(In the above photo Ronald Koeman has cleverly disguised himself by wearing a Claudio Ranieri mask in order to deflect attention away from Everton!)

After tonight’s game between Liverpool and Manchester United the top seven will have a familiar look about it, (assuming that your regular top seven doesn’t include Leicester City!)

A draw will see no movement, a Liverpool win will take them to the same points as Arsenal and Manchester City, and a United win will take them above Liverpool, into fourth place, on goal difference.

In fact, a United win would open up a small gap between Everton, in seventh, and Southampton in eighth. From here on inwards it will all be about stamina, consistency and strength and depth of squad.

Over the weekend Chelsea easily beat fading Leicester who, since selling N’Golo Kanté, have reacted as though the whole team is grieving over the loss.

Arsenal, luckily yet again, managed to win by the odd goal against Swansea while Manchester City were slipping up at home to Everton.

It could be argued that Tottenham also slipped up by only picking up a point at West Brom but, in the long run, it may not turn out to be two points dropped but one gained.

So Manchester United and Liverpool look to find the consistency currently missing in, not only their own teams, with surprising defeats to the likes of Watford and Burnley in their recent pasts, but also in Manchester City and Chelsea, who have also both lost fairly recent games.

Only Arsenal are maintaining a reasonably high win ratio but the impression is that it probably won’t last as they cannot continue to rely on lucky last minute goals or on the opposition comeback starting too late!

Much is being made of Alexis Sanchez in his “new” role and the goalscoring achievements of Theo Walcott but again, a dip in form will see Arsenal failing to score goals while their leaky defence will continue to concede them. This will begin the annual “Wenger out” campaign which may actually bear fruit this time come the end of the season.

Over at Chelsea Antonio Conte will not be there at the end of the season if some of his recent results are repeated. He is, however, beginning to show signs of getting things right and should survive to fight another season even if he wins nothing in this one. He will need a top four finish though, otherwise it will be arrivederci Antonio.

Ronald Koeman is quietly getting on with the job at Everton but is unlikely to pull up any trees this season. The team should be good enough for a Europa League spot, but more spending is required to challenge for anything higher than that.

Mauricio Pochettino is hailing his team one week and lambasting them another. His team is suffering from similar, though not quite as bad, inconsistencies to those of United and Liverpool. Again most people expect him to find the right formula before the end of the season making a top four finish a realistic target. The title is another year away at least!

City are still the favourites but have come down to Earth with a large bump recently. They should be six points clear at the top but failure in recent games has allowed Arsenal to catch them. Pep won’t be happy until City are winning consistently again. It will happen sooner rather than later and they will probably still win the title.

So it’s all about that word; CONSISTENCY. It was the lack of any from the top clubs last season which allowed Leicester to win the Premier League title although, in fairness, Leicester were probably the most consistent team throughout the campaign.

This season, Leicester have lost all their consistency so it is up to the usual suspects to take advantage and for one of them to wrest the trophy from their grip.

Whatever the outcome, we will not see things taking shape until after Christmas, the traditional “race for the line” time. Even then, if none of the top seven has found any consistency, we may still see nothing. To use a highly original expression; it could go all the way to the wire!


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