Premier League Season Review

Arsenal

A disappointing season that resulted in the end of an era. 22 years after coming into the top-job, Arsene Wenger finally made the decision to leave the the club. The French manager won 17 trophies at the Gunners, however the disappointments over the last few years were key to his decision. Arsenal have failed to qualify for the Champions League in the past two years. They were England’s only participant in the Europa League this year and many expected them to win the tournament. After an exciting run, they bowed out to Spanish side Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals.

Arsene Wenger farewells the fans.

Premier League wise, the season was a disaster. Many had become accustomed to Arsenal finishing in the top-four, however for the second consecutive season they missed out and finished in sixth place. They were on track to lose every away Premier League match in 2018, but a 1-0 victory at Huddersfield on the final matchday prevented that record.

The Gunners made an impressive run to the Carabao Cup final where they faced Manchester City, however a disappointing performance resulted in a 3-0 defeat. An embarrassing 4-2 loss to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup 3rd round did not allow Arsenal to retain their trophy. Overall, a shocking season with a sad end.

Grade: E

Tim Sperliotis

Bournemouth

The Cherries finished in 12th place and can consider their season a good one. Some highlights include the 3-0 away win against Chelsea and a 2-1 victory over Arsenal. They would be disappointed with their late November to December form, where they did not register a win in nine matches across all competitions.

April was also a difficult month for the Cherries, as they went five Premier League matches without a victory. Despite this, they finished off the season on a high, with two wins on the trot and with a few decent signings, they can push towards a top-half finish next season.

Grade: B-

Tim Sperliotis

Brighton

Coming into the season, there was only one goal for the newly promoted Seagulls, survival.

That mission was completed and we will once again get to see them strut their stuff in the big time next season. Despite threatening with the prospect of relegation in the back half of the season, the players stood tall when their club needed it most.

Manager Chris Houghton deserves to be in talks for manager of the season, after a terrific season. Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan drew plenty of plaudits throughout the season and rightfully so, producing several big performances, against the Premier League big boys. While he may have conceded goals, he certainly did stop a lot more finding the back of the net.

Pascal Gross was an exciting acquisition from Ingolstadt in Germany prior to the campaign and the Seagulls may have a battle to retain him with other clubs sure to be interested.

Grade: B

Brayden May

Burnley

Sean Dyche would have to be one of the only men to rival Pep Guardiola for manager of the season. Lifting the Clarets to seventh and subsequently securing a chance at the Europa League title.

While that may sound like a stretch for Burnley, so was finishing anywhere near the top sides of the Premier League 12 months ago.

Burnley managed just the one away win, along with 20 losses and a 16th place finish in the 2016/17 season. This year, The Clarets managed to take a total of 28 points away from Turf Moor as well as just the 12 losses for the entire season.

Dyche has transformed his side into a squad full of young, promising talent with great depth, particularly within the Clarets defensive third.

Burnley only conceded 39 goals for the season, one goal more than 4th place ranked Liverpool and Chelsea. James Tarkowski and Ben Mee lead the Clarets from the back, and rightfully put themselves in contention for team of the season.

New Zealand striker Chris Wood and Goalkeeper Nick Pope took their games to a new level, with Pope stepping up in the absence of Tom Heaton.

Dyche will look to stabilise the consistent efforts he found within his side this year, and perhaps turning to the transfer market to invest in a chance at grabbing a top six spot in 2019.

Grade: A

Mitch Keating

Chelsea

Once again the Blues failed to launch a proper title defence after ending the season as the reigning champions. Several players who helped guide the club to the title last season failed to reach the same heights this year, particularly their defence, which went through a major reshuffle.

On the new signings front, Tiemoue Bakayoko failed to fill the hole left by Nemanja Matic who joined Manchester United (and a player who evidently featured in the English Football Podcast’s Team of the Season). Meanwhile, Alvaro Morata started like a house on fire before being overtaken by January signing Olivier Giroud. Elsewhere, Antonio Rudigier proved to be a more than respectable signing.

Chelsea have failed to recapture their form from last season.

Rumours continued to swirl surrounding the future of Antonio Conte, who often cut a frustrated figure during the season. There was a lot more complaining from the Italian and it was clear he wasn’t happy with how the club was being run. His relationship with the club’s board has dwindled and we shouldn’t be surprised if he moves on.

A big off-season looms for the Stamford Bridge club if they wish to be in the title discussions next season, because as it stands they are a club with big question marks hanging over them. We shouldn’t be surprised if there are big changes during the summer transfer window, possibly with a new manager in charge.

Grade: C

Brayden May

Crystal Palace

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.

Palace looked like a sure bet to be relegated this season, but in the end Palace easily avoided relegation. A lot of Palace’s good form is due to the brilliance of Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian played in a more central role this year and scored nine goals in 28 starts. Zaha was also named the April Premier League Player of the Month for his four goals in four games.

Hodgson also deserves a lot of credit for the way he turned Palace’s season around. Hodgson’s reputation took a hit after his failure as England’s national team manager. But his record has always been good in the Premier League and once again guided a team away from relegation.

Grade: C

Christopher Chrysostomou

Everton

At the start of the season Everton were expected to be challenging for the top four. The Toffees had spent A$250 million on new players and the blend of the new arrivals with the talent already at the club was expected to propel them up the table.

But the loss of Romelu Lukaku left a massive void in the team and by mid October, Everton sat in the relegation zone. The Toffees sacked manager Ronald Koeman and replaced him with Sam Allardyce.

Allardyce’s arrival saw improvement in results and quickly the Toffees were out of the relegation fight and moved into mid table. Despite guiding Everton out of relegation, there wasn’t any harmony between Allardyce and the club. Fans protested against the style of play and booed Allardyce’s negative approach at home games. The fans protest were heard by the directors, who sacked Allardyce after their final game of the season.

Majority owner Farhad Moshiri has grand plans for the club and wanted Watford’s Marco Silva to replace Koeman in October. Now that Silva is without a job, Moshiri may try to get his man.

Despite avoiding early fears of relegation, Everton’s season is a failure because they failed to live up to the pre-season expectations.

Grade: D

Christopher Chrysostomou

Huddersfield

The new boys surprised us all in the first part of the season, with a string of victories giving them some confidence. A 2-1 win over Manchester United was no doubt a great moment in their history. Their form then dipped and relegation looked to be inevitable. One win between March and May highlighted this, however the Terriers managed to survive the drop and will compete in the Premier League for another season.

Aaron Mooy has starred this season.

One of the main men was Socceroo Aaron Mooy, who impressed many and featured in 36 of the 38 Premier League matches. Once he burned out, so did Huddersfield’s form, however they could be a team that finishes in the top half of the table next season with some good acquisitions. Overall, they surprised many and will be ecstatic to remain on the top division.

Grade: C-

Tim Sperliotis

Leicester

When Craig Shakespeare departed the club in October 2017, there was a genuine fear that the Foxes could be in for a relegation scrap, just two seasons after claiming the league title. Then came Claude Puel, a former Southampton manager, and his arrival was not very warmly welcomed by sections of the club’s supporters.

Looking back on it now, the Foxes couldn’t have got the appointment any more correct. Puel guided the club to another top half finish, ninth place. He continued to get the best out of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, although the Algerian did prove difficult during the January transfer window.

At the other end of the pitch, Harry Maguire proved to be one of the signings of the season and is only set to develop further next season. As a whole, there is plenty of room for improvement in this team.

Grade: C+

Brayden May

Liverpool

A season which offered so much promise on the domestic front, ended in Champions League qualification once again for the Anfield club. The signing of Mo Salah was easily the biggest bargain of the season, with the Egypt international romping to the Golden Boot with 32 goals – a record in a 38-game season.

Mo Salah was the Premier League player of the season.

On the European front, Jurgen Klopp’s men have one more mountain to conquer, Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26. As they have shown throughout the season they are capable of anything so we should not be surprised if they do scale the heights of the Champions League mountain.

Throughout the season, Klopp had an instrumental effect on some of the lesser likes in the Liverpool side. That included Dejan Lovern and Andrew Robertson, who arrived from Hull City in the summer, with the pair both becoming important regulars. Consistency was once again the main issue the club faced in the Premier League and if they can fix this ahead of next season there is no reason why they can’t challenge for the title.

Grade: B+

Brayden May

Manchester City

It is hard to believe that Pep Guardiola was ever questioned if he could perform in England. 100 points and 106 goals later see his second season at the helm of Manchester City to be arguably the most dominant in premier league history.

Apart from defeats to rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, City could not put a foot wrong throughout the year. Guardiola has found the best out of every player who has stepped onto the pitch and represented the Sky Blues.

The midfield trio of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho have taken over the league from matchday one. All three rightfully have an argument for a place in the Premier League’s team of the season.

Manchester City were unstoppable this season.

De Bruyne and Silva join winger Leroy Sane as the first trio of players to reach double digits in assists in Premier League history. Along with Sane, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and veteran Sergio Aguero together put on an unstoppable force for City, breaking the single season record for goals by one club.

It wasn’t just the forward half of Pep’s side that stood apart from the rest of the league. It was made clear after City’s record-breaking spending that Pep was looking to bolster his defensive stocks and managed to do so perfectly. Half backs John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have came under immense scrutiny shortly after signing for City and this year made any critic look foolish. Along with Kyle Walker and Brazilian Goalkeeper Ederson, City’s defense managed to concede just the 27 goals for the season, proving to be both an unstoppable force and an immovable object.

City will go into next season outright favourites and with such a youthful side already taking the championship, Premier League fans could be in for more of the same for some time.

Grade: A+

Mitch Keating

Manchester United

A second place finish and a spot in the FA Cup final would usually signal a successful season for a club. That is unless the team is Manchester United.

United 2017/18 campaign will be remembered as a season of unfulfilled expectations. United were supposed to be a title contender, after spending over A$500 million on player acquisitions in the past two years.

The season got off the best possible start, with successive 4-0 victories over West Ham and Swansea. United were on the tails of City until October, when Jose Mourinho parked the bus at Liverpool. From there, the gap between United and City was too large to overcome. United had the opportunity to reduce the deficit when City traveled to Old Trafford in December, but the 3-1 defeat ended any hopes of a title push.

Manchester United became a team to fear again this season.

2017/18 was not all doom and gloom for United. United defeated all the ‘big six’ teams, including an amazing come from behind away victory over Manchester City. United had little trouble coming up against the best sides in the Premier League, however, it was their inability to kill off the bottom half teams that proved costly.

United suffered defeats to all three promoted sides (Newcastle, Brighton & Huddersfield). The Red Devils either drew or lost to seven of the bottom 10 teams in the league. Added to this, they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Bristol City and the Champions League by Sevilla.

Despite their poor record against the bottom teams, United have proven they are a defensively competent team, conceding the second fewest goals and goalkeeper David De Gea awarded the Golden Glove for most clean sheets.

United will be expected to put up a better title fight next season, but to do that they will need to close the gap to a Manchester City side who only look like getting better.  

Grade: C+

Christopher Chrysostomou

Newcastle

The Magpies finished in a respectable 10th position under manager Rafa Benitez. A disastrous November and December left them with only one win and put them at risk of relegation. However, they recovered and results such as a 1-0 win over Manchester United, a 2-1 win over Arsenal and a 3-0 victory over Chelsea on the final day ensured they gained some confidence.

The off-season will be key, as some new signings can make them stronger and allow them to challenge for a European place. Ayoze Perez scored eight goals and got five assists, while Jonjo Shelvey’s looks to only get better.

Grade: C

Tim Sperliotis

Southampton

A Manolo Gabbiadini winner against Swansea confirmed Southampton’s survival in the premiership. While the success of avoiding relegation has brought a sigh of relief to the club, Saints fans should still feel on-edge heading into the new season.

For a side that has finished 8th or higher in the last four years, a 17th placed finish is nothing to celebrate. The Saints’ ability to perform at home has become an ongoing concern with just four wins to show for the season.

The mid-season loss of Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk certainly left a large gap in the Saints defense and soon cost the club its form.

The Saints endured an eight game winless run between February and April and soon found themselves deep into the relegation battle, prompting the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino.

Mark Hughes failed to lift the Saints’ spirits and soon found himself relying on the poor performances of other sides to help his side stay out of relegation.

Crucial home wins against Bournemouth and Swansea saw Southampton move out of the bottom three and guaranteed a spot in the Premier League next season.

Grade: D

Mitch Keating

Stoke City

After years of mid-table finishes, Stoke City have been relegated and the blame game has begun. Midfielder Charlie Adam said on BBC Five Live that some of his teammates were “getting away with murder”.

“As players, you have your seven or eight in the group that try to make it work, and we failed.

“I think some players have been getting away with murder for a long time and it’s difficult for supporters. It’s not just one or two, I think there are four or five that could be counted.”

Stoke had all the ingredients to cement a top half finish this season. The club had more Champions League winners in their squad then any other Premier League team this season.

But that was also the reason for their failure.

Players like Jese, Bojan and Ibrahim Afellay were frozen out of the squad because of poor performances and attitude. Giannelli Imbula was Stoke’s record signing but he was loaned out to Toulouse. Saido Berahino was once a top transfer target for Tottenham, but has failed to score a goal in his two seasons at Stoke.

Because of the poor form of these players, Stoke had to reply on the old brigade to keep them up. Peter Crouch was relied on to score goals, Adam and Joe Allen were expected to patrol the midfield.

Stoke messed up with their recruitment and paid the price with relegation to the Championship.

Grade: F

Christopher Chrysostomou

Swansea

At Christmas it looked as if Swansea were guaranteed to drop to the Championship, when Carlos Carvalhal took over from Paul Clement and for some time it looked as if they would survive towards the back half of the season. The 2017-18 campaign started in impressive fashion off the field, when the club captured Bayern Munich and Portugal youngster Renato Sanches on a season-long loan.

But just like the South Wales’ club season, that would end in disappointment. The club hit a purple patch between January and April where they lost just two matches to Brighton and Manchester United in a run of 11 games. During that period, Carvahal guided his side pass the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley. And for a time it looked as if they would survive.

Despite their wonderful show of fight, things came to a grinding halt as the club lost five straight matches to end the season. The final nail in the coffin, a 1-0 defeat at fellow relegation battlers Southampton, a result which left the club needing a miracle on the final matchday. A wonderful fightback ended in disaster, as their goal of remaining in the top-flight ended in tears.

Things weren’t made better by Cardiff City’ automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Grade: E

Brayden May

Tottenham

The 2017/18 season was another year which promised a lot, but delivered little for the Spurs. This season will be highlighted by a victory over Real Madrid and finishing on top of their Champions League group.

The Spurs also made the Semi-final of the FA Cup, but let slip of a 1-0 lead to Manchester United. Tottenham will rue their failure in the tournament because they have played home games at Wembley all season and would have had the home ground advantage if they made the final. Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to pick Michel Vorm, instead of captain Hugo Lloris in goal will be questioned for a long time as Vorm was at fault for United’s winning goal.

Tottenham have been arguably the most consistent side over the past three years but have no silverware to reward their good work. The squad is not deep enough to challenge for the Premier League title and their is an over reliance on Harry Kane to score the goals. This season Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool overtook Tottenham in the race for the title and with Chelsea and Arsenal likely to spend big in the summer transfer window, Tottenham may find themselves dropping out of the top four. Lucas Moura was brought in to compliment Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min in attack, but he has struggled for consistency.

Harry Kane showed why he is one of the best strikers in the world.

The Spurs needed to secure Champions League football, ahead of the move to their new stadium. Pochettino was able to deliver on expectations, but it is now time to deliver silverware.

Grade: B-

Christopher Chrysostomou

Watford

No Watford fan would be satisfied with a 14th place finish during their season previews. Yet after the sacking of Marco Silva, Hornets fans would probably have taken anything outside of the relegation zone.

A strong start to the season saw Watford sitting high on the table, losing only one of their first eight matches.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Brazilian forward Richarlison were pivotal in the Hornets early season form but soon faded, along with Watford’s performances in the second half of the season.

Kiko Femenia was another name to burst into the spotlight under Silva but his formed dropped off as the season progressed.

Javi Gracia took over the reigns of first team responsibilities in January but struggled to find any growth in results.

The Hornets conceded 31 goals at home in 2017/18, the most in the premiership and continued to drop points to sides below them in the standings.

Heading into next season, Gracia will look to the transfer market to add to what ended up being a disappointing finish for a side that had the potential to push for the top six.

Grade: D+

Mitch Keating

West Brom

Relying on three managers in the one season sums up the efforts made by the Baggies. Whilst a late run of form under caretaker Darren Moore gave West Brom fans hope, damage had already been done by the tenures of Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew.

The Baggies managed to win their first three games of the season, but were unable to grab a victory in their next ten and soon sent Tony Pulis packing.

The appointment of Alan Pardew had little to no effect on the sides performances with West Brom winning only one of 18 games under the silver fox.

In the midst of their nightmare run, the Baggies were soon under fire after Gareth Barry, Jonny Evans, Boaz Myhill and Jake Livermore were accused of stealing a taxi in Barcelona in February.

Moore took over the managerial position in April. Coming into the caretaker role, Moore soon increased his chances of the full time job with a fantastic run of late form, including a 1-0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Unfortunately, the run was too little, too late as relegation was confirmed with one game remaining. The Baggies have the squad to be successful in the Championship next season and could make a swift return to the Premier League.

Grade: F

Mitch Keating

West Ham

The Hammers finished in a disappointing 13th and manager Slaven Bilic was sacked mid-season. The campaign began with three straight Premier League losses and new manager David Moyes allowed them to find some form, with a 1-0 victory over London rivals Chelsea standing out.

Despite some disappointing results, West Ham finished the season on a high, going undefeated in their last three matches. Marko Arnautovic led the scoring for the Hammers with 11 goals and no doubt they would want to sign some more important players to help them charge up the table.

It was a tumultuous year at West Ham.

David Moyes left the club at the end of the season, after being told by the owners that his position was not guaranteed and that they would be interviewing other candidates for the manager position.

Grade: D

Tim Sperliotis

You can hear Brayden, Mitch, Tim and Chris weekly by subscribing to the English Football Podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud

 

Premier League 2017/18 mid-season report card

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.

Arsenal

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.

Will Alexis Sanchez be at Arsenal after the January transfer window?

Grade: C-

Bournemouth

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.

Grade: D

Brighton 

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.

Grade: B 

Burnley 

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.

James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have been rock solid in defence.

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.

Grade: B+

Chelsea

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.

Alvaro Morata has been a revelation at Chelsea.

Grade: B-

Crystal Palace

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.

Grade: C-

Everton

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.

Sam Allardyce has steady the ship since becoming Everton manager.

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.

Grade: D

Huddersfield

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.

Grade B+

Leicester 

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.

Grade: C

Liverpool 

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.

Mohamed Salah has netted 17 goals in the Premier League this season.

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.

Grade: B

Manchester City 

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.

Manchester City have enjoyed great success in 2017.

Grade: A+

Manchester United 

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.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has found life difficult at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho.

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.

Grade: C+

Newcastle 

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.

Grade: D

Southampton 

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.

Virgil Van Dijk’s departure will leave a hole in the Saints defence.

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.

Grade: D+

Stoke

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.

Stoke have not had a happy end to 2017.

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.

Grade: D

Swansea

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.

Grade: F

Tottenham

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.

Harry Kane fast becoming the most lethal striker in the world.

Tottenham may look to improve their squad depth in the January transfer window in the quest of clinching a top four spot.

Grade: C+

Watford

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.

Richarlison has been a shining light for Watford.

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.

Grade: C+

West Brom 

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.

Oliver Burke has failed to make an impact at West Brom.

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.

Grade: D

West Ham

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.

Grade: E

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