Nigel de Jong believes Sunderland’s shock win at Chelsea last weekend proves that this season’s Premier League is set to be one of the tightest contests for many years.
West Brom, Blackpool and Stoke have all recorded unexpected wins against some of the leading clubs already this campaign and de Jong reckons there are more shocks in store.
“Sunderland showed that if you have belief, anything is possible and I think this will be a strange season where anyone can beat anyone,” said the Dutch midfielder.
“The gap between the teams at the top and the chasing pack is closing and that means there are going to be some odd results.
“Everyone knows how difficult Chelsea are to beat, but they’ve lost two of their last three games and were beaten heavily at home last weekend - a result nobody could have predicted.
“Against Birmingham we were expected to win the game – and should have done because we had enough chances -but we didn’t play as well as we can and they came to stifle our play.
“The important thing is, despite not being at our best, we still picked up something from the game – what was disappointing from our point of view is that a lot teams around us also dropped points and we didn’t take advantage of it.”
Fulham are City’s next opponents on Sunday and De Jong thinks the fact the Cottagers are managed by former boss Mark Hughes will make it a tough encounter for the Blues.
He said: “It will be an interesting game on Sunday because obviously we are playing our old manager and he knows most of our squad quite well.
I think it will be a difficult game because even though Fulham haven’t won too many matches, they haven’t lost many either
...Nigel de Jong
“Craven Cottage is a difficult place to go but we have to go there looking for nothing less than three points and take the game to them.
“We’re like a boxer in the corner at the moment and we’re trying to fight our way out. We’ve taken a few punches and now it’s time to starting battling back.”