How competitive is the Premier League?
Well I suppose it depends which way you look at it.
The last three seasons have seen three different clubs (Man City, Chelsea and Leicester) win the title, if you extend that to the last six seasons then Man Utd make it four different clubs to win it.
If you compare that to rival European leagues, it actually does make the Premier League look pretty good in terms of competitiveness, at least at the very top anyway.
In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid have almost totally monopolised things – Atletico Madrid won it in 2013/14 but that was the only exception in the past 14 years.
In Italy, Juventus have won the last seven Serie A titles.
In Germany, Bayern Munich champions these past six years.
In France, PSG five of the last six, Monaco the only break from that in 2017/18.
In the Premier League we always talk about the ‘big six’ and certainly the big three/big five are obliterating the opposition this time.
In the table as it stands, the top three (Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea) have 83 points, whilst the entire bottom half 10 clubs have only 82 points between them.
This season has seen a huge divide between the top sides and the rest, which has helped Newcastle United and others at the bottom from a gap opening up to safety.
Manchester United have been the only exception of the big six, in games against the other 14 clubs, Man Utd have a record this season of played nine, won six, drawn 1, lost two.
Mourinho’s team have lost at Brighton and West Ham, drawn at home to Wolves, plus of course Newcastle should have got at least a point, if not all three, at Old Trafford.
However, the other five big six clubs have an astonishing record this season against the 14 clubs not counted as big six.
So far there have been 39 games for the top five in the Premier League against the 14, with only one defeat (Spurs at Watford) and three draws, a massive 35 of the 39 matches seeing the top five win against non-big six teams.
This breaks down into:
Liverpool Played 7 Won 7 Drawn 0 Lost 0
Chelsea Played 8 Won 7 Drawn 1 Lost 0 (A draw with West Ham)
Arsenal Played 8 Won 7 Drawn 1 Lost 0 (A draw with Palace)
Spurs Played 8 Won 7 Drawn 0 Lost 1 (A defeat at Watford)
Man City Played 8 Won 7 Drawn 1 Lost 0 (A draw with Wolves)
A total of Played 39 Won 35 Drawn 3 Lost 1
Despite only three points from their first 10 matches, Newcastle were able to crawl out of the relegation zone when winning their first game of the season against Watford.
Newcastle’s own record against the big six has been nothing if not consistent, losing by a single goal to Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. Last season Rafa’s players picked up 10 points against the big six but this time it looks like they will need to get most of those bonus points from elsewhere this time