By Chris Harris

Johan Djourou expects an intense title race this season with more contenders than ever - but he thinks Arsenal will have the edge.

The traditional Big Four of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool filled the top four spots in the Premier League for four consecutive seasons until 2010 when Tottenham finally broke up that quartet, while Manchester City secured a Champions League place last season.

Liverpool were the team to drop out of the top four on both occasions but they have invested heavily in recent months under new manager Kenny Dalglish while City's riches should see them strengthen their squad before the transfer window closes.

Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson predicted this week that any one of those six clubs could be crowned champions and Djourou can understand why.

"I agree," he told "It was always going to be the case.

"For the past decade it has been the same teams but now the money comes in at a team like Man City and they spend a lot to deliver. Tottenham as well are making ground, they have got some great players too.

"You have to fight and that's what makes the English league so good to watch because there is competition. We know there are favourites but there are outside teams who can make trouble.

"As players we have to be on our toes but I think Arsenal is still on top because even if I look at last season, the problem before was that we couldn't beat the biggest teams but last season we didn't have any problem with that.

"So I think we just need to get those little things right and it will be great for us."

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19 Jul 2011