How are the Premier League title contenders shaping up as we head into the busy winter period? Gary Neville analyses the title race in his latest podcast.
Tottenham currently lead the Premier League on goal difference ahead of Liverpool, with both sides having dropped nine points this season, while Chelsea are two points further back in third.
Leicester and Southampton make up fourth and fifth, while Man Utd and Man City are on 19 and 18 points respectively, but with a game in hand, as they face each other in the Manchester derby on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports.
Speaking on his podcast, Neville analysed the current state of play in the Premier League as teams approach a dozen games, in what could be one of the most intriguing title races in years.
City starting to get it right, but not perfect
Pep will be enthused they are not out of sight, with the start to the season they’ve had. If Liverpool had been at the levels they were in the last couple of seasons, then they would have been a lot of points behind.
You knew at some point they would motor along and get it right – they are still not perfect or anywhere near the levels they were in the past few years, because the levels they’ve set have been out of this world.
But I’m really looking forward to the Manchester derby to see how both teams fare
Consistency the concern for Man Utd
Man Utd miraculously find themselves in the position they are despite performances that were well below par.
My concern over the long term is you need consistency of performances that knit together in a form of identity building and I can’t quite see what they are yet.
They can’t play without Bruno Fernandes – I don’t know what it is. He is a very, very good player, but you would think that Van de Beek, Pogba and McTominay in midfield, with Greenwood, Cavani and Martial would be able to do so much better than that.
Chelsea a real threat
The more I see Chelsea week by week, the more I’m impressed and that performance of Chelsea last week went up in my estimation having now seen what Tottenham gave done to Man City and Arsenal because it was a really measured, clever performance from Chelsea and actually, they should have won that game.
Tammy Abraham had a couple of really good chances, Olivier Giroud’s one in the last couple of minutes which would have stolen the game and I think Chelsea deserved to win that game last week and they also limited Tottenham’s chances to next to nothing in the second half.
And that is a more impressive performance when I think about it and they then win 4-0 in Seville, so for me, they are an adaptable team and a team who are obviously taking on board what Frank Lampard wants them to do.
They are impressing me and for me, they have got a real chance. I think Chelsea have got more of a chance to win the league than Spurs because they have got N’Golo Kante, Thiago Silva, and players who could navigate them to it.
The club always wins trophies under Roman Abramovich, there is something there. They have got good, talented players and they also do the ugly side of the game as well, so they are a real threat.
Spurs are wise, cute and a little nasty
The players are buying into it, Jose Mourinho has given them belief, they can now handle and play in big matches, they look experienced, wise, cute, a little bit nasty
We have seen them against United, City, Chelsea and Arsenal and they have picked up 10 points out of 12. He has some really top players and he now feels he can compete with Pep and Klopp.
I think he has got a chance as there is no doubt City and Liverpool are not where they were.
Liverpool still the favourites, but bar is dropping
I’ve said before that I think Liverpool win this league at a canter if Virgil van Dijk was fit, no one can get near them.
I still think they win this league, but there are just some little things that are going against them that have not gone against them in the last couple of years.
And the same with City and that makes it interesting and there are just a couple of teams, Chelsea at the moment, Tottenham that are just looking at them and thinking: “They are not right and we are OK here, we are just starting to hit form and spirit and we are getting closer to them.”
And the fact they are getting closer to them and they are not right is giving confidence to them, even to Man Utd. I think the Man Utd players will be sitting there thinking if we could start playing like we could, then even we may have a chance daftly enough as that sounds.
I do not think they will win the league, but that is what this season is doing to us because the top two have set a bar that I’ve never seen before, none of us have ever seen before in the last couple of seasons, and now we are seeing something that is more normal.
Our writers’ verdict: Who will win the Premier League?
Liverpool and Manchester City have dominated the top flight over the last three years but could this really be the season that their monopoly ends?
Plenty of football is left to play but with patterns emerging, injuries biting and several teams showcasing their credentials, it’s time for the Sky Sports writers to assess the top of the table.
Who looks the best bet for the title? Who’s got the edge in the top-four race?