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The tightest Premier League of all time?

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Arsenals new star signing, Mesut Ozil (©GettyImages)
Arsenals new star signing, Mesut Ozil (©GettyImages).

After 7 games of the Premier League season, I doubt many would have predicted the order of teams at the top of the table.

A resurgent Arsenal sit top of the league with an equally impressive looking Liverpool behind them only on goal difference, with Chelsea and surprise package Southampton completing a somewhat unusual top 4.

But it is this very surprising table that has fans hoping that this could yet be the most exciting title race of all time.

Already we have seen Arsenal lose at home to Aston Villa, Chelsea lose at Everton, Liverpool lose at home to Southampton, Manchester United lose at home to West Brom and Manchester City lose at Cardiff.

What these results can tell us is that the competitiveness of the league is better than ever, which can only mean we are in for an extremely exciting season. But what has caused this closing of the gap between the elite and the rest?

Well, many factors have certainly played their part. Starting with the champions Manchester United, losing a manager can be tough for any team, but to lose possibly the greatest manager in history after 27 years in charge was always going to cause a tumultuous period for the club, and so it has proven with David Moyes trying to steady the ship in what is obviously going to be a time of transition.

Furthermore, there is always the worry that the general drive of a team can wane when a beloved manager has departed, so it will be interesting to see how Moyes inspires his team, particularly in the latter part of the season.

Next we have last seasons runners up, Manchester City, another side who have changed manager over the summer. Although a more common occurence for City, it still will take time for Pellegrini to get his ideas across to the players, and with him having spent so much money on new talent, surely the pressure will be on to ensure that they can take full advantage of United's period of transition.

Then there is Chelsea, now over the honeymoon period of the return of the self proclaimed 'Special One' Jose Mourinho.

A first eleven that, on paper, would be a match for most, but beyond this there is a distinct lack of depth to their squad, as well as young players, meaning that even the midas touch of the special one might not be enough to secure the league in his first season back.

Added to this is the issue of not having a truly top class centre forward to lead the line, with both Ba and Torres having failed to impress on the most part when given chances.

One thing Mourinho does have going for him is the extremely poor form of the other top sides from last year, meaning his side may not have to be so special after all to win the league.

Arsenal are a team that neutrals have always admired, but the questions over them have always been in defence where they have looked particularly sloppy.

This was demonstrated on the opening day of the season when they were torn apart at the back by Christian Benteke's Aston Villa.

With the clamour to sort the defence out, Wenger instead decided to spend big on Mesut Ozil, the 'assist king' as he has been known.

So far this decision has proved to be successful, with Arsenal having not lost since and sitting top of the table.

Only time will tell, however, if they can keep up this title winning form, and whether the lack of any real depth in defence will hinder them in the crucial months of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur certainly had a busy summer, bringing in seven players, while selling superstar Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in a world record deal.

Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, has been praised in certain quarters for the way he handled the saga, turning what could have been a miserable summer for Spurs fans into one of optimism as the squad was undoubtedly strengthened.

Questions still remain about the mental strength of the team, especially given the way last season they once again threw away a commanding lead on Arsenal in the race for the final Champions League Spot.

However, if Roberto Soldado can start firing up front and add a bit of potency to a very creative attacking midfield, then Spurs can certainly be a force to be reckoned with in the title picture. 

The final team of the conventional title challengers is Liverpool, a club that has gone through plenty of change in the last few years.

However, it looks as if they have finally got some stability with the backing of Brendan Rodgers as manager, trusting in his philosophy of short passing football.

In-form Daniel Sturridge has been key to Liverpool's hopes this season, scoring the bulk of the sides goals while Luis Suarez has been out suspended for his bite on Branislav Ivanovic last season.

But with Suarez back, and a defence that looks more solid this season, if the strike-force can click then there is some hope for Liverpool fans that this early season form can continue, or at the very least top four is a very possible achievement for them.

There are always surprise packages as well, such as Southampton this year who currently sit in the top four themselves.Having spent big this summer on names such as Victor Wanyama and Pablo Osvaldo, they have strengthened significantly from last season as they look to push on.

Although top four is most likely out of their reach over the course of a 38 game season, with the start they have had there is nothing to suggest they couldn't push for a Europa League place.

Undoubtedly, it has been a bizarre and entertaining start to the new Premier League, and if these kind of results continue, we could potentially be looking at the lowest ever points total to win the title.

Of course a lot can change between now and the end of the season and the majority of football fans would expect the gap between the big sides and the rest to gradually increase over the year, but as far as the title picture is concerned, at the moment it really is anyones game.

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Football
Premier League
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