Wide-open Premiership continues to thrill

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-3 22:13:01

The Premier League has hit the 10-game mark, which makes the season more than one-quarter finished, but some teams have already hit highs or lows. The table remains remarkably congested in a sign of the league's robust competitiveness. 

Usually at the beginning of the season, there is some sort of chaos as everybody settles in and there are lucky results and upsets. Eventually, the status quo becomes established as the stronger teams assert their places at the top and the rest battle for the middle places and to avoid relegation.

This hasn't happened yet this season. With the exception of table-toppers Chelsea, whose lead over second place is only four points, and last-placed Burnley, it seems like almost the entire league is bunched together.

Only seven points separate the sixth-place team from the final relegation spot - 18th place. Meanwhile two teams are on 14 points and four teams are on 13 points, including mighty Manchester United and Everton.

The most welcome development is the story of Southampton, which rose to and has stayed in second place for a few weeks now. It comes amid a summer of turmoil, as described in last week's Extra Time, which saw five of its most talented players leave. At this rate, a first-ever Champions League place at the end of the season may not be out of the question for the Saints.

Of course, not everyone is enjoying this state of affairs. Already, Manchester City and Liverpool have been said to be in a crisis. City lost two straight games before last weekend to West Ham and Newcastle, in addition to uncharacteristically weak performances in other matches. Their 1-0 win over a 10-man United in the Manchester derby Sunday was also unconvincing. Liverpool lost to Newcastle Saturday, and look nowhere close to last season's second-place finish. A few weeks ago, Newcastle was winless and their manager was said to be in danger of being fired. After four straight wins and the story has vanished.

Woeful Aston Villa have lost six straight games, but yet they are only four points away from eighth place. Bottom club Burnley are still looking for their first win, and from the way they play with their meager attack, they might still be doing so for a good while.

There is still much more soccer to come, so there's no guarantee this season will continue to play out in such a random manner.

The author is an editor with the Global Times. hiltonyip@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: Extra Time

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