It’s been 30 years since we were first told that ‘Anyone can beat anyone in the Premier League“.
Now, finally, that old cliched phrase might be about to become a reality.
Before the ball got kicked out this season, we had already written off the title race as a head-to-head battle between Manchester City and Liverpool.
Qualification for the Champions League was also taken for granted only for the remaining members of the self-appointed “Big Six” to sort among themselves.
But in three games into the new season, we are forced to think again through a group of ambitious clubs that are no longer ready to accept their specific role as the defender in the middle of the table.
Even newly promoted teams aim to refute the notion that relegation is inevitable.
Not since the opening day of the 1992-93 season has a Premier League campaign launched with such an unexpected string of results.
At that time we had Arsenal lose 4-2 at home to Norwich, Sheffield United to Manchester United 2-1 and Chelsea draw 1-1 at home with Oldham.
Fast forward three decades and we’ve already seen Brentford crush United, Liverpool draw with Fulham and Crystal Palace and Chelsea lose hard at Leeds.
Even Manchester City had to do everything they could to salvage a 3-3 draw with the upwardly mobile Newcastle.
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And while Leeds, Brighton and Fulham are unlikely to end up in their current lofty positions, they are at least providing the established elite with serious food for thought.
The table is meaningless after three games and it may only be a matter of time before Liverpool, Chelsea and United get their act together.
But they have already been notified that they will need to be present at every minute of every match from now on.
So the managers will take turns on their own and even the slightest drop in effort or attitude will be punished by losing points.
That’s what happened in 2016, when all the great players took their feet off the gas and Leicester crept out of nowhere to claim the title.
A repeat of 2016?
It was a real shock to the system of the willing Confederacy that came to take its place at the top of the English game for granted.
To their credit, City, Liverpool and Chelsea have since ramped up their game to position themselves beyond the reach of their rivals.
But this season will be different for the simple reason that everything stops halfway during the World Cup.
So not only do the big clubs have to deal with the demands of European football, the majority of their international stars will also flog themselves for a month in Qatar.
In the meantime, the rest of the Premier League will play one game a week and have a nice mid-season break.
These clubs are well organized and have a real sense of purpose and will take full advantage of this opportunity.
Smart young directors like Graham Potter, Eddie Howe, Patrick Vieira, Thomas Frank and Steve Cooper tear up the script.
They refuse to accept the idea that all Prem teams are equal but some are more equal than others.