Premier League Table: Most Surprising Developments in Standings After 7 Weeks

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2013

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05:  David Moyes (R), manager of Manchester United sits with (front row L-R) Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and assistant Steve Round during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at the Stadium of Light on October 5, 2013 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

If you can't make concrete judgments after 18 percent of a season is over, when can you?

That's where the Premier League is at the moment. Going into the international break, a whopping seven-thirty-eighths of the campaign is out of the way. This is how the table looks.

These four clubs have arguably had the most surprising results so far and likely will fall back to their normal place as the season goes on. In other words, don't start planning on having that Champions League revenue for next season.

 

Southampton's Only Going North in the Table

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Adam Lallana of Southampton (20) celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Swansea City at St Mary's Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Southampton, England.  (
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Through the first seven Premier League matches of last season, Southampton allowed a total of 20 goals, six of which came in one match, against Arsenal on Sept. 15. Through the first seven games this year, the Saints have conceded just two goals.

It's stunning the way the Southampton defense is playing under Mauricio Pochettino this season. Dejan Lovren was a brilliant signing during the summer, as he and Jose Fonte have been rocks at the back.

Up top, Rickie Lambert and Daniel Osvaldo haven't created much drama. They're not fighting over the ball or running into the same areas. As long as they can coexist together, Southampton shouldn't have any trouble scoring.

The biggest factor will be the midfield. Victor Wanyama is a very good when defending. On the ball, he has been pretty bad. Jack Cork played well last season and might actually be a better option at times. The Saints will have to ensure they can make the most of their counterattacking opportunities.

While it's almost impossible for Southampton to remain in the top four all year, they should be able to carve out a nice place in the top half and possibly snatch a Europa League place.

 

Liverpool Are the Uncrowned Champions of Europe

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29: Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge after the second Liverpool goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Liverpool at the Stadium of Light on September
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Do we really need to go through the whole song and dance in Berlin in May 2015? We all know Liverpool are going to win the Champions League next season. In fact, the Reds are going to be so good this season, UEFA will probably just throw them into the knockout stage this year at the expense of some club nobody cares about.

OK, maybe some of that is a bit extreme. After all, we all know Liverpool are such a respectful club they'd turn down any invitation to the Champions League this season.

Liverpool supporters are getting a bit out of hand with the club's start to the season. Sure, nobody could have thought the Reds would be second in the table this far into the season, and they genuinely look like top-four contenders.

Let's not get out of hand and proclaim this to be a title-challenging side. It still has a lot to prove before it can get there. The defense has shown some signs of weakness, and Brendan Rodgers' 3-4-1-2 formation has left a lot of space open down the flanks.

Liverpool have also taken advantage of what has been a somewhat easy start to the season, home match with Manchester United aside.

 

Meanwhile, Manchester United Are Getting Relegated

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05: Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United gestures to Patrice Evra of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at the Stadium of Light on October 5, 2013 in Sunderland,
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Talk about supporters going overboard. You'd think Manchester United were heading right for the Championship with the way supporters have reacted so far.

We always knew it was going to be tough for anybody to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as United manager. Perhaps we were naive to think David Moyes was just going to take over and United would continue chugging along.

While they aren't looking like title contenders at the moment, Manchester United are just four points off fourth place. Moyes always had his Everton sides start slowly and peak at the right times.

The biggest problem is the defense. Rio Ferdinand is starting to really show his age. He doesn't have the quickness to compensate for his mistakes anymore.

Also concerning is that Robin van Persie picked up a groin injury in September. After his ability to stay on the field for the last few seasons, it's easy to forget how injury-prone he was early in his Arsenal career. The last thing Moyes needs is to have that problem rear its ugly head.

 

Cardiff City Flirting with a Top-Half Place

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28:  Jordan Mutch of Cardiff is mobbed by his team mates as he celebrates on his knees after scoring their winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Cardiff City at Craven Cottage on September 28,
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

More than a few fans and pundits had Cardiff City headed right back to the Championship after this season. After 51 years of being outside the top flight, it's not as if the Bluebirds had a proven track record in the English first division.

Cardiff did a great job in the transfer market this past summer. They spent a good amount of money but didn't do it on flashy players who would command high weekly wages. Even Gary Medel isn't the kind of star who's going to upset the financial structure.

Malky Mackay has his side playing organized on the defensive end. The problem going forward will be finding the goals in order to secure points.

Even if Cardiff don't finish in the top half, they should be able to comfortably avoid the relegation zone.

More success only means more photos of owner Vincent Tan.

CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 05:  Ex Labour leader Neil Kinnock (r) shares a joke with Cardiff owner Vincent Tan before the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Newcastle United at Cardiff City Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.
Stu Forster/Getty Images

When you own the club, you can wear a football shirt over a shirt and tie.