By Pete Jaison:
The season is still early and there is a mighty lot of football to happen and from the looks of it this year’s Barclays English Premier League has all the ingredients for a nail-biting finish.
The most popular and intense league in the world is definitely not shy of any excitement this season. The league leaders Chelsea, going through their second rebirth under Jose Mourinho is back at their very best. Unbeaten so far in the tournament, it will amaze no one if they breeze through to win the league by maintaining this unbeaten streak. After failing to deliver a trophy in his comeback season, Mourinho has strengthened his squad, filling the gaping striker position with the iconic Diego Costa who has been sublime this season. Hence Chelsea remains the team to watch out for.
Last years champions, Manchester City after facing a few initial hiccups seems to have regained their form back but their Champions League campaign is still a topsy-turvy roller coaster ride. Star striker, Sergio Aguero is as lethal as ever and is almost single-handedly steering City through troubled waters, and match by match they are slowly closing the gap with the leaders, but with increasing difficulty.
A tough season is what was expected by Liverpool during the post Suarez era but ‘tough’ is not enough to describe their present scenario. Hopeless Liverpool is stooping lower and lower with each display they puts up, confirming that they are a long way away from competing in Europe. Injuries to key players like Sturridge and Sterling have hampered their performances this season. Languishing in the bottom half of the table Liverpool has been the most underperforming team of the season in England.
Now moving on to Arsenal, The Gunners who held the No. 1 spot for the most number of days last season hasn’t been very convincing right from the start. With the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, the Gunners have become over-dependent on the new recruit and is playing well below their actual potential. Packed with the best squad in the entire league, inconsistency has always been the bane of Arsenal and this year is no different. The arrival of Danny Welbeck too has been one of their positives in an otherwise lean season.
The biggest flop of last season was none other than the Red Devils. Manchester United under new manager Loius Van Gaal was destined to hit top gear and reclaim their No.1 status but even a top four finish looks steep for them now. Though bolstering their squad with the likes of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, United hasn’t been very convincing. Of course, improvement from last season is visibly present but the degree of improvement still remains a factor.
However interesting the season is for the so-called popular teams the most brightest start of the campaign has been for the high flying Southampton. After finishing 8th last season, Southampton witnessed key players like Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, and Luke Shaw leave the club for greener pastures and smartly bought upcoming low key players from the Dutch league during the transfer window. Before Sunday’s loss against City, they were comfortably seated in the No. 2 spot and has performed exceedingly well compared to almost all the teams who finished above them last season. This makes them the trump card team so far.
Everton which spearheaded a worthy challenge to the top teams last season has looked very pale and drab so far and even a top five finish will be near-impossible for the Toffees.
Another team which is performing below par this season is Tottenham Hotspur. Although they weren’t firm favourites to qualify for Europe a lot more was expected from this heavily talented team.