We are around two-thirds of the way into the Premier League season and with there being no matches taking place this weekend due to the FA Cup fifth round fixtures, it now seems like a perfect time to evaluate each club’s current league position and their campaign so far.
AFC Bournemouth: 11th
The Cherries got off to a flying start and there was even talk of potential European football coming to the Vitality. However, their fixtures took a turn for the worst during the Christmas period, which saw Bournemouth drop out of the top half but into a still, very respectable, 11th position.
Things started badly for Unai Emery, as his team’s first two performances looked similar to those under his predecessor, Arsene Wenger. But the Spaniard quickly turned things around and saw his side embark on a stunning 22-game unbeaten run. Since then though, Arsenal have been very inconsistent and their current league position downplays the overall impact that Emery has had on the Gunners.
Brighton and Hove Albion: 14th
It’s been another relatively solid campaign for Brighton and their underrated manager, Chris Hughton. The Seagulls are excellent at home but their poor away form has meant that they are still involved in the relegation battle. Hughton’s side are still relying on the goals of 35-year-old striker Glenn Murray which makes you wonder what would happen if, because of his age, he picked up a bad injury.
The Clarets finished 7th in the Premier League last season, so comparatively, this term has been a disappointing one. Despite this, since Tom Heaton regained the No.1 goalkeeper jersey, Sean Dyche’s men are unbeaten in seven games and look like they will beat the drop as a result of their rejuvenated defensive solidarity and potent attack.
Cardiff City: 17th
The Bluebirds are right in the thick of the fight to stay in the league but they have done a lot better than most people, including myself, expected. After what has happened off the pitch over the last couple of months with their record signing, Emiliano Sala, passing away in a plane accident, Neil Warnock and his players are doing a remarkable job and every neutral Premier League fan will be hoping that they can achieve their goal of staying in the division.
Maurizio Sarri’s side started the season strongly, keeping up with the pace set by Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the table, over the first couple of months of the season. Although, since then, Chelsea have not met their high expectations and with the Blues recently losing 4-0 away to Bournemouth and 6-0 to City at the Etihad and Sarri seemingly refusing to change the way he sets up his team, many people believe the Italian is on the verge of the sack and will almost certainly not be at Stamford Bridge next season if his team don’t finish in the top four.
Crystal Palace: 13th
The Eagles have been impressive defensively this term, keeping nine clean sheets. Their problems though, have come at the other end of the field. Roy Hodgson’s team rely on moments of brilliance from the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend or penalties from Luka Milivojevic for their goals. Palace will be hoping that loan signing Michy Batshuayi will contribute too and either way, they should stay up pretty comfortably due to the players in their squad.
Despite being in the top half, this season has been pretty woeful for Everton. In August, some thought that the Toffees looked destined to challenge for a place in the top six after starting well, but due to a lack of a goal threat up front and a defence that has shipped 39 goals already, many people believe that Marco Silva’s time could be up at Goodison.
Fulham have been a very entertaining team to watch this season. Their attack, led by Aleksandr Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle has been impressive and is better than that of most of the clubs around them in the standings, but the problem for them, is that their defence is a lot worse. Although they spent over £100 million in the summer, the Cottagers’ have conceded nearly 60 goals this campaign, leaving them eight points from safety and seemingly destined for the Championship.
Huddersfield Town: 20th
Another club that look like they will be getting relegated is Huddersfield. They find themselves rock bottom, on just 11 points, after scoring only 14 goals. Many thought that the Terriers were lucky to avoid relegation last season, but it doesn’t look like they will have enough luck to save them this time around.
Leicester City: 12th
The Foxes are certainly safe from relegation but they are probably equally certain of not getting European football this term. Claude Puel’s outfit are hit and miss, as a win against the Champions, Manchester City, followed up by a loss to League Two side, Newport County, in the FA Cup shows. If Leicester played to the best of their ability most weeks, they would definitely be one of the clubs that could seriously threaten the top six.
The Reds have had a superb season so far. The fact that in 2017/18, Jurgen Klopp’s charges finished a whopping 25 points behind Man City and now, currently, they are level on points with them, with a game in hand, shows how well Liverpool have done. If they win their extra match, they will be three points clear at the top, but this could have been even more if they’d not dropped some points recently, that they shouldn’t have done.
Manchester City: 1st
It was always going to be difficult to follow up their incredible, record-breaking campaign last term, and City have struggled by their extremely high standards. They are top of the tree currently, but Pep Guardiola will be disappointed that his side will have to rely on at least one slip-up from Liverpool in order to retain the title.
Manchester United: 4th
Man United got off to a bad start this term, which ultimately culminated with the sacking of then manager, Jose Mourinho. Since club legend, Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer took the reins, however, based on form, the Red Devils have been the best team in the division. United have gone from looking like they would finish outside the top six, to managing to get a place in the top 4, all in the space of less than two months. Of course, a club as big as Manchester United, want to be challenging for trophies, but if they manage to qualify for the Champions League for next season, this campaign has to go down as somewhat of an unexpected success.
Newcastle United: 16th
With the squad that Rafa Benitez has at his disposal, the Spaniard is doing a good job and many Newcastle fans must be wondering how well they could do in the Premier League if owner, Mike Ashley, invested some more money into the team. That being said, the club have recently broken their transfer record to bring in Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United for £21 million, so it will be interesting to see if he improves the Magpies and helps them to remain in the division.
The Saints looked like they were almost certainly going to be relegated, under Mark Hughes, at the beginning of the season and even though they are still in the relegation places, the team has improved a lot since Ralph Hassenhuttl replaced Hughes as manager. They are just one point from safety and it will be a surprise for most, if they do end up going down.
Tottenham Hotspur: 3rd
Although they still haven’t won a trophy under manager Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham continue to improve in the Premier League. They are nine points clear of Man United in fourth and are only five points behind Liverpool and Man City. Strikingly, Spurs have achieved this without spending a single penny in either the summer or January transfer windows.
Manager, Javi Gracia, has done very well at Vicarage Road this season. His team are defensively solid, creative and score goals. When Gracia became boss, I for one, wasn’t sure how good a job he would do but he has proved me and plenty of others wrong and the Hornets look set to challenge Wolves, who they trail by two points, for seventh place in the table.
West Ham United: 10th
The Hammers got off to a slow start under Manuel Pellegrini this season but the Chilean coach quickly turned things around. Thanks to goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and forwards, Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic, West Ham will stay up comfortably and if they’d started the campaign better, they wouldn’t have been too far off the top six.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: 7th
What a job Nuno Espirito Santo has done at Wolves this term. He has made his team difficult to break down at the back, hard-working in the middle of the pitch and dangerous upfront. Admittedly, the club spent quite a lot of money in the summer, but Santo has done brilliantly to get his men regularly playing like they are a seasoned Premier League outfit.
What have you made of your clubs season so far? Let us know in the comments below!