The big six is something we hear almost every week in the top flight of English football now. Referring to the biggest and best clubs who seem to occupy those top six places every season, representing England in Europe and who are in their own little mini-league when it comes to the Premier League.
Sixth-placed Manchester United are a huge 14 points ahead of seventh-placed Wolves and that is after they were beaten 2-1 in midweek by the side from the West Midlands. Jose Mourinho lead Manchester United to their worst ever start in the Premier League era, got sacked, been replaced by a relatively inexperienced manager and yet still the Red Devils are sat safely inside that top six.
In the past five seasons, the ‘big six’ have finished as the top six in the table, in one order or another, four times. The only anomaly is the frankly ridiculous season of 2015/16 where Leicester City won the league and Chelsea finished below Stoke in tenth.
However, now there could be a new club on the block, ready to shake up the Premier League top six. Wolves have been brilliant to watch this season and their record against the top six sides is incredible. They have taken four points from Man Utd and knocked them out the FA Cup, Drawn with Man City and Arsenal away whilst taking three points from Tottenham at Wembley and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The problem for them has come when they have slipped up in games they shouldn’t have. Bizarrely, relegated Huddersfield did the double over them this season whilst they have also lost to Cardiff, Brighton and Burnley this term. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side must be more ruthless against those sides who set up to defend, rather than attack.
The Molineux club made some brilliant signings last summer when they were promoted to the Premier League and it looks as if they will do the same in the coming months. They have already splashed out £30m making top scorer Raul Jimenez a permanent signing from Benfica. The Mexican hotshot has scored 12 Premier League goals this season for his new side and been a constant thorn in the side of top-flight defences. His signing is a real statement of intent from the Wolves’ board that they intend to improve further for next season.
In Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho, they boast one of the best midfield partnerships in the whole division. Rui Patricio is one of the top keepers in the league whilst Conor Coady and Willy Boly have performed well in defence. This squad has the basis of a top six team. They just need a few more top quality signings and the fans must make Molineux a fortress with strong home performances.
Wolves are better prepared than any other side to break into the big six. Do not be surprised if they come close next season.