With Christmas fast approaching and injuries beginning to pile up it’s approaching that time of the season when the Premier League title contenders begin to grind into top gear and separate themselves from the pack.
At the time of writing all we know is that there are more than just a couple of title contenders this time round with Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal all separated by just 3 points.
Which of these teams – apologies to Aston Villa, Newcastle and Brighton – will have what it takes to push on after Christmas and get their hands on the Premier League trophy?
In this article we try and find out by analysing the current top four and putting their early season credentials to the test…
At the time of writing, Spurs sit second in the table, just a point behind Manchester City with their game in hand against Chelsea scheduled to kick off in little over an hour. If Chelsea’s recent form is anything to go by, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Spurs go top of the league by the time this article is published.
Does that mean that Ange Postecoglou’s men have what it takes to go all the way and upset the football betting? In short, no. Now that might seem harsh to Spurs fans but it’s an assertion that we’re fairly confident of.
That’s not to say that Spurs early season form has been a flash in the pan or has anything to do with luck – they’re actually top of the xG table – it’s just to say that we don’t think they have the staying power of the other contenders.
In terms of games and injuries, Spurs have yet to be truly tested this season and have, on occasion, found themselves on the right side of some rather fortuitous calls – we’re looking at you Sheffield United and Liverpool.
Also, no matter how friendly and encouraging Ange Postecoglou seems, can he really erase a half century of Spursiness in less than 12 months? We don’t think so.
(Thus far Liverpool have provided Spurs with their biggest test of the season and it’s fair to say that the North London side had more than a little bit of help from the match officials on the day.)
This is a confusing one, a real confusing one as Liverpool currently find themselves third in the table and right in the title reckoning but, have they really played that well this season?
Seriously, have they? By our reckoning they have been fortunate to come out with all three points on a couple of occasions this season and, whilst Liverpool fans might rightly point to the travesty that was Spurs away, they just don’t look like a serious title contender just yet.
Darwin Nunez is not a title winning centre forward, there are question marks over the efficacy of their midfield and whilst Van Dijk appears to be back in top form, there are other weak points in the Liverpool defence.
When you combine all of these weaknesses you’re left with a team that unfortunately doesn’t look quite ready to go the distance and win the title this season.
(Darwin Nunez is not a striker capable of dragging a team to a Premier League title)
The Gunners performed admirably under Mikel Arteta last season but ultimately succumbed to the Manchester City juggernaut in the final weeks of the season.
That disappointment appears to have provided Arsenal with a steely resolve to go one better this time around and knock Manchester City off their perch, but motivation will only get you so far.
The problem for Arsenal lies in attack and although Gunners fans will tell you that Gabriel Jesus is world class his output tells a different story. Not only is he perennially injured but he is also doesn’t score enough goals, averaging a goal every 243 minutes which is well below the level of an elite striker.
Jesus’ output wouldn’t be as concerning if Arsenal had a more lethal striker in reserve but the fact that Eddie Nketiah has managed just 19 goals in his 100 Premier League appearances thus far tells its own story.
If Arsenal don’t’ rectify their striking issue in January their dreams of winning the Premier League will remain just that.
(Statistically neither Gabriel Jesus nor Eddie Nketiah should strike fear into the hearts of any Premier League defence barring of course, Sheffield United’s…)
Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens – yes it really is spelled like that – will win the 2023/2024 Premier League just like they won it last season, the season before that and the season before that.
They are unstoppable, they are indefatigable and they will win the Premier League. Last season they showed Arsenal a glimmer of hope by not playing up to their usually high standards in the first half of the season.
After beating Arsenal at the Emirates in February and somehow drawing to Nottingham Forest a few days later City then went on to win 12 straight league games on the bounce, whilst simultaneously destroying every team they met in the FA Cup and Champions League, including Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
If they need to do that again this season they will and that’s not a damn thing any other team in the Premier League can do to stop them.