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More Premier League insanity, top and bottom, at the 10-game milestone

Tuesday 31st October 2017
Manchester City has run riot, with 35 Premier League goals. The bottom five max out at eight. Is the relegation battle more compelling than the title race?

Man City's standout performance was certainly against Chelsea, the side that ran them down on Match Day 13 last season. The match was a microcosm for the Blues' title defence. Antonio Conte's side has been as tactically out-thought and man-for-man out-fought as they were dominant in 2016-17. Although the scoreline against visiting City read just nil-one, the contest was an avalanche of City attacks. It was a statement from Pep Guardiola's squad that they don't intend to be run down again.
Meanwhile, three struggling clubs have already changed managers. Another close season in the bottom half looms. But which three sides will fall behind the rest?

Can City continue impressive run?



Thirteen months ago English fans and media were waxing lyrical over Pep Guardiola. Then, Spurs bumped City off their perch and the Etihad crew never fully recovered. Against the other five clubs in the top six, Guardiola averaged a draw, claiming 10 points from a possible 30.

Additionally, he only ever had one consistent attacking player for the year: Sergio Aguero in the first half and in the stretch run, Gabriel Jesus from January into spring.

In the summer, Guardiola addressed his team's technical deficiencies in two simple steps: out with the old, in with the new. Long-serving players were sold (Pablo Zabaleta, Alexander Kolarov) or loaned out (Joe Hart). Guardiola filled the void with Ederson between the sticks, Kyle Walker, Danilo, and Benjamin Mendy in the fullback roles.

This season, the squad has been menacing. Players have fully bought into Pep's system. Kevin De Bruyne has elevated his game yet again. Even Fabian Delph has flourished as a secondary utility-man, performing well as one of Pep's inverted full backs. City's form has translated to the European stage. Swashbuckling performances make the side a Champions League dark horse.
Despite all this, the question is how the side will react to a loss? Last season, the answer was not very well.

The chasing pack are still plugging along, but will they be able to catch this City side? Or will the leaders slip up? City has been fortunate with injuries so far. Only Mendy and Vincent Kompany, who seems to have taken up permanent residence in the physio's office, are currently out. What happens if players start dropping like stones, especially at one position, as has happened with crosstown rivals United? Arsenal and Chelsea also have four or five first-teamers missing. Is it all luck that will even out in the end? We'll have to wait and see.

Relegation



Three weeks ago it was easy to tip Crystal Palace for the drop. Goalless in their first eight, four matches apiece for Frank de Boer and Roy Hodgson, they were easy meat. Then they beat Chelsea. They look more menacing now but still have only 4 wins in 10. As well, 10 players have scored more Premier League goals than the Eagles as a team.

I'm still tipping them for the drop. With a leaky defence and no finisher, where will Hodgson find wins?
Elsewhere, Swansea look weaker without Gylfi Sigurdsson. Nor have they adequately addressed losing Ashley Williams. The Swans are meek on offence and defence alike.

Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham has scored more than 50% of the team's goals. Renato Sanches appears unable to make the desired impact. Wilfried Bony has struggled to rediscover his old Liberty Stadium form. Paul Clement may get the support he needs to settle the squad but the board's knee-jerk reactions from last season, when the Swans went through four managers, could manifest again, especially given the precedent set by other clubs.

Everton aren't looking much better even with Sigurdsson and Williams. David Unsworth didn't deserve to be fat-shamed by Joey Barton but he'll need to do better to win the manager's job on a permanent basis. The Toffees have more than enough talent to avoid the drop.
If the final place is between Bournemouth and West Ham, I have to choose the Hammers to fall.

Eddie Howe has been able to maintain his side's core while adding some much-needed Premier League experience at both ends, in Asmir Begovic and Jermaine Defoe.

Conversely, Sam Allardyce made West Ham a solid Premier League side, unspectacular but consistent. Without him, it's been a rollercoaster. One season flirting with a Europa League place, the next relegation. Despite their 11th-place finish last season, the Iron were closer to the drop zone (5 pts) than they were to seventh (16).

Without Manuel Lanzini and Chicharito, Slaven Bilic has no attack. Meanwhile, his defence features two 30-somethings without the legs to hold off fleet-footed youngsters. Bilic is also on the clock as most likely to get the sack
Tyrone Chambers

I know most people either love them or hate them but I a massive fan of Manchester United. I'm not afraid to speak the truth. Writing it as it is, bold enough to say it in the way no manager or player could say in public. I write about all things football but I love music as well, both listening and playing, keen drummer.


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