As John Motson is often so eager to reminisce about, many years ago the league did not even publish tables until three games in. The idea being that you cannot really judge the form of the teams until they have played a few times. So three games in, can we now judge the state of the league?
Chelsea will be delighted with their start. They may have enjoyed this weekend less than some recently, disappointing everyone by only winning 2-0 against Stoke. Frank Lampard missed his third penalty of recent times, but the continuing form of Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba will have delighted Chelsea fans. Manchester United and Arsenal had satisfying weekends, though both find themselves two points of the top.
Arsenal will be happy with their win at Blackburn. Exactly the sort of fixture Sir Alex Ferguson delights in taunting the Gunners about, they travelled back down to London with three points in the bag. Most pleasing will be the form of Theo Walcott and the solidity of Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny. If the young England winger and new centre-back pairing can continue as they have started then Arsenal could enjoy an impressive season. United fans left Old Trafford pleased to see Rooney get back into scoring form and delighted with Dimitar Berbatov’s start to the season, but they mostly wondered back home questioning the quality of the West Ham United side they had just seen summarily dismissed.
West Ham looks like the team most struggling for any sort of form this season, whilst Stoke have surprised many with their lack of points. Neither would have expected to gain many points this weekend, but both need to be wary of falling too far behind. Both sides would have found comfort in the quality of football Wigan have shown recently, and will hope Blackpool start to live up to expectations and slide down the table. This weekend, however, saw both those teams demonstrate the sort of grit needed to ensure you scrape to 17th in the final league table. Wigan spent the week being the butt of many jokes as people guessed how many Spurs would score. Having conceded 12 already, and lost 9-1 to Tottenham last year, things looked bleak for the Lancashire club. However, they seized the poor form of Spurs and nicked the three points. Blackpool played their first home game of the season against Fulham. The Tangerines probably left the ground hugely disappointed with just the one point, having been leading going into stoppage time. It is important for the side to remember that though they conceded a late Etuhu equaliser, they drew with a side that reached last year’s Europa League final, and last weekend drew 2-2 with Manchester United.
Also hovering around the relegation spots is the much-admired Everton team. They are stuck in their worst start for a decade but will surely pull out of it soon. If they climb to mid table they would find a glut of teams struggling to establish themselves. Six teams find themselves with one win, one draw and one loss; all have been confusing to watch. Liverpool recovered from defeat to Manchester City to beat West Bromwich Albion. Manchester City however, contrived to spurn the momentum of beating Liverpool to lose 1-0 to Sunderland. Newcastle, after smashing Aston Villa last weekend, drew with Wolves. After three matches the top is meeting expectations, but after this weekend’s games the rest of the table looks thoroughly confused.