Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen believes it is a six-way battle for the Premier League title this season.
Arsenal currently sit atop the Premier League, with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Spurs and Liverpool in hot pursuit.
Just four points separate the Gunners in 1st from Everton in 7th after eight games, while reigning champions Manchester United are eight points adrift of Arsenal in 8th.
Vertonghen, who featured in Tottenham's 2-0 win against Aston Villa on Sunday, admits he is surprised to see the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool doing so well, and believes the title race is wide open this season.
“Before the beginning of the season, everybody would have said Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and maybe us," he told the Evening Standard.
“But now we see Arsenal at the top and Liverpool third and you have to take them as favourites as well. We have six favourites and Everton are doing very well, too.”
Spurs spent well over £100 million in the summer on seven new players to counter the loss of star man Gareth Bale and push on for Champions League qualification.
Despite that it is homegrown ace Andros Townsend who is currently earning the plaudits after a string of fine performances for both club and country.
Indeed Vertonghen believes the 22-year-old, who has been sent out on loan no less than nine times in his career, is the man to replace Bale rather than any of the north London club's string of new recruits.
“Andros can be our new Gareth Bale,” said the Belgium defender. “He has so much pace, technique and skill and he can do it with both feet.
"I hope he can keep going like this and he can be our best player. Maybe he can become as good as Bale. Maybe one day, if he keeps working — and he will.
“He is young and I think in two or three years he can go to that level.”
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