Man United don’t have this chance because they have the best players. They don’t have this chance because they are the best team. They don’t even have this chance because they have the best defensive record, which, in truth, they have.
No, the reason they have a realistic chance of winning the title is because there are no stand-out teams who are going to run away with it.
Manchester City, nearly everyone’s favourites, are too inconsistent and still rely too much on the likes of David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero. When any or all of these are injured, which is all too often, then City are a slightly better than average team. They have started to address this problem recently and, with the purchases of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and even Fabian Delph they look stronger. They are still favourites to win the title even with injuries.
Arsenal started the season the way they usually do, by losing at home in the first game. Unusually, they then went on an undefeated run and only in the last two away games have we seen their vulnerabilities start to come through. They still have the best away record in the Premier League but have now dropped five points in the last two games. Worse news though, are the injuries to Alexis Sanchez, Laurent Koscielny and, to a lesser extent, Santi Cazorla. Arsenal do not have a massive squad so it remains to be seen what effect these injuries have on their efforts in the Premier and Champions Leagues.
The other member of last season’s top four doesn’t really merit a mention yet. Chelsea started off as though relegation was the aim and will do very well to finish in the top four this time round.
Surprising-ish contenders include Tottenham Hotspur, who have quietly been improving under Mauricio Pochettino, so much so that they are unbeaten since the first game of the season, when they were beaten by a Kyle Walker goal.
Liverpool, who replaced the hapless Brendan Rodgers with the German Jurgen Klopp, are beginning to look the part. They still show some inconsistency, but Klopp will eradicate that, given time and money to spend in January.
I can’t see Leicester maintaining their current position but, barring injuries to key players, I would expect them to finish in the top eight.
The same applies to Southampton and West Ham. They could both have decent seasons although, in the case of Southampton, an improvement for them would be top six, which they won’t achieve.
So there you have it. I think you will find I have managed to tip nine teams to finish in the top eight. Obviously this probably won’t happen so, my question to all you experts out there is this: Which one of the nine I have mentioned will miss out on the top eight?
Whoever has the correct answer at the end of the season will receive absolutely nothing but will have the smug pride of knowing that he/she was right.
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