The most likely team to win the EPL


A fascinating weekend of Premier League football has left it tight at the top, with just one point separating the leading five teams in the division.

Manchester City still lead the way on 20 points, despite being held by Southampton, while Arsenal and Liverpool occupy the next two spots on goal difference.

Chelsea are in fourth on 19 points, ahead of Tottenham on goal difference after their big win over Manchester United, while Jose Mourinho's men are seventh, trailing City by six points and sixth-placed Everton by one.

Manchester City: 20pts +11GD

How have they started?


Six straight wins, including an impressive Manchester derby downing of Jose Mourinho's United, had many thinking Pep Guardiola could well cruise to Premier League glory in his first season in charge of City. However, a surprise 3-3 draw at Celtic in the Champions League was followed by a deserved defeat at Tottenham, and frustrating draws against Everton and Southampton either side of a thrashing at Barcelona. It all adds up to Guardiola's worst run for over seven years. However, City supporters will be quick to point to the standings. Despite their wobble, City remain top of the pile.


What challenges do they face?

Guardiola's first challenge is to buck this winless trend. A Manchester derby EFL Cup tie on Wednesday would be the perfect time to do it. Defeat to arch rivals United could take this streak beyond a blip and into more serious territory. However, Guardiola remains happy with the way his team are adapting to his methods - he praised their second-half efforts against Southampton and shrugged off John Stones' costly error. The question is, does he have a squad of players capable of consistently matching his high standards?


Arsenal: 20pts +10GD

How have they started?

Arsene Wenger may be celebrating 20 years in the job, but that didn't stop fierce criticism being thrown his way after a chaotic opening-weekend 4-3 defeat at home to Liverpool. A fortuitous 0-0 at Leicester City next up didn't help matters. But the Gunners have since been on a six-game Premier League winning run, featuring a mix of scintillating attacking play and last-gasp goals. A 0-0 draw at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday, though, was a reminder they still have work to do.


What challenges do they face?

Arsenal face Tottenham and a trip to Manchester United in a mouth-watering double header either side of the next international break. After defeat to Liverpool and an impressive 3-0 win over Chelsea, those games will act as the next marker of Arsenal's credentials. There has been praise of Wenger's squad this season - perhaps his greatest challenge will be combining and rotating the talented parts to sustain their title challenge right through the campaign.

Liverpool: 20pts +9GD

How have they started?

But for a shock slip-up at Burnley, Liverpool have made a superb start to the Premier League season, thrilling their fans and neutrals alike with their attacking 'heavy metal' football loved by Jurgen Klopp. Tottenham held them to a 1-1 at White Hart Lane and Manchester United shut them down at Anfield last week, but Liverpool remain one of the most exciting teams in the division. Thanks to the construction of their new stand, they have already played away games at Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, while no European football means plenty of time for Klopp to work with his side on the training ground.

What challenges do they face?

"My only concern with Liverpool is when a team is sitting against them, when a team is waiting for them, they struggle to open them up," said Thierry Henry on Sunday. He could have added set-piece problems, too. The Reds once again came unstuck from a corner-kick routine in their 2-1 win over West Brom on Saturday. However, Henry believes they have an advantage over their rivals, given their away day results so far.


Chelsea: 19pts +10GD

How have they started?

Antonio Conte got off to a flying start with three wins from three Premier League games but his managerial ability was put to the test after a draw at Swansea was followed by disappointing defeats to title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal. The Italian appears to have come up with the perfect response, though, switching formation to 3-4-3 and getting Eden Hazard firing for wins over Hull City, Leicester City and, impressively, Manchester United.

What challenges do they face?

Conte's next major test will be a double-header with Tottenham and Man City in just over a month's time. In the meantime he'll no doubt spend the majority of his training time with his players refining their 3-4-3 formation. It's a new concept for much of the squad and will take time to perfect - even if the early signs are positive. Conte will also need Diego Costa to stay fit and firing, David Luiz to continue his steady start and Chelsea's young players - who he has been keen to use - to contribute.


Tottenham: 19pts +9GD

How have they started?

Tottenham remain the only team in the Premier League yet to taste defeat and Mauricio Pochettino's tireless young guns have already secured important results with their hard-fought draw against Liverpool and hugely impressive win over previously unbeaten Manchester City. Back-to-back draws with West Brom and Bournemouth have taken some of the shine off from their start, but Spurs have shown they will be in the mix once again this season.

What challenges do they face?

Spurs have already done well to roll with the blow of losing talisman Harry Kane to injury, with Heung-Min Son stepping up his performances from last season. But Pochettino must find a way to get more from summer signing Vincent Janssen - still searching for his first Spurs goal from open play - while their upcoming fixtures with Leicester and Arsenal will be a further test of their title credentials.

Everton: 15pts +5GD

How have they started?

Few would have Everton down as title contenders, but they made a good start to the 2016/17 season under new boss Ronald Koeman, winning four of their first five, after drawing with Tottenham on the opening day. However, two draws and two defeats have followed - including an agonising last-gasp loss at Burnley - to stall their progress. One of those draws came at Man City, though, and Romelu Lukaku - second on the Premier League's top scorers chart with six strikes - has found form, alongside exciting summer signing Yannick Bolasie.

What challenges do they face?

If Everton are to upset the odds and trouble the Premier League's favourites, they must strike upon a consistency they rarely found under the reign of former boss Roberto Martinez and cannot afford to drop points such as the ones they did against Bournemouth and Burnley. Koeman must also find a way to harness the talents of underperforming Ross Barkley.

Man Utd: 14pts +1GD

How have they started?

The Jose Mourinho era started well at Manchester United, with three Premier League wins following their Community Shield triumph over Leicester City. However, a Manchester derby defeat at Old Trafford rocked the boat and subsequent losses in the Europa League and at Watford put on the pressure. A convincing 4-1 win over Leicester appeared to get them back on track but a frustrating draw at home to Stoke - when they should have won by six, according to Mourinho - followed. A hotly anticipated Red Monday clash at Anfield finished 0-0 but a humbling on Mourinho's return to Chelsea has heaped importance on Wednesday's EFL Cup game with Man City.


What challenges do they face?

Numerous. Paul Pogba is yet to consistently find the form which convinced United to pay a world record fee for his services in the summer, while Eric Bailly's injury throws up a question mark at centre-back and the focus on Wayne Rooney's role continues to feature in the conversation. On top of all that, Graeme Souness feels Mourinho is yet to decide upon his strongest XI, while, in the meantime, United have slipped six points adrift of the leaders.

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