Man City see their title rivals more clearly after Arsenal vs Manchester United – Simon Bajkowski

Ultimately, chances of success could come down to one particular match but the chances are that nobody will know it until one of the final weekends of the campaign at the earliest. The reason Pep Guardiola and Manchester City cherish the Premier League so much is that it measures the best team over 38 matches, not four.

After just four games, there is a very good chance that some attempts at conclusions could look very silly. Some teams have had much tougher starts than others and all are at different stages of readiness.

However, in the endless cycle of football four league matches is more than 10 per cent of the season gone already. It isn&apost enough for anyone to be out of the title race, yet it is already enough for it to take shape.

City can look down on everyone else as the only team with a maximum 12 points, suggesting once again that they will be the team to beat. From the early evidence on show, it looks like Liverpool and Arsenal will be the two that put up the best challenge.

They are two of the four teams – along with Tottenham and West Ham, who City play in their next match – who are just two points behind the leaders and yet to taste defeat. That is impressive after each have played a rival side.

Liverpool have not looked like the finished product and much will depend on whether they can keep Mo Salah away from the Saudi league, but they have a new midfield and they dug deep with ten men against Newcastle and turned defeat into victory. Arsenal faced an early hurdle against United at the weekend after dropping points at home to Fulham, and produced when it mattered to get a big three points.

United could have picked up their third win of the season but defeat leaves them six points behind already and even in victory they have not looked anything like title contenders. Another huge summer spend has not enabled them to put on a coherent front and in the aftermath of defeat at the Emirates things have further unravelled.

Guardiola will surely continue to mention Newcastle too as a rival yet they have disappointed after the opening weekend. There was no ambition shown at the Etihad against a City team on their knees from Super Cup exertions, they threw away their advantage at home to Liverpool and were then soundly beaten on the south coast.