By Krissania Young
Dubbed the ‘most competitive’ league in European football, the English Premier League is renowned for its unpredictability.
The last two league seasons, however, displayed opposite ends of the competitive scale, with the latter seeing the title being wrapped up in historic time by current champions Liverpool, with seven games remaining. The ‘football gods’ must not have been pleased, because with only four match-days completed in the new season, we’ve seen the league return to its unpredictable best. And if these four rounds of matches are anything to go by, we are in for a most entertaining season of English football.
Though the season kicked off without the presence of either of the Manchester clubs — which were granted a later start-date to the season due to lengthy European campaigns — there was no lack of drama on week 1. The newly-promoted Marcelo Bielsa and his Leeds United gave the reigning champions a fright, as they came from behind three times at Anfield in a frantic encounter, before succumbing to a 4-3 defeat.
It was no secret that the return of Leeds, one of the biggest clubs in English football history and one of the most infamous fan bases in the country, was always going to add to the spectacle of the competition. And they are living up to the hype, having also mounted pressure on the head of Pep Guardiola, after coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Man City over the weekend. Leaving the Sky Blues with just one win from three matches – a record which resembles that of neighbour Man United’s, but just slightly.
United, like City, may have one win from three. They have, however, suffered two defeats. The latter of which came when the former United manager himself, Jose Mourinho, returned to Old Trafford and handed the now Ole Gunnar Solskjær-coached United a 1-6 thrashing.
There is no doubt arch-rivals Liverpool would have been enjoying United’s demise on Sunday, before they, too, were handed a spanking at Villa Park when hosts, Aston Villa, put seven past the defending champions in an unprecedented day in English football.
Yet, before Mourinho was able to exact revenge from his former employers, he too tasted defeat. This, at the hands of current table-toppers, Everton. The Toffees and their new manager are taking the Premier League by storm. And not solely as a result of their unbeaten record, but also by the style of football on show at Goodison Park.
It has been nine months since the owners of the Merseyside club employed the legendary Carlo Ancelotti. And the problem for the rest of the league is that the Italian is being backed by the board, getting the players he wants in order to stamp his mark on this Everton side. Therefore, when Klopp and Ancelotti meet on the other side of the international break, in the Merseyside Derby, it may not be a title-deciding encounter, but it might answer the big question: ARE EVERTON TITLE CONTENDERS?
The bigwigs aren’t the only ones giving value for money so far. This weekend, we witnessed West Ham, without manager David Moyes who is currently in self-isolation, sweeping aside Leicester City 0-3 away from home. A result which becomes more impressive when we consider that this is the same Leicester City who whooped Man City 2-5 just seven days ago.
Speaking of whiplash performances: Crystal Palace—who turned up to Old Trafford in Man United’s season-opener, and tapered this season’s expectations for the Reds, with a shock 1-3 win—were put to the sword 4-0, by Frank Lampard’s Chelsea—who, seven days ago, trailed West Brom 3-0 at half time.
The EPL, for years, has been unmatched in competitiveness. In fact, that has been the hallmark of the league. There was no taking the foot off the pedal and no taking teams lightly. And Liverpool’s 18-point gap at the top of the table, last season, threatened that. But not for long, it seems. We look to be on course for a season like no other – both with what’s happening in the world and on the field.
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