Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Room for two more in Big Four?

Room for two more in Big Four?

Room for two more in Big Four?


Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester City have made strong starts so far in the English Premier League, but can they infiltrate the notorious Big Four?

THE summer headlines were undoubtedly all written by Real Madrid's chequebook, and with Barcelona the reigning European champions, many have argued that there is going to be a shift in power from the Premiership to La Liga. I beg to differ because two star-studded teams doesn't make a compelling league.

In recent seasons we've almost had a big four set in stone, but a change seems to be on the horizon. Man City and Spurs have emerged after decades of underachievement with perfect starts to the season. This week their credentials will be firmly tested as they host Arsenal and Man United, respectively. Are we about to see the beginning of the big six?

Abramovich proved cash can be a fast track to success, but he still had to bring in the self-titled chosen one to complete his ambition. The jury is still out over Mark Hughes, and will almost US$200 million of new recruits do the trick? Considering how attack-minded City have been playing, it's surprising they've managed three clean sheets. Arsenal were unlucky at Old Trafford, and will be determined not to loose twice in Manchester. Adebayor and Toure followed the money train north from London, and will be desperate to get one over their old boss.

This game promises much, as both sides will undoubtedly play attacking football in the correct manner. With Fabregas yet again missing to orchestrate the Arsenal midfield, and Asharvin also sidelined, Arsene Wenger will look to Van Persie to break his scoring duck and create that extra cutting edge that they missed against the champions. Arsenal seem to be playing like a team, but despite wins in the bank, City have looked a little disjointed, and I don't think Mark Hughes has settled on his best 11 yet or favorite formation.

I expect goals in this match, and fancy City to sneak a point because of home advantage. If I was pushed to single out a player from either side for your fantasy team, then Adebayor for the Sky Blues and Van Persie for the Gunners look the most likely to influence the game's outcome.

Spurs have flattered to deceive for decades. The north London club have assembled a squad and apparent confidence which could finally see them realize their lofty ambitions. They've already sent Benitez packing, so is it Sir Alex's turn?

United unconvincingly beat Arsenal and have already lost to Burnley. With Ronaldo gone, Rooney appears to be the successor to fill the boots that greats such as Cantona wore. Fletcher has unexpectedly matured into the heartbeat of the Red's midfield, and those two have been the shining lights in a somewhat shaky start to the season. Rooney and Defoe will definitely be the main goal threats, but for me this game will be won at the back.

Ferdinand and Van der Sar are still crocked, as are most of Spurs' central defenders. If Redknapp can't find a partner for Bassong, then you fear the worst for Spurs. For Spurs to compete with the big guns, then King or Woodgate must get fit quickly. United v Spurs fixtures in the past have always seemed to produce thrilling encounters, and with two defences weakened due to injuries, both managers should go all-out attack. I can't see this one being goalless, and who'd bet against the much-criticised Berbatov's coming back to haunt the very fans who once adored him.

Chelsea and Liverpool both play unglamorous sides on Saturday, but Chelsea will certainly face a sterner test. Stoke might not be pretty on the eye, but their direct physical approach took many a scalp last season, and Chelsea will have to prove they have the brawn, so their superior talent can shine through.

Stoke are fantastic from set plays, but Chelsea must be one of the tallest teams in the Premiership, and should be capable of handling Stoke's aerial threat. Drogba and Anelka are both in fine scoring form, and with Ancelotti's diamond formation already clicking, this should be another three points to lift the gloom surrounding Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool have yet to be convincing, but Burnley will face another battering when they visit Anfield. The Reds stumbled in this type of fixture last season but Benitez, with lessons learnt, should send out a side hungry for a hatful against the bookies' favourites for the drop. Any Liverpool player is a sure winner for your fantasy team in the most obvious match of the weekend.

The best of the rest sees the Birmingham derby take place at St Andrews. Birmingham City have done OK so far, but Villa are slowly improving, and should have the upper hand in a clash normally played at 100mph.

Something must give when Portsmouth take on Bolton as both teams currently remain pointless. Portsmouth have spent their new found fortune rather late, and it's difficult to tell how they will fare. At least a point is essential for either side so early in the season.


  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will

  • Cambodia to remain neutral on ASEAN-China territorial dispute

    Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn told an informal meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers on Wednesday that Cambodia will stay neutral on the South China Sea. He appealed to all stakeholders to continue fostering a conducive environment that contributes to the end

  • Keeping it riel, Cambodia steps up de-dollarisation

    The economic downturn has supplied the National Bank of Cambodia with an opportunity to step up its agenda to return the shine on the riel while coping with Covid-19 challenges Late May, an instruction by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) to financial institutions to

  • ANA finds ancient Sanskrit inscription

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has found a Sanskrit inscription carved on ancient stone. The inscription was discovered on the underside of a stone on Wednesday, in front of the Tonle Snguot temple which workers were cleaning. Archaeologist and Apsara Authority deputy-director Im Sok Rithy