For the last few years, fans have been dazzled by the shear brilliance of Manchester City but is it really as clear cut this campaign? With nine matches played, there is a two-point difference between first and fifth and only three unbeaten teams remain; City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Many football experts are expecting a two-way title fight between City and Liverpool but there a few teams that could overturn that prediction.
Pep Guardiola’s 16-17 season was one to forget, not winning a single trophy and finishing 3rd in the league behind Tottenham and winners Chelsea. Pep labelled it a disaster considering he’d won silverware in his debut seasons at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich. But where did City’s fortunes change?
Spending over £200m seems to have been the answer to the success that has followed for The Citizens. Bringing in top quality full-backs in the shape of Benjamin Mendy and Kyle walker has certainly eased their defensive problems but also added to their offensive armoury. Both hit the ground running despite Mendy being side-lined for the majority of last season with a knee injury. Although, it was the signing of Brazilian keeper Ederson that completed the defensive triangle. The young stopper has brought an added confidence to City’s backline not to mention his pinpoint accuracy when the ball’s at his feet. But it is worth mentioning that Ederson’s mistake lead to Liverpool’s winning goal at Anfield last season.
The Merseyside team have only lost 3 Premier League games since that 4-3 thriller in January and are strong title contenders to lift their first Premier league trophy. They came almightily close in the 13/14 season when Liverpool hero Steven Gerrard ironically slipped against Chelsea which eventually handed City their second title. However, after the heartbreak in Kiev’s champions league final in May, Jurgen Klopp will be looking to add another European domestic title to his trophy cabinet. The charismatic German has been blessed with one of the deadliest front threes in world football. The combination of Salah, Mane and Firmino have carried on where they left off, but you still fell that there’s more to come from them. The added stability of Virgil Van Dijk and a newly fit Dejan Lovren are positive signs going into a fixture packed November.
Whilst all the scrutiny has been on Manchester City and Liverpool, could this be a chance for Chelsea to slip through the net and give Maurizio Sarri a first
season in English football to remember? Belgian magician Eden Hazard has been rejuvenated under Sarri and is now starting to show that extra quality we all knew he was capable of. Hazard’s future with ‘The Blues’ is uncertain with a potential move to La Liga looming over his head, nevertheless he sits atop of the league’s top scorer list with 7 goals. But it’s not just Hazard’s individual masterclasses that have enhanced Chelsea’s chance at title glory, the arrival of Kepa Arrizabalaga and Ross Barkley’s reintroduction to the starting-eleven looks to have given them a breath of fresh air in recent games.
For the first time in a while, we can finally start talking about Arsenal as being title contenders. Unai Emery received some criticism in his first few games, but he’s changed fan’s opinions in North London with an impressive win streak. They’re now unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions, following a 3-1 win over Leicester City. The Spaniard seems to have ignited a spark between forwards Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with 10 goals between them. Youngster Mattéo Guendouzi has impressed in front of the back four but it still remains to be seen whether they can master the art of playing out from the back. The gunners are hot on the heels of rivals Tottenham and will be looking to reclaim bragging rights in the capital come the end of the season.
Spurs have had their best ever start to a Premier League season, although they haven’t quite reached the performances of last year. Their sub-par performances have been blamed on the lack of signings made in the summer. With Eriksen injured and Kane still in his early season drought, it’s hard to see where the chances are going to come from and might be a factor as to why they aren’t involved in high scoring games. However, Spurs are winning games and accumulating points, so they cannot be discounted from the title race despite a lesser quality than the top three.
Written by Will Fowler. (@Fowler_Will)