Ten games in, we have a look at the back that is bunched up in the title chase, whilst the leaders have a little bit of early breathing space.
It may be early days in the season but several managers past and present have said that looking at the table after ten games in a league season is a good barometer to see how they’re progressing. Here we have a look at the title fight and see rate their season so far.
Arsenal – 1st, 25 points
A lot of people will probably have seen the Gunners as the main casualty if the make-up of the Champions League places were going to change, but their start suggests otherwise. After a shock defeat on the opening day of the season, Arsenal have bounced back well and have only dropped two points in their other 9 games. They have also managed to beat tricky opposition in Tottenham and Liverpool at home whilst some don’t think they have played enough tough opposition early on and the coming months will be a truer test of their title credentials. If they keep up the same rate they are projected to finish on 95 points this season – which you’d think would be enough for them to win the title, though a few pundits are queuing up to talk down their chances of lifting the title come May. Rating 9.5/10
Chelsea – 2nd, 20 points
Jose Mourinho will be a bit concerned about Chelsea’ away from out of anything in the league having only won on the road so far against a struggling Norwich City side. However, their home form has been excellent and they lead the chasing pack. They have played Manchester United, Tottenham, Everton and Manchester City early on so it wouldn’t be a surprise if their season starts to gather pace. They were expected to challenge for the title early on in the season but are in a fairly strong position.
Projected points 76 – Rating 7/10
Liverpool – 3rd, 20 points
Liverpool will have set themselves the aim of getting into the top four this season and therefore will have needed a good start – something which they have got. Like Arsenal they have received the same criticism of not playing the stronger teams in the division but have a tricky looking period coming up when they face their rivals for European places before the turn of the year. They overcame Manchester United at home as well beating sides they ought to in struggling Sunderland and Crystal Palace, along with avoiding defeat at tricky away fixtures in Swansea and Newcastle. The home defeat to Southampton was one of their poorer performances of the season, but overall they should be relatively happy with the start they’ve made.
Projected points 76 – Rating 8/10
Tottenham – 4th, 20 points
They may not have scored many goals but they have had a solid looking start – even with that shock home defeat to West Ham. Tough games against Arsenal and Chelsea are out of the way and they seem to be picking up wins by the odd goal to help them keep ticking along. Given that they haven’t got into full flow yet they will be happy with where they are so far. At the start of the season we predicted they could be a major threat to the top four places, and so far that’s looking true.
Projected points 76 – Rating 7.5/10
Manchester City – 5th, 19 points
New manager but were heavily tipped to win the league title. They have been scintillating at home, indifferent away from home as they have only managed to win the one game, but some individual errors have cost them points and left Manuel Pellegrini with some big decisions to make. Still very much in the hunt having played Man United and Chelsea as you would expect, but have some difficult fixtures coming up soon, like a lot of the top sides. Lots of goals but the defence may need tightening.
Projected points 72 Rating 6/10
Southampton – 6th, 19 points
The surprise package of the season so far, so hands up who expected them to be battling it out with those who harbour ambitions of a title challenge or Champions League place at the start of August. Anyone? People wouldn't have expected them to be mentioned in amongst the title contenders but they are above the current champions so it would be rude not to. A foundation built on solid defence, they’ve defeated Liverpool at Anfield and taken a point off Manchester United at Old Trafford. They will have perhaps liked to have taken all three points against West Ham and Sunderland early on. One could argue the fixture list has been relatively favourable for the Saints, but have picked up points where they were least expected to. Some, however, are waiting for their bubble to burst.
Projected points 72 Rating 9.5/10
Everton – 7th, 19 points
A difficult job for Roberto Martinez following in the footsteps of David Moyes and so far he has impressed. Having beaten Chelsea at Goodison Park, given Manchester City a scare, and held Spurs to a draw, Everton look a match for anybody. Shrewd signings have also settled into the side well as they look comfortable on the ball and very good going forward, as expected, but defensively Everton also seem pretty solid.
Projected points 72 – Rating 8.5/10
Manchester United – 8th, 17 points
It wasn’t the best start but David Moyes was given a baptism of fire by first following Sir Alex Ferguson into Old Trafford and then with the fixture list. There has been the surprise loss to West Brom in there as well. But United have faced some very difficult fixtures early on including Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City early on and there are now signs that they’re finding their feet. Ten games for them has probably misrepresented where they will end up this season, it’s doubtful they will finish in 8th.
Projected points 65 – Rating 5.5/10
image: © edwin.11