[Editor’s note: Here’s the inaugural edition of something we’d like to make a semi-regular feature: a look at the top of the table. Here we look (once again) at the Premier League table, but we plan to check in on other tables around the world over the course of the season.]
Someone eventually has to win the Premier League title–but from recent results, it’s hard to figure out who. Here’s the top of the table as of today–it’s virtually certain to be one of these teams that ends up on top at the end:
1 Chelsea 14 9 1 4 28 9 19 28 2 Manchester United 14 7 7 0 28 15 13 28 3 Arsenal 14 8 2 4 28 15 13 26 4 Manchester City 14 7 4 3 19 11 8 25 5 Bolton Wanderers 14 5 7 2 26 20 6 22 6 Tottenham Hotspur 14 6 4 4 21 19 2 22
But alas none of the top contenders have been especially impressive:
Chelsea lost again over the weekend, this time to lowly Birmingham–their third loss in four weeks, following losses at Liverpool and at home to Sunderland. And the latest loss came days after unceremoniously dumping their assistant manager; whether or not it contributed to the latest loss, it has precipitated close to a full-blown crisis at Stamford Bridge, with manager Carlos Ancelotti saying “I am not in control at Chelsea.”
Man City had been the team in crisis-mode over the past month, with their home fans booing a scoreless draws against Man U and Birmingham–until they broke out of their doldrums this past weekend in a big way, with a 4-1 thrashing of Fulham. Following which, Fulham’s manager (and Man City’s former manager–and Man U legend), the “super classy” Mark Hughes, said Man City are still in the hunt: “On their performance today certainly they’re contenders. They were excellent. If they have belief and there’s some forward thinking, and maybe they’re a bit more attack-minded as they were today on more occasions, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. They’ve got as good a chance as anybody.”
Arsenal had been cautiously mentioned by commentators and supporters over the past few weeks–that this could be year they finally reclaim the title. But that was before the 2nd half of Saturday’s North London Derby.
Man U? Somewhat surprisingly, still undefeated–but hardly dominating, with a record of 7 wins and 7 draws. And let’s not forget they had been the team in crisis not too long ago; in fact, young Mr. Rooney returned to the pitch this past weekend.
Rounding out the top of the table, tied with 22 points apiece, are the victors of that North London derby, Spurs–whose manager thinks they’ve got a shot at the crown; and Bolton (not sure who thinks they have a legitimate shot at the title). But who knows, the way things are going…
In fact, the situation can be best summarized by Uncle Harry’s comments referenced above:
This is the best chance anyone is going to get, this season. The league has never been more open. Sunderland go to Chelsea last weekend and win 3-0, Manchester United were losing by two goals at Aston Villa until late on. It’s wide open for somebody who can put a run together. It’s there for someone to have a real go at it. Why be fearful and say ‘we can’t win it’. Why can’t we win it?