Is the top four of the Barclays Premier League already taking shape? Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal in familiar spots
Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal occupy top spots
We're just one week into the new Premier League season and things at the top already look mighty familiar.
READ MORE: Seven things we learnt from the Premier League, including Fabregas rises to be Chelsea's star man and Ramsey is becoming Arsenal's Lampard
Sam Wallace: Manchester United must ask if they can afford NOT to pay £50m for Angel Di Maria
Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal all won their matches at the weekend leaving last season's top four in those same slots after the opening round of fixtures of the 2014-15 season.
Jose Mourinho's side, despite falling behind against the run of play, looked hugely impressive in their win against newcomers Burnley, with debutants Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa especially impressive.
The Blues, who were defensively excellent last season but too often unable to beat teams whose game plan was to defend, swept aside Burnley with some fantastic passing football. They are already being tipped as the team to beat.
Manchester City secured three points with a measured, disciplined performance against Newcastle, going up through the gears when they needed to.
They only did just enough to win, but still never really looked in trouble against Alan Pardew's much-improved squad. Manuel Pellegrini has trimmed down his squad and addressed two areas that were in need of improvement. Eliaquim Mangala should slot in next to their outstanding captain Vincent Kompany, while Fernando showed why he had been bought - to add solidity and toughness in those difficult away matches.
Liverpool and Arsenal were both slightly less impressive than the above pair, requiring late goals to beat two of last season's surprise packages, Southampton and Crystal Palace. Daniel Sturridge scored a late winner for Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers may have lost star man Luis Suarez, but Daniel Sturridge now has 36 goals in 50 matches for the Reds and could easily break the 25-goal barrier this season.
Aaron Ramsey was once again Arsenal's match-winner, scoring the crucial goal that gave the Gunners all three points. This was a game that Arsenal would probably have drawn last year, but after winning the FA Cup there is a renewed confidence running through Arsene Wenger's squad that could see them mount a real title challenge this season.
It's an old football cliche but both Liverpool and Arsenal were able to win despite playing poorly; that's always the sign of a good team. Aaron Ramsey was again Arsenal's match-winner
Outside of those top four, Manchester United are still clearly in the midst of a hangover caused by David Moyes' disastrous reign. Defeat at home to Swansea was unthinkable before the weekend, but depending on the calibre of the additions they make between now and the end of the transfer window, Louis van Gaal may not have enough talent in this squad to mount a serious challenge on the top four.
Spurs did enough to beat West Ham, though their performance cannot really be judged after a harsh handball reduced them to 10 men, while Everton twice took the lead against newly-promoted Leicester City but still only drew.
No other club in the division has much of a chance of making it into the top four. Manchester United were poor in the defeat to Swansea
Of course it's very early days, and Manchester City face Liverpool next so one of those is likely to drop out of the top four next week, but this weekend could have given us the perfect indicator for the next 37 weeks of the Premier League.
Latest in Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
Jose Mourinho on Sir Alex Ferguson: 'A good friend, a good person, a fantastic sense of humour. I like him very, very much'
Arsenal vs QPR live: Latest score and updates plus reaction to wins for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader