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Abhishek Nandwani
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 13 : 49

EPL: Top teams yet to hit top gear


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The English Premier League has just started, but the table is already beginning to have a unfamiliar look about it compared to last season, with the likes of Everton and West Brom starting this season in fine fashion.

European champions Chelsea are leading the table with a one-point advantage over 19-time EPL winners Manchester United. Chelsea have 13 points from five matches and are still unbeaten but majority of their players look isolated in the park, especially the 50-million-pound striker Fernando Torres. The shining light for Chelsea has been their new recruit Eden Hazard, who has already produced four Man-of-the-Match performances. If Chelsea were to hold onto their top position this season after a horror show in the last, Hazard, along with new recruits Oscar, Marko Marin and Victor Mosses, has to be on top of their game throughout the season.

Although last year's runners-up Man United are second, they have not started the season in dynamic fashion. With the amount of attacking talent up their sleeves, it's just a matter of time when they hit top gear. After an opening-game loss to Everton, Red Devils have bounced back with wins against Fulham, Southampton, Wigan and Liverpool thanks to the high-flying Robin van Persie, Kagawa and Paul Scholes - who once again has proved that United's midfield is nothing without him.

United are already hit by injuries early in the season as they are without the likes of Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia. These injuries can really affect them in the coming weeks, so the biggest challenge for Alex Ferguson is to keep his main men fit as he looks to silence his noisy neighbours Manchester City and bring back the title to Old Trafford.

Talking of Man City, the blue half of Manchester has not started its title defence the way they have hoped for. Although they are unbeaten so far in the season, they find themselves seventh on the points table and their defence looks shaky. Roberto Mancini has been experimenting with a 3-5-2 this season and has been rotating his striking options, but it's not helping their cause one bit. With several new faces arriving over the summer and Carlos Tevez now an integral cog in their wheel, it's understandable that Mancini is taking time to settle on his best first XI. But the Italian needs to make his mind up soon if City are to find the consistency that will be crucial in their title chase because at the moment they are looking far from the team that can challenge for the title.

Talking about challengers, Arsenal are surely the team to watch out for this season. After a slow start to the season, which saw Arsenal play out two goalless draws, the Gunners have exploded into life and have performed exceptionally well against Liverpool and Southampton, and earned a vital point at Manchester City. New playmaker Santi Cazorla already looks like he can be an impact player, and their new striker Lukas Podolski is looking like he could score goals for fun. But the biggest question will be whether they can hold their nerve and bounce back after the defeat. But they way they have started this season, Arsene Wenger must have restored his belief in the team that it can challenge for trophies even after selling their and EPL last season top goal scorer RVP to United.

The team that has surprised us all so far this season has been Everton. Their main man Maroune Fellaini will never again be thought of as a defensive midfielder. He has been a revelation so far. He has been scoring goals and even making them for his team-mates. With Everton making their best start to a season since 2006/07, when they finished fifth, David Moyes finally has a platform to build on, and his balanced squad looks capable of achieving big things and be rest assured they will be up there fighting for the Champions League spot at the end of the season.

But the team that is in big big trouble is none other than 18-times EPL champions Liverpool. Many people were wondering how Liverpool would fare under new manager Brendan Rodgers and so far not much has changed from last season. Liverpool are yet to earn a win through five Premier League matches and sit in the relegation zone in 18th place at the moment. Liverpool decided to loan striker Andy Carroll without bringing in a replacement, leaving them with just two recognised forwards, Fabio Borini and Luis Suarez, neither of whom look like getting into double figures this season. They were the better team in their most recent match with Manchester United but still ended up on the losing side. Something serious needs to be done there otherwise they are in big trouble this season.


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More about Abhishek Nandwani

Not a sports enthusiast by choice, Abhishek has been brought up with the passion as playing turned into scribbling.
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