Three points is all that separates Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table and Aston Villa in fifth place. Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are also in the mix at the top end of the table, highlighting how this season’s margins are slimmer than they have been in a number of seasons.
Manchester City are still strong favourites to add another Premier League title to their collection and it’s entirely possible Pep Guardiola’s team will accelerate away from the rest of the competition over the course of the campaign, as they did last season on their way to an historic Treble.
Liverpool and Arsenal, however, have their sights set on the title and have the quality to go all the way. Jurgen Klopp’s team have got the better of City in the past while the Gunners are surely stronger for their experience of finishing second in last season’s title race. Both rivals will be difficult to sweep aside.
While Liverpool have flown under the radar somewhat this season, they are building momentum. Klopp has rebuilt his team’s midfield since last season with Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo all arriving at Anfield over the summer and this has helped the Reds become a high-energy, high-intensity outfit once more.
Arsenal also strengthened over the summer with Declan Rice their most significant new signing. Rice has given the Gunners extra presence and physicality in the centre of the pitch while Kai Havertz is growing accustomed to his new surroundings in North London following his summer switch from Chelsea.
Tottenham set the early pace at the top of the Premier League table, but injuries have hit Ange Postecoglou’s team hard with James Maddison and Micky van de Ven both set for a prolonged period on the sidelines. Nonetheless, Postecoglou has made a profound impact on Spurs who don’t have any European football to clutter their schedule.
Aston Villa might not be in title contention, but Unai Emery has drastically turned around the fortunes of the club. Emery refuses to entertain the idea that Villa might finish in the top four this season with the Spaniard keen to keep expectations low. That might be a wise approach, but recent results and performances suggest the Champions League music could soon be heard at Villa Park.
Not even Manchester United can be discounted from the equation at the top end of the Premier League table. The Old Trafford club have spent much of this season on the brink of crisis with Erik ten Hag facing questions over his future, but United have four of their last four matches in the league and are only seven points off top spot.
Newcastle United have struggled to maintain consistency over three different fronts this season with Eddie Howe’s team juggling Premier League, Champions League and Carabao Cup fixtures, but the Magpies are capable of beating any opponent on their day. They have also made St James’ Park something of a fortress.
Brighton are another high-quality team who have lost their way recently, perhaps in part due to their hectic European schedule. The Seagulls are still only a handful of points off the top four, though, and Roberto De Zerbi is widely seen as one of the best managers in the Premier League. He could turn things around.
Manchester City have won the Premier League title in four of the last five seasons, but competition near the top end of the table has never been stiffer than it is now. This season could produce a title race for the ages involving multiple teams if the start to the campaign is anything to go by.