Is the top-six of the Premier League table beginning to take shape?
After a thrilling first six game-weeks in this year’s Premier League campaign, the top quarter of the table already contains the teams expecting to be occupying these spots by the end of the season. Watford currently sit in the sixth position, but Arsenal are lurking just one point behind in seventh.
The two Manchester clubs are the ones leading the pack at the moment, both starting the season unbeaten and with sixteen points out of a possible eighteen. However, looking back to this point in the last few seasons, it could all change come next May.
In fact, for the previous two seasons Manchester City had taken the top spot early on after the first six fixtures, but ended the season fifteen points behind the eventual champions on both occasions.
In their title winning campaign last season, Chelsea sat in eighth position after their sixth game. The year before that, Southampton sat way down in sixteenth after six games, but crept into sixth position at the end of the season.
So what’s to say that the current top six won’t completely change in eight months’ time? Well, in the 2014/15 season, the top of the table remained much the same throughout most of the season, and all of the top five teams at the end of the season had been the top eight after their first six games. And this top five was Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham, which is almost the same as the current top five.
Based on this, most of us will be expecting another season where the “big” teams will interchange in and around the top six throughout the season, but is it too early to tell? Sadly, the answer is probably not. It’s rare that one of these teams fail to remain in the top spots after strong starts, but there’s nothing to say the in form teams such as Watford and Burnley won’t be dipping in and out of these positions long into the campaign.
It is certainly much too early to deduce what the order of these teams will look like come the end of the season. Will City fail to continue their form to the end for the third year running? Will José Mourinho pick up another of his famous “second year in charge” league titles with United? Or could Antonio Conte lead the Blues to their third table topping campaign in four years?
Well, at least we still have 32 games to find out.
Written by Harry Mahon.