How have the top six fared 11 games in?

It is time for another international break and a chance to sit back and ponder who is flying high in the Premier League and who is falling short.

Arsenal and Liverpool are only inside the top six because of a greater goal difference than Burnley, and they will have some catching up to do in the lead-up to Christmas.

Manchester City, meanwhile, are still unbeaten and sit top of the table by eight points.

Here, Sportsmail assesses all six of the clubs who started this season as supposed title-chasers.

 

Manchester City 1st

How are they getting on?

Won 10, drawn one, lost none. It says it all. Manchester City have all the talent they could possibly need to win the Premier League and are operating on a different level to the others. They have scored 38 times this season – with their Manchester neighbours the nearest to that on 23. They came through their latest test against Arsenal with a 3-1 win. City will take some stopping if they can maintain this level of energy and excitement.

How have the new signings been?

The football they have been playing this season has been quite something and their summer recruitment drive has had an influence. Kyle Walker in particular has helped solve half of their full-back problem from last season, while £34.7million goalkeeper Ederson has been a smart buy. In truth, the title should not be their only target with this squad. The Champions League should also be an aim. So far, so good in both.

Manchester City

What is the mood of the manager?

Pep Guardiola has been rather chipper this season. Even after beating West Bromwich Albion 3-2, he was full of smiles because he had just watched a wonderful game of football, despite his team having conceded two at The Hawthorns. You score two? We’ll score three. Guardiola looks a man who was backed in the market and is now starting to see it all click.

What are their league fixtures up until Christmas?

Huddersfield (a), Southampton (h), West Ham (h), Man Utd (a), Swansea (a), Tottenham (h), Bournemouth (h).

Guardiola will look at this list and want seven wins, though two ties stand out. City will look to bulldoze down a Jose Mourinho brick wall at Old Trafford on December 10 – just four days after they face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. They also welcome Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham to the Etihad Stadium on December 16.

 

Manchester United, 2nd

How are they getting on?

Manchester United missed out on putting pressure on City on Sunday as they suffered a 1-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho had a point to make in his post-match press conference, however. ‘We are worried (about the eight-point gap to City),’ he said. ‘But there are 18 teams more worried than us because we are second.’ That they are, though they have a mountain to climb.

How have the new signings been?

Romelu Lukaku hit the ground running but has now not scored since September. Alvaro Morata won the battle of the No 9s at the Bridge on Sunday as £90m Lukaku was anonymous. Nemanja Matic has had an impact after his £40m move from Chelsea, while £30.7m Victor Lindelof’s biggest contribution was to help Huddersfield Town record a famous win two weeks ago.

Manchester United

What is the mood of the manager?

Frosty. Mourinho is supposed to be the man to deliver them the title. Anything less will be deemed a failure and losing it to Guardiola and City would be worse. The Special One can certainly be inconsistent – he says he doesn’t like to complain or ‘cry, cry, cry’ about injuries, yet spends an awful lot of time talking about how much they are missing Paul Pogba in midfield.

What are their league fixtures up until Christmas?

Newcastle (h), Brighton (h), Watford (a), Arsenal (a), Man City (h), Bournemouth (h), West Brom (a), Leicester (a).

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Eight Premier League matches between November 18 and December 23 which will make or break their season. None more so than their visit to Arsenal followed by a showdown with City a week later – and a Champions League tie at home to CSKA Moscow sandwiched in between.

 

Tottenham Hotspur, 3rd

How are they getting on? 

Like United, Tottenham are eight points behind City. Losing at Old Trafford last week hurt them and Mauricio Pochettino responded by telling his players they have to take their chances if they are to win the title. It comes to that same, old question – how long can Tottenham keep hold of Harry Kane and Dele Alli if they do not start winning trophies? Time to join the party, Pochettino.

How have the new signings been?

Nothing overly spectacular. Fernando Llorente was brought in to act as a back-up to Kane. He’s contributed – none more so than at the Bernabeu in October – though is still awaiting his first goal. Davinson Sanchez, who cost £38.4m from Ajax, has fit in well, while £23m Serge Aurier is a live wire. Third-choice goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga was their hero against Crystal Palace on Sunday on his debut, mind.

Tottenham Hotspur

What is the mood of the manager?

When not trying to plug his new book, Pochettino has been in a bright mood with the press, laughing and joking. Their Champions League efforts have been excellent – holding Real Madrid to a draw away then beating the European champions quite comfortably at home. Yet they then struggled to see off a struggling Palace team in their next tie at Wembley. A little inconsistent at times and, if they fall away in the title race, Pochettino will know hard questions are coming.

Arsenal (a), West Brom (h), Leicester (a), Watford (a), Stoke (h), Brighton (h), Man City (a), Burnley (a).

Tottenham’s first game back after the international break sees them travel to Arsenal. Spurs may be looking to close the gap to City, but the Gunners are looking to close their own gap to their London rivals. Another stand-out tie is City away on December 16.

Chelsea, 4th

How are they getting on? 

Fourth is not what Roman Abramovich wants. Neither is second or third, in truth. Only first will do when it comes to Chelsea’s demanding Russian owner. They are nine points off City, though their win over United on Sunday was vital and kept the reigning champions in the race. It would have made for an uncomfortable international break had Antonio Conte lost. The pressure is on.

How have the new signings been?

Conte is likely to add to his squad in January. The Italian has not been afraid to show his disappointment at the current squad he has at his disposal. A lack of depth has often been brought up by Conte, such as after their shock loss to Crystal Palace in October. Despite that, they got £70m Alvaro Morata and £40m Tiemoue Bakayoko in the summer and both have had a significant impact. Danny Drinkwater is starting to be used following his £35m move from Leicester, giving them an extra man in midfield.

Chelsea

 

What is the mood of the manager?

Frustrated. Conte has risked losing the support of some of his stars inside the changing room after his training-ground dispute with popular figure David Luiz. He was dropped from the squad for Sunday’s game against United. Conte got away with it but this latest controversy comes a year after he was involved in a bust-up with Diego Costa.

What are their league fixtures up until Christmas?

West Brom (a), Liverpool (a), Swansea (h), Newcastle (h), West Ham (a), Huddersfield (a), Southampton (h), Everton (a).

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Winnable games ahead. Chelsea’s trip to Liverpool is their toughest test on paper, though Conte has a favourable fixture list compared to others. West Ham away on December 9 comes four days after Chelsea face Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid at home.

Liverpool, 5th

How are they getting on? 

Jurgen Klopp said in 2015 that he was ‘pretty confident’ he would win the title with Liverpool within four years. Two years later, they aren’t any closer. Liverpool have 19 points and are only inside the top six because their goal difference is better than Burnley’s. The days of looking upon Klopp with awe and wonder have been and gone. He is still giving out the hugs and attempting to play ‘heavy-metal football’ but, in truth, it is time they got some silverware.

How have the new signings been?

Mohamed Salah cost £34.3m when he was signed from Roma but the Egyptian has been on fire since returning to the Premier League. Two goals against West Ham on Saturday was his latest contribution. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived with some ridicule for his £35m and is still trying to prove his doubters wrong, though he too looked impressive at the London Stadium.

Liverpool

What is the mood of the manager?

Klopp doesn’t tend to like questions about his defence, despite them being legitimate. While United have conceded five goals in the Premier League this season and Chelsea and City seven apiece, Liverpool have leaked 17. Even second-bottom Swansea have let in four fewer. Klopp is still quite the character, but he knows results are required.

What are their league fixtures up until Christmas?

Southampton (h), Chelsea (a), Stoke (a), Brighton (a), Everton (h), West Brom (h), Bournemouth (a), Arsenal (a).

Significant tests are on their way for Liverpool. Chelsea away on November 25, the Merseyside derby on December 10, a trip to Arsenal days before Christmas. Klopp could be flying high or a man on the ropes by the turn of the year.

 

Arsenal, 6th

How are they getting on? 

Arsenal are the world’s seventh richest club and sit sixth in the Premier League. Like Liverpool, they are level on points with Sean Dyche’s Burnley. If they are to turn into title contenders, they have to hope that City seriously slip up and that they can win a series of games in succession. Arsenal never seem far away from tripping themselves up – a fight for the top four is likelier.

How have the new signings been?

Sead Kolasinac looks a bargain, after Arsenal signed him for free from Schalke in the summer. Alexandre Lacazette must be wondering what he has to do to get more of a chance. Alan Shearer said on Match of the Day that £46m record signing Lacazette should be knocking on Arsene Wenger’s door and asking why he is not starting. Lacazette scored against City on Sunday and has now bagged six league goals this season.

Arsenal

What is the mood of the manager?

Stubborn is probably the best word for it. Wenger, the man who won’t call it quits, was highly critical of Raheem Sterling as he labelled him a ‘good diver’ following their loss to City. The Arsenal manager will claim that they are still in the title race but, realistically, it’s looking unlikely that the Gunners will be in the mix after Christmas.

What are their league fixtures up until Christmas?

Tottenham (h), Burnley (a), Huddersfield (h), Man Utd (h), Southampton (a), West Ham (a), Newcastle (h), Liverpool (h).

Just wait for that tasty six-pointer away at Burnley on November 26… Arsenal have quite the festive fixture list and they may not be rubbing their hands at it. They are at home to Tottenham and United, then head into a London derby at West Ham, then Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

 

Culled From Dailymail



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Eddie Andy is a writer who covers relationships, relationship issues, in the form of poetry, prose (story) and articles. You can reach out to him at [email protected]

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