Before the Premier League kicked off in Auguest, I expected Leicester to be among a group of four teams – along with Everton, Wolves and Watford – competing just below the top six.
But whereas Brendan Rodgers’ side are living up to expectations, with last weekend’s victory over Spurs sending them into the top three, the other three have each had a more disappointing start to the season.
Neither Watford nor Wolves have won any of their opening 6 matches, and occupy the league’s bottom two places.
During that time, Watford have suffered their heaviest ever league defeat with their 8-0 loss against Man City last weekend, and ludicrously sacked their manager after just four games of the season.
Javi Gracia led the club to their highest league finish in 32 years in addition to their first appearance in a cup final for 35 years, and even at such an early stage of the season, it’s already looking unlikely that Watford will match achieve quite so much this time around.
Wolves can point to a demanding schedule of fixtures for having started slowly, with seven European games already played since late July.
But although it’s premature to be too concerned about results, it could easily have been worse for Nuno Espirito Santo’s team in the league. Half of Wolves’ fixtures have ended in score draws, with though two of those three games needing equalising goals in the 96th minute or later in order to salvage points.
But where Wolves and Watford have had some difficult fixtures already, with both sides having played four of their six games against opponents recording a top ten finish last season, the same cannot be said about Everton.
The Blues were predicted by many to have a good season after investing heavily in players over the summer, but despite a set of opening fixtures that looked favourable to beginning the season strongly, Everton have taken just 7 points and have yet to show signs of being a side capable of competing for a European place.
Marco Silva’s team face Man City tomorrow, before a couple of months worth of fixtures that should see a significant improvement in the club’s Premier League position.
But with some of the big teams dropping points unexpectedly, and only four points separating a dozen clubs from 3rd to 14th position, it may feel like a missed opportunity for Everton to get their season off to a flyer and put some early pressure on the clubs they’d hope to be competing with.