Seven magnificent clubs are becoming more equal than ever before in the history of the Premier League, and that is the reason why it is becoming the most competitive Premier League of all time this year.
Take the two big games this midweek—they are so close it is almost impossible to call. That is the reason for so much excitement as seven teams compete for the four Champions League spots and for the title itself.
Liverpool against Everton must be the closest Merseyside derby in 30 odd years.
These types of derbies are always even because of the nature of a rivalry, but now I mean the two clubs are leveling off and it's hard to tell which one will finish higher than the other.
I think you would need to go back an awful long way, perhaps as far back as the last time Everton won the league, to find such a decent Everton side.
Liverpool have been under the same manager, Brendan Rodgers, for a couple of years now, and it has taken time for him to impose his style of play on the team. His new system has taken some getting used to, but meanwhile Roberto Martinez seems to have achieved it very quickly.
You could tell that Martinez had a very good pre-season at Everton. I saw his team play Norwich right at the start of the season, and although it finished 2-2 they could have won 6-2—Norwich couldn’t get near them.
I thought to myself even at that early stage that Everton had developed a different style, a more effective style under Martinez than they had under David Moyes, who had left for Manchester United.
Of course, the demise of Manchester Untied has left the door open and encouraged the other six clubs.
But don’t write off United. They are going through a mini re-building, but they will be back.
With home advantage to Spurs, even against title favourites Manchester City, is it hard to know what will happen.
It is this level of unpredictability, with all the Magnificent Seven teams getting so much closer together, that makes the season so fascinating.
Last season Spurs were losing a thriller against City but Gareth Bale scored one of his superb goals and Tom Huddlestone came on and made a huge difference.
Now both of those players have gone, but Spurs have spent £100 million in pursuit of their ultimate goal of reaching the Champions League.
Manchester City lost the title last year because they couldn’t beat the smaller clubs. There was something wrong in the dressing room, the spirit wasn’t there and there was an under-belly of dressing-room problems. But that has changed with the change of manager, and they are getting it right.
It took Jose Mourinho some six months to find the right level of consistency at Chelsea, but they are growing in stature just at the right time.
Arsenal have re-invented themselves. There has never been much wrong with their attacking flair, but they are getting their act together at the back, and that has created more consistency for the team.
So who will finish where? Good luck in sorting that one out! Come back to me in April—I might have a much better idea.
The problem is that there are so many key matches and anything can happen in them. So if Everton lost against Liverpool, they could easily storm back by, say, beating Manchester City, and that is why there is such a fluctuation in points, a massive fluctuation.
It might well be how the top teams thrive against the likes of West Brom, Fulham, Cardiff, Crystal Palace—the teams in the bottom half. It is crucial they keep their concentration and beat them, as the top teams will inevitably take points from each other.
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