Who are the real Premier League title contenders?

With champions Chelsea struggling so far, the Premier League has an open feel to it this season.

Crystal Palace and Leicester City are continuing to live the high life as we approach the quarter point in the Premier League season but can they be counted amongst those teams who can dethrone Chelsea?

The table has an unfamiliar look to it at this stage in the campaign, with Jose Mourinho's men way down the ladder in 16th, while the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham are only just in the top 10.

Ahead of the trio of title contenders sit the likes of West Ham, Leicester and Palace, who have all flown out of the blocks and given the established teams bloody noses along the way.

Few would have predicted the Hammers would be where they are currently having had to go to Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City in their first eight games. However, they have taken nine points from those matches and could have been even higher than sixth had they not dropped points against the likes of Bournemouth, Norwich and Sunderland.

That lack of consistency is exactly why Slaven Bilic's side will be lucky to hang on to their current spot in the table and an inability to put a run of results together is likely to put pay to other title challenges.

For Leicester, a leaky defence must be a cause for concern and they surely can not continue to rely on having to outscore teams throughout the campaign.

Of the surprise early title contenders, Palace look the best set to maintain their current lofty position of fourth given they have a wealth of attacking options, a solid backline and a shrewd manager in Alan Pardew.

A quick look towards the top of the table, though, and things have a more familiar ring with Manchester City leading Arsenal in second and Manchester United in third.

City have looked a class act for the majority of the season but defeats to Tottenham and West Ham have proven they are far from invincible. That will give hope to the Gunners and the Red Devils, who themselves have been something of a mixed bag this term.

Consistency is likely to be the key word in this season's title race given the unpredictable nature of the first eight weeks of the Premier League campaign.

The lack of any one side opening up a sizeable lead at the top of the table will give everyone hope, even Chelsea, who are only 10 points behind despite their terrible start.
Should Mourinho's men get their act together then they'll certainly be able to put pressure on those sides above them.

If the Blues are in with an outside chance of successfully defending their title then Liverpool will also consider themselves still in the mix. The arrival of Jurgen Klopp as manager could be the catalyst the Reds need to start climbing the table.

Whether Klopp will class his new team as real title contenders remains to be seen but the open nature of the title fight means they can not be discounted just yet.

In the end, the genuine title contenders are likely to be the same old faces but anyone who can string a run of results together over the winter are likely to find themselves in the mix when the leaves return to the trees and we reach the business end of the season.

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