Premier League September Review: Manchester City, Liverpool & Chelsea locked in a three-way battle
Those who thought Manchester City will stroll to their second Premier League title in as many years must got a rude shock in the first two months as early signs indicate that Liverpool and Chelsea are well-equipped to force the race into the last week of the season. Meanwhile, in the other half of Manchester Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba continue to hog all the limelight off the field as United continue to drop points on it and the Red Devils find themselves already a few paces behind the title contenders.
Watford and Wolves continue their good form and they consolidate their position in the first half of the table while Newcastle United, Cardiff City and Huddersfield are locked in a race of their own as the trio weren’t able to perform up to their potential and are placed in the bottom three.
However, it is still early days to pick who will win the title and who will get relegated but slowly and steadily, the league table is starting to shape up after seven playing weeks. Hindustan Times takes a look at the main talking points of the league in the month of September.
Liverpool, Chelsea high on the heels of defending champs
After a stunning first month of the campaign, both Liverpool and Chelsea dropped respective first points in the month, giving Manchester City the chance to take the numero uno spot in the league. City conceded just one goal in their four wins in September and scored 12 times to snatch the top spot from Liverpool, who were held to a draw by Chelsea. Daniel Strurridge’s late stunner won Liverpool a point at Stamford Bridge but it propelled the Citizens to the top of the table. After three wins and a draw in the month, Liverpool are second but just on goal difference. With back-to-back draws against West Ham and Liverpool, the Blues find themselves drop down to the third spot.
London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal aren’t too far behind in the title race but early signs are that they lack the required strength in depth that is needed for that final push. Under Unai Emery, the Gunners have been very efficient so far and they picked crucial wins against Watford and Everton in their last two matches. As for the Spurs, their twin losses against Liverpool and Brighton in the month have pushed them back to the fourth spot, one ahead of Arsenal.
No end to Manchester United’s woes
It will be an understatement to say that 20-time champions Manchester United are in a disarray. Their manager is sulking, their most expensive player is behaving like spoiled brat and the team is dropping points faster than Usain Bolt completing 100m. The Red Devils are already nine points behind the table-toppers and with just 10 points in 7 matches, Mourinho has equalled David Moyes’ record of worst start to a premier league season by Manchester United.
Watford, Wolves maintain good start; West Ham on the rise
After seven matchweeks, Watford and Wolves find themselves at sixth and eighth position respectively on the table. Watford beat Tottenham to start their month, however fell to defeats against Manchester United and Arsenal that has took some shine off their good start. As for Wolverhampton, they are sticking with their habit of winning matches by one way or the other. Wolves remained undefeated in the month, dropping points only against Manchester United and getting three wins under their belt.
After a disastrous start to the season that saw them lose four on the trot, West Ham have turned their fortunes around by defeating Everton, drawing against Chelsea and thumping Manchester United at home. The Hammers have crept out of the bottom three and making their surge in the right direction.
Early relegation contenders
If after see seven matches, a team is yet to win a single game then that is the sort of form that could eventually get you relegated once it enters the business end of the tournament. Newcastle, Cardiff and Huddersfield are yet to register a win, two months into the season and the trio have accumulated just two points in seven matches. It will be a tough job for the respective managers to turn their seasons around from here.
Player of the Month
Without a shadow of a doubt, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is the best player in the Premier League right now. The star winger has scored six goals and is the top-scorer amongst 20 teams after seven match days. Hazard has also assisted twice thus far and has been the reason for Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the campaign. Blues coach Maurizio Sarri recently said that on current form, Eden Hazard is the best player in Europe and if the Belgian continues to perform at this level, it will be hard to argue with that.