Of The Top Six, Only Manchester United Haven’t Faced A Direct Rival Yet. The Others Have All Faced At Least One With Mixed Results

Posted: September 12, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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Manchester United currently sit top of the Premier League after four games. They have won three of them without conceding a goal. The fourth, away at Stoke, was always going to be their toughest game to date and it was the one which ended their 100% record and their non-concession of goals but still saw them remain unbeaten with a 2-2 draw.

They have yet to play one of the recognised top six but will certainly need to improve on their last performance if they wish to maintain their current position.

Manchester City also faced tough opponents when they played Everton at The Etihad but it is still a game they should have won, despite having Kyle Walker, wrongly, sent off. Their acid test, however, came with their home game against Liverpool and they passed with flying colours, not to mention the five goals!

So, up to now, both City and United have failed to beat teams considered to be outsiders as far as the top six is concerned, but City have beaten a title contender.

Liverpool, having failed to beat Watford, then hammered Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield so, until they met City, they had also under-performed against a “lower” team yet beat another top six rival.

They, at the moment, are showing exactly the inconsistency many people thought they would and which will keep them out of the top four at the end of the season.

Arsenal, having lost to Liverpool, then went on to beat Bournemouth at The Emirates but this tells us precisely nothing as everybody is beating Bournemouth at present. The bigger test for Arsenal will be the next game which just happens to be against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

At least they didn’t concede a goal when they played the Cherries, which is the first time this season they have managed to record a nil against their opponent’s name!

Having already suffered a big defeat to Liverpool, Arsenal need a good result against Chelsea to convince their ever-so skeptical fans that they have the credentials to mount a title challenge this season, (which, by the way, they don’t).

Chelsea seem to have recovered their balance having been in danger of falling off the tightrope when they lost their first game of the season, at home, to Burnley. Since then they have beaten Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Wembley and have gone on to win every other game, including an impressive 2-1 away win at Leicester City.

As we predicted some weeks ago now, Chelsea will definitely represent the main threat to the Manchester clubs in this season’s title race. They have already beaten another top four contender away from home, even though their opponent was also away from home, and seem to have overcome their initial stalling of the engine. They now appear to be moving through the gears quite smoothly but, as with the others, bigger tests are awaiting them just around the corner.

Tottenham Hotspur are not among our favourites for the title purely because of the Wembley scenario. They have already lost there against Chelsea and could only manage a draw against Burnley, who must really look forward to their trips to London at present. These are not the results of title contenders!

The other problem is that Tottenham’s opponents will look forward to playing them at Wembley whereas White Hart Lane was a more forbidding place to visit.

Their away form is better, as they showed recently when beating a toothless Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park and this, coupled with them gaining sufficient points at “home“, should see them finish in the top six but possibly not the top four.

So of the top six Liverpool and Arsenal are the two showing the most inconsistency at present although Spurs aren’t far behind. This points to a top three of United, City and Chelsea, which is exactly how it is now.

The final positions of the other three are anybody’s guess. Fourth place will go to whichever one of the three can find some consistency over a sustained period but we can still find no reason to think that these teams will not be the eventual top six. Only Arsenal, in our humble opinion, are in danger of proving us wrong.

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