If this season has shown us anything, it’s that there are plenty of clubs closing the gap on the top-flight’s long-established ‘Big Six’. So, today we’re looking at the six teams ready to break into the Prem’s top six.
It should be said Leicester City won’t be included in this list. Their 5th placed finish last year and their 2016 Premier League title mean they’ve already broken into the top six.
The Hammers have been a surprise package this season. David Moyes has turned them into a competitive team so much so they lie in 5th. In truth the London club has all the makings of a top 6 side. They have a top tier stadium, a rich history and under Moyes have discovered a winning formula that could see them tussle at the top. Should they recruit well and continue to back themselves against the best, the Hammers could finally achieve the ambitions of their owners and the dreams of their supporters.
The recently-promoted side certainly belong in the Prem but arguably should be expected to punch even higher than survival in the years to come. In Bielsa they have one of the finest managers in the world and a brand of football befitting of a top side. Going into this season they recruited well showing they have the pull to bring in Spanish and German internationals. Add to that the increased investment from the San Francisco 49ers, and Leeds should be expected to be sniffing around the European places soon enough.
Wolves have been agonisingly close to the top six over the last two seasons with back-to-back 7th placed finishes. After an impressive return to life in the Premier League, it was expected that the Wanderers would push on this season. But, after the loss of some key players, they’ve struggled and sit 13th. That said, given their impressive recruitment in recent years and their quality manager it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them bounce back next season and make another assault on the top 6.
Few teams have been able to establish themselves in the Premier League as well as the Saints. They have managed an impressive 4 top half finishes since returning to the top-flight including a 6th placed finish in 2016. Under Hasenhüttl they continue to be a threat to the league’s biggest clubs. In the shape of Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse they have quality players who could fire them to European football.
The Toffees are one of the sleeping giants in English football. Recent years have seen the Blues watch on as Leicester replaced them as the team expected to break the established ‘Big 6’. But Carlo Ancelotti has turned that around. He’s brought in some real talent such as James Rodriguez and has added a touch of class to their squad. With two games in hand on most teams, Everton sit impressively in 7th.
Aston Villa are a team with a rich history and belong at the top of English football. It’s been refreshing to see them bounce up the league in only their second season back in the big time. They have some exciting players like Ollie Watkins and Jack Grealish and can beat anyone on their day even battering the Champions 7-2. Presently, Villa reside inside the top 10 and have two games in hand. If they continue their form, they could shoot up the table and break into the top 6.