After which there have been three. If there was any speak of Manchester United being true title contenders, these believing so had been silenced on Sunday night after they thumped 5-0 at house by Liverpool.
The Reds, led by a Mohamed Salah hat-trick, ran riot at Previous Trafford as they dismantled their bitter rivals on their very own patch. This outcome wasn’t the one eye-catching scoreline of the weekend although as Chelsea thrashed Norwich Metropolis 7-0 and defending Premier League champions Manchester Metropolis had been elegant in a 4-1 win at Brighton. The trio’s mixed triumphs totalled for an mixture rating of 16-1.
Talking post-match on Sunday, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher stated his former facet, Chelsea and Metropolis are three of the 4 greatest groups on the earth alongside Bayern Munich at current.
As we strategy 1 / 4 of the season, the title race appears like being a three-horse race between Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis. Consequently, Sportsmail assesses their energy and weaknesses.
Liverpool had been wonderful on Sunday as they thumped bitter rivals Manchester United 5-0
Chelsea stay high of the Premier League after profitable 7-0 in opposition to lowly Norwich Metropolis
Manchester Metropolis had been sensible on the south coast they received 4-1 at high-flying Brighton
Let’s begin with the table-toppers and the present European champions.
The Blues sit on 22 factors after 9 matches, one forward of second-placed Liverpool and two forward of third-placed Metropolis.
They’ve solely misplaced one recreation to date – a 1-0 house defeat by Manchester Metropolis on September 25 – and have additionally drawn one – a 1-1 draw at Liverpool on August 28 – from their 9 matches this season.
Thomas Tuchel has carried out a improbable job as Chelsea supervisor – with the membership at the moment high
This statistic reveals their resoluteness – the identical attribute that may be utilized to their title rivals.
Nevertheless, the place Chelsea might be deemed to be much more spectacular is their powerful begin to the season. Out of the three title contenders they’ve navigated the toughest route to date – having performed at Arsenal (2-0 win), Liverpool (1-1 draw), Tottenham (3-0 win) in addition to dealing with Metropolis (1-0 loss) in 4 of their opening six matches.
The truth that they’ve solely conceded three targets throughout their 9 matches, together with that begin, emphasies their sensible defensive nous beneath Thomas Tuchel. Breaking it down additional, solely a kind of targets has come from open play with the opposite two from the penalty spot – which means they are surely a tricky opposition to interrupt down.
They’ve the very best defence within the Premier League with a unit that’s stuffed with world-class gamers. A 12 months in the past, Antonio Rudiger’s time at Chelsea was seemingly coming to an finish beneath Frank Lampard however he has been reinvigorated by his managerial successor Thomas Tuchel. His type has reached new heights that Europe’s elite are ready to see how his contract talks unfold at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Rudiger (high) has been heads and shoulders above everybody in a formidable defence
Alongside the German, Thiago Silva continues to defy his age because the 37-year-old shines alongside him. Then you could have the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Marcos Alonso and Trevoh Chalobah all performing to a excessive degree. And should you in some way get behind that defence then you could have the towering determine of Edouard Mendy to try to beat in aim.
If there may be one trigger for concern, it may very well be their attacking output. This sounds ridiculous contemplating they only thumped Norwich Metropolis 7-0 on Saturday, however Romelu Lukaku’s ankle harm is a significant concern.
Tuchel is remaining obscure on how lengthy the striker shall be out for and earlier than being harm the Blues had created little for the Belgian in his earlier 4 or 5 matches. In truth, when he returns the 28-year-old shall be on a seven-game aim drought for the west London outfit.
To make issues worse, their deputy striker Timo Werner has a hamstring harm – leaving Kai Havertz as the one recognisable ahead and he isn’t a real centre-forward.
Chelsea are being obscure on Romelu Lukaku’s (left) standing after he was injured on October 20
Lukaku broken ligaments in his ankle throughout Chelsea’s Champions League win over Malmo
Fellow striker Timo Werner (proper) adopted Lukaku off after struggling a hamstring pressure
It’s bizarre to suppose, however Liverpool have gone beneath the radar. Regardless of their world-class high quality all through the squad not quite a lot of noise has been made about Jurgen Klopp’s facet this season, till now.
After profitable the Champions League (2018-19) after which the Premier League (2019-20), final time period was simply an anomaly for the Reds. In unprecedented occasions they’d no centre backs but nonetheless completed third within the desk.
Now with Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez again – plus the summer time addition of Ibrahima Konate – the Anfield outfit are again to full energy and able to reassert their dominance in England and Europe.
Jurgen Klopp has lots to smile about with Liverpool after their mauling of Man United
Sunday’s mauling of Manchester United was a devastating instance of their breathless soccer. Some eyebrows had been raised by the group choice, but it surely simply highlighted the energy of their squad as they had been 4-0 up at Previous Trafford by half-time. In fact, the full-time margin of 5-0 ought to have been higher – such was the dominance of the guests.
It would come as no shock that Liverpool have scored essentially the most targets within the Premier League to date with 27 targets – which means they common three goals-per-game. That is 4 greater than Chelsea (23) and 7 greater than Metropolis (20).
On the coronary heart of this has been Salah. The ahead has been sensational all season – scoring a staggering 10 targets in simply 9 league matches to date. A few of his strikes have been mesmerising (see his solo efforts in opposition to Manchester Metropolis and Watford), main many to consider he’s the very best participant on the earth on present type. On high of this too he has 5 assists as nicely, displaying it’s not all about him.
Mo Salah scored a hat-trick on Sunday to take his league tally to 10 targets in 9 video games
Momentum is constructing on Merseyside and the very fact they continue to be the one unbeaten facet (profitable six and drawing three) within the Premier League is a warning to their title rivals. They simply by no means know once they’re overwhelmed.
If there are any drawbacks it’ll rely on the supply of Klopp’s squad. ‘Egyptian King’ Salah will miss a part of the season for the Africa Cup of Nations (which runs from January 9 to February 6) as will Sadio Mane and Naby Keita. Whereas that may be a few months away, that shall be behind Klopp’s head.
On the forefront too would be the rising harm rely amongst his squad. Keita was compelled off on Sunday following a reckless problem from Paul Pogba – that noticed the United midfielder despatched off. This leaves the Reds brief in midfield contemplating that James Milner, Thiago Alcantara and Harvey Elliott are all at the moment on the sidelines.
Paul Pogba (left) was despatched off for a reckless two-footed problem on Liverpool’s Naby Keita
Keita was compelled off the pitch on a stretcher and his harm provides to Liverpool’s midfield woe
Final however not least, let’s speak concerning the present champions.
They’re solely two factors behind Chelsea on the account of getting drawn a recreation extra (one being a shocking 0-0 house draw with Southampton), so Pep Guardiola is aware of his facet are in a very good place in third.
Metropolis are recognized for his or her swashbuckling possession-based model of play beneath Guardiola however defensively they’ve been rock stable too. They’ve conceded simply 4 targets throughout 9 matches to date this season, second to solely Chelsea’s three.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester Metropolis facet are third within the desk – however simply two factors behind Chelsea
They had been heading in the right direction to share this file with Chelsea on Saturday night till Alexis Mac Allister pulled one again for Brighton from the penalty spot within the 81st minute of Metropolis’s 4-1 win on the south coast.
Energy in depth has by no means been a difficulty for Metropolis and that has been demonstrated by the way in which Guardiola has utilised his squad. He has world-class expertise in an abundance of positions and altering personnel doesn’t diminish their beginning XI’s high quality. This was evident on Saturday with influential trio Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez all coming off the bench in opposition to Brighton.
Since dropping 1-0 at Tottenham of their season opener, Metropolis have gone from strength-to-strength domestically – profitable six and drawing two top-flight fixtures. This has included an emphatic 5-0 win over Arsenal, plus a 1-0 win at Leicester Metropolis.
Nevertheless, most impressively Metropolis have travelled to Chelsea and Liverpool this season and never tasted defeat – profitable 1-0 on the former and drawing 2-2 on the latter earlier this month. Come the second half of the season, Metropolis could have house benefit – which might show pivotal in deciding this season’s champions.
The in-form Riyad Mahrez (proper) got here off the bench to attain Metropolis’s fourth at Brighton
The one obvious drawback with Metropolis although this season is the dearth of a bonafide striker. Their all-time file goalscorer Sergio Aguero left in the summertime and the membership failed to herald a substitute.
Tottenham’s talisman Harry Kane was the one participant they needed however did not get and the dearth of a pure centre-forward has confirmed at occasions. Phil Foden was wonderful as a ‘false 9’ on Saturday, scoring twice, however the England playmaker needs to play deeper ideally. Gabriel Jesus was considered Aguero’s inheritor however he now prefers to play wider too.
Metropolis scored 4 on the weekend to take their tally to twenty league targets this season, but when they’re to actually take advantage of their a number of probabilities created per match then they want a world-class finisher like Chelsea have in Lukaku and Liverpool have in Salah. Count on the blue half of Manchester to be looking out through the January switch window.
Metropolis tried and did not signal Tottenham’s Harry Kane in the summertime as they sought a striker