Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Tue 4 December 2007

Nudge me when it gets exciting...

It's strange, you know. Just recently we seem to have been concentrating on everything except the Premier League. We've written about the Euro 2008 qualifying competition and the draw for the Finals. We've written about the draw for the World Cup 2010 qualifiers and the early rounds of this season's FA Cup, but the Premier League… well it's just not been on the radar.

Why should that be, I wonder? Is it not that exciting anymore?

Strangely enough, it should be at the top of our list. At the moment, there's a four-horse-race going on with Arsenal and Liverpool (1st and 4th respectively) still unbeaten with a game in hand over the other two, Man. United and Chelsea (2nd and 3rd) who have already lost two of their fifteen matches.

Even Man City are level on points with Liverpool although whether Sven Goran Eriksson can keep his magic going until the end of the season remains to be seen.

Then near the bottom of the table you have two teams that you wouldn't expect to find there - Bolton and Tottenham. Both have struggled and both have replaced their managers, but while the wait for drastic improvement goes on, so does the increased interest in them and the Premier League that, for the time being at least, remains their home.

Perhaps one reason we've not been bothered about England's top flight of late is because some of the big characters have either gone or gone quiet. Jose Mourinho - someone perfectly capable of starting an argument in a phone box - parted company with Chelsea several weeks ago, although even from his Portuguese home he still taunts the press with his 'might take the job, might not' approach to the vacant England manager's job.

In addition, Rafa Benitez has resorted to buttoning his lip and smiling sweetly whenever anyone asks him about the potential plans of Liverpool's American owners and Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger can only muster a meagre amount of foot-stamping whenever it looks like they're about to lose a game. So much for the personal angle in the game these days.

Player-wise, many of the big names seem to be having regular off-spells. Cristiano Ronaldo was slow to get going back in August, but every time he gets a decent run of form together, he either gets injured, sent off, rested or any permutation of all three. Frank Lampard's had a couple of brief scoring runs amid an unremarkable first three months, Dimitar Berbatov either hasn't been playing with andy confidence or or hasn't been playing at all and Fernando Torres has scored now and then but hasn't quite set the whole place alight as numeorus people thought he would do.

So what's going on? Is the thought of a four-horse-race simply not enough to satiate our thirst for the English game? Do we need more characters or bigger clubs back in the mix? Or is it simply that the Premier League Express is showing early signs of running out of steam?

Over to you with your suggestions...

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