Ladies and gents, we actually have a title fight on our hands. At the beginning of the season, you would have thought record reigning champions Manchester City would simply run away with it, but their shared point away to newly promoted Wolves on Saturday shows they are anything but infallible.
Marry that with both Liverpool and Chelsea getting fast out of the blocks with three wins from three, and it is clear City aren’t going to have it all their own way.
Ahead of Tottenham’s trip to Manchester United on Monday evening, Watford are the only other team with their 100 per cent start still intact but they’ve only beaten Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley and Crystal Palace, and haven’t faced any of the big guns yet.
You could, of course, say the same thing about Liverpool, who have only beaten West Ham United, Palace and Brighton, but it has been the manner of those wins — without conceding a single goal, twinned with the ominous threat of how rampant they were with Mohammad Salah last season — that will be keeping Pep Guardiola up at night.
If the City boss was only expecting one reason for insomnia this season, he would have been mistaken. Many were expecting Maurizio Sarri to take time to bed in at Chelsea after replacing Antonio Conte over the summer, but after defeating Huddersfield, Arsenal and Newcastle United, they too, look like a force to be reckoned with.
Some relief comes to City in the form of Manchester United and Arsenal’s stuttering starts. United lost to Brighton after beating Leicester City, and Arsenal re-emerged from defeats to City and Chelsea with a win over West Ham.
Even if United get a result over Spurs, they’ll still be lagging, while a Spurs win would just heap more pressure on City, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side join a top four of perfect starters, despite his side being written off at the start of the season for not spending a single penny over the summer.
“It’s still early days” you might say, “you can’t read too much into anything yet”. Well, that as may be.
City, of course, drew at home to Everton in their second game of last season before embarking on a record 18-game winning run, so dropping points early on is by no means indicative of impending disaster.
Last season, however, Guardiola’s men arguably didn’t have a serious or sustained challenge to their title charge, and now there could be at least two.
There’s also a reason why the Premier League title hasn’t been retained in over a decade, because it’s difficult, and preaching drive and hunger into a side that has already been fed is the hardest thing in football.