By Oluwarotimi Joseph (@Rotemycetes)
The 2019/2020 Premier League (PL) season is only four weeks old. However, there’s already a clear distinction between the ‘Big Boys’ and the ‘Not-Too-Near Challengers’.
Gone are the days when the PL boasts of a ‘Big Four’, which eventually changed to a ‘Big Six’ over time. In the past five years however, the league has evolved and the genius of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola has ensured Liverpool and Manchester City are miles ahead of the rest.
This is evident with Pep Guardiola’s back-to-back PL titles. It’s now confirmed. The league is now about the ‘Big Two’ and then the “Small Four’.
Starting from the summer, the transfer activity of Man. City showed their intent, to a large extent, of retaining the league title again. Signing Rodri for a large chunk of cash from Atletico Madrid and Joao Cancelo as contenders for Fernandinho and Kyle Walker respectively speaks volume of their intentions.
— StatCity (@StatCity) August 4, 2019
Going into the international break, their feats in the summer transfer window have begun to pay dividends. They have amassed 10 points and have a superior goal difference compared to other teams. No doubts, they’re the No. 1 contenders for the championship.
That VAR decision, against Spurs, is the reason why they’re not top of the log.
Instead, Jurgen Klopp’s side – the other serious title contender – is the only PL team with a 100% record so far. Their 13 straight wins in the PL is a new club record, beating their record of 12 in 1990. Coincidentally, that was the last time the Reds won the league title.
Liverpool's unbeaten #PL run – 13 wins in a row. 🤩
The unbearable Reds! 🔴 pic.twitter.com/vBrdZR5paU
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) September 6, 2019
As it stands, Liverpool have started the season with four wins in a row for the second season consecutively. This is a first for them.
What could hinder a PL triumph for the Reds this season could be the lack of squad depth.
A poor summer transfer activity has left them with just three genuine central defenders, three full backs as well as no genuine backup for the attack except last season’s UEFA Champions League hero Divock Origi.
Other options are Shaqiri and the less-experienced Rhian Brewster. Thus, when fatigue begins to set in due to participation in several major tournaments, they may begin to have challenges.
On the other side of the divide, the ‘Small Four’ (Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea) sit 5th, 8th, 9th and 11th respectively on the log after four matches.
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'With Klopp, Guardiola and Pochettino, it's a golden age for your crazy Premier League'https://t.co/ptJzpPlaFY
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) September 12, 2019
The Gonners made statement signings in Nicolas Pepe, Ceballos and David Luiz, although this is yet to pay the dividends. The results could be excusable as they only dropped points against Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, while easily dispatching ‘lesser’ teams. Looking forward into the season, Arsenal doesn’t seem a title contender but should secure a top four finish.
Like their North London neighbours, Tottenham had a good transfer activity signing Lo Celso, Ndombele, Sessegnon, etc. To an extent, this gives a hint of them wanting to compete. They are in contention for the title but the results so far have not been too great featuring an abysmal loss to Newcastle at the White Hart Lane.
These below par results may be attributed partly to the saga between Eriksen and the club at large; Now that the transfer window is closed, Eriksen should return to the starting line-up and hopefully turns the fortune of the club around. Title contender? It is uncertain.
In Manchester, United have started the season similar to how they ended last season. Despite the white-washing of Chelsea, Manchester United have dropped points against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Southampton and most embarrassingly against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
This poor run doesn’t look like ending anytime soon; poor running of the club, lack of squad depth and vision are the major issues of the club.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 10, 2019
After the exits of the experienced Sanchez and Lukaku in attack, United only have Mason Greenwood, Tchong, Angel Gomes, etc. to look up to on the bench should they need to turn things around. Without any reservations, the glory days for Manchester United are past.
Going forward, except there is a major turnaround before Christmas, a major transfer in January may not be sufficient to savage the situation and United may eventually find themselves in troubled waters.
Chelsea’s season has not been any different from United’s. The West London club currently sit 11th on the log, embarrassingly below the newcomers Sheffield United against whom they settled for a draw after a 2-goal lead at the Stamford Bridge.
A major challenge is lack of squad depth due to the transfer ban on the club, thereby leaving their manager and club legend Frank Lampard with an attack full of youngsters and academy graduates as well as at the heart of the defence.
Mason Mount: "Me and Tammy are very close, we’ve been together through the age ranges at Chelsea for many years now. To see him score four goals in his last two games is massive for the Academy at Chelsea and what we are working for there." pic.twitter.com/CWRpJVbXfP
— Vince™ (@Blue_Footy) September 6, 2019
Fair to these young lads, they have been fantastic for the team, what is required now is for the manager and more experienced players in the team to psyche these lads and nurture them to maturity until the storm is over.
One might argue is too early in the season to praise some teams while condemning others. In this case, the book can be judged by the cover. Four matches played, 34 more to come and it already looks like there are two titles to contend for; the ‘PL trophy’ and the ‘European Football Spots’.
Where will these six teams fall? Shouldn’t be too hard to predict, right?
Author: For The Goal
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