'Big 6' pulling further clear in top-heavy Premier League

The Premier League prides itself on being the most competitive in the world and points to Leicester's 2016 title triumph at preseason odds of 5,000-1 as the ultimate evidence.

It might be time to revisit that opinion.

The end-of-season standings show a worrying development in England's top division: The chasm between the so-called "Big 6" — Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal — and the rest is bigger than ever.

Just ask the coach of the team that finished seventh.

"We all know where the top six are, and it's not impossible — as Leicester have shown — but improbable that it is going to radically change," Burnley manager Sean Dyche said. "That top six is going to be more or less the top six, because of the buying power, because of the power of the clubs. Outside of that, relative chaos.

"The first marker for lots of teams — probably 14, with maybe Everton on the edge of that category — is first things first, let's collect a team that can stay in (the Premier League)."

The top six teams, led by City in record-breaking fashion, all had a goal difference of at least plus 23. City's was a staggering plus 79. The other 14 teams finished on negative goal difference.

The gap between sixth-place Arsenal and Burnley was nine points, with another five to eighth-place Everton, whose dull brand of football under manager Sam Allardyce has been widely derided.


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