Who are the Real Title Contenders?

Published on 7 October 2023 at 13:00

Manchester City dropping points - Haaland's goal drought. Spurs scraping a win against Liverpool, are they serious contenders? Arsenal looking strong. Manchester United and Chelsea already out of the title race? Liverpool within touching distance. Who are the real title contenders?

Manchester City dropping points. Spurs scraping a win against Liverpool. Arsenal looking strong. Manchester United and Chelsea already out of the title race? Liverpool within touching distance. Who are the real title contenders?

The Premier League never fails to amaze us as fans, with it always throwing up surprises, year on year. Often, at the start of the season, all the top teams fanbases truly do believe they will be challenging for the title come May. Although, this does not usually ever come to fruition, with the norm being only two or three teams putting up a genuine challenge for top spot, with it frequently being a ‘one horse race’. This season, however, has proved somewhat less predictable so far than most, with all the big teams stuttering at some point, and many of them yet to get going in the first place.   

Manchester City are the bookies favourites by a country mile, with Arsenal and Liverpool hot on their tails. Tottenham don’t look a million miles away after their strong start, and that is reflected as them being fourth favourites. Then comes Newcastle, Brighton, and Villa, who are all ahead of both Chelsea and Manchester United who’s starts so far in the league would be best described as disastrous.


City have only dropped points once so far, coming last weekend against Wolves. Without Rodri in the team due to suspension, City were somewhat uncomfortable, and it simply didn’t click for them at Molyneaux. Rodri, a vital player for The Sky Blues, will also be missing against Arsenal on Sunday this week. It could be that this gives Arsenal the edge in what could prove to be one of the most important games of the season. City also crashed out of the League Cup last week against the improving Newcastle, again, with Rodri’s absence proving significant again. City will also be without Kevin De Bruyne until what Pep fears may be the new year, with a hamstring injury side-lining the Belgian ace. Until last week, City haven’t seemed phased to be without their star man up to now, however with a few more injuries, De Bruyne’s absence in the team could result in more dropped points.

Arsenal looks pretty good, despite a few blips here and there, especially in the Champions League in midweek against RC Lens, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat in France. The Gunners have a brilliant starting XI, but squad depth is certainly one of their major weaknesses. Kai Havertz just simply isn’t good enough; Reiss Nelson hasn’t been the quality off the bench that they require yet, and it’s a similar story with Jorginho. Players such as Fabio Viera, Smith Rowe and Trossard aren’t bringing the goals and assists that Arteta is after from his impact substitutes. If Arsenal can keep everyone fit and stear clear of too many injuries to their top players then perhaps they can genuinely challenge again, and even push City further than last year.

Liverpool do look much better this season, a more organised defence and despite losing Fabinho and Henderson to Saudi, the midfield is looking strong and holding its own. New signings Alexis Mac Allister and Dominic Szoboszlai are getting better every week with Endo and Gravenberch still to show us their best football. Liverpool’s only major slip up was against Spurs at the weekend, and most would say they were hard done by with the VAR farce over the Luis Diaz offside. With Thiago still to come back from injury, Liverpool could be a major threat to City’s thrown. Klopp’s men however will always fear that one Mo Salah injury could mean the wheels could come off, with Salah being such a key player for The Reds, they’ll be hoping the Egyptian stays fit. Liverpool visits The Amex on Sunday; it will be interesting to see how they fair against high flying Seagulls on the south coast. A win here will see them climb into the top three, and potentially even claim top spot before the dreaded international break if results go their way.


The big question every time Spurs have a good start to a season is, are they genuine title contenders? We saw it a few years ago under Mourinho where The Lilywhites had a brilliant start to the season, and many said they were genuine contenders, however, in typical Spurs fashion, they inevitably fell away down the table in the lead up to May. There is definitely optimism in the air with Postecoglou at the helm this year, and the fans are becoming increasingly excited. Despite their fast start out of the blocks, I think it is important for the fans to keep their feet firmly on the ground, for now. Consistent performances and good results have eased any worry about what the post Harry Kane era might have looked like. Ange has helped Spurs play with positivity and intensity, a contrast to previous seasons for Spurs fans under Conte and Mourinho. For Postecoglou and the players, I am sure their main aim is simply top four and going for one of the domestic cups – but it’s nice for Spurs fans to get ahead of themselves, so let them dream!

The less said the better about United and Chelsea so far, abysmal. Chelsea are potentially finding some form, finally, with back-to-back wins against Brighton and Fulham on Monday Night Football. Pochettino is yet to find his best starting XI; injuries haven’t helped, but with players returning now, he must start getting results and quickly. 

The Red Devils are struggling massively, something just is not clicking. A midweek calamitous against Galatasaray, with Onana’s big mistake (again), Casemiro’s dismissal, and Rashford and Bruno still constant under performers. United need something to change, almost waiting for the results to turn and the team to hit form, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to come anytime soon. Ten Hag has his work cut out in Manchester; some serious questions may start to be asked about his position if results don’t change soon. Is he the right man to turn it around? It is fair to say, Chelsea and United are almost certainly out of the title race.

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