By Johnny Cantor
I think it is fair to say that the Premier League table has a rather unfamiliar look at the moment.
Some people may have predicted the top two with 11 games gone but few would have thought Sheffield United would be sixth or Brighton and Hove Albion would be eighth?
I suspect many might have expected Leicester to be challenging the major sides but it is refreshing to see - all be it after just under a third of the campaign.
This week on the Albion Unlimited podcast, the BBC’s chief football writer Phil Mcnulty described it as a good time for clubs to strike as the league was so "fluid".
Well teams like those mentioned above, as well as Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, are giving it a go. One thing that also occurred to us was that six of the managers whose teams occupy the top nine places are British.
You may feel it doesn’t matter but there is certainly a current move towards giving British coaches and younger coaches a chance. Outside of the top nine there are another three managers from these shores, Sean Dyche, Steve Bruce and Dean Smith.
In turn many of these coaches are giving an opportunity to younger British players in the Premier League. It has to be a good thing for the National teams as well. On the South Coast Aaron Connolly has made his full Republic of Ireland debut and Steven Alzate has been named in the Columbia squad.
For the brief period when football relents in the summer I get to speak to Sussex Cricket coach Jason Gillespie. He too sees the progression of younger players as key. He often reminds members of the media that all players were young once and everyone needs to be given a chance.
It isn’t actually about age or any other demographic though. For me, we all need to be given an opportunity. It could be at any level. Some have worked hard for the chance like Chris Wilder at Sheffield United.
This week Mcnulty also highlighted the progression of Wilder’s Sheffield United side as one of the biggest stories in the Premier League. If the Yorkshireman hadn’t done so well, Albion head coach Graham Potter would probably have received more attention.
Eddie Howe is now an established coach but I remember doing his first ever post-match interview away at Darlington. He has certainly taken his chance and may yet get a bigger job amongst the established "elite".
Roy Hodgson also deserves huge credit for what he is doing in difficult circumstances and his career is a shining beacon for many others hoping to achieve success. Many clubs will be watching and admiring the job that Brendan Rodgers is doing with his side.
The Foxes couldn’t do it again, could they? There are so many stories in the Premier League from the title race to the bid to beat the drop.
Managers will come and go as the season progresses but I for one will be eager to see where some of the men in charge will be in May. The league positions of their teams could be a surprise to us all.