For far too long, the Premier League has been the exclusive purview of a small group of clubs. Until Manchester City gate-crashed the party a couple of seasons ago, it was a duopoly between Manchester United and Chelsea. Now it’s become three, and most pundits’ picks for the champions this season would be one of these three cubs. The early days of the season however, suggest that this could be one of the most open Premier League campaigns for many a long year – if not ever.
Of the three clubs mentioned above, it’s interesting to note that after four games they have identical records after four games. All have won two games, drew one and lost one. Of course this doesn’t mean that any of the three are out of the race for the title so early in the season. It’s interesting to note however that Chelsea’s start represents their poorest return on the first four games of a season since roman Abramovich arrived and transformed the club. Equally, most Manchester United fans are still unsure about the ability of David Moyes to seamlessly pick up the baton left by Sir Alex Ferguson. The team’s failure to score a single goal from open play in more than three games cannot really be something comforting. Over at Eastlands, the Pellegrini era is hardly off to a flying start. The injury to captain and defensive stalwart has exposed the frailties of the city backline. And this should clearly include the England ‘keeper Joe Hart.
With the three ‘favourites’ for the title apparently experiencing early stumbles in the race, the title will only be open if other teams are looking like taking advantage. North London contains two teams that appear to fit that profile. Spurs, with the Bale-bonanza invested in a magnificent seven new players are now showing signs of having their disparate parts welding into a cohesive unit. After a couple of stumbling 1-0 penalty-settled wins, and a defeat to the Gunners, their display against Norwich was very much in the mode that Villas-Boas will be looking for. Their victors in the clash at the Emirates are also finding their Ozil-inspired stride with three successive victories after an opening day defeat to Aston Villa.
Up on Merseyside, the Reds at Anfield currently top the table, and are shaping up to be genuine contenders. With Sturridge looking an outstanding natural goal-scorer, and manager Brendan Rodgers’ style, there’s genuine promise of a true renaissance of the club – and all of this achieved without the services of talismanic Uruguayan Luis Suarez.
As mentioned, it’s far too early to say that the early results are the definite promise of things to come, but it’s probably true that what the Premier League requires at the moment is a compelling championship that not only includes the ‘usual suspects.’
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