Guardian, Tuesday, December 16, 2008 1:15 PM
"It is cheering to hear the boos" that have been greeting the home performances of league-leading Liverpool and Chelsea in recent weeks, writes Kevin McCarra. Although the EPL's Big
Four' occupy four of the top five spots, their faltering form and the threat of financial insecurity that hangs over their debt-carrying heads are good news for the rest of the league.
Fifth-place Arsenal, for example, would be hard hit financially if it failed to qualify for the Champions League in the light of the falling property prices that are threatening profits from its
Highbury Square flats on the site of its old stadium. Such developemnts, though, are "a tonic for others," and for the moment "it does not seem utterly outlandish to visualise Aston
Villa holding tight to a Champions League spot."
Affluence is not paying off either for newly enriched Manchester City just above the relegation zone, or for Manchester United,
whose $45 million purchase from Tottenham, Dimitar Berbatov, has scored just twice in the league so far. "With the exception of the Manchester City coffers, money is tight," Wilson
concludes. "The Premier League can only benefit from an element of surprise if the cash that does remain in circulation goes on having so fitful an effect."
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