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premier race To the neutral observer it's been a fascinating start to the season...but Man City are still my tip for the title

Top teams show a weakness that means the League is... all to play for

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Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are still my team for the title despite their lack of firepower

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are still my team for the title despite their lack of firepower

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are still my team for the title despite their lack of firepower

THERE are so many questions hanging over the Premier League contenders this season that, for the first time in a few years, no one can say with any certainty who are even the favourites.

Manchester City and Liverpool have run away with the title in recent years and while it took a little longer to identify a favourite last season, City had things pretty much wrapped up by the middle of February.

I just don't see that happening this season, as all the teams at the top have shown vulnerabilities and the quality of teams they are up against has also gone up a notch.

Brighton and West Ham have been very impressive as they picked up positive results in their matches against Liverpool over the last couple of weeks.

Then we have seen Crystal Palace turn in a polished display to beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last month and Burnley taking points off Chelsea last weekend.

To the neutral observer, this has been a fascinating start to the season and here is how I see the key players in the title race with almost a third of the season played.

Chelsea

Chelsea have not been convincing for most of this season, but they headed into the international break three points clear at the top.

When I look at Thomas Tuchel's side, they have real quality in all areas, but they don't look like a team that will blow the opposition away with brilliant attacking football like Liverpool or Man City.

That means they might drop points when you least expect it and that will open the door for the chasing pack to catch them.

Also, these players have yet to prove they can last the pace in the Premier League title race and that is a crucial factor heading into the second half of the season.

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has overseen a real revival at the club

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has overseen a real revival at the club

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has overseen a real revival at the club

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Manchester City

Pep Guardiola's side were my pick to win the title at the start of the season and I would still stick with them despite their big problem up front.

Gabriel Jesus is a decent footballer, but he is not going to score 25 goals this season and City need that prolific marksman to become a complete team.

They tried to get Harry Kane last summer and failed to move him out of Tottenham, so I ­wonder if City will flex their ­financial muscles by trying to sign a striker in January. ­Guardiola's team are proven winners and if they can get the forward who will finish off their attacking invention, they will be tough to beat in the title race.

Liverpool

I am always a pessimist when it comes to Liverpool, but I don't see my old team winning the ­title from the evidence they have ­presented to us this season.

The way Jurgen Klopp plays means Liverpool will always give the opposition chances and, as Brentford showed in the 3-3 draw, Brighton highlighted as they came from behind to get a point at Anfield and West Ham highlighted last Sunday, high scoring games can go either way.

Liverpool have been looking ­vulnerable to counter attacks with the high defensive line Klopp plays and there is not a lot he can do to change that approach because it is in his DNA.

So I think Liverpool will be in the mix to win the ­Premier League title heading into the final ten games, but they have been conceding too many goals to win it.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp chats with West Ham boss David Moyes

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp chats with West Ham boss David Moyes

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp chats with West Ham boss David Moyes

Manchester United

It almost seems ridiculous to include United in this discussion on title contenders because they are a million miles away from competing with the 'Big Three' in the Premier League.

I have been writing for some time that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is horribly out of his depth and the last month has essentially ended his reign as the club's manager.

Solskjaer might still be in his post at the ­moment, but the club have to be looking for his replacement now and Brendan Rodgers is emerging as the strong favourite.

Seeing a former Liverpool manager take over as the United boss would be strange indeed, but they have to do something now as the brand of that great club is ­being damaged by a ­manager who doesn't have what it takes to deliver at the highest level.

Best of the rest

There has been a lot of hype around West Ham and all credit to David Moyes for getting them into third place at this stage of the season.

The Hammers were decent against Liverpool last weekend, but they scored with the three shots they had on goal and that is not going to happen every week.

I don't think West Ham will threaten the top three by the end of the season and they probably won't even make the top four once Manchester United get a decent manager in place.

Arsenal and Tottenham are the other teams that will think they can get into the top four mix and their story this season sums up how unpredictable this season has been.

Spurs were top after the first month and Arsenal were bottom at one point, but now the tide has turned and it's the red half of north London on the front foot.

That sums up this season's ­Premier League as it has been an unpredictable jigsaw with too many pieces out of place to make any reliable predictions.

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