Jose Mourinho has insisted that there are seven teams who could title for the Premier League title this season, all on a level footing with European competition to contend with.
Chelsea and Liverpool both took advantage of a complete lack of European football last season to perform above expectations after shaky 2015/16 seasons, but this season sees all of the sides expected to challenge for the title facing midweek away trips around the continent.
Speaking to the press on Friday ahead of his Manchester United side's opening weekend fixture against West Ham at Old Trafford, Mourinho said: “Everybody – the top seven – are all in Europe. Last season, two of them were not in Europe.
"This time we’re all in the same basket and it’s going to be the same for everybody. Okay, some will have the luck to play on Tuesday or Wednesday, or Saturday or Sunday. But, in the end, the number of matches will be the same for everybody. Arsenal and Everton are in the Europa League, so they have to play on Thursdays.
“But the top seven, we’re going to be in the four competitions, so there’s no advantage for any one of us. I’d say there are seven teams to fight for the title. It’s the objective of every one of the top teams and every one of the top team managers.”
Arsenal opened the season with an extraordinary game at home to Leicester on Friday night, twice coming from behind to snatch a 4-3 win inside the last 10 minutes thanks to goals from substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.