At the end of last season, Arsenal fans were really on a high after a late surge to overtake Tottenham for the last Champions League spot. Then, with the wholesale changes being made at Manchester United, City and Chelsea, we started to get this unfamiliar feeling of optimism for the coming season.
Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis were making encouraging noises about spending power, and it was clear that we would not lose any of the club’s best players. A few key signings was all that was needed for a real title challenge, so after the dust has settled and the Premier League season has started to take shape, how does it look now?
Well, we would certainly have taken being one point off the top, that’s for sure. And as we hoped, last year’s top three have shown signs that all is not well. Chelsea’s shock home defeat to Basel last night may not have been in the league, but it was clear sign that all is not well at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal fans may feel that Wenger should have signed a striker in the summer, but at least outs is scoring. Chelsea seem to have three misfits fighting for one spot.
United and City have both dropped points and, more importantly, looked fragile and unsure of themselves. I think they will improve, but we could have built a decent lead by then. Tottenham may have spent big, but it remains to be seen whether they have spent well. I still think they will badly miss Bale.
However, Liverpool are the early pace setters and seem to have a well organised system and team. They are top of the shop, and there are two big reasons why I am starting to see them as rivals. Firstly, they have done well without their best player, but Luis Suarez will be available again next weekend, and let’s not kid ourselves that the Uruguayan striker will not offer a huge threat.
Secondly, the Anfield club may not be happy about it, but their failure to qualify for Europe could be a huge bonus. They are the only one of the six clubs mentioned to be able to rest in midweek while the rest get tired and pick up injuries. It remains to be seen whether this advantage can help them and whether they can keep up the consistency, but for me they are a team to watch out for. Do you agree?