The BPL is almost a third of the way through and there have been plenty of shocking results and performances to keep fans guessing. Although the season has seen plenty of negatives to talk about (we are looking at you VAR), there has been some exceptional football on display. We take a look at the table to see just where everyone is at.
Disclaimer: We promise not to talk about VAR and what effect that may have had on any results as that is a drum that has been beaten on enough in most articles about the BPL.
Battle for the title
Liverpool lead the league having just dropped 2 points thus far, doing so at Old Trafford against their bitter rivals Manchester United. Liverpool have not had the best of performances this season with them grinding out victory after victory without the free-flowing style of football that fans have come to expect from them all the time. There are plenty who question whether they can maintain their lead especially since performances haven’t been at their best but their victory over Manchester City in their last outing have solidified their position at the top, extending their lead to 8 points over Leicester and Chelsea and 9 to title holders City.
It is testament to the kind of results Liverpool have had that they have such a lead over the rest of the pack when one has to say that second and third placed Leicester and Chelsea have had a fine start to the season. Both teams boast the two who are leading the race for the Golden Boot, Jamie Vardy and Tammy Abraham. Leicester have won their last 4 games with Chelsea having gotten over their opening day thrashing to win their last 6 games in the league. Leicester are in second place due to their amazing goal difference of 21, only second to fourth placed Man City, with their defence having conceded the least number of goals in the league despite the departure of Harry Maguire.
Chelsea look a refreshed side with Frank Lampard’s faith in youth paying dividends. This is in stark contrast to Pep Guardiola’s side, who despite sitting in fourth place just one point behind Chelsea and Leicester, have looked a shadow of their former self at times during the season. They have lost 3 games already, a statistic that does not bode well for their title ambitions.
Despite the fine performances of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, coupled with the incredible assist rate of Kevin De Bruyne, their 11 points dropped is just 5 points shy of the 16 that they dropped in the 2018/2019 season.
With such a poor start from them, is the title race over? Liverpool have had leads at the top of the table slip before and no one can count out Leicester and Chelsea at the moment but it would take a huge hiccough from the Merseyside club to let this one go.
Where are the rest of the “Top 6”?
It is newly promoted Sheffield who is fifth (level on points with Arsenal), 8 points behind City who have been the biggest surprise package of the season. The Blades have impressed pundits and neutrals alike with their performances this season.
Arsenal sit in sixth with a negative goal difference, something that is not surprising given the disarray they appear to be in. Even after placing the Granit Xhaka incident aside, the performances have left the fans with a bitter taste in their mouth leading some to call for the head of Unai Emery. The only bright spot has been their attack, with Aubemayang in the running for the Golden Boot having notched up 8 goals so far. The skies don’t look to be lightening up any time soon as they have not seen a win in their last 4 matches, losing 2 and drawing the other 2.
Manchester United follow on in 7th, having had somewhat of an up-and-down resurgence thus far, having seen their win streak come to a halt at Bournemouth only for them to make it up with a 3-1 win at home to Brighton. Solskjaer still has the backing of most fans and the board, something that was guaranteed to many a manager before only to see the board go back on that very decision, but patience at a club whose fans expect at least a Champions League spot come the end of the season may very well wear thin if results start going the other way again.
Wolves & Bournemouth (both tied with 16 points with Man United), Burnley, Brighton and Newcastle all separate Tottenham to the rest of the big teams. To say that Spurs have had a dip in form since their passage to the Champions League final last season would be the understatement of the year. Mauricio Pochettino has been under the microscope the entire season thus far and many believe that this would be his last at Tottenham especially after his comments post-Champions League final. With Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen & Danny Rose all running their contract down to find pastures new, White Hart Lane appears to be heading for the most uncertain period in their recent history.
Where is Everton and the Relegation Zone
Everton have flattered to deceive, tying with Spurs on 14 points. Many thought that Everton had done some pretty good business during the transfer window, bringing in the likes of Moise Kean from Juventus and Alex Iwobi from Arsenal among a host of other players. With the amount of investment into the squad and the results that they have garnered, it is no wonder why Marco Silva remains the top choice of manager next-to-be-sacked at some bookmakers. Luck isn’t on their side as well especially since they lost Andre Gomes to a horror injury against Spurs. Despite the challenge lacking the usual maliciousness that results in this kind of injury, it is truly salt in the wounds for Everton fans to see Son’s red card rescinded.
Watford, Southampton and Norwich currently occupy the relegation spots with Watford 3 points behind 17th placed Aston Villa and 5 behind West Ham who sit in 16th. Chances are high for them to still be in fight to avoid relegation if performances do not improve as they are very much in relegation form at the moment.