More whinging about the state of modern football

Last year was an awful year for the rulers of English football. Only one of the Big Four - Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool - won a major English trophy. Portsmouth won the FA Cup and Tottenham won the League Cup. Fortunately, Manchester United won the Premier League title, heading off a dangerous outbreak of variety.

Between 2004 and 2007 not one of those three trophies went to a club outside the Big Four. Including those three clean sweeps, the Big Four have monopolised the silverware in seven of the 16 seasons since the Premier League began in 1993.

If seven clean sweeps out of a possible 16 doesn't sound like much, don't worry: the Big Four are getting better. They've swept the board in five of the last eight seasons.

Of course, the clubs outside the Big Four have occasionally snatched some crumbs from the table. It's ok though, they really are just crumbs. Of the 48 competitions since the 1993-94 season, the Big Four have won 37.

Besides, it's mostly the League Cup that they give away. Of the 11 trophies the Big Four have let slip since 1993, eight of them have been League Cups. They're keeping a pretty tight reign on the other competitions.

And that's what made last season so alarming. However, order will almost certainly be restored this year. This afternoon, Manchester United won the League Cup - the ninth win for the Big Four in the last 17 finals - and they will add the Premier League title come May.

Meanwhile, Chelsea and Manchester United are in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, with Arsenal likely to follow if they beat mid-table Championship side Burnley. By a stroke of luck, the three clubs have managed to avoid each other in the competition so far. If all three win in this round then one of the Big Four is guaranteed to make the final. If we're lucky, we might get our seventh all-Big Four final since 1993.

Phew. Don't worry folks. The top of English football will be reassuringly boring - and money-spinning for the Big Four - for years to come.