Predicting the winners of a competition seven months before it has run its course is not always a smart thing to do publicly but in this instance, many would agree with Matt le Tissier’s title winners.
It would be fair to say most share this opinion ever since the oil money arrived and even more would agree since the oil money was paired with Pep Guardiola. And despite this overall perception that the new wealth at City would bring success it has not been a sure thing every season. Of course, Manchester City has won the title otherwise, we would be talking about the biggest waste of money ever but up until now, there was a vulnerability about them.
The bigger talking point must be the top 7 prediction Le Tissier made.
City, Arsenal, Spurs, Southampton and United are all currently involved in continental competitions. My personal prediction is only City and Arsenal will still be involved after the winter break and the additional rest days and depth of squad (or lack thereof) will no longer be an issue for the other three, just like it isn’t for Chelsea or Liverpool.
Liverpool look good. They scoring freely and under Klopp have a great high press. Some of their player’s weaknesses are covered up by the overall health of the squad being superb. I just wonder how many points they will pick up if they had to go an extended period without Coutinho or Mane. It’s important to remember the EPL is a marathon event, otherwise Arsenal would be champions at Christmas every year.
Chelsea is firing on all cylinders. So far they have lost only to fellow contenders Arsenal and Liverpool. No disgrace in that and a change in formation has seen them close the holes at the back so much so that they have not conceded in the last 4 games. Hazard has rediscovered his scoring boots in a free role, Costa is less of an irritating prat than he has ever been and actually looks to be working for the team now.
Arsenal fans will be distraught and calling for Wenger to go again when the slump hits and they tumble down the log as the fixture congestion and possible injuries rob them of the free-scoring football they are currently enjoying. At the moment they are sensationally good to watch though and long may it continue.
Spurs will have to rediscover their goalscoring form if they are to keep up a challenge. Already down to 5th with 5 draws in ten and unable to put away WBA , Bournemouth or Leicester recently doesn’t bode well for a team with continental ambition.
Southampton have 3 wins from their first ten fixtures but are predicted to finish in 6th place? I think Matt Le Tissier is dreaming of his playing days with the Saints and looking to make a scene with this prediction rather than considering the facts.
And finally, Manchester United. Have we seen the real Manchester United yet? We’ve regularly seen three of the four summer signings but the mystery man is probably one of our most gifted. Will Mourinho tinker with the formation to find a way to play Pogba in a free role while employing all the youthful talent at his disposal when the threat of conceding goals looms large? Whatever happens next, United need to find the net or they will struggle to stay near the top. I can’t see them finishing behind Southampton though, one signing in January could change everything and there are still 28 games to play (84 points on offer).
Undoubtedly, City is the favourite to win, even with three-quarters of the competition left to run, but in my opinion, the real dark horse lives at Stamford Bridge.