Premier League Review: Race at the Top
The Premier League has often been termed as the most competitive league in the world. Last year, it proved to be quite a spectacle, which saw a fairy tale for Leicester City, as they finished champions while defending champions Chelsea, finished 10th.
The contrast in performance over just a season bears witness to the ever growing demands of the league. This season, with new managers, new philosophies and new superstars hogging the limelight, the race at the top is tighter than ever.
11 game weeks into the season, it looks a congested top half with only 8 points separating the table leaders Liverpool and 6th placed Manchester United.
Here is a summarised analysis of how the top teams have fared so far in the Premier League this season:
Dominant, free-flowing and attacking football, the Reds have scored a whopping 30 goals – the highest so far in the League – catapulting them to top the table with 26 points.
With wins against rivals Arsenal and Chelsea away from home, no European commitments and a squad full of individual brilliance and swagger, this Liverpool side are potential title contenders this season.
The only thing that might need a bit of attention for the Jurgen Klopp-managed side is the leaky defence which has already conceded 14 goals so far.
Next four PL Games: Southampton (A), Sunderland (H), Bournemouth (A), West Ham (H)
Current League Form: WWWDW
Star Player(s): Roberto Firminio, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho
Young Sensation: Divock Origi
Drama, chaos, pandemonium, ecstasy – four words that describe Chelsea’s season so far.
Two last-minute wins were followed by Chelsea’s way below par performances against Swansea City (2-2 away), Liverpool (1-2 home) and Arsenal (3-0 away), picking just 1 point out of a possible 9 and shipping in 7 goals in the process.
A change of formation by Italian manager Antonio Conte has worked wonders as Chelsea are now on a five-match winning streak, scoring 16 goals and conceding none in the process.
Victories against Leicester City (3-0), Manchester United (4-0) and Everton (5-0) had a stamp of new Italian renaissance brought to the club by Conte. The win against Everton was lauded by most Chelsea legends as the “best ever” in the Premier League era.
The hunger and desire shown by key players like Matic, Pedro, Hazard and Costa has seen them rise to 2nd place in the League, one point behind Liverpool.
Next four PL Games: Middleborough (A), Spurs (H), Manchester City (A), West Brom (H)
Current League Form: WWWWW
Star Player(s): Eden Hazard, Pedro and Diego Costa
Young Sensation: Nathaniel Chalobah
With six wins out of the first six games in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s side were easily the best team that the league had to offer both in terms of work rate and attacking flair.
However, with injuries to key players like Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne over the past few weeks, City’s dominance in the league has been questioned and their form dropped. 6 points from the last 15 points saw the Citizens drop down the table, and City are now 3rd in the table, 2 points behind Liverpool.
Next four PL games: Crystal Palace (A), Burnley (A), Chelsea (H), Leicester City (A)
Current Form in the League: DWDDL
Star Player(s): Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero
Young Sensation: Kelechi Iheanacho
A chaotic start to the season with a 3-4 defeat against Liverpool might have raised eyebrows amongst the football fraternity, but Arsene Wenger’s side recovered from their early defeat and got themselves to the top half of the table.
The Gunners are 4th in the table, level on points with Manchester City, and only behind on goal difference.
Arsene Wenger’s men won 14 points out of a possible 18, with dominant and easy victories against rivals Chelsea and relegation-threatened Sunderland. The Gunners have been able to grind out results and also play football with flair, which makes them contenders for the title this season.
Next four PL Games: Manchester United (A), Bournemouth (H), West Ham (A), Stoke City (H).
Current League Form: DWWWD
Star Player(s): Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil
Young Sensation: Alex Iwobi
The only unbeaten side in the League so far, Tottenham Hotspur boasts of the meanest defence in the league this campaign.
New signings Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama have given them the aggression and physicality that the Spurs side lacked in the previous seasons. English starlet Dele Alli has been the standout player with three goals already this season.
With Harry Kane returning for the London derby against Arsenal, the Spurs striker provides timely boost to their title ambitions and adds a much-needed goal scoring option in Mauricio Pochettino’s scheme of things.
Next four PL Games: West Ham (H), Chelsea (A), Swansea City (H), Manchester United (A)
Current League Form: DDDDW
Star Player(s): Son Heung-min, Moussa Sissoko, Erik Lamela
Young Sensation: Dele Alli
Manchester United, currently, has a squad filled with underperforming and highly paid superstars like Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, and a world class manager in Jose Mourinho.
The team has failed to live up to the hype surrounding the new era at Old Trafford and have faltered in the league as well as Europa League competition. A terrible run in the league has seen them pick just 6 points out of a possible 15, sees them sit 6th in the league, 8 points adrift the top of the table.
Next four PL Games: Arsenal (H), West Ham (H), Everton (A), Tottenham Hotspurs (H)
Current League Form: WDLDD
Star Player(s): David De Gea, Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia
Young Sensation: Marcus Rashford