The Premier League is widely renowned as one of the most competitive leagues in world football, but even by the standards set in England, clubs have been taken by surprise just how unpredictable the league is this year.
Leicester City finished six points clear of the relegation zone last season in their first campaign back in the Premier League, yet find themselves top of the table on 38 points after 17 games this time around.
Meanwhile, reigning champions Chelsea are 15th in the league and three points off the relegation zone. Who would have thought it?
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Whilst former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho recently admitted the Blues' top four hopes are all but over, this has opened up the door for another side to take that final Champions League spot.
Tottenham are in good form and currently sit in fourth following their away win over Southampton, while Liverpool look somewhat rejuvenated under Jurgen Klopp despite a shock defeat at the hands of Watford on Sunday.
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However, a bigger question remains: who is the favourite for the title?
Chelsea were favourites after finishing eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City last season, but their chances are now out of question, whilst City themselves have shown inconsistency and Manchester United lack firepower going forward.
That leaves one 'realistic' title contender in Arsenal, and whilst it would be unfair to rule out Leicester given their emphatic season thus far, the Premier League trophy is ultimately Arsene Wenger's to lose.
DON'T BLAME THE INJURIES
It's fair to say Arsenal may well have been top of the table had they not been hit by endless injuries, dropping points against West Brom and Norwich City in recent times where they would have been expected to do better.
But despite Wenger not signing an outfield player during the summer, the Gunners possess enough quality to challenge for a first league title since 2004 - and the current circumstances make it likelier than ever.
The French manager has done well to deal with the long-term injuries to Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin to date, while star man Alexis Sanchez is set to return against City after a brief absence.
Once these key players return, Gunners fans have every right to expect they should improve and push on for the title.
Fans of any football club would be annoyed if their side didn't sign an outfield player during the summer transfer window. However, despite what Wenger didn't bring in, their squad still oozes class.
Olivier Giroud is Arsenal's top scorer with 14 goals, Sanchez is a player that would be fondly welcomed at any football club and Mesut Ozil is disproving his many critics, currently top of the assist charts with 13 in the Premier League so far.
Gunners fans are undoubtedly laughing in the direction of west London given that Chelsea decided to let go of veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech, who subsequently moved to the Emirates and proved himself still one of the Premier League's very best.
Wenger possesses a talented mix of youth and experience in his backline, while trying to spot an issue with the strength and depth of his midfield is an almost impossible task. Up front they have been hit by the injury to Welbeck, but even then Giroud has accommodated for the missing goals from the England man.
So, overall, it seems Wenger has a substancial argument for not getting his wallet out in the summer.
In any other campaign most would predict this to be another brief flirt with the title before simply settling for a top four finish. However, circumstances this season could well change the routine for the Gunners.
Aside from Arsenal, no other top four - or even top six - side has shown reasonable consistency this season, with City the only outstanding long-term challengers simply because of their overwhelming talent.
It's up to Wenger, therefore, to seize his greatest opportunity yet and bring the Premier League trophy back to north London after what will have been 12 years of absence.
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