Premier League has familiar look once more
30 August 2016, 12:28
Cape Town - Three matches into the Premier League season following a stunning title-success by 5 000-1 outsiders Leicester City, the table already has a more familiar look.
Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United lead the way, having all won their opening three games under new managers.
Arsenal, in the top four every year since 1996, appear to have recovered from an early home defeat by Liverpool, who are in mid-table but have yet to play a home game because of building work at Anfield.
Tottenham Hotspur, third last season, are unbeaten.
Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs finished as the top three in 2011 and 2013. Until Leicester shocked the football world in May, those three powerhouses had taken the previous 11 titles between them.
They will not be counting trophies yet, least of all City, who began last season with five wins in a row, only to finish fourth, which cost manager Manuel Pellegrini his job.
The Chilean's successor, Pep Guardiola, has spent heavily as expected and been rewarded with nine goals in three games, which has pushed his side to the top on goal difference.
"I am so satisfied, it is a pleasure to work with these guys," he said after Sunday's 3-1 home win over West Ham United.
"We feel the players believe in what we do and that is more satisfying for the coach of course. But that without results (it) is nothing. We go into the international break and start again."
Chelsea have also looked impressive under Italian coach Antonio Conte, who oversaw two late victories against West Ham and Watford and a more comprehensive 3-0 win against Burnley on Saturday.
When league football resumes after the international break, the Londoners will hope to take advantage of the two Manchester clubs being involved in their first local derby of the season.
United's former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will be relishing that fixture, believing he has the squad he wants after four major signings, including midfielder Paul Pogba for a world record fee, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish striker who is a serial title winner.
Ibrahimovic has scored three goals already, making him joint leading scorer with City's Sergio Aguero, who now faces an anxious wait to see if the Football Association will take retrospective disciplinary action against him for an incident in the West Ham game.
Early days or not, a reversion to some form of the status quo is looking increasingly likely.