Premier League - Half Time Review
Football : Premier League - a review at the halfway stage.
So, Christmas is over and the only turkey still in sight is in charge of Crystal Palace. The party from New Year is over, unless your Wayne Rooney, who’s just getting started it seems.
After a major run of fixtures in December, the FA Cup and League Cup give a moment of respite in which we can have a little look at where each team stands so far. A link to the Premier League Table is here.
Liverpool - Well they look pretty tasty don’t they. The game against Man City showed that their normally solid defence can be breached, and that with some clever marking, the attacking trident of Salah, Firmino and Mane can be nullified. However, they will still have to lose at least once, if not twice for Man City to overtake them.
Man City - A dreadful run saw them drop away from Liverpool, but the irony is they are still only 4 points behind at this stage. Their standards are set high, and expect them to go on a long run now they have the bit between their teeth. Guardiola might even like the pressure being on the scousers.
Tottenham - Going nicely until a wobble against Wolves. Much will depend on keeping Kane fit and Vertoghen and Dier making returns from injury. They will probably keep the wallet in their pocket, so expect Oliver Skipp to become more important as they fight on all fronts to get some silverware from this season.
Chelsea - Going well but would seem that a striker is needed to really compete with Man City and Liverpool. Morata doesn’t seem to have any confidence. As usual, much rests on the shoulders of Eden Hazard.
Arsenal - To have conceded 31 goals at halfway would suggest the main area that needs work is the defence. Their midfield is mobile and the strikers they have can fire big time on their given day. They need to mop up points from the bottom half when they can, and try and turn up for the big games as they did against Tottenham back in December.
Man Utd - Looks like a run is underway. Spurs in the league next will see what Ole has when facing up to top opposition. Major players like Pogba and Martial seem to be trying again….obviously really good guys. Will play a part in where the title ends up no doubt about that.
Leicester City - Quietly doing pretty well. Puel has not gotten enough credit for what he has done. At the start of the season they wanted him out, they might well finish top six if they can stay strong at home following a tough 2018.
Watford - Hard to know what to make of them…. have had great wins against top opposition and on their day have some players that would do well in any team. Those players need to step up in consistency. A great effort so far to be top half and sitting pretty.
Wolves - Play great football and look to attack. Which might be the one thing that holds them back from beating a few of the teams that sit back and wait for the counter. They did well to beat Spurs away, but largely because Spurs thought they would walk through them and continued to surge forward. Lets see if they can adapt tactically against teams that park the bus.
West Ham - Definitely on the up… Felipe Anderson has really stepped up to somewhere near his price tag and they should have a decent enough second half to the season. What is their overall goal? Europe maybe, but not this year.
Everton - If anyone knows what Everton are likely to do week to week please let us know.
Bournemouth - Eddie Howe still continues to stick by his guns, and has added some firepower in Solanke and Clyne. Shrewd signings and they will love playing for him. Expect them to climb up the table.
Brighton - Hugely impressive job by Chris Hughton in continuing to pick up points with supposedly ‘bigger’ guns in and around him. Not sure how they will go in the January transfer market but should be good enough to stay up and look to improve next season.
Crystal Palace - Reliant on Zaha, and not driven with enough purpose. Hodgson will suggest survival is the goal, not sure his board would agree. Too many players under performing.
Newcastle - Benitez is doing a pretty good job without a lot of money and until the sale is sorted out either way, don’t expect too much from The Toon.
Burnley - Sean Dyche is everyone’s second favourite manager, but perhaps now his powers of persuasion are starting to wear out. Without some investment they won’t be doing much more than they are now…. changing the manager won’t help, they need to find some money and back him if they want to have a less stressful season next time around.
Cardiff City - Neil Warnock doesn’t often talk up a chance of them winning, and so far individual mistakes seem to cost them games. They will have to scrap with those around them and see what happens. If anyone can provide the motivation in the dressing room it’s Warnock.
Southampton - Should be doing better with the players they have got. The new manager provided an injection of heart and a lot of running. The fans will need more than free pints to be convinced they can get out of trouble, however they should be better that Cardiff and Newcastle.
Fulham - Naive in possession and not mobile enough without the ball, tough to see where the next point is coming from. Some players with big reputations have been somewhat humbled by the quality of the Premier League.
Huddersfield - Bye.