Millennium Post

Premier League 2017-18: The league so far

Where do the teams stand after five weeks of playing in one of the most exciting football leagues in the world? Who will win and who will crack under pressure? Ananya Das gives an insight into the Premier League this year.

The two Manchester clubs might battle it out for the title, all is not too well for the Gunners, and Chelsea might fizzle out at the end of it all. The other top six clubs have all their issues in sight and they might not be resolved too easily. These are the cream of the cake and the Premier League has just started; but where do the teams stand after five weeks of playing in one of the most exciting football leagues in the world? Who will win and who will crack under pressure? To admit it fully, we might draw this conclusion a bit too early but after almost a month gone, five matches played, and out of 15 points up for grabs, who did their part and who didn't is a reasonable question to ask. The question being – who has progressed and who has regressed?

The table right now is dominated by the clubs in Greater Manchester area. With Manchester City and Manchester United tied at the top with 13 points each after five games, both the Manchester clubs are ruling the roost. Manchester City has had a strong hold on the table since day one by winning 1-2 against Brighton & Hove Albion City but a draw came soon after as Everton were able to hold them off just fine with a 1-1 draw at Etihad. One of the key players for Manchester City this season has been Sergio Aguero.
The 29-year-old Argentine has delivered a fine performance on the field ever since he started to play regularly for the Citizens. The question, however, now remains whether or not Man City can continue their performance with Aguero's absence if need be.
Can they really be as fearsome as they are right now without Sergio Aguero? He was the one who scored the opening goal for City when they thrashed Liverpool 5-0 and then there was no turning back for Guardiola's team; this was the biggest win Manchester City had over Liverpool since 1937. In doing so, the team has sent a strong message – that they mean business and will not accept anything but the title. City also came across as extremely strong against Watford as they won by a six-goal margin with Aguero once again on raging fire scoring a hat-trick and is now only two goals shy of becoming the top scorer of Manchester City, a club he has played for since 2011. City have spent over £215 million in the summer transfer market and so far, it has been quite worth it.
On the other side of the fence lie Manchester United, who have put an equally impressive performance up in the last five weeks. Out of 15 possible points, they have managed to nab 13 with a form of WDWWW (Win, draw, win, win, win). Last season's blandness no longer stands and has been replaced by a more clinical performance overall. The chances they were missing last season are now being converted into goals, goals that are vital to their survival in the top four. In total, they have scored 16 goals in their first five matches, which is an increase of six from last season's equivalent. United's top scorer Romelu Lukaku, who came to them in this year's summer transfer, has scored six goals in five matches. That is as good a start a player can have when playing for a club like Manchester United. But it is not just the forwards who are making big news; the wonder signing of Nemanja Matic has been a blessing for the Red Devils as the Serbian international has ranked 1st in tackles won, interceptions made and successful passes according to the official Premier League data. However, United are still not completely at peace. There have been leaks in their defence, which have led to results that may not be as desirable. The draw against Stoke City was one such example. However, United were quick to respond; there were areas where they fumbled and created empty spaces through which Stoke created chances, but the game against Stoke also showed just how important English youngster Marcus Rashford is for the Red Devils, as he scored the opening goal of the match. So far, with the win against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup, United stand strong and show signs of being title contenders for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson said goodbye to the club.
At third spot stand Chelsea, who have taken quite a clinical approach. Their games have been safe and the tactics have not changed much. With the arrival of Alvaro Morata, the team's overall attacking demeanour has been strengthened and they now seem more confident towards their pursuits.
Down at number eight on the PL table stand Liverpool, who have been unlucky with their start, failing to bring out favorable results in their last four games. Some doubt whether or not the 'Klopp philosophy' is working and the fans are left to wonder just how effective new signings like ex-Arsenal player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke are.
To an extent, Philippe Coutinho's transfer saga took a toll on the club and created a fair amount of instability in the starting XI. Their only saving grace of a performance was against Arsenal where they won by a whopping 4-0 scoreline, where players like Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino took charge. But the inner problems lie deeply in the defence, as there were times where Arsenal threatened Liverpool's wood-work. All in all, if Liverpool want to improve their overall stand in the PL, now would be the time to buck up and put more work into defensive tactics rather than attacking with all their might. It's the defenders who win the game, after all.
With their position in the table dropping all the way to 12th, Arsenal just don't seem to catch a break and Arsene Wenger, as of now, has no answers for the mistakes they have been making all season. This is not to say that the skill set that players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez possess are going to a complete waste – they defeated FC Cologne in the Europa League and beat Lancaster Rovers by a narrow margin in the Carabao Cup. But where Arsenal truly lack is the Premier League. They have only seven out of 15 possible points, having won two games, lost two and drawn one. The underlying problem that Arsenal have at the moment is that they lose momentum from the moment the match begins. If they wish to be a part of the top four brigade this season, Arsenal need to take matters into their own hands. For the sake of his job, Wenger needs to give some serious answers, especially when Tottenham Hotspur, at fifth spot, are doing what needs to be done with fabulous grit and determination.
Meanwhile, teams like Everton and Swansea need to up their ante and get some new signings in the winter transfer market, as their existing players aren't cutting it anymore. Everton insist on playing Wayne Rooney as a number 9. But in all honesty, it isn't working all that well, especially when he can no longer handle that position. Newly promoted teams Huddersfield Town and Brighton & Hove Albion are performing quite well given the level of competition in the league.
All in all, the PL is just getting started – teams who are doing well might as well crash and burn and the teams who seem to be getting relegated right now might just dominate the first four. That is the very beauty of the Premier League. But as it stands now, Manchester City and United rule the roost, while Arsenal and Liverpool hope to regain their past glories in the coming games.

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