Let us begin with last season top four Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
Leicester City have not lived up to expectation in the league this season. They are fifteenth on the table and have managed only four wins this season which is a sharp contrast to their last season form when they are top of the league. Their away record this season is nothing short of a “nightmare” for the Leicester City fans. This season, they are not contenders but pretenders because if their away form does not improve anytime soon, their current position might be their best position in May.
Arsenal finished second last season, and this season they started very well and were on fourteen-game unbeaten run before their recent slump in their last two matches. With the future of Arsene Wenger hanging in the balance till April; Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez deals still not sorted out, it is enough to suggest that Arsenal have enough distractions on their hands. If these issues are not sorted/resolved quickly, Arsenal might find it difficult to make the top four this season. As it stands now, Arsenal are not contenders but Pretenders on the run to the title.
Tottenham Hotspur really put up an incredible run to the title last season before inexperience cost them their first premier league title. This season, they are showing signs and characters of title contenders but with the FA Cup starting next month and Thursday fixtures of the Europa league coming thick and fast in February, Tottenham does not have the depth in their squad to manoeuvre such crazy fixtures because that will be towards the business end of the league. Therefore, in-spite of their great performance so far, they are not contenders but pretenders.
Manchester City finished fourth last season and that was Manuel Pellegrini’s parting gift to the board. This season, Pep Guardiola and his team started like a house on fire, beating everyone on sight before Tottenham humbled them. Ever since, it has been a hot and cold performance from them. There hasn’t been any Guardiola imprint of any sort in that team and their defence have been below per this season. Manchester City or Guardiola team is never shy or pretenders in the title race; hence, if they can sign a reputable defender this winter transfer window, they will be serious title contenders.
Manchester United are sixth on the premier league table now. With Jose Mourinho as their manager this season, you can be sure that they will be up there. But their performances have not reflected that except in their last five matches that they have shown some glimpses of title credentials. This season, Manchester United will not be anywhere near the title because by February when Thursday fixtures of Europa league will creep in, they will find it difficult playing two matches in three days as evidenced in the preliminary stages of the competition (UEFA Europa league). If their priority is not properly managed, they might miss out on two fronts. Manchester United realistic target this season is a top four finish.
Liverpool is second on the table. Jürgen Klopp is a charismatic coach and as can be seen, he has already established his identity on the team and influenced their style of play. Liverpool have scored the most league goals (41) and have also made the most completed passes (8728) in the league this season. Liverpool have no distraction of European competition in their sleeves therefore this title is theirs to lose. Though they are scoring and playing at a very high tempo, their backline needs urgent attention if they are to be crown champions in May.
Chelsea sits top of the premier league table, they are on eleven matches winning streak. Their energetic coach Conte is reaping the benefit of his bold decision of switching their formation to 3-4-3. Chelsea are showing signs of champions already with the way they grind out results. They have kept 10 clean sheets and have only conceded two goals in their last 11 matches. Like Liverpool, Chelsea have no distraction of European competition and history favours them to lift the trophy in May.
Chelsea or Liverpool have real chance of winning the title this season and it will be a shame if neither of them is crowned champion in May.