The pursuit for the Premier League crown is well underway and despite one of two surprises so far, the challengers for the top sport are pretty much those who many fans and media pundits expected before the start of the season. However, with one or two indifferent results for many teams to this point, at this very early stage which teams are on their way to becoming deserving champions?
Started their bid to retain their Premier League crown better than anyone has every started a Premier League season before, scoring goals for fun and keeping a solid defensive line which almost seem impenetrable. However, many have argued that Chelsea were extremely lucky in the fixture draw, receiving a number of some called ‘easy games’ early on to get their season off to the best possible start.
Their first major test came in the form of a trip to big spending Manchester City last weekend and to be hones the London side were found wanting, suffering their first defeat. If Chelsea are to once again retain the title, they must ensure they pick up maximum points against not just those scraping for survival at the bottom of the league, but those who are in and around them challenging for top honours.
The one extreme positive for the Stamford Bridge side comes in the superb form of Florent Malouda. The French international has begun this season with a new lease of life, giving the 30 year old the much needed confidence to push forward in support of star man Didier Drogba, seemingly filling the void left by the injured Frank Lampard.
Tipped to be the main contender to Chelsea’s title ambitions, United have started the season unbeaten after 6 games, although 3 of these matches have ended in draws which can only be seen as disappointed from an Old Trafford perspective. The ability to not hold on to leads as well as the number of goals being leaked by United surely must be a concern for boss Alex Ferguson.
Nevertheless, with defender Rio Ferdinand almost back to full fitness, many of the United faithful will be hoping Ferdinand can rekindle that superb partnership with Nemanja Vidic to help provide the defensive stability which the Red Devils need.
While the defensive structure of united seems to be ever improving, many will be hoping that fortunes will change for striker Wayne Rooney upon his return from injury and the England international can begin to provide the number of goals which they will need if they are to be there or there abouts come the end of the season.
However in his continued absence from the goal scoring limelight, Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov has seemingly took up the mantle with a number of impressive performances, particularly in scoring a hat trick against rivals Liverpool, which have given fans a glimpse of the true potential of the striker and the reason why he commanded such a large transfer fee in his move from Tottenham.
As in the case of Chelsea, Arsenal started the season with much promise, racking up a number of goals, almost looking unbeatable as their slick passing football was a joy to behold. However, many defensive frailties have seemingly undone all of that good work as a recent 3-2 defeat at home to newly promoted West Brom has left many fans of the Gunner’s unsure if the North London side can finish in the top four, let alone challenge for the title.
While defensively the picture might not seem to bright at the moment, the attacking capabilities and the performances of a number of individuals, sure has to be music to the ears of manager Arsene Wenger. New signing Marouane Chamakh has seemingly settled into the squad with consummate ease since his summer move from French side Bordeaux, providing a presence up front which has been sorely missed in recent years.
French international Samir Nasri has also been a revelation at the Emirates this season. After a disappointing campaign last season, the 23 year old has begun this year with confidence and vigour, generating stand out performances in a number of the Gunners victories this season both domestically and in Europe.
Although many are seemingly questioning Arsenals title credentials to this point, a victory over reigning champions Chelsea this weekend could be just what the doctor ordered to set their challenge back on track and infuse some much needed confidence into a fairly you Emirates squad.
Roberto Mancini’s summer spending spree saw the Italian bring a number of high profile world class stars to Eastlands with the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng making the move to Manchester. This high spending policy is seemingly beginning to reap the rewards with excellent victories at home to both Chelsea and Liverpool which have given many of the City faithful that belief that they can battle it out with the big boys and come out on top.
New signing James Milner, who joined the club from Aston Villa at the start of the season, has seemingly settled in like he has played there for a number of years, linking up with another talented English winger, Adam Johnson, to cause a number of defences throughout the league a world of problems with their quick turn of pace and excellent control on the ball.
However, while many players are seemingly excelling at the challenge, the player that remains head and shoulders above them is the little Argentinean Carlos Tevez. His goal scoring ability is legendary all over the world, with his strength and pace that enable him to get on the score sheet on a regular basis.
If the blue half of Manchester are to keep up with good form and finish the season in the top four, pushing for the title, then a lot of that rests on the wide shoulders of Tevez, as his goals will be vital in helping City get across that fine line between success and failure.
Spurs season, no matter how they perform in the league with always be one which will be remembered with great fondness as they have embarked on their very first Champions League voyage. Despite the success of reaching this prestige European competition, manager Harry Redknapp is looking for his side to once again mix it up at the top of the Premier League and the White Hart Lane club seem to be on their way to doing just that.
With Dutch superstar Rafael Van Der Vaart joining the club from Real Madrid in the summer, the World Cup finalist’s quality and expertise has seemingly given the North London outfit an extra avenue of quality to provide support for the wealth of strikers at Redknapp’s disposal, as the club look to improve on the 8 points achieved in their opening 6 games.
Many wait to see what the affect of regular European competition will have on Tottenham’s league form, but while they keep taking big strides in Europe, for the team being the adrenaline and confidence brought from these big occasions will be enough to keep many of the Spurs squad giving their all for the Tottenham cause.
A host of new signings have done little to improve the Reds fortunes so far this campaign and with striker Fernando Torres seemingly suffering a hangover from his World Cup exploits with eventual winners Spain, many Anfield fans will be hoping he can once again regain his scoring touch to help propel the club up the table.
However, while things seem bleak at this current time, it shouldn’t be viewed as all doom and gloom. With Liverpool just 5 points off a top four place, a good string of results would work wonders in not only relieving the pressure of manager Hodgson, but also in lifting the club up the table and back to where they feel they belong in the search for a top four place.
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