Pep Guardiola has been quoted as saying that six teams could win the Premier League this season, but which six could he be thinking of?
Quoted by Sky Sports, the Manchester City boss revealed he thinks six sides could challenge for the title this year but stopped short at naming those involved.
Certainly, his City side have to be contenders given they can go top with a win over West Brom and, in recent weeks, have looked a side slowly getting back to their free-flowing best.
Alongside them, Manchester United also have to be considered contenders with them leading the pack as things stand, having seemingly found an effective formula based on good counter-attacking football under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Leicester City are surely also in the six, with the Foxes level on points with Manchester City and playing some great football of their own – the form of James Maddison in recent matches particularly spearheading their charge.
The fourth team, for all their struggles in recent weeks, is Liverpool. Whilst results have been poor and the goals have dried up, they’ve still controlled a lot of games. They’ve lost their goal-scoring touch but if they can find that again they could be there for the long haul – they need to solve things quickly, however.
The fifth is likely Tottenham. In Jose Mourinho, they have a manager that knows exactly what it takes to win leagues and they’ve shown this season, against the likes of Manchester United, the quality that they have. They have a chance to make a statement against Liverpool on Thursday night and just need to find an extra level of consistency.
The sixth side, as things are right now, however, is a little harder to call. You’d probably say it’s Everton – eight points back with two games in hand on top spot Man United – or Aston Villa, who are only three points off Everton, again with two games in hand and have shown massive strides.
But then, of course, West Ham are in between the two so perhaps shouldn’t simply be overlooked even if they have played more games.
At the halfway point, for most sides anyway, it really is as open as it has been in a long time. It makes for exciting viewing and Pep is probably right in saying six sides can win it – he’s perhaps underestimating that number too.
And, as the table proves, he’s probably wise in not predicting who’s going to be up there – you really can make a case for nearly half the league at the moment.