Arsenal went into the international break in pole position in the Premier League, but they will be well aware that there is more to come from their title rivals.
The Gunners’ hopes of a first title since 2003-04 were dented by Manchester United last weekend. The 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford ended a run of eight wins in nine games.
That result allowed Liverpool to close the gap at the top to just two points. The Reds’ 4-0 victory over Fulham was their seventh in 11 matches and was the perfect response to their loss at Emirates Stadium the previous week.
If Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge keep firing and Steven Gerrard stays fit, they should enjoy a sustained title challenge.
Chelsea and Manchester City were expected to be the frontrunners but have shown vulnerability in the early stages of the campaign, particularly City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have too much quality to continue their struggles away from home, although their reliance on captain Vincent Kompany will be a concern.
Chelsea were fortunate to escape with a point from their game with West Brom last time out. For all their midfield talent, they do not have a Sergio Aguero or Suarez to fire them to title glory. Even so, they will go very close.
Champions Manchester United were largely written off after losing three of their opening six games but are now unbeaten in five and made a statement with their win over Arsenal.
David Moyes’ men are now only five points behind the Gunners, which is nothing at this stage of the campaign. The Red Devils are not the force they were under Sir Alex Ferguson but should not be underestimated. They will have a major say in the title race, as will Arsenal.
Tottenham and Everton will threaten the top four, while Southampton will be eyeing fifth spot after a terrific start.
The battle to finish top of the pile will be the most hotly contested in years. Manchester City (5/2) and Chelsea (10/3) remain BetVictor’s favourites and it is hard to look past the quality of those two squads.
Written by Joe Metcalfe.