Last weekend, Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the table to six points as they beat West Brom 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, while their closest rivals, Southampton, were held to a draw on Monday night away at Aston Villa. Manchester City remained two points further back in third place, as they came from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory against Swansea. By all measures, these clubs have been the best in the Premier League so far; not only are they occupying the top three places in the table, they also have scored the most amount of goals (Chelsea 30, Southampton/City 24) and conceded the fewest (Southampton 6, Chelsea 11, City (tied with Swansea) 13). Through 12 games, Chelsea look far and away the best team in England, but Southampton and Manchester City have been a class above everyone else as well.
The Blues are unbeaten in all competitions this season and the only two league games they have failed to win have been against the Manchester clubs, both of which were away fixtures. To say they are title favorites is an understatement, to suggest they could have the title all but wrapped up by next Wednesday is not an exaggeration. Their next two matches are away at Sunderland – a ground they actually lost on twice last campaign, but this is much better iteration of Chelsea – and home to Spurs in midweek. Meanwhile their two closest rivals, Southampton and Manchester City, meet at St. Mary’s on Sunday, then the Saints face a tough trip to the Emirates to take on Arsenal, while the reigning champions travel to the Stadium of Light, a fixture they have lost 1-0 in each of the last four seasons.
Two games ago, it looked as though Burnley could be threatening Derby’s unwanted record of fewest points ever amassed in a Premier League season (11). However, they followed up their first win of the campaign against Hull, by beating Stoke 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium. The Potters, who won away at Manchester City and Spurs this season, have been struggling at home and the Clarets took advantage by scoring twice in the first 13 minutes, both goals coming from Danny Ings. Although Jonathan Walters managed to pull one back for Mark Hughes’s team before the break, they were not able to deny Burnley their first away win of the season. The Clarets now sit just a point away from fourth bottom and survival is no longer a distant prospect, but something for which they can fight. Continue reading