Just over halfway into the Premier League season and it has already provided plenty of entertainment. As per usual there has been a quiet January transfer window. Danny Drinkwater joins Villa on loan, Jack Rodwell joins Sheffield United on a free and Liverpool bolster their squad with Takumi Minamino who cost £7.25m from Red Bull Salzburg. As a lot can still happen in the second half of the season especially with a lot of managerial changes we have a short team by team summary below.
Well… Liverpool has gone 365 days unbeaten in the Premier League. This is inspirational. Klopp came close to winning it last season but narrowly lost it. They then won the champions league and are now on route to win the Premier League as they have a solid 13 point lead! They just don’t seem to look like losing and if they do, they somehow turn it around. I’ve been really impressed with their whole back four and strikeforce, but who I feel doesn’t get enough plaudits is Jordan Henderson. He really gets the team going, he is a very talented footballer, he isn’t the best, but personally, he is a great captain for Liverpool and I don’t think they would be in the position they are in now if it wasn’t for him.
This Leicester team is playing outstanding football. To believe they have more points now than what they did at this stage when they won the league is unbelievable. They are playing lovely attacking and creative football which Brendan Rodgers has seemed to master in the players this year. They seem too far away to reach Liverpool but what an achievement it will be if they finish second. Leicester probably deserves to finish second over Manchester City. They have spent much less and they seem a lot more comfortable during games than City at certain points.
Manchester City may just have thrown away a chance at the league. Although there is another second half of the season left, they are always vulnerable to a mistake and a shock result. This has happened too many times this campaign and unfortunately for them, they are going to struggle to get anywhere near Liverpool this year. Pep has done amazing things with this City team, but they have lost 5 games this season which is too many compared to Liverpool. Silly mistakes at the back have cost them, maybe due to Pep playing midfielders in the back 3/4 sometimes. They are in good competition with Leicester now for second and third place.
Chelsea has surprised a lot of people. With the signing of Frank Lampard at the start of the season, everyone thought they would struggle. Even with a series of doubters he had a great start so far. They have the odd result go against them which is expected, but this Chelsea side has to continue this way throughout this season and finish top 4. Then they can knuckle down and try to compete for the title over the next couple of seasons. Chelsea will not be afraid to throw money at the team if they believe that Lampard can get the job done. So far Chelsea’s faith in Frank Lampard has been rewarded but will this still be the case at the end of the season?
United haven’t been the same. They seem to try everything, but nothing is working. Fans thought Ole could save them but again, they have poor performances which lead to poor results. They have only 3 clean sheets in the league, 2 of those came against Chelsea and Leicester. This puts them 18th in the whole league for clean sheets. To be fair, they may not play the prettiest of football and they may not be a title-challenging team who are consistent week in week out anymore, but they are still 5th in the league with 31 points. They do get results their way, but again basics are costing them games and vital points. They need to strengthen the midfield and possibly improve the squad depth in defence as there are too many goals being conceded. Also, there are too many teams are dominating the midfield against them. I wouldn’t be surprised if United drip down and finish 6/7th this season.
Spurs have been up and down. They haven’t really had any real decent run of form. They aren’t the Tottenham side we all fear, however they are still getting enough points against teams to sit in 6th. Mourinho I feel was a good signing for them as they needed to be pushed and motivated, but so far Mourinho hasn’t got them doing the basics very well. He isn’t seeing out games and he is conceding too many goals once again. They will finish 5th or 6th but they have the potential to finish a few places higher if they can just master doing the basics right. Spurs only have 2 clean sheets this year, the worst amount of clean sheets in the whole league.
7th place Wolves have had a bumpy road this season. They started off a little up in the air but soon after, began to settle down and really get some wins under their belts. Including beating Manchester City twice, drawing to Manchester United and narrowly losing to Liverpool 1-0. They play lovely football and score plenty of goals. They have tallied 30 goals this season which is the 7th highest in the league so far. Both Raul Jimenez and Joao Moutinho have got themselves 6 assists each this season. This is the 5th highest in the league. Once more, this shows Wolves are an attacking side with some good creative players. They fully deserve to be in the position they are in now and I believe they can even qualify for European places.
Sheffield United has surprised a lot of people this year with how well they have played and how well they are surviving in the Premier League. 7 wins and 6 losses show that they are comfortable with life in the Prem and can grab points from games without dominating the game. They have earned themselves 7 clean sheets all season which is the second-highest in the league. This tells us that Sheffield United are hard to break down. This is a strong reason why I feel they can finish in the top 10 this year. Coming off two losses to City and Liverpool at the start of the year will be difficult. Sheffield United will need to bounce back and show the same resilience that we have seen so far.
With 7 wins and 7 losses, Palace is doing well and deserves to be in 9th position. James McArthur seems to be quite influential by setting up a couple of goals. MacArthur is the one feeding passes into talented forwards like Zaha and Jordan Ayew. He breaks up the play in midfield and has proven this by making the most tackles in the side with (45). Zaha is a real threat for opponents as he gives Palace an out ball.
Records are being broken this season by Arsenal and these records aren’t ones to be proud of. It has been one of the worst starts to a season for them this campaign. They no longer seem to be a club that teams fear to play. The fans aren’t behind them and results aren’t going their way. A change has slowly started to be seen as Arteta has come in. Arsenal needs to realise that they will be a top 10 team for the next 2 seasons minimum as they try to regain their big team status. They can’t keep on living in their famous history. They will finish around 8th position this year.
Everton has been really disappointing this season, but is it the start of something special for the Toffees? Ancelotti has given Everton fans some hope of turning their poor season around. He has made an immediate impact by getting them 2 back to back wins before having to face Manchester City on New Years Day. Ancelotti seems to have the players working for him and has gone back to basics with them and it seems to be working so far. Will Arsenal end up regretting their decision with Arteta over Ancelloti? Catch the debate sponsored by us over the managers here.
After again a fairly tough start to the season, the Saints have brought it back. The man behind it all, Danny Ings. What a season he is having. He is drawing second in the league of most goals scored (13). He is really leading the attacking force for the Saints. I was critical of Southampton lacking any proper attacking force and no creativity in their side. They have managed to somehow dig themselves out of a hole and start to grab points from games. This will really help them finish in a decent position if they can continue to nick points.
With a decent 7 wins so far in the league, Newcastle is holding their own and doing alright. The standout players have to be Jonjo Shelvey and Mathew Longstaff when he’s fit. They really keep the team ticking and they both have goals in them. If Shelvey can stay fit and Longstaff gets back from injury, then Newcastle could have a very good chance of finishing 10th place. Newcastle has lost their last 3 league games and needs to try and get some more momentum going.
After a very tough start to the Premier League, Brighton has made a recovery and is now sitting 14th in the League with 6 wins to their name. Neal Maupay is their best goalscorer with 7 goals this season. If he keeps up his form, he should help Brighton stay up and possibly see them finish in and around midtable. Brighton is also rumoured to former United and current Lyon right-back Rafael da Silva.
Burnley have had a decent opening half to the season with 7 wins with 7 cleans sheets. They still have 11 losses with 34 goals conceded. They seem to struggle when coming up against big teams like Manchester City and Chelsea, where they would go on to concede quite a few goals. Therefore, I would keep Burnley in the lower half of the table but I do not think they’re a team to be relegated this campaign.
The Hammers who recently appointed David Moyes for the second time has had a disappointing start. Manuel Pellegrini played the wrong system and the wrong game plan most games. It looked that every game they went 1-0 up, they just wanted to sit back and protect that lead. This isn’t what West Ham fans and most importantly the team want to do. They have star players like Felipe Anderson who can bring so much to West Ham but hasn’t had the chance under Pellegrini. Whether Moyes is the right move for West Ham or not still remains to be seen. If he can get the team performing well there is no doubt West Ham have the quality to start climbing up the table.
Villa has been ok this season so far. With 6 wins and 12 losses to their name, Villa needs to start to up their performance and get a few more wins. For a recently promoted team, they are doing well, but they need to strengthen up the midfield and defence to prevent goals from going in. They need to start getting a hold of the second balls and providing good supply to the forwards. Their new signing of Wesley looks a good hold up player, which Villa will need against the big teams, but they have to get the ball to him. At the moment, they aren’t doing that enough. With assistant manager John Terry, who has loads of experience in the Premier League as do Villa themselves, I don’t feel like they will go straight back down. I feel they will have a few seasons finishing around 15th/ 16th in the league.
The Cherries have had 1 win in their last 10 games in the Premier League. Surprisingly, this win has come against a good Chelsea side. This shows that Bournemouth can beat any team in front of them, but they are not comfortable enough as a team. Yes, they have been hit with a load of injuries which has caused them to drop points. However, if they want to stay up this season, they need to spend some money and improve their squad depth. They should look to start from the back and improve their defence as they have conceded 32 goals this season which averages over 1 goal a game. I feel they will survive relegation but only just.
What looked to have been a nightmare of a season, might just be one of the best escapes from the relegation places for Watford. With their fourth manager this season, Nigel Pearson has finally got Watford playing the way they should be. They have managed to gain 10 points from their last 4 games. They have not dominated possession, but they have been clinical and positive when breaking forward; something they lacked earlier this season. With this in mind and if they keep this us, I feel they have a great chance of escaping relegation.
Norwich City is looking vulnerable and a probability of being relegated. The Canaries looked to have played good football that looked great on the eye. All the while having the least amount of money spent in the league. As the season has progressed, they have lacked premier league experience and they haven’t managed to get results out of games. They are without a win in their last 8 games. This tells me that they need to spend money on some experienced premier league players for them to make a remarkable comeback. I do feel it is too much for them and feel like they will be playing Championship football next year.