The Premier League is almost halfway into its new season, and there are apparent contenders as well as unexpected wild cards appearing. For many years, the Premier League has been dominated by what has come to be known as the Big 6. These six teams have shared numerous awards in the topflight of English football. But now, even that system has been turned upside down. In the current season, three clubs have established themselves as the backbone of tile challengers. What are the names of these three groups? Nobody but Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City. After the most recent round of Premier League games, how do they fare in the tightest title fight in years? All three teams won on Saturday, albeit in unconvincing fashion, putting the top contenders within two points of each other heading into the crucial holiday season. The question now is who will eventually triumph over their opponents and get their names etched on the coveted EPL trophy? Let us find out.
The current table leaders, with 37 points after winning 12 of the 16 games played. While City has begun to show why they have dominated the league for the past four years, their push this season has been relatively modest in comparison to last. While you could argue that Chelsea has a little superior defense and Liverpool has greater offensive power, Manchester City has the best overall balance and the fewest weak points. A city is a brutal machine with numerous paths to success. They are odds on for a fourth title in five years.
Pep Guardiola’s most pressing issue remains the lack of an out-and-out striker since despite leading the league, shifting a new player into the number nine role each week is reducing their goal-scoring return. Although that is hardly a pressing concern given their league position, the fact that their games are going down to the wire would be a source of concern for Guardiola, who would be eager to return his team to the free-flowing goalscoring enigma they were, or else they might have to settle for second best.
Liverpool is in second place after 16 games, having won 11 of them and had the best goal deficit in the league. Liverpool’s title dreams were dashed catastrophically last winter as injuries at the back damaged them, but they are back and in magnificent form after back-to-back four-goal wins at Anfield. They are by far the Premier League’s highest scorers. Three of the Premier League’s top four individual scorers wear Liverpool red, and with Mohamed Salah in such form, they know how to win consistently. Prior to last season’s hiccup, this team had won 110 points in 38 games – 36 victories and two ties.
Despite this, no one expects them to reach such heights this season for one simple reason. It is because the competition is now much stronger than it was previously. With Manchester City and Chelsea matching them stride for stride, and West Ham putting in logic-defying performances, it would be nearly impossible for them to replicate their title-winning season. There may be an over-reliance on Mohamed Salah’s brilliance. They are lacking a creative spark from midfield. The absence of Gini Wijnaldum also makes the midfield dangerously vulnerable to counterattacks, and such defensive issues will only worsen as the frequency of games increases. Virgil is still recovering from his injuries, so this time could be costly for him as well. The Reds will need to do everything in their power to secure their position before then.
Chelsea, like the other two, has been on a roll from the start of the season, and they currently sit third in the league, having won 11 of 16 games. Who gets the credit for this? Why does it go to their back wall, Edou Mendy, with a mean defense led by Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger front of him? It’s on this kind of foundation that titles are built. However, the performance of Chelsea’s defenders on the front foot has been equally spectacular. Reece James, one of the finest players in the Premier League this season, is the leading scorer with four goals and four assists from right-wing-back. He demonstrates the team’s excellence in executing Thomas Tuchel’s system, whilst Ben Chilwell was a real threat down the other flank before suffering a serious knee injury.
Going forward, one of their main vulnerabilities could be goal-scoring. Tuchel has worked hard to get his squad moving fast through the lines and getting their strikers in behind the defense as soon as possible, but they are often unable to do so. It’s a small concern for the time being, and one that Reece James’ influence has rendered mostly unimportant, but it might become an issue in the future.