Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are the top three respectively in the Premier League table and it’s for good reason.
Chelsea have easily been the team of the season so far with an impregnable defense and a devastating attack. Arsenal are also looking strong once more, producing the finest attacking displays of any team. The Gunners are firing on all cylinders and they will hopefully kick on this time around rather than falter like the past seasons. Liverpool have been the biggest revelation, playing an attractive brand of football not seen in Premier League in recent times. Never has a team looked as dangerous going forward as the Reds have done this year. They may not be having the best defense, but they surely have the best attack.
Both Manchester sides started strongly but have since tapered off. Manchester City have had their ups and downs and Pep Guardiola will have to figure out his team before it’s too late. Pep is no stranger to big games and managing big clubs in Europe, but he is taking more time than expected to sort out his starting XI. When City are playing well, they look unstoppable, but the fast, physical nature of the Premier League has taken its toll on the team. The Premier League is probably the toughest league these days, as the general level of play and the tough defensive conditions make it hard for any team to win. As more and more money is pumped into the league, it will improve in quality with every passing season.
Manchester United are a team in a rebuilding stage, as the players have not been able to click as yet. The defense is assured, but it is going forward that United have really struggled. Lack of creative options in mid field, United are left stranded against good teams without a decent midfield pairing. They are turning a corner in recent weeks, but United will have to improve dramatically if they want to have any chance of finishing in the top 4.
Tottenham also started well but have since tapered off, both in the league and in Europe. But with the return of Harry Kane from injury, their fortunes could soon see an upturn and they may start pushing for a place in the top 4.
The rest of the league is still catching up with the top 6, with defending champs Leicester City in the wrong side of the table. Claudio Ranieri’s men have taken their first European stint rather more seriously than everyone thought, and they are probably not going to challenge for the title this term.
Elsewhere, Stoke City, West Brom, Middlesborough are making good runs and can finish in the top half of the Premier League table. Everton are out of form as are Southampton, but Sunderland, Crystal Palace seem to be turning a corner. Swansea City, Burnley, Hull City will have a tough time staying up if things keep going the way they have for them, but I expect at least Swansea to stay up. West Ham, Bournemouth and Watford round up the 20 teams in the top flight and they should be safe but are still some way away from fighting for the European spots.
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Photo by Ronnie Macdonald