Ten matches into the 2014-15 Barclays Premier League season, we are starting to see some separation at the top of the table. Chelsea (26 points) are four points clear of second-place Southampton and six points up on third-place Man City. Fourth-place Arsenal (17 points) have looked good at times, but are posting too many draws to keep pace.
Moving down the table, Tottenham have won only two of their last eight games after a fast 2-0 start, and now sit eighth with 14 points, one point clear of Manchester United. Tottenham could be poised to move up the table, though. They handed Aston Villa their sixth loss of the season (2-1) last weekend and will face more bottom-tier teams in their next two matches.
First up is Stoke, who will travel to White Hart Lane on Friday, November 9. The Hotspurs have not lost to the Potters in five straight league matches, and their last loss at White Hart Lane was in 2009. Stoke are currently 13th in table and have only won one game away from home. Spurs should pick up the full three points.
After Stoke, Spurs will visit Hull City, who are 14th in the table with 11 points. The Tigers have not won in six straight matches against Spurs, with the last victory coming in 2008. Hull City has drawn half of its matches so far, and the game against Tottenham looks ripe for another. Spurs will be hoping for more, though, as they host a good Everton squad, thereafter, and then visit Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues could enter that match on a 16-game unbeaten streak in league play, dating back to last season. On the year, Chelsea have ten wins, two draws, and no losses, and have taken the maximum 15 points from five home games. Not only are the Blues on top of the table, but they boast the best offense, as well, with 26 goals through ten matches. Their most difficult game before facing Spurs will be next weekend when they travel to Anfield to face seventh-place Liverpool. But, with Liverpool winning just twice in its last seven, Chelsea is likely to stay unbeaten on the year heading into the game with Spurs.
After a slow start, things are looking up for Arsenal. The Gunners only managed two wins in their first eight fixtures, but have now won two straight to move into the coveted top four of the BPL. This weekend, Arsenal will visit an improved Swansea City, who currently sit sixth after a 12th place finish last season. The Gunners have not lost to the Swans in their last five meetings, including two matches in the FA Cup, and are rounding into form this year. Look for the Gunners to take three points and solidify their spot in the top four.
After Swansea, the Gunners will host an underperforming Manchester United squad on November 22nd. The Red Devils are smack dab in the middle of the table, sitting tenth with 13 points. Man United has owned the Gunners in recent memory, going undefeated in their last six, including an 8-2 win in 2011. That streak should come to an end on the 22nd, though, with Arsenal at home and playing higher quality football.
The reigning BPL champions, Manchester City, could climb to second place in the table in the coming weeks. This weekend, the Citizens will visit bottom-feeders Queens Park Rangers before hosting Swansea – two games which should yield six points. The Citizens are just two points behind the surprise team of the season, Southampton, whom they will face on November 30th at St. Mary’s Stadium.
Southampton has arguably been the benefactor of an easy schedule, so far. They have yet to face Man City or Chelsea, and lost their first game of the season to Arsenal. But, unlike Arsenal, they have taken the full three points when they should, and have seven wins through ten games. They are likely to boost that total to nine in their next two matches, which feature a home clash with 18th-place Leicester City and an away duel with 16th-place Aston Villa. After the Aston Villa game, the road gets rockier for the Saints, as they face Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton, and Chelsea in five of the next seven. That stretch will prove a crucible for the Hampshire boys. Though they may not stay ahead of Man City and Arsenal for too much longer, they could stay in the top four. Barring a Champions League title for Liverpool, Southampton could very well qualify for next year’s Champions League.
(Photo credit: Ultraslansi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)