The English Premier League season is only a quarter of the way through, but it's already clear that the team to beat is going to be Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola promised huge changes in his second season at the Etihad, and boy, have those changes paid dividends in the early-going. The Citizens already have put Claudio Bravo on the bench and let Brazilian goalie, Ederson start all of the matches this season in the EPL. Both Kevin De Bruyne and Sadio Mane are coming forward to help out with the attack, and the trio of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus has put together 19 goals.
The end result has been 32 goals in nine league matches and a near-spotless 8-1-0 record. The one draw at home against Everton? No big deal. You're going to have blips along the way against the middling sides in the Premier League. City also has a 5-0 thrashing of Liverpool, a 6-0 whipping of Watford and a 7-2 drubbing of Stoke City. An away match at Stamford Bridge has already been won as well.
Manchester United seemed to be the biggest competition its crosstown rival had this year. That said, the Red Devils were just beaten by Huddersfield Town for the first time in 65 years. Sure, Jose Mourinho's side is 4-0-0 at home and has outscored teams 14-0 in the process, but you have to be able to score goals on the road, too. Man U has done none of the sort, putting in eight in five games while conceding four times.
The gap between the two Manchester sides is five points and 10 goals in just nine matches this year. Tottenham is also right in the mix as well with 20 points after its 4-1 triumph over Liverpool.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are all well out of the mix at this point, and these three feel like they're going to be fighting for England's fourth spot in the Champions League for much of this season. Heck, Jurgen Klopp's team has been outscored 16-14 this season, including allowing 15 goals in five away fixtures.
The real questions are coming at the bottom of the table. Crystal Palace has been outscored 18-0 by all teams not named Chelsea this season, and Alan Pardew has already been sacked. The same fate could be set to befell Ronald Koeman at Everton. The Toffees have just eight points in nine matches, and they're in the relegation zone at the moment in a year they figured to challenge for a top four spot. Stoke City, West Ham and Swansea City are all on nine points as well.
Leicester City, which has nine points in nine matches, has already cast away Craig Shakespeare and turned a new direction.
But maybe the biggest surprise is that none of the newly promoted teams are anywhere near the drop zone at the quarter pole of the campaign.
Brighton & Hove sits in 12th position on the table through nine matches with 11 points, and the fact that it only has a -1 goal differential has to be encouraging for Chris Hughton's men. Huddersfield Town, fresh off of its upset of Man U is a point clear of Albion, while Newcastle United has 14 points, one more than Liverpool and just two shy of Chelsea and Arsenal.
Even one of last season's whipping boys for the teams at the top, Watford, has 15 points in the early going and looks to be in good shape.
That said, there's a long way to go. The only thing that you can easily predict about the BPL at this point in the year is that things are destined to change.
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