The Premier League was once thought to consist of three separate divisions within the top tier.
Those competing for the title, those fighting relegation, then the ones in between those extremes.
However, when contemplating tomorrow’s game against Newcastle, Sean Dyche says that instead it is now just the ‘big six’, then whoever the other 14 clubs are, these are all just fighting to stay in the Premier League.
Dyche claims 2015/16 was an anomaly, Leicester winning the title and Liverpool and Chelsea ending up eighth and tenth respectively.
Sean Dyche of course led his club to an impressive seventh last season but the reality was they finished nine points behind sixth placed Arsenal and 16 adrift of Chelsea who were fifth.
Nobody would deny that the ‘big six’ have a massive advantage due to finances and other benefits they are building up each season.
Only six clubs haven’t been relegated in the Premier League – Man Utd, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal, and indeed apart from those six and Man City, all of the other current 13 have played Championship football very recently.
In fact those 13 have all played Championship football in 2012 or later, these are the years when the clubs last played second tier football matches:
2018 Cardiff, Wolves, Fulham
2017 Newcastle United, Brighton, Huddersfield
2015 Bournemouth, Watford
2012 Southampton, West Ham
The one point I would disagree with the Burnley boss slightly on, is that I think clubs such as Everton and Leicester aren’t in any real danger of relegation, due to the investment they have made in their squads. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will be (relatively) successful but I do think they have too much quality to get into serious trouble at the moment.
Newcastle as a club should be more than capable of getting into a similar bracket as that pair, especially with somebody such as Rafa Benitez as manager, even with just realistic backing in the transfer market.
Sean Dyche speaking ahead of Newcastle match to the Lancashire Telegraph:
“No one game (such as this Newcastle one) decides your season.
“I think anyone outside of the top six, including Manchester United in that, everyone will have to work for the points I think.
“Bournemouth have had a great start and they might end up in the top six but at the minute you’re thinking Manchester United will find a way…Watford have had a good start.
“Over a season it is very tough, we had a fine season last season and (yet) still had a spell of 11 games without a win.
“That can happen – all of the teams outside of the top six, everyone is fighting and vying, everyone wants points to continue being in the Premier League, simple as that.
“There used to be a thinking of three divisions within the (Premier League) division.
“But I think at the moment it’s the big six and the rest.
“Obviously, a few years ago it changed when Chelsea had a funny time and Leicester won it, but over the last couple of seasons it’s gone back to what we all deep down know.
“This season it is really, really clear, the only anomaly being Manchester United have just been a bit up and down.
“We are part of the pack of clubs that have to continue fighting for everything we get and the rewards that we get.”