Here’s a statistic for you, in the history of the Premier League since its 1992/93 inception there has never been two teams on maximum points after five games, until now.
The fact those two teams, Liverpool and Chelsea, don’t include record-setting defending champions Manchester City — and the fact both are strong contenders in themselves, who could potentially go all the way — just goes to show how tantalising a season this could be once it really gets going.
Let’s be honest though, but for a dodgy decision in City’s away draw to Wolves last month (I’m talking about Willy Boly’s handballer opener), Pep Guardiola’s side would be up there too, for what should be a three-way share of a perfect lead.
Ties with Cardiff and Brighton up next for City should see them go second behind one of either Liverpool or Chelsea, who play Southampton and West Ham United up next respectively, before meeting each other at Stamford Bridge on September 29.
Heading into next month, we will know the dominant one, should there be a winner between Chelsea and Liverpool, but if they draw, all three could potentially be level on 19 points from the first seven games of the season, providing no one slips up against minnows in the meantime.
That’s an awfully tight equation to have at the top of the table at what will be over a fifth of a way through the season by that time, and it bodes well for what could be one of the closest fought seasons ever, between three real heavyweights.
In a way it’s great that Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United aren’t in that select trio, with them already consigning themselves to the also-rans slots early on, following two defeats apiece.
All three, especially Spurs, have just been pretenders to the throne over recent seasons and serve only as distraction until they ultimately fall by the wayside when the season meets its business end.
At least in Liverpool and Chelsea, we have two clubs who could genuinely go the distance and challenge City, instead of a rogue element that will just bottle it when the going gets tough. This allows us to rule out the jokers and just concentrate on the big three going forward.
Watford and Bournemouth’s rise, currently placed fourth and fifth respectively, can’t be taken too seriously, given Watford have just lost at home to United, but, they, along with Everton, may continue to frustrate the top six stragglers.
Burnley should be there too, but despite finishing seventh last season, they are bottom after an awful start, no thanks to their pre-season commitments in Europe. If Uefa do re-introduce a third continental cup competition it will only continue to overburden the smaller sides.