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To supporters of other clubs, what I mean by the “traditional top four” is the four clubs who have finished in those positions the most times in the recent past.

To try and appear unbiased I will take them in alphabetical order:

Arsenal

They have obviously decided that they need to reverse the usual pattern of their season. This was only evident when they lost their first home game. Arsene quickly realised that the season would be the same as any other if he didn’t do something.

So they started winning regularly, something the Gooners fans don’t normally experience until after the Christmas period. By this time, Arsenal have usually left it too late to win the title.

This has proven so successful that Arsenal currently sit top of the Premier League, two points ahead of Leicester City in second. They are still in the Champion’s League, just, thanks to an epic display against Olympiacos in the final group game.

The only blip has been their defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup. This only served to prove that the team still hate travelling north on cold nights and can be thankful that the Premier League no longer contains the likes of Bolton, Blackburn and Burnley.

On current form, Arsenal would be my favourites to win the title.

Chelsea

The Chelsea story is a well documented one. Jose Mourinho went from being the best manager in the Premier League last season, to the fifteenth best this season. To nobody’s great surprise, not even his own despite what he may say, he was fired.

The players this season are the same players as last season, so they also went from being the best team to being the fifteenth best team.

Quite what went so drastically wrong is still being debated. Did Mourinho upset too many players? Did the players stop playing for him? Whatever the answer, it is now up to Guus Hiddink to solve the problem. Having had a very underwhelming couple of years, Hiddink still seems to fit well at Chelsea. Because of this I expect them to finish in the top six, at least.

Manchester City

Despite having the best squad according to all those TV pundits who know everything, City actually have a number of average players in that squad. How else can it be explained that they can lose so many games when Vincent Kompany is missing? Mangala isn’t world class, Demichelis isn’t world class, while Otamendi isn’t far off.

Then there’s Sergio Aguero and his injuries, Wilfried Bony certainly isn’t world class.

None of the full backs are world class although Zabaleta can get quite close when on form. This is why City are so inconsistent.

They do have several world class midfield players who tend to create and score the goals, this is where their strength lies, not in the overall squad. If City’s midfield don’t play, then City usually don’t win.

If they can stay free of injuries to key players, City should win the title.

Manchester United

If it hadn’t been for Chelsea’s decline under Mourinho, United’s would have to be the most disappointing story up to now.

Having finished fourth last season, thereby qualifying for the Champion’s League this time out and then having spent in the region of £258 million on new players, a lot was expected this season.

So having to watch United play dull, boring football. Then suffer the embarrassment of exiting the Champion’s League at the group stage. Then falling out of the top four. All of this was a bitter pill to swallow.

As expected, there were the usual calls for the manager’s head, especially when Jose Mourinho became available, but Ed Woodward stood firm. Knowing that it was he who had championed the appointment of van Gaal so, in reality, if van Gaal went then Woodward also had to go, he kept faith with the manager, surprise, surprise.

If United can improve in the second half of the season, I would expect them to finish in the top four, probably third or fourth as they will certainly be behind City and Arsenal.

In closing, with the exception of Chelsea, I expect the top four to include three of the “traditional” teams. The interesting tussle will be for the fourth spot with Leicester, Liverpool, Tottenham and even West Ham looking good.

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