José Mourinho And Antonio Conte Need To Get Back On Track, Pep Guardiola Goes Marching On And The Top Six Is Looking Interesting

Posted: September 20, 2016 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Everton, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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After three games the top three in the Premier League had an air of predictability about it. José Mourinho had taken over at Manchester United, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and Antonio Conte at Chelsea. All three, at this stage, had 100% records.

Arsene Wenger soldiered on at Arsenal starting with his annual first game of the season loss at home. Jürgen Klopp continued in his manic way while, over the park, Ronald Koeman quietly got on with things leaving the other “bigger name” managers at the “bigger clubs” to hog the limelight.

Now, a little further into the season, both Mourinho and Conte are discovering, if they didn’t already know, that there are no easy games in this league. If standards are allowed to slip below “very good” then the chances are that points will be dropped. The old cliché about “being able to win without playing well is the sign of champions” is totally untrue. Usually, if a team doesn’t play well and wins it is because the other team played worse, or it is because they had a slice of luck with a very late goal or a penalty, etc.

Chelsea have realised this when drawing with Swansea and losing to Liverpool. These results being slightly less embarrassing than the defeats suffered by Manchester United when losing to City and Watford in consecutive league games with a defeat to Feyenoord sandwiched in between.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have recovered from their opening day defeat to put together a couple of wins, albeit with a large slice of luck. Confidence will surely have increased at the Emirates.

Liverpool look as though they can beat anybody on their day. It remains to be seen how often “their day” is, as when it doesn’t come around they are quite likely to lose to clubs such as Burnley.

Everton have slipped under the radar for the majority of the start of the season, but they have climbed to second in the table and people are beginning to take notice. There haven’t been any stellar signings but what they have is an efficiency under Koeman that was never there under either Martinez or Moyes.

Tottenham Hotspur are also creeping up the rankings but seem to lack the consistency required to challenge for the title over 38 games, we shall see. It certainly doesn’t help when they have to play their European ties at Wembley but can play their league games at White Hart Lane. It probably won’t be long before they can concentrate on one competition because this situation with two home grounds will never work.

So what of Pep Guardiola? Manchester City struggled in their opening game against Sunderland but won it and, since then, have swept all aside with relative ease. Premier League or Champion’s League Guardiola realises that a game of football is a game of football and doesn’t necessarily change tactics just because the competition has a different name. This is one of the reasons why City will win the title this season.

My bold predictions, even though it is still very early days, are as follows:

Champions: Manchester City – they will be too consistent over the course of the season and will probably win by a few points.

Runners-up: Manchester United – based on the probability that they can stay near the top until January and then buy a couple of much needed players to replace some of the average ones they currently have.

Third place: Chelsea – Conte is never happy when dropping points so don’t expect it to happen too often. The current situation where they have dropped four points in the last two games may not happen again this season. If it does then Conte may not be in charge by Christmas.

Fourth place: Everton – Quietly consistent, these will be the words associated with Everton this season. Their squad, however, isn’t big enough to cope with many injuries or suspensions so I reserve the right to change this prediction should the unfortunate happen to more than one of their better players.

Fifth place:    Arsenal – Arsene Wenger’s last season in charge will end in disappointment as, for the first time in twenty years, the Gunners miss out on Champion’s League qualification. They should have changed manager by now!

Sixth place:   Liverpool – I could be very wrong with this one but, at present, I don’t see Klopp’s team having the consistency required to win the league. If they finish higher it will be because other clubs, over the course of the season, have been more inconsistent than Liverpool.

So hotfoot it down to your local betting shop and take out a bet based on these predictions. What are you waiting for? How can you possibly lose?

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