Just a few weeks ago, Manchester City players celebrated victory at Old Trafford after a masterly performance against their cross-city rivals. It was their fifth consecutive win in the Premier League, giving them a literally perfect start to the season. Back then, if you had ayes do mention sked any pundit the question: who will win the Premier League in 2017? The response would have been overwhelming in favour of Man City. Things have changed somewhat since then, with City dropping points, and Liverpool and Chelsea blowing the competition out of the water – but by how much have things changed? City now sit third in the table, two points below Liverpool and one below Chelsea. The Manchester side still remain favourites with the bookies, but only by a small margin. The truth is nobody, including the bookies, is entirely sure, and that makes for one of the most intriguing races in many years.
Several clubs are putting their cases forward: Liverpool and Chelsea are playing the most exhilarating football and do not have the added distraction of European football. We are seeing an Arsenal team that is finally displaying the mixture of steel and style that has sorely lacking in recent seasons. Tottenham, who have sometimes been overlooked, are the only team not to have tasted defeat in the Premier League this season. And then there is City; results show that October has been a limp month for Pep Guardiola’s men (W1, L1, D2), but the performances have really not been all that bad. The defeat to Tottenham aside, City have been impressive in their other league games, and they really should count themselves unlucky not to have beaten Everton and Southampton.
So where does this leave us in the race for the title? Every one of the current top 5 – Liverpool, Chelsea, City, Arsenal and Spurs – will consider themselves in with a big chance. Indeed, only five points separates first and fifth position in the table. But could anyone else spoil the party? Leicester’s heroics of last season seem a long way off now, with the club treading water in the bottom half of the table. The prime candidate for a push seems to be Manchester United. Yes, it is fashionable to criticise them, and their current position represents scant return for a club that has spent so much money on the squad. However, the talent in that side should not be overlooked. If Mourinho can get the most out of Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Mata and Rashford, they could easily go on a blistering run of results. Don’t rule them out just yet.
The beauty of the Premier League this season is that while there have been some scintillating performances at times by all the top teams, each team also seems to have certain weaknesses, or, at the very least, perceived weaknesses. This has made the Premier League conundrum and even more exciting one, and with only 10 games played, it is only just getting started. After the November international break the fixtures will start coming thick and fast, and by the time the New Year comes in we should have a better idea of just who are the true contenders for one of the most keenly contested title races in years.