We often think of the Premier League as the most exciting league in the world because a team at the bottom of the league can beat one of the sides chasing the title. And it’s true.
Sometimes, there is an upset, and a team that has struggled all season will suddenly snatch a famous victory against the champion-elect. Yet, with all that being said, it’s not as if surprise results happen all that frequently. Take a look at the teams in the top four positions come the end of the season; it’s nearly always the same group from a selection of six teams. Shock results do happen more frequently in the Premier League than in other leagues, but not enough that a team from the lower rungs of the ladder can march to the title.
Except this season seems to be different. It’s probably too early to say that we’ll have another season like the one where Leicester won the Premier League, but it would be less surprising if it happened this year. We could legitimately be looking at the most open season since perhaps the league's formation back in 1992.
Liverpool cantered to the title last season and looked like they would do the same this time around during the first few games. But then things went a little awry. One loss and one draw don’t seem like the end of the world, but the nature of the loss will have caused concerns. A 7-2 defeat will always raise eyebrows, but when it’s to a side that they would normally destroy? That’s a sign that this season is going to be far from standard.
The glut of goals is another factor that makes this season so open. We already have as many hat-tricks in the 2020/2021 campaign as we had during the entire 2008/2009 season. We might expect Mohammed Salah to get a hat-trick against a lower-ranked side, but this season, lesser-known players are stepping up to grab a trio of goals. Few people would have expected Leeds’ Patrick Bamford to score three against Aston Villa, but that’s just what he did. And who knows how many hat-trick heroes we’ll have this season? There’ll be peoplemaking the most of free bets
tempted to back a team’s striker to score three goals in a game, even if the team they’re playing against is one of the “big six.”
It shouldn’t be a radical thing to say that every side in the Premier League has flaws. It used to always be that way. However, these days things are different. In the past few seasons, two sides — Manchester City and Liverpool — have operated at a near-perfect level. Looking back even further, there were the great Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal sides that seemed impenetrable.
But there are no perfect sides this year. Liverpool are beginning to look a little frail at the back, especially after the loss of Van Dijk. Manchester City have only won two of their first games — and also have injury troubles of their own. And the troubles of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Chelsea are clear for all to see.
Of course, the lack of perfection from the historic ‘big six’ doesn’t mean that none of them will win the title. In all likelihood, one of them will. However, the early results already mean we won’t see a repeat of the dominance of previous years. The side that does win will not be head and shoulders above the others. It’ll be a photo-finish, and this is something that many fans will welcome. While it’s a privilege to watch sides at the peak of their powers gallop to a league title, it’s good to mix things up and have a competitive league every now and again.
We’re less than ten games into the season, and so it’s important not to read too much into the current Premier League standings. Yet we can’t discount them either. The top ten looks like it belongs to a league table from the 1980s. Aston Villa are within touching distance of the top of the table. Everton and Liverpool are first and second. Normal service if it’s 1985, strange if it’s 2020. There’s occasionally a leap forward in Premier League quality when teams who have historically been lower down the league get their act together and start performing well. And we’re seeing that this year with Everton. Can they maintain their good start? Given the players they can now call upon and the manager, they have in the dugout, you couldn’t or shouldn’t rule it out, especially sinceManchester City
, Chelsea, and Arsenal still seem to be finding their feet.
It’s worth keeping in mind that we still have a long way to go. The season has essentially just started so many things can happen. Still, the early signs are encouraging. Everton could well be top of the table come November, which would be the first time in 14 years outside of the big six goes into the month as a leader. Novelty leaders aside, the rest of the table looks pretty well set up for an interesting season. Just five points separate the leaders from the teams teetering on the brink of the relegation places.
Ultimately, there’s not one team that is showing that they mean business this year. They all have their flaws. While you’d expect that Liverpool will puttheir early hiccups
(which should be stated, is still only one draw and one defeat) behind them, the rest of the field is open. We might just end up with left-field sides claiming the Champions League spots for their own. There is, after all, nothing given in the Premier League: you have to earn it. As football fans, all we can do is strap ourselves in and enjoy the ride. And in all its unpredictability, it's going to be an exciting one for sure.