Liverpool maintained their one hundred percent record in the premiership so far with a 3-1 home win over an Arsenal side that continues to struggle badly away from home versus top six sides. A second half brace from Mo Salah added to Joel Matip’s first half header with Lucas Torreira’s goal serving as only a scant consolation for yet another fruitless away trip against a rival for Unai Emery’s side. At the other end of the country, Manchester City ran out 3-1 victors over a battling Bournemouth side, with Raheem Sterling once again finding himself on the score sheet. Undoubtedly though, the more eyebrow raising events of the weekend revolved around the fact that both Manchester United or Spurs were beaten at home by Crystal Palace and Newcastle respectively. Meaning that they, along with Chelsea, they are already five points off the pace after less than three hundred minutes of football played in the premiership this season.
And despite Arsenal being just a point behind Manchester City who have two wins and a draw in their first three games, it’s clear to most that the chasm between the top six clubs in the premiership is developing even earlier than expected this season. As despite Arsenal’s closer proximity to the top two, few would expect them to keep pace with City and Liverpool into the autumn months. After a Champions League final and a summer spending spree behind them technically Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham would be the primary team, on paper at least, to challenge what now looks like the dynasty of British football for the next couple of seasons at least. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are already five points behind Liverpool and have made a stuttering start to the season, with Pochettino yesterday somewhat curiously asserting that he is waiting for the European transfer deadline to pass as some of his squad is ‘unsettled’.
Of course, he is essentially exclusively referring to Christian Eriksen, who once again started on the bench on Sunday, versus a stubborn Newcastle defence that Eriksen might have held the key to unlocking. Though it’s evident that Pochettino wants to know whether he definitely has the Danish playmaker until at least the January window before restoring him to the first eleven. However, some would argue that Pochettino doesn’t have the time or luxury to leave players like Eriksen out versus a team that is clearly struggling for a creative spark at present. Spurs, as standard these days, will likely finish in the top four this season and that vast improvement as a club under Poch should not be overlooked. However, with a manager as ambitious as Pochettino, who is now unhampered by the building of the new stadium, it’s clear that Spurs from a technical standpoint have the potential to push City and Liverpool more than the other top six teams.
Now though, with Arsenal away up next, Spurs face the possibility of being eight points off the pace with just four games gone, which would all but end any title aspirations they might have faintly clutched to pre-season. The expectation at the new White Hart Lane was not to win the title but probably to at least challenge for it into the winter months, which will be nigh on impossible if they lose at The Emirates on Sunday. So with Chelsea and Man United blooding youth in both the player and managerial positions while Arsenal continue to be unable to defend properly for consistent periods of the season, it looks as though the title race will be run by two thoroughbreds once more. While the rest of the pack struggle to reproduce glories of old in trying to keep pace with the new elite.
None of this will come as a shock as many predicted that Liverpool and City would solely battle it out for glory once more however the pace at which the teams chasing them have fallen behind shows level of consistency they need to emulate if they have any chance of their respective captain’s lifting the premiership trophy while the likes of Klopp and Guardiola grace the England’s league with their immense presence.
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