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Eye On EPL

'Super Three' managers making their presence felt

Fans of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City must be delighted, seeing their clubs occupy the top three spots in the English Premier League (EPL) standings at the moment.

The three teams are the only ones who have won all three games played so far.

It is not a surprise. For the clubs are helmed by arguably three of the best tacticians in the world.

Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte took up their new appointments this season and arrived with strong pedigrees.

Conte guided Juventus to the Serie A title during all three seasons he was in charge of the Italian club from 2011 to 2014.

Even though it is unlikely that this season will produce another fairy-tale run like Leicester City's victory last term, there is enough depth in the league to ensure that there are no easy games for the big teams.

Since beginning his managerial career in 2007, Guardiola has already won three Spanish La Liga titles with Catalan giants Barcelona and won the German Bundesliga as many times with Bayern Munich.

Mourinho has lifted the Champions League trophy twice (2004 and 2010), on top of eight domestic titles he won with four different teams.

They can be considered the "Super Three" coaches of the EPL.

There are few managers in the EPL who can match them in terms of winning top-flight football leagues.

Arsene Wenger has won the EPL thrice with Arsenal. Everton's Ronald Koeman won the Dutch Eredivisie thrice. Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp won the Bundesliga twice. Southampton's Claude Puel and Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri have each won the French Ligue 1 and EPL respectively once.

Just three games into the season and we can sense that the top three clubs are sending a strong statement to the rest of the teams that they mean business.

I know the boost this type of success in a big team can bring.

From the moment I joined Warriors FC and Tampines Rovers, who won a total of 14 S-League titles between them, I felt that there was a confidence and championship-winning mentality that made it hard for other teams to break.

But for the early front-runners, it is too soon to be rejoicing and too early to write off the other teams.

After all, they have not been tested by the top clubs yet.

So far, this season has gone the way I, as well as many other fans, have predicted.

Inconsistency has already troubled the chasing pack of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

But will a predictable season, one whose storylines are dominated by the big clubs, necessarily turn out to be a boring one? I do not think so.

Even though it is unlikely that this season will produce another fairy-tale run like Leicester City's victory last term, there is enough depth in the league to ensure that there are no easy games for the big teams.

I have a hunch that there could be some surprises and spoilers coming from less-fancied teams, including newly promoted sides Middlesbrough and Hull City.

For instance, the Red Devils needed a stoppage-time winner by substitute Marcus Rashford to scrape past Hull 1-0 last Saturday.

While the question among the three managers now is, 'Who will be the first to drop points?', the answer will come at the Manchester derby on Sept 10.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline ''Super Three' managers making their presence felt'. Print Edition | Subscribe