad Moshiri – an owner who isn’t afraid to dip his hands into his pockets and splash the cash.
The most important thing going forward for the Toffees though is that they finally have a manager worthy of attempting to break into the elite level. Carlo Ancelotti is a proven winner who’s captured league titles in every competition he’s ever been involved with – including the Premier League with Chelsea in 2009-10.
Is his Everton side ready to “do a Leicester” at the current moment? Almost certainly not; the Toffees simply don’t have the squad depth nor the quality players to break into the upper echelon this season and perhaps even in 2020-21, but if Ancelotti is given time and backing, he could well bring in the players capable of taking Everton to the next level.
#3 Leicester City
It almost seems obvious to say it, but one of the teams most likely to “do a Leicester” and surprise everyone to win the Premier League title over the next decade is, well, Leicester City themselves. The Foxes’ win in 2015-16 always had somewhat of a stunning feel about it, not just because of the fact that they broke the dominance of the ‘Big Six’, but also because their side was hardly filled with world-renowned stars.
It came as no surprise, then, when Leicester slipped back into a mid-table spot in the following season, and remained there in 2017-18 too. But things have changed dramatically at the King Power Stadium since then.
Leicester now have one of the strongest squads in the Premier League, with outstanding youngsters like Ben Chilwell, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans complimenting veterans like Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy, and they also have a manager who knows exactly how to get the best out of them.
Fans might joke about Brendan Rodgers after some of his low points at Liverpool a few years ago, but the Northern Irishman is a genuinely fantastic coach and what’s more, he’s got plenty of experience in terms of winning trophies since his massively successful stint at Celtic. The proof is already in the pudding as the Foxes currently sit in 3rd place in the Premier League table.
So can Leicester repeat their 2016 heroics and capture another Premier League title during the new decade? If they can avoid selling any of their highly rated players, can make the right signings in the next few transfer windows – and most importantly, can keep Rodgers in charge – it’s possible, and what’s more it wouldn’t be as much of a shock, either.Published 06 Feb 2020, 03:45 IST