It wouldn’t take a brave individual to predict that the top four positions in the Premier League table at the end of this season will be occupied by some combination of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
With all due respect to Brighton – who are currently fourth in the English top-flight at time of writing – it’s tough to see any other side being strong enough to gatecrash the Champions League qualification spots. Truthfully, it would be a surprise at present if anyone even came close.
What is an awful lot harder to predict, though, is which of the fancied quartet will lift the Premier League trophy itself.
Before the start of the season, TV pundit – and former Manchester United defender – Gary Neville had backed reigning champions Manchester City to retain their crown.
“You’ve still got to go with City at this point because of what they’ve done over the last few years,” said the 46-year-old last month.
However, following this past weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures, Neville could be edging towards changing his opinion.
Pep Guardiola’s men put on an uninspired performance at home to Southampton, managing just one shot on target during a drab 0-0 stalemate.
United did manage to pick up a 2-1 victory at West Ham. However, the Red Devils needed a David de Gea save from Mark Noble’s last-gasp penalty to secure the points.
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Elsewhere, Liverpool coasted to a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, but it was Chelsea’s own three-goal demolition of Tottenham that really caught Neville’s attention.
Speaking on his own Sky Sports podcast, Neville was full of praise for Thomas Tuchel’s side following their dominant performance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“This Chelsea team will challenge for the title. I can’t see any way they won’t. Of course, they can get injuries but – look at the bench and forget the first-team – they seem to have everything.”
Liverpool currently sit second in the table behind the Blues. Neville, though, doesn’t feel that they represent the same threat they did when they won the league two seasons ago.
“At this moment in time, I do believe Liverpool aren’t the team of a few years ago, even though they’re very good.”
It’s a similar story for the two Manchester sides as well, so far as Neville is concerned.
“City just haven’t got that striker, Manchester United are doing alright but they’re not at the standard of Chelsea.
“Manchester United’s team performance at West Ham was nothing like the one of Chelsea’s at Spurs – that’s a proper team performance.
“If Manchester United win this league, it will be through momentum and moments. But Chelsea are a better team than Manchester United when you watch them. Our eyes don’t lie.”
Of course, with only five games gone in the new campaign, there’s still plenty of football to be played. It is, however, hard not to be impressed by the squad that Chelsea possess – and their strong start to the season.
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