Normally by this stage in the season we are already getting a strong idea of who will be the main two horses competing for the title, but this year something interesting is happening.
The view from the top is already awfully crowded.
There’s more contenders than we usually see for the top spot, which can only make for a more enjoyable season of competition.
At the time of writing, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are the top four, with big summer spenders Southampton hot on their heels.
Everton and the Manchester clubs lurk just outside of the top five, but you’d be wrong to think anyone’s been written out of the title race just yet. Both City and United are still adjusting to their new managers, and every club at the top has had some surprising dropped points thus far.
The biggest surprise for me at the top of the table has been David Moyes’s inability to settle in at United. Everyone knew there would be a period of adjustment, but I don’t expect many felt that the adjustment period would have involved dropping so many points this early on -against Liverpool, Man City, West Brom, and very nearly in last Saturday’s nail-biter against Stoke.
Moyes has always been a respected manager, and I always thought he did wonders getting Everton towards the top of the table.
However, since he’s moved to United, I can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t actually holding Everton back. He has finally succeeded in his quest to get Everton above Man Utd, but perhaps not in the way he imagined doing it.
Meanwhile, former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is off to a great start at Everton, having gone six games before his first loss, beating Chelsea along the way.
Southampton have also started exceptionally well. They bought well over the summer, and a string of well-deserved wins has them sitting in 5th.
They’ve played two of their fellow top half of the table teams (double that of Arsenal) and taken a solid four points from those games. They’ll have a tough ride ahead to stay up there, but provided Ricky Lambert keeps his form up, they should easily finish in the top half of the table.
In the middle of the table, we seem to be settling into business as usual. The usual suspects are still rapidly bouncing up and down, and the mid-table teams are all grouped within two points of each other.
Swansea and Hull will be pleased with their current positions; Newcastle will be thanking their lucky stars for theirs. Pardew is still a bit hit and miss since signing his whopping eight year contract extension, and his inconsistency has continued into this season.
Wins against Fulham, Villa, and Cardiff will be hits – but a loss to relegation contenders and local rivals Sunderland will not have gone down well, nor will a 2-3 defeat by recently promoted Hull.
The mid table team making me do a double-take this season are none other than Aston Villa. The past few seasons I‘ve thought ‘surely, this must be the year Villa get relegated,’ and yet every season they prove me wrong and survive by the skin of their teeth.
This year, it’s not a bad time to be a Villa fan. They are in 13th place and have collected two wins from top seven teams -Arsenal and Man City. Holding on to Christian Benteke was fantastic for the club, and Villa will now get to spend a season seeing just how high they can aim rather than repeatedly dragging themselves off of the bottom.
It’s never good news to be sitting at the bottom of the table, but it’s very early in the season for teams to get too worried – after all the bottom three changes every few minutes on a Saturday afternoon. Well, I say that, but really it’s only the 18th spot that changes. Both Crystal Palace and Sunderland have gotten off to a tough start to the season, and both have a ways to go to pull themselves up.
Sunderland have given themselves a boost from their massive win over rivals Newcastle, but after a start to the season which has seen only one win and a manager sacked after just thirteen games, will they settle down in time to save themselves?
It’s harder to see how managerless Palace would pull off the great escape. Eight losses in nine games is a tough start; plus their only win was against 19th placed Sunderland -which at least potentially bodes well for next season!
It’s early days still, but this is an exciting time to watch Premier League football.
The ‘big clubs’ have proved fallible, human even, and it means any team has a chance at any three points this year.
So, will Arsenal hold on to their early lead? Have Southampton spent enough to qualify for Europe? Can Crystal Palace beat Sunderland away? Will Andy Carroll ever return to fitness? Stay tuned and hold on tight— it’s gonna be a wild ride.
What do you think will happen come the end of May?’ Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.
10 years ago
Chelsea and City the two top dogs….. Palace , Sunderland and one other for the drop.