Manchester City have a 100 percent record at the top of the Premier League and are already firm favourites to deliver a first championship for Pep Guardiola come the end of May. They have breezed past all that has gone before them so far and the way are they playing right now not only will they win the league but they will also have thoughts about an invincible season.
But they aren’t the only side which is unbeaten in the league this season as Everton and Tottenham have also managed to avoid defeat and are hot on the heels of City. The shared points between these two sides now looks like a decent result for both Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino but they will have to make sure that their early hard work is not undone this weekend.
City look like the clear favourites for the title but realistically we are looking at a 6 horse race for the three remaining Champions League spots and the teams in the hunt will not want to lose ground on their nearest rivals by slipping up. All of the top three play away from home on Saturday and let’s now look at those games in more detail
City away at Swansea
Across all competitions Pep Guardiola has had eight games in charge of Manchester City and he has masterminded his side to victory in each one. Arguably not since the opening day of the season when a late Paddy McNair own goal cost Sunderland a point has anyone come even close to beating them, the next team to try their luck is Swansea as City travel to the Liberty Stadium.
The main story coming out of City this week has been the Yaya Toure saga, Guardiola has said that Toure cannot play for the club until his agent apologises for comments made about the former Barcelona and Bayern boss. With Toure seemingly not willing to back down, it looks as if the Ivory Coast international’s days as a featuring member of the City squad are numbered.
But even with that going on it shouldn’t be too much if any disruption to City’s preparations for their trip to Swansea. They rolled over Bournemouth with ease last Saturday and you would be hard pressed to see a different outcome against Francesco Guidolin’s men.
With Arsenal playing Chelsea later in the evening and at least one team dropping points then a win against Swans will strengthen City’s position at the top and continue to leave their rivals hanging behind. Can City go all through the season without losing? Well I don’t think that first defeat is going to take place on Saturday.
Toffees take a trip to the South Coast
Everton are riding high in second place and have recorded their best ever start to a Premier League season after 5 games Ronald Koeman’s era as manager being almost perfect. They will look to continue that impressive run of form against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
Last season when these two sides met they played out one of the most dramatic games of the season as Ross Barkley’s 95th minute goal and what many thought was the winner was then cancelled out by Junior Stanislas’ 98th minute equaliser. It was results like this that set the wheels in motion for the end of Roberto Martinez’s time at the club and you would have to feel that Everton won’t be making the same mistakes this time around.
Both teams lost in the EFL Cup in midweek to Championship opposition. Bournemouth losing to Preston while Everton tasted their first defeat in all competitions to Alex Neil’s Norwich, so they will no doubt be looking to bounce back from that disappointment.
Koeman will probably feel the more aggrieved as a route into Europe next season has now been closed off but maybe he feels without that extra burden the full focus can go on not only earning a European place but aiming for the Top 4. Should the Toffees win on Saturday then everyone connected with the club will have good reason to be optimistic for the long season ahead.
Kane is Unable
Tottenham sit in third, four points off of league leaders Manchester City and have only dropped points to the two Merseyside clubs so far. They will look to continue their unbeaten run as they travel to Middlesbrough on Saturday without their talisman Harry Kane.
Kane rolled his ankle late on against Sunderland and was in very obvious discomfort as he was eventually stretched off much to the concern of not only Mauricio Pochettino but all the Tottenham fans watching in attendance or on TV. For the first time in two seasons the North London side will have to make do with a prolonged absence of the England international. The question now is how will they cope without him.
The key decision for Pochettino will be whether to start summer signing Vincent Janssen or go with Heung-min Son through the middle, the South Korean can play in that role after being utilised there with some success during his time at previous club Bayer Leverkusen.
No-one quite knows how long Kane will be out for but he will certainly miss the next few weeks through injury. Thankfully the fixture list is quite kind over that period so Spurs should come through this patch unscathed. They face Manchester City on October 2 and they will hope that Kane is fit in time to return for that all important clash, if he isn’t they will just hope that they haven’t given up too much ground to their nearest rivals in the mean time otherwise they could be playing catch up over the winter months.