Football

The Premier League's thrills and spills continue to entertain

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The 2014/2015 season saw the stereotypical Premier League storyline: One team dominating throughout the season, showing resilience and character as they marched their way to the title.

Two challenging rivals finishing short of the mark as poor performances in big games cost them dearly.

A final race for fourth spot and a few surprise packages challenging for the Europa League, whilst teams at the other end of the table scrapped it out to survive in what many think is the world's best division - a belief strengthened from the start of the current season.

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It goes without saying that no football fan expected to see Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City at the top by the end of November. With the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at their dispense, on their day they could thwart anyone, surreal reading isn't it?

However, every side comes with their weaknesses, and for Leicester it is their defence. Despite scoring for fun, they also concede for fun. Utilising their attacking full-backs further up the pitch leaves space in behind, which many teams have taken advantage of.

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In fact, they conceded so many goals in the early stages of the season Ranieri promised to take the squad out for a pizza when they finally earned a Premier League clean sheet last month.

Nevertheless, the Foxes have been in swashbuckling form this season, and it's fair to say that the driving force behind their rise top spot has been the determination, the power, the pace and the success of former Fleetwood Town forward Vardy.

After scoring in his tenth successive game in their 0-3 demolition job over strugglers Newcastle this weekend, he managed to equal an exclusive record set by none other than Ruud van Nistelrooy. Astonishing right?

But with Manchester United - who boast the best defensive record in the league - travelling to the King Power Stadium next weekend, the odds on him breaking it are look bleak.

The one thing people did expect this season was the return of Manchester City, a disappointing campaign last time around saw them add to their ammunition with the signings of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne - two players more than capable of filling the creative gap left by Sergio Aguero whose injury problems have inevitably continued.

A storming start saw them take the top of the table, but again as we expected, they wobbled. A shock 1-4 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday saw them finish the weekend in third position, whilst they remain the favourites for the title, arch rivals United finally crept above them to announce their status in the title race.

As Christmas approaches, it is still unclear who really can win the title, as Arsenal, United, City and even Leicester remain in ideal positions, it really is wide open.

Over the last few years, it has become clear the financial gains of clubs lower down the pecking order in the Premier League have made them considerably harder to beat.

Teams like Crystal Palace, Southampton, West Ham and, of course, Leicester City have made their stadiums a fortress, as well as utilising their new strengths away from home.

Results around the country have become incredibly bizarre. So far this season; City have fallen to West Ham at home; Arsenal have been downed by West Brom; the Red Devils struggled against Newcastle and Crystal Palace and Chelsea, well they have gone from bad to worse as they sit three places above the relegation zone.

The evolution of the Premier League continues to expand, teams are forced out of their comfort zone week-in-week-out as new found starlets, tactical geniuses in the dugout and striving owners cause results and outcomes that no one can predict.

However, there is one thing we can predict - surprises.

There will be shocks, there will be upsets and there will be drama, so don't take your eyes away from the box, don't leave the stadium early, don't turn down a drink at the pub, just sit back, relax and enjoy.

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Topics:
Premier League
Arsenal
Leicester City
Manchester United
Chelsea
Manchester City
Football

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