The Premier League Title Race is on!
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Premier League Title Race is on! Despite fears that this season was going to be heading to the Etihad Stadium for the fourth season in a row, it’s tight at the top of the Premier League table.
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are unbeaten and joint-top of the table after eight matches played. The North London clubs, Manchester City and Liverpool are looking like the early favourites for the 2023-24 Premier League title, but can this last the duration of the season?
Are there any other clubs that could join the race? We give our take as the Premier League gears up to return after this current international break.
The Premier League Title Race is on!
We said towards the end of last season that the only thing that can stop Man City’s rich vein of trophy-laden form was themselves. Specifically, Pep Guardiola leaving the Citizens, but despite winning the treble last campaign, that hasn’t happened.
However, Man City stopping themselves may have happened in a different way. The energy and effort that went into the Sky Blues’ 2022-23 season may have left the blue half of Manchester suffering from a hangover effect.
No club in the history of English football has won four top division titles in a row. Despite the domination of Liverpool in the 1970s & 80s and Manchester United in the 1990s & 2000s, nobody has managed four on the bounce.
It’s very early days, but Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over City was their first consecutive Premier League defeat since 2018. The Gunners were good value for it as well, as the visitors arguably should’ve been down to ten-men thanks to Mateo Kovačić’s multiple poor tackles.
Man City did win the title in 2018-19, but it was only by a point ahead of Liverpool in what was an almighty title race and one of the best we’ve seen in modern times.
I can’t speak for all neutrals, but if there’s a title race that goes all the way to the final round of the season, it doesn’t matter who wins the championship. Although, for variety’s sake, most wouldn’t want to see it be Man City again.
The North London clubs
Arsenal surprised a lot of us last season and led for the majority of the campaign. In the end, the pressure got to Mikel Arteta’s side, but the young Gunners will only continue to grow in experience and confidence.
They’ve re-found their form from the start of last season, thanks in part to the impressive signing of Declan Rice in midfield. At the time of writing, Arsenal are level at the top of the table alongside their bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
It’s early days, but it’s fair to say that we already may be wrong about Spurs and Ange Postecoglou. In fairness, we weren’t alone, as the departure of Harry Kane signalled to most pundits that Tottenham would struggle to regain European football for next season.
However, Tottenham are playing excellent football and the only blots on their copybook are two away draws against Arsenal and Brentford. They have rode their luck at times, as they only scraped a win against Sheffield United at home and benefitted from another VAR disaster against Liverpool.
Spurs will do well to stay up at the top, but are out of the EFL Cup and don’t have European games to distract them. Postecoglou’s men can put all of their eggs into the Premier League basket and won’t give an easy game to any side.
Then again, they are Tottenham, if any team can bottle the chance to win a trophy, it’s them.
What about the others?
We backed Liverpool to be Manchester City’s closest challengers this season and the Reds are currently only a point behind the defending champions in fourth. Liverpool are in the Europa League this season, which could help their domestic chances if they play well.
Two wins from two means they can continue to rest their best players in the Group Stage and shouldn’t suffer from the tabled continental hangover effect. Whereas Arsenal and City will have to field their strongest possible sides for every Champions League match in midweek and the Premier League at the weekend.
Liverpool have proved on a number of occasions that they can go all the way in a Premier League title race against City and are the only side that have stopped Guardiola’s side from winning seven championships in a row.
We should give a mention to both Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion too, who currently sit fifth and sixth, just a point behind Liverpool. Both are contending with Europa football and have been competitive in the Premier League so far this season.
Both clubs are serious threats to the European places again and could spring surprises in the domestic cups too. With both Chelsea and Manchester United enduring awful seasons so far, these clubs could disrupt the English Superclubs once again.
We also can’t forget about Newcastle United, who, after a slow start to the season, have proven they can beat anybody on their day after wiping the floor with Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in the Champions League.