With the Premier League getting back underway this weekend following the international break, here we assess the state of play in the top flight.
Premier League football is returning following the October international break, which saw players leave their clubs to join their respective national teams for the last fortnight. They played some friendlies, but many players were hoping to help their countries secure qualification for the European Championships in 2024, which are set to be hosted by Germany. Several nations secured their place, including England, with many English players from the Premier League and across Europe contributing to this success for Gareth Southgate and the Three Lions.
A number of Premier League clubs will now be looking to continue their efforts to achieve their respective goals for the 2023/24 season.
The battle for the title is just getting started, with as many as 7 teams currently mathematically in the fight. Four of these clubs could end this coming weekend at the summit of the Premier League table should results go their way.
As for the battle to avoid the dreaded relegation to the Championship, 6 teams are in danger of sitting in the bottom three following the action this weekend.
Here, we will assess the current state of play from the top to the bottom of the 2023/24 Premier League table as it stands as of the time of writing. Let’s start with those battling for the title. The top four are as follows: 1st – Tottenham Hotspur (20 Points, +10 GD), 2nd – Arsenal (20 Points, +10 GD), 3rd – Manchester City (18 Points, +11 GD) & 4th – Liverpool (17 Points, +9 GD).
It has surprised many people to see Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham sitting at the summit following an excellent start to the season that has seen them win 6 of their opening 8 matches, drawing just 2 games so far. Spurs began the campaign with a 2 – 2 away draw against Brentford before beating Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth 2 – 0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the Vitality Stadium, respectively.
Two newly promoted sides were then beaten. Burnley were beaten 5 – 2 at Turf Moor before the Lilywhites secured a 2 – 1 win against Sheffield United at home, where they had to come from behind. The first North London Derby ended 2 – 2 before wins against Liverpool and Luton Town followed. These results see Spurs sit at the top courtesy of goals scored (18).
Arsenal, who sit second, have had the same start to the season as their North London rivals, having won 6 of their 8 opening matches with 2 draws. It was two wins from two to start the campaign, with a 2 – 1 home win against Nottingham Forest and a 1 – 0 away win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Following a 2 – 2 home draw with Fulham, Mikel Arteta’s Gunners secured a significant 3 – 1 win against Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium. This win was followed by another one, this time against Sean Dyche’s Everton, winning 1 – 0 at Goodison Park.
After that 2 – 2 draw in the North London Derby, Arsenal were emphatic 4 – 0 away winners against Andoni Iraola’s AFC Bournemouth. They then secured a massive win in the context of this season’s title race in their latest match, beating Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 1 – 0.
While Spurs and Arsenal are unbeaten, Manchester City and Liverpool have 2 and 1 losses respectively, and they round off the top four in third and fourth place. The Cityzens have six wins and two defeats in their opening 8 matches compared to 5 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds. They have 18 and 17 points respectively.
Moving on to the race for European Football, several teams are looking for Europa League or, indeed, Champions League qualification. The current leaders in this race are Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton, David Moyes’ West Ham United and Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United.
Starting with Villa, they sit 5th with 16 points after securing 5 wins from their opening 8 games with 1 draw and 2 defeats to their name. Emery’s side has caught the eye this season, and their standout result so far is undoubtedly that emphatic 6 – 1 against European rivals Brighton at Villa Park in late September (30th). The Villans are just a point adrift of the Champions League positions.
De Zerbi’s Seagulls are level on points with Villa but are 6th courtesy of goal difference. The South Coast Club also have 5 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats from their 8 matches. They have also caught the eye with 3 – 1 wins against Newcastle United and Manchester United.
West Ham and Newcastle sit just outside the top six with 14 and 13 points, respectively. The Magpies have had some great wins this season, including that 8 – 0 success at Bramall Lane against Sheffield United last month. The Hammers’ most eye-catching win this season is arguably that crucial 3 – 1 away win against Brighton & Hove Albion at the AMEX Stadium in September.
Manchester United and Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea are currently midtable, sitting in 10th and 11th place, with 12 and 11 points to their names, respectively. Both clubs have had slow starts to the season, but the Red Devils and the Blues are both in the fight for European qualification and wins for both this weekend could be enough to see one of these clubs climb into 7th place. This would, of course, depend on other results.
Sean Dyche’s Everton face Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby this weekend at Anfield, and the Toffees may have to cause an upset to keep themselves above the relegation zone. They sit in 16th place with just 7 points, but their form has picked up recently.
They were 3 – 1 away winners against Thomas Frank’s Brentford before beating Bournemouth 3 – 0 in their most recent match. Luton beat them at Goodison, but 2 wins in 3 games is good form.
Luton sit 17th with 4 points. Burnley, Bournemouth and Sheffield United occupy the bottom three spots with 4, 3 and 1 point(s) respectively. They all have the opportunity to move out of the relegation zone with a win should results go their way.
There is plenty of excitement amongst fans of the Premier League both in the UK and all over the world ahead of the season re-starting this weekend.
Below are this weekend’s Premier League fixtures in full:
Saturday 21st October: Liverpool v Everton (Anfield, 12:30 Kick-Off)
Saturday 21st October: AFC Bournemouth v Wolverhampton Wanderers (Vitality Stadium, 15:00 Kick-Off)
Saturday 21st October: Brentford v Burnley (Gtech Community Stadium, 15:00 Kick-Off)
Saturday 21st October: Newcastle United v Crystal Palace (St. James’ Park, 15:00 Kick-Off)
Saturday 21st October: Nottingham Forest v Luton Town (City Ground, 15:00 Kick-Off)
Saturday 21st October: Sheffield United v Manchester United (Bramall Lane, 20:00 Kick-Off)
Sunday 22nd October: Aston Villa v West Ham United (Villa Park, 16:30 Kick-Off)
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