By Alex Hales | Contributor
It is safe to say that in 2020, one thing that we have all learnt is that it is important to expect the unexpected. With that said, no one expected Southampton to be top of the Premier League in game week eight, albeit for 42 hours. This Premier League season has lived up to and beyond expectation so far despite the loss of fans in attendance.
From potential relegation scraps to early title challengers, here is all you need to know about the Premier League season so far.
One of the major up and coming success stories of the season so far is the rise of Everton and England striker, Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Having scored eight goals in the first eight Premier League games, Calvert-Lewin has stepped up to the plate this season.
Despite the positive start, Everton are winless in the last four Premier League games which raises questions over their consistency and ability to break into the prestigious top six.
Aston Villa, a team that would have been relegated last season if it was not for an error in goal line technology, have seriously stepped up to the plate this season with eye catching performances against Liverpool and Arsenal.
A notable performer in Dean Smith’s side is new signing Ollie Watkins, who got himself a hat-trick against Liverpool and a brace against Arsenal. Watkins has six goals so far this season and is definitely one to watch throughout the rest of this season.
Jack Grealish has also been key to Villa’s successes so far this season with four goals and five assists, giving Gareth Southgate a selection headache in England’s midfield. With one game in hand, Villa could potentially break into the top top after the international break.
Southampton have also upped their game significantly, currently sitting fourth in the Premier League. Having obtained a smash and grab last minute draw away at Stamford Bridge and impressive wins against the inform Aston Villa and Everton, the Southampton team that lost 9-0 to Leicester city is now very much an artefact of the past.
Their 2-0 win against Newcastle on November 6 left them top of the Premier League for the first time in their history.
After game week eight, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur are leading the title charge. Replicating the title race from the famous 2015/16 Premier League season. Jurgen Klopp’s side have been hit with numerous injuries to the likes of Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Thiago, and most notably, Virgil Van Dijk, they have managed to grind out results and have made a solid start to the season despite their misfortunes with injuries.
The absence of major game changing players however has made Liverpool a shadow of their former selves, especially after their 7-2 loss against an ascending Villa side. In spite of the setbacks in the early stages of this season, Liverpool remain serious title contenders, only being one point behind Leicester, and level on points with second placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Tottenham are showing signs of becoming a serious title contender this season with the dynamic duo of Kane and Son scoring a combined 15 goals and accumulating 10 assists between them.
Mourinho has started to turn Tottenham into a serious threat to the big six and have remained solid throughout the start of the season, especially after thrashing Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford.
Tottenham are yet to prove they can be consistent with draws against Newcastle and West Ham hampering their progress, along with an opening day loss against Everton at White Hart Lane.
The real tests for Tottenham will come after the international break as they are set to face Chelsea, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Liverpool and, current leaders, Leicester City in their next five Premier League matches.
Leicester City made a strong start, scoring 12 goals in their opening three matches against West Brom, Burnley and Manchester City, but have since suffered setback losses against West Ham and Aston Villa. Yet Brendan Rodgers’ side produced a comeback after grinding out a 1-0 win against Arsenal and an impressive 4-1 display against Leeds at Elland Road. Their 1-0 win against Wolves puts Leicester at the top of the table going into the international break. Jamie Vardy is having another party this season with eight goals in seven appearances. If Leicester can remain consistent, we could be seeing another Leicester City title charge this season.
Manchester United and Arsenal are falling below standards so far this season. Manchester United are yet to win a Premier League match this season at Old Trafford, falling to Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Arsenal made a solid start, beating Fulham 3-0 and narrowly beating West Ham and an out of form Sheffield United at the Emirates. Despite a 1-0 win at Old Trafford, Arsenal have fallen short with more losses to Leicester and Aston Villa. With no goals coming from open play since October 4 and sitting in 11th with a -1-goal difference, big questions are being asked of Mikel Arteta and Arsenal.
Manchester City have not met expectations so far this season with their inconsistent defensive displays, currently placing 10th with three wins, three draws and one loss. Manchester City have to pick up the pace to catch up to fellow title contenders Liverpool. Frank Lampard’s huge Summer spend in the transfer market is starting to pay off for Chelsea after a relatively slow start with impressive wins over Burnley, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Brighton. Chelsea are stern contenders for a top four spot.
At the bottom of the table, Sheffield United are failing to live up to the high standards they set last season, losing seven games and drawing one, they are yet to win a Premier League game this season.
Burnley and West Brom are also winless this season, taking up the relegation spots at this point in the season. Fulham and Brighton have also made poor starts to the season, with Fulham and Brighton both winning just one league match since the start of the season.
The first eight weeks of the 2020/21 Premier League season has provided its fair share of shocks and surprises. The two-week international break has left football fans on the edge of their seats in anticipation for the leagues’ return. One thing for sure is that the Premier League never fails to disappoint as fans continue to watch on from their own homes.