So, apart from Manchester City, just who can stop Chelsea from rampaging towards the Premier League title this season?
Liverpool would have been amongst it if they continued to play in the same vein as last season, and in many ways it is disappointing to not see them in the mix this time around after coming so close to getting their hands on that elusive trophy last May. It would have made for a much more exciting season this time around if they were challenging once more, but it looks like based on their present form that the most they can hope to fight for will be a top four finish.
Manchester United are getting better, but they are not quite there this season – although it won’t be long before they start challenging for honours again under Louis van Gaal, assuming he stays at the helm, continues to build his squad strength up and increases the confidence of his players slowly but surely then United will be a force once more (just not this season). The best they can hope for is an improvement on last season’s embarrassing finish and perhaps a shot at the FA Cup.
Arsenal are a funny one, they have finally discovered how to splash the cash in the transfer market, they have acquired some fantastic new players and on paper look as good a force to be reckoned with as anyone else in the league, however, they are once more falling short of the mark. The benefit of the doubt has to be given to the Gunners in the sense that their injury woes are not getting any better and they have a lot of key players missing; on a full strength squad, Arsene Wenger’s side would be mixing it up at the top of the table without a doubt. At present, however, they do not look to have enough to mount a serious challenge and it will be interesting to see what they are capable of once they return to a full strength squad.
Manchester City look like the only team that can perhaps stop Mourinho’s men in their tracks. The current champions still have a lot of attacking flair entertaining and sexy football to be played and the big team winning mentality that is required to compete for any honours. In fact, Chelsea and City seem to be the only two teams in the Premier League (of the title chasing ones) that have that winner’s mentality and the brash bravado to go out to any game and expect to win it. However, that said, City have stuttered at times during their campaign so far, last season’s key player Yaya Toure looks like he isn’t interested anymore, their defence has looked a bit suspect leaking 10 goals so far in only nine games.
If Manchester City are to start pushing Chelsea and putting them under pressure then they need to sort out their defensive frailties and get last season’s catalyst playing well again. On a positive note, Frank Lampard looks a decent signing for them and once he is back in the team they do look that little bit better.
Based on everything that has been said so far it seems to be a two horse race out of the usual title aspiring suspects. Could an outsider perhaps inject a bit of a surprise package to the mix and offer a third horse to proceedings? Southampton are doing well so far and do not look too out of place near the top of the table. It will be a long shot, but if any outsider will push for a challenge it will be them.
Whatever happens, this season’s race will not be as exciting and dramatic as last season’s – but it’s early days, and anything can happen.