Goal difference told the story last season.
Every team from seventh down in the Premier League conceded more goals than they scored in 2017/18.
This season, the trend has exaggerated.
For the first time in Premier League history, three clubs (Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool) remain undefeated after 11 games.
4th-placed Spurs are enjoying their best ever start to a domestic season.
Arsenal have the most points of any team ever to be placed 5th at this stage of the season.
The top five clubs have played a team in the bottom five 19 times in 2018/19, and won every time.
Full credit to Bournemouth for raging against the dying of the light.
Eddie Howe’s entertaining side have 20 points from their first 11 games.
But even the Cherries are not immune to the Prem’s increasingly obvious food chain.
They’ve only played two of the ‘big six’ so far, failing to take a point off either Chelsea or Man United.
Last season, Man City became the first side to accumulate 100 points in an English league campaign.
Everton caught them cold in early August and pinched at draw.
Crystal Palace and Burnley held City to draws in the middle of the season and Huddersfield managed a goalless draw at the Etihad when the title was already won.
All other teams not considered part of the ‘big six’ succumbed to City’s might both home and away.
Since the start of last season, Guardiola’s troops have scored 4+ goals in a league game 13 times — they’re averaging a four-goal haul every 3.8 games.
The gap between English football’s elite and the rest has never been so vast.
And that’s a bad thing, a very bad thing indeed.
For years the Premier League has prided itself on its competitiveness.
“Anyone can beat anyone in this league,” was a much-heard quote on Sky Sports and Match of the Day.
The legendary treble-winning Man United side of 1999 dropped points in 16 league games, for example.
The competitive nature of the league contributed to it becoming the most watched league in the world.
Unpredictability equals entertainment — just look at Leicester’s miracle.
Since Leciester’s historic triumph, the Premier League’s power balance has shifted.
The top five (or six) have competitive games among themselves, as do the rest.
But upsets are almost an extinct concept.
The top five/six beat the ‘bottom 14’ pretty much every time — literally every time in the case of the current campaign.
The reason for the disparity is obvious.
Man City and co are funded by budgets that dwarf those of the others.
And such importance is placed on European football that even when the likes of Everton and Fulham are willing to spend £100million on players, they are restricted in terms of the personnel they can recruit.
Whispers of a European Super League will only widen the chasm between the Premier League’s haves and have-nots.
It’s all good news for the top clubs of course, but no true fan should hope for a less entertaining league.
Isn’t that why we love football, because it entertains us?
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