What happens when two stand-out favourites in a sporting event focus too much on each other? At the recent Olympics it was all about Rebecca Adlington v Lotte Friis in the women's 800 metres freestyle final. American teenager Katie Ledecky went on to win. Sport is littered with similar scenarios, which is why I raise the spectre of neither Manchester City nor Manchester United winning the Barclays Premier League this season, but Chelsea.
Two weeks ago I was predicting it was a two-horse race between the two Manchesters with Chelsea a comfortable third. But that was before I saw Chelsea for myself. This is not a kneejerk reaction because they have played three, won three and sit on top of the table, with the two Manchesters already dropping points in their first two fixtures. It is because they have two major additions to the team that won the Champions' League and the FA Cup - Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres.
Hazard, the £32 million signing from Lille, has been simply sensational so far, being man of the match in all three games and either scoring, winning penalties or providing assists in all. He already appears to be the stand out transfer of the summer, even over Robin Van Persie's move to Old Trafford. And Torres? Well, he may not be a new signing, but a Fernando Torres playing with confidence and scoring goals is, and that's exactly what he is doing this season. His second goal on Saturday to beat Newcastle is his third so far this season, and the best of the lot, scored with the outside of his right boot from the edge of the box after a neat one-two with Hazard that saw the ball fly high into the top corner of the net. Just imagine how potent Chelsea will be if they sport the Fernando Torres who was the best striker in the world when he first began to play for Liverpool?
Moreover, with the departure of Didier Drogba Chelsea appear to be playing more aesthetically-pleasing football, keeping the ball on the ground and having options rather than lumping it towards Drogba. Hazard's quick speed of thought and passing suits Torres down to a tee, and the results are there for all to see. Wins at Wigan and at home to Reading and Newcastle don't necessarily scream champions just yet, but on the evidence so far a Chelsea that can dominate Newcastle with Frank Lampard keeping the bench warm will be hard to beat. Next up? The Uefa Super Cup on Friday in Monaco versus Atletico Madrid. Will Chelsea win another trophy? Don't bet against it.