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'The top four are no longer invincible'

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"There are some good teams in the Premier League this year," the Manchester City boss said. "There is a focus on ourselves because we have the ambition to have a good season.

"But the fact there is a threat to the teams who have had those top four places is adding extra pressure.

"You just sense maybe that feeling of invincibility is no longer there. Other teams think they can take points off them."

>>Mark Hughes.

One of the features of the Premier League so far this season - whilst still at an early stage - is precisely what Hughes references in the article, that some of the perceived invincibility of the 'big four' has diminished, something we have witnessed with the results seen so far this season.

What has been important for the league is that not only are more perceived as a threat to the top four, but those sides - namely ourselves, Aston Villa and Tottenham - have all got off to good starts to be right amongst the pack. All three of the aforementioned sides do look to have a real confidence about them and a belief that they can crack the top four.

What is important is that with the chasing sides getting stronger, this sees more potential for the established top four sides dropping points and whilst United and Chelsea still look a shade above the rest of the league (primarily due to their consistency), Arsenal and Liverpool look less so.

Equally important though is the requirement to win those games that you should win and I posted a week or so ago that the next six games we faced (beginning with the Wigan one) would be a good test as they are what you would see as winnable ones (plus the Liverpool fixture that could be one to put some space between the two sides), and at the end of that block of fixtures we would be a third of the way through the season.

By then the 2009/10 Premier League should be beginning to take shape and those sides with high hopes will have a better idea of quite what they can achieve over the course of the season.