But since RM left weíve finished 7th and 8th - suggesting that they are alright, unless you think that the last two managers wrung every last drop out of them.
No, but I think residual quality + a garbage league has helped. Leicester dropped off, Southampton dropped off, West Ham dropped off, Newcastle havenít come back up to level they were, Burnley were above us.
Our demonstrably good prem-level players are a year older (for some this is a genuine worry, for others it just means a near-drastic drop in value) and we havenít solved any of the last few years glaring gaps other than arguably RW with Theo, but he is a notoriously patchy player with injury problems (whoís the wrong side of 25 to boot.)
The long term squad building failures - back up for Baines, replacement for jags, replacement for Baines also actually, back up for Coleman, replacement for Barry (Morgan but..), replacement for lukaku (no not Tosun), replacement for Barkley, replacement for pienaar - are still largely present, but all those players still with us are now older so even less likely to perform or play as many minutes.
Teams around us, and by this I mean Leicester, Burnley, Southampton (3 teams well placed with quality) and West Ham and wolves to an extent (some quality, some loon factor) ARE improving.
Dunno, tell me itís fine if you like, it PROBABLY will be, but I canít watch another year like the one just gone, and pace, youth, quality and goals are all looking a little thin on the ground at the moment to me...