The term ‘invincibles’ doesn’t mean much in regular, day-to-day life. But in football, it means the world. The 2003-2004 season saw Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal go the entire season undefeated, with 26 wins and 12 draws seeing them win the league in the most magnificent way possible. Led by Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell, Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry, the Gunners created history – something each team now sets out to do each and every season.
For the first time ever, three teams are still undefeated after 12 game weeks. Has there ever been a better chance of a team going undefeated in the Premier League season, than right now? Many are predicting that Manchester City could do this with a leg in the air. Liverpool are coming off their best season in some time, and they don’t necessarily look like stopping either. But Chelsea are the only side in Europe that haven’t lost this season in all competition – that stat speaks for itself. Which team, if any, will be the last one standing?
Chelsea under Mauricio Sarri have developed a will and spirit that looks dangerous. They are yet to lose in all competitions, and have rarely been dominated for large parts of games. ‘Sarriball’ is well and truly in full swing, with an array of attacking talent and freedom on display each and every game. Antonio Conte was great for Chelsea in the way that he made his players know exactly where he wanted them to be at every moment of the game – quite an autocratic approach.
While it did work, it seems as if players are responding better to this laid back style that Sarri has brought to the pitch. Eden Hazard is one of the best players, if not the best player in the world right now, and he himself is a reason why Chelsea could be this last team standing. But how about the career of David Luiz, that has been revitalised under Sarri.
But why can Chelsea be the last team standing? They have so much to improve on. They have flown well under the radar since the start of the season, well in the shadow of Liverpool and Manchester City – just how they like it. Alvaro Morata has been poor, yet still has his five goals. That’s more than Romelu Lukaku, Jamie Vardy and Roberto Firmino. But he can be so much better, we all know it.
Defensively they are only going to get better as they get more accustom to a back four, and N’Golo Kante’s new role as not just a defensive minded midfielder was always going to take time. Chelsea won the league under Mourinho, had a poor season, won it under Conte, had another poor season, and now we are here. Could this season follow the same pattern as the years previous?
This may indeed be Liverpool’s time. Jurgen Klopp has had enough time at the helm now, with enough transfer windows and enough signings to make Liverpool the best team in England once again. They now have depth which was something Liverpool have lacked in previous years, unable to cope with European football. But similarly to Chelsea, they also have much room to improve on.
We would not have said this last season, as they clearly played to and probably above their standards throughout most of their campaign. Mo Salah hasn’t been the man he was last year, although he has still been great. Bobby Firmino has just two goals, they still have Oxlade Chamberlain to come into the squad and we have certainly not seen the best of Naby Keita and Fabinho. We are just 12 games in, but even without these players at their best, they look strong.
What is probably the most positive thing about Liverpool in comparison to every other side, maybe in the world, is that they have a brilliant record against Manchester City – you actually believe that Liverpool can beat them. Manchester City play into Liverpool’s hands, playing attacking football and leaving themselves prone on the break. Even Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal know to sit back against Liverpool.
City, to their credit, back their ability, which has led to their downfall. Liverpool rolled them over in the Champions League last season, and have already drew to them this season. That draw in many eyes could mean they’re halfway there to an invincible season, but we know that is not the case.
This probably doesn’t need too much explaining as to why they can not only be the last team standing with a zero in their losses column, but also why they can go through this Premier League season undefeated. Certainly in the past decade, they are the best team England has ever seen. Despite them not going undefeated last term, many do think this side is also better than the Arsenal invincibles. I tend to disagree, and will be proven wrong if they can match the Gunners’ heroics.
But Pepe Guardiola has them playing a brand of football that is easy on the eye, with a squad that really is a super team. They haven’t looked like losing, and they certainly don’t look like succumbing to a cold night in…Burnley on a Wednesday night. They have easily dispatched all below them, and this doesn’t look like changing. They easily beat United in one of the more lob-sided Manchester Derbies in recent history, they have already gotten a point at Anfield and have beaten Spurs at Wembley.
It’s hard to see them losing at Old Trafford or at the Emirates – their biggest test will be at Stamford Bridge. I still find it hard to see them losing that. There are still 26 games left, plenty of time to lose and plenty of time to even miss out on the top few spots. It’s football, anything can happen, but you wouldn’t be called a fool if you said City will win the league, without losing in 2018/19.