With half of the 2017/18 Premier League season behind us, Brayden May, Christopher Chrysostomou, Mitch Keating and Tim Sperliotis from the English Football Podcast grade the form of every Premier League team from the season so far.
A not-so-great first half of the season for the Gunners. For the remainder, they need to keep getting victories and take a big scalp or two to return to the top four. Winning the Europa League is a MUST. A 3-3 home draw to Liverpool and 3-1 home loss to Manchester United could come back to bite them.
Retaining the services of Alexis Sanchez will go a long way in securing a spot in the top four.
The Cherries are currently a threat of being relegated at the end of the season. Stuck on four wins, they need to grind out a few results and secure their safety. Key forward Jermain Defoe is missing until late February with a long-term injury. Will be interesting to see where they finish.
Brighton and Hove Albion fans will enter the new year with a big a smile following an impressive start to the campaign. Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan has produced several match saving performances thus far and looks a real smart summer purchase. They will be interesting to watch over the coming months as they aim to stay in the top flight.
Having flirted with a top four place in mid December, the Clarets have proven they are the best side to break into the top six, as they comfortably sit in limbo between the Premier League giant six and the mid table.
A key factor for Sean Dyche’s success has been his consistent reliance on the starting lineup. Burnley average just 0.9 changes to their starting lineup – the fewest of any Premier League side, with the next fewest being Leicester’s 1.5 changes per week. Centre-backs James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have been the shining light for Burnley’s season, with both defenders having put themselves into contention as the best half backs in the league.
The next month of football for Burnley will prove their worth in the league, with fixtures again Liverpool and both Manchester sides, the Clarets could see themselves press for a top six spot or fall into the middle of the table.
It would take an almighty collapse from Manchester City for Antonio Conte’s side to claim back-to-back titles so now it’s about a top four finish.
Alvaro Morata has been a revelation since crossing from Real Madrid in the summer, scoring on a consistent basis. Last season’s title winning defence has been chopped and changed throughout and those rotations have seen the Blues pay.
The 2017/18 season could not have started any worse for Crystal Palace. After losing their opening four matches without scoring a goal – the first team in 93 years to have begun a top flight season in such fashion, Palace sacked manager Frank De Boer, making him the shortest reigning manager in Premier League history.
De Boer was replaced by Roy Hodgson who also had trouble changing the clubs fortunes. Hodgson lost his opening three matches in charge without hitting the scoresheet, before a 2-1 victory over Chelsea ended the Eagles seven game winless start to the season.
Since the victory over Chelsea, Palace have achieved three victories and six draws and have moved out of the relegation zone. A lot of Crystal Palace’s resurgence has to do with Wilfried Zaha returning from injury. After missing the start of the season, Zaha has netted four goals and has drawn the interest of Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Crystal Palace will be hoping to hold onto Zaha if they are going to avoid a relegation battle.
How do you grade Everton’s season? Pre season expectations were high at Goodison Park after the Toffees spent £153 million on new signings. But without Romelu Lukaku up front the Toffees lacked a goal scorer and come late October the club sat in 18th place and sacked manager Ronald Koeman.
David Unsworth was placed as caretaker manager but even he couldn’t restore the sinking ship, winning only two of his eight matches in charge.
The announced appointment of Sam Allardyce had an instant impact on the club and in Unsworth’s final match as manager, Wayne Rooney scored a hat rick to give the Toffees a 4-0 victory over West Ham.
The appointment of Allardyce has drawn criticism from Everton fans, but it is undeniable Allardyce has been able turn the Toffees season around. By the time Koeman was sacked, the club had conceded 28 goals in the league. Under Allardyce, Everton have kept five clean sheets in seven league fixtures. The Toffees have also gone undefeated under Allardyce and sit in ninth position on the table.
Despite the recent upturn in Everton’s fortunes the 2017/18 has been a failure for the club, given they were expected to challenge for a top four spot this season.
A great start to the Premier League season for the newly promoted side. Not many expected they would be higher than the bottom half of the table, however they currently sit in 11th position. Aussie Aaron Mooy is key to their success and could be the one to help them finish in the top half.
Many questioned the appointment of Claude Puel following Craig Shakepeare’s sacking but it has worked a treat. The Foxes are back playing some of their best football and it has been a joy to watch. They face a major challenge in January in trying to keep hold of Riyad Mahrez who has been heavily linked to Arsenal and Roma.
It was made well aware that Liverpool will be relying on their fire power up front to keep them afloat with the fellow top six sides before the season had started.
The inclusion Mohamed Salah has proven to be the signing of the season with the Egyptian having scored 17 goals and five assists to date.
Reds fans will be delighted with the signing of Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk, as Jurgen Klopp looks to repair his sides defensive woes after conceding 20 goals away from home. Klopp will be eyeing the mid January fixture against Manchester City at Anfield as the game that could shape the Reds’ season and hopes for a top four finish.
Just two points dropped at this stage of the season has Pep Guardiola’s side well on their way to the Premier League crown. The Sky Blues have been exciting to watch not just for their own supporters but also the neutral. Their free flowing football is only going to get better. Right now it’s almost hard to see them losing a match in the league. While Champions League glory is not out of the question.
Surely a team sitting in third place would consider the 2017/18 season a success? That is unless the team has spent close to £300 million in two years and are 14 points behind the top of the table Manchester City. Manchester United have not sat this high up on the table since the Sir Alex Ferguson era came to an end in 2013. Yet there is a sense of disappointment in the fans who have begun resenting Jose Mourinho’s constant negativity.
The fans have been unhappy with Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Shaw has been Mourinho’s whipping boy for over a year and Mkhitaryan has found himself on the outer since his signed for the club last summer. Mourinho has also lamented the clubs lack of depth and claimed he will need to spend even more money to compete with Manchester City.
The gap between the two Manchester teams was no more evident than their first meeting of the season. At the time City were only eight points ahead of United on the table. Mourinho deployed a team that would hit City on the counter but against a side that don’t give the ball away, United did not have a chance to exploit City’s defensive weaknesses.
In the six matches after the Derby Day misery, United were held to three draws and a humiliating defeat to Bristol City in the League Cup.
This season was suppose to be the campaign where Manchester United showed themselves to once again be a Premier League force. Despite being well behind their city counterparts, United have proven to be the ‘best of the rest’ and for the most part of the season, but a recent dip in form has hampered their progress.
The Magpies are still a threat to be relegated. Need to win as many matches as possible in order to stay another season in the league. January will be an interesting time to see whether they sign a couple of players to help their fight. However, they will likely survive.
The Saints have only two wins to show since mid September. With just 13 points from a possible 33 at St. Mary’s Stadium this season, Southampton have fallen into the relegation conversation.
The Saints have struggled to piece together a run of consistent football throughout the season as they fail to capitalise on winning positions. They now sit just two points ahead of 18th placed Bournemouth following a lacklustre December.
Come January 1st, the Saints will lose half-back Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool, giving Mauricio Pellegrino a chance to improve his side through signings with money in the bank. Picking up three points against an out of form Manchester United would be a perfect end to the year in the Saints’ hopes of avoiding a drop to the relegation zone.
When Mark Hughes replaced Tony Pulis as manager of Stoke in 2013, it was believed the club would finally break away from the direct, robust style that made Stoke one of the most boring teams to watch in the league. Four years on and Stoke are still a team ever reliant on Peter Crouch up front.
Stoke are a team complacent with being mid table in the Premier League, despite having the most Champions League winners of any Premier League team in their squad.
This season has seen Stoke toil with the prospect of relegation. The Potters sit three points above 18th place Bournemouth and calls for Mark Hughes sacking have intensified.
At times this campaign Hughes has deployed a 3-4-2-1 formation, but with the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Mame Biram Diouf and Erik Peters in the team, Hughes using this formation is like trying to build a house out of plywood.
Stoke’s main aim is to avoid relegation, which they so far have managed to avoid the drop zone but a 5-0 defeat to Chelsea will surely put Hughes’ job in jeopardy.
The drop seems inevitable for the South Wales club this season, as a change of manager hasn’t appeared to help their cause just yet. Goals have been difficult to come by with just 13 goals to date – which is simply terrible for this level of football. The absence of Gylfi Sigurdsson has been a major reason for their downfall.
Following their second place finish last season, there were hopes Tottenham may make the leap forward and win their first title since 1961. But like fellow teams, the Spurs have been outshone but the undefeated Manchester City. Tottenham sit fifth on the table and have struggle for continuity while playing home matches at Wembley Stadium.
Injuries have tested the depth of the Spurs squad and with Toby Alderweireld having been injured for a majority of the campaign, Spurs have conceded 20 goals so far, six less than their total for the 2016/17 season.
Dele Alli has struggled to recapture last seasons form, but fortunately for Tottenham, Harry Kane has taken his game to another level. Kane leads the EPL scoring with 18 goals.
Tottenham may look to improve their squad depth in the January transfer window in the quest of clinching a top four spot.
With a forgetful last month and a half, Hornets fans can thank their strong start to the season for their position in mid table. The shining light for Watford’s season has been the emergence of Abdoulaye Doucouré and Brazilian forward Richarlison. The duo have netted a total of 11 goals, with Richarlison also managing four assists this year.
Marco Silva will be praying for a change in form come January with his side only managing three wins since October 21st, after losses to newly promoted sides Brighton and Huddersfield and 16th placed Crystal Palace.
For a club known for its strong starts to a Premiership campaign, the Baggies have had a forgetful first few months to the 2017/18 season.
With Alan Pardew now at the helm, West Brom are eyeing an alteration for on-field performances. They are currently winless in their last 10 matches and continue to fall deeper into the bottom three, as they currently sit just two points above last placed Swansea. The inclusions of Oliver Burke, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Jay Rodriguez have failed to spark the side and Pardew will now have to spend in January to keep the Baggies in the Premier League.
A horrible start to their season for the Hammers. Manager Slaven Bilic was sacked and replaced by David Moyes. You would think that the former Manchester United and Everton manager will guide the Hammers to safety. Some momentum will see them finish mid table. The 1-0 victory over Chelsea and the draw against Arsenal in December will no doubt give them some hope and confidence.