Jan Vertonghen
Jan Vertonghen expects as many as six sides to challenge for the Premier League title. [Reuters]

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen believes there could be as many as six sides capable of winning the Premier League title this season and admits that he is surprised to see Liverpool and Arsenal emerging as contenders.

Arsenal are two points clear at the top of the league, while Liverpool slipped down to third after their draw with Newcastle but have still only lost one league game this season.

There is renewed optimism among both sets of supporters but it seems there could well be an open title race with a number of sides demonstrating their quality in the early part of the season.

Vertonghen was always confident that Tottenham would be in contention for the title come May but he admits he has been somewhat surprised to see Liverpool and Arsenal so high up the table.

"Before the beginning of the season, everybody would have said Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and maybe us," Vertonghen told the Evening Standard.

"But now we see Arsenal at the top and Liverpool third and you have to take them as favourites as well. We have six favourites and Everton are doing very well, too."

Tottenham are just three points behind Arsenal after getting back to winning ways at the weekend by beating Aston Villa, having suffered a huge upset when they lost 3-1 to West Ham in their last league game.

The north London club spent heavily in the summer as Andre Villas-Boas looked to create some depth in the squad after losing star player Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.

New signings Paulinho and Roberto Soldado have particularly impressed but it has been the somewhat surprising form of Andros Townsend that has caught the eye.

Having invested so heavily Villas-Boas will be desperate to deliver a top four finish but it seems there will be plenty of competition with several clubs all hoping to land a place in next season's Champions League.