Season So Far: The Premiership Review

Halfway through the season and the Premiership is well underway. So here is the review for all 20 teams and their hopes for the New Year:

MANCHESTER CITY

Despite being pegged back recently by a resurgent United, if you’d have offered Roberto Mancini joint top spot at Christmas, he’d have snapped your hand off. City have played some wonderful stuff, rifling in an astonishing 53 goals so far this season. Sergio Aguero has slotted into the system wonderfully and coupled with Nasri and David Silva’s sparkling form, they produce attacking football that is a breath of fresh air in comparison to the Mancini side we saw when he first took the job. Will be disappointed with the Champions League exit, but could be a blessing in disguise when looking to secure their first Premier League title. Keep up the good work Roberto.

Season So Far: 9.5/10

Inspiration: David Silva

Disappointment: Carlos Tevez

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

Started superbly with Wayne Rooney on fire, dropped off and have then come back with a bang in recent weeks. Oh, and they lost to Man City 6-1. Early season form saw goals galore but unfortunately for Sir Alex, injuries took their toll and United have struggled, especially at the back. Their Champions League exit came as a huge blow and I’m not sure United are going to enjoy playing on Channel 5 in the Europa League. However, a couple of big wins over Christmas have drawn the Red Devils level with City though Fergie may need to dip into the market for a midfielder. Interesting times ahead.

Season So Far: 6.5/10

Inspiration: Phil Jones

Disappointment: Ryan Giggs

 

TOTTENHAM

Harry’s boys are purring along nicely, they seem to have slipped under the radar more than usual this year, whilst the 3-0 win over Bolton was near to perfection in terms of footballing performances. There looks to be tremendous balance to the Spurs side this year, Lennon and Bale are always a threat down the wings, Van Der Vaart is a class act through the middle and Adebayor and Scott Parker have been superb additions to an already strong squad. Hang on to Luka Modric in January and the possibility of Spurs fighting a title race at the end of the season is a distinct possibility.

Season So Far: 9/10

Inspiration: Scott Parker

Disappointment: Tom Huddlestone

 

CHELSEA

It was always going to be difficult for Andre Villas Boas to stamp his authority on an aging squad at Stamford Bridge and that has turned out to be the case. Chelsea need a fair old swing in fortune if they’re going to have any chance at regaining the title and Villas Boas will have to hope his deranged chairman is a little less twitchy with his axe this summer. Staying in the Champions League was a close run thing and it could well be the old guard need one final hurrah to deliver Roman that much coveted European trophy. Expect a summer clearout.

Season So Far: 5/10

Inspiration: Daniel Sturridge

Disappointment: Andre Villas Boas

 

ARSENAL

A typical topsy turvy ride for Gunners fans and this time its worse than usual. Out of the title race earlier than normal, a tumultuous summer led to doubts over Arsene Wenger’s position for the first time ever after an 8-2 defeat to Manchester United. A recovery has been staged; mainly thanks to Robin Van Persie’s one man bandwagon and Arsenal still have Europe to threaten. A couple of frustrating results recently though have left the fans pondering the future and when that trophy is going to come. Because it sure as hell won’t be this year.

Season So Far: 6/10

Inspiration: Robin Van Persie

Disappointment: Per Mertesacker

 

LIVERPOOL

Most Liverpool fans expected King Kenny to turn it around this season, especially after the amount of money pouring out of his chequebook in the summer. It hasn’t gone quite according to plan though, not many of the big signings have gelled and Liverpool have struggled at Anfield, drawing against many sides they should comfortably beat. Luis Suarez is the ace card, but the racism case and now 9 match suspension leaves Liverpool well short in terms of quality. It’s time for the much maligned £35million striker to step up and prove his worth. Good luck Andy, you’re gonna need it.

Season So Far: 6/10

Inspiration: Jose Enrique

Disappointment: Andy Carroll

 

NEWCASTLE

Pardew’s quiet revolution became a rather nosy one as the media finally cottoned onto the fact that Newcastle were in the Top 4 in November. All credit must go to the manager, he appears to temporarily breached the gulf between supporters and owners despite the row over the Sports Direct Stadium. His side have over-achieved, especially given the size of his squad, though losing Steven Taylor for the rest of the year and 14-goal Demba Ba to the African Cup of Nations could prove a blow to their chances of European qualification. Prepare for a Tyneside explosion however, as they’re never far round the corner.

Season So Far: 8.5/10

Inspiration: Demba Ba

Disappointment: Gabriel Obertan

 

STOKE

This season was always going to be about the European adventure for Pulis and the boys and on that front, things have certainly gone well. Qualifying for the last 32 was rewarded with a trip to European Heavyweights Valencia, a clash that most Potters fans never even dreamed of a couple of years ago. Surprisingly, European hangovers haven’t taken too much effect, indeed Stoke occupy 8th position despite throwing away some crucial points. Clever signings in the summer, such as Crouch, Woodgate and Upson have seen the side climb higher than ever before. Unfashionable, but get the job done.

Season So Far: 8/10

Inspiration: Jonathan Walters

Disappointment: Wilson Palacios

 

WEST BROM

A tough start to the season had a few Baggies fans grumbling, but they did face some difficult fixtures and results have been better since. Roy Hodgson has shaken off his Liverpool nightmare and has inconspicuously gone about fashioning his side into a decent, hard-to-beat outfit. A Top 10 finish would represent significant progress and they are on track so far. Whilst it may difficult to sustain this assault, they have the money and the squad to secure their status amongst the regular Premiership mid-tablers and shed the yo-yo tag that has dogged them for many years.

Season So Far: 7/10

Inspiration: Shane Long

Disappointment: Peter Odemwingie

 

EVERTON

It’s been a better start than usual to a Premier League season for the Toffees, but you could essentially copy and paste their season report year in, year out. Lack of goals, mid table security, Moyes doing a wonderful job…blah blah blah. All the same this year, but goals are a real worry; we haven’t seen Tim Cahill’s corner flag boxing all season, whilst there is no money to improve the situation. Everton need to hang onto the young prospects to ensure they do finish mid-table again, as Barkley, Rodwell, Baines et all keep the club afloat. It’s difficult to see where they can progress next without any investment and it’s quite a tough time to be an Everton fan at the moment.

Season So Far: 6.5/10

Inspiration: Jack Rodwell

Disappointment: Tim Cahill

 

NORWICH

Paul Lambert led his side to back-to-back promotions, but many thought Norwich’s luck would run out this year. This hasn’t been the case however, and Lambert’s brand of attacking football has paid dividends so far, as the Canaries have nicked points in a few matches that you wouldn’t expect them to. As with Blackpool last year though, defence may cost them, they haven’t kept a clean sheet all year, but to occupy 11th spot halfway through is a remarkable achievement.

Season So Far: 9/10

Inspiration: Grant Holt/Anthony Pilkington

Disappointment: Kyle Naughton

 

ASTON VILLA

Given the turmoil surrounding Alex McLeish’s arrival, it is unsurprising Villa are yet to impress this year. The Scot cannot win over the fans, especially playing a brand of football that is rather dull in comparison to previous years. They are the draw specialists, picking up eight 1 pointers so far and promising signings like Alan Hutton and Jermaine Jenas haven’t found their form. The start of the New Year could be crucial for them, a good run of form could see them into the top half, but a few defeats and McLeish’s head will be on the line well and truly.

Season So Far: 5.5/10

Inspiration: Gabriel Agbonlahor

Disappointment: Charles N’Zogbia

FULHAM

Fulham’s rather unceremonious split with manager Mark Hughes raised a few issues about Chairman Mohammed Al Fayed. Hughes’ reasoning behind his departure lay in the fact that the club’s ambitions did not match his and this appears to have been the case under Martin Jol’s leadership. A typical Fulham season has followed, decent at Craven Cottage, awful on the road and occupying a mid table spot not far off Europe, not far off relegation. The club never seems to change and unfortunately they lost their European spot after Odense’s last minute equaliser, making for a rather dull 2012 for Fulham fans.

Season So Far: 5.5/10

Inspiration: Clint Dempsey

Disappointment: Bryan Ruiz

 

SWANSEA

The first Welsh side to reach the Premier League have won themselves many supporters with an attacking style of football that has continued from their successful Championship campaign. The Swans are brilliant at home, but really need to sort out their away days if they want to retain Premiership status. They were however, the bookies’ favourite for the drop so to be 14th at this stage is a remarkable achievement from Brendan Rodgers’ boys. A couple of January investments and I think Wales will still enjoy Premiership football next season.

Season So Far: 8/10

Inspiration: Michel Vorm

Disappointment: Scott Sinclair

 

Sunderland

Suffered the first managerial casualty of the season after an awful run of form left Steve Bruce and his Sunderland team teetering over the edge. His rebuilding job in the summer seems not to have worked and he was shafted by Asamoah Gyan’s decision to move, leaving him short on strikers. Signings like Wes Brown and John O’Shea haven’t paid off and now Martin O’Neill has come in to pick up the pieces. He is a brilliant appointment though and should turn the club’s fortunes around easily, especially if they pick up a goalscorer in January.

Season So Far: 1/10

Inspiration: Seb Larsson

Disappointment: John O’Shea

 

QPR

Neil Warnock looked set for a titanic struggle until new owner Tony Fernandes came in and put some money into the coffers. Warnock didn’t really have enough time to improve his squad dramatically but made some sound additions, bringing in Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Results have been a mixed bag and it is surprising to see QPR doing the worst out of the newly promoted sides, but the squad has a decent backbone and with funds to spend in January, except Warnock and his boys to start climbing the table soon.

Season So Far: 6/10

Inspiration: Heider Helguson

Disappointment: Adel Taarabt

 

WOLVES

Once again, Mick McCarthy is fighting relegation despite making some decent signings in the summer. Roger Johnson hasn’t reproduced his Birmingham form, whilst Matt Jarvis looks a shadow of the player who won an England cap last season. An awful run of form saw fans abruptly call for Mick’s head, which seems a tad harsh, but results need to improve if they want to avoid the nail biting finish they endured last season. They have the squad to do it, but need to pick up results on a more consistent basis.

Season So Far: 3/10

Inspiration: Steven Fletcher

Disappointment: Roger Johnson

 

WIGAN

The departure of Charles N’Zogbia has confirmed that Wigan relied far too much on their talisman for the last couple of seasons. Roberto Martinez turned down Villa in the summer, but may live to regret his loyalty as his Wigan team flirt dangerously with the trapdoor. Dave Whelan loves Roberto for his miracle working of the last two seasons, but even Jesus would struggle to save this Wigan side, who to me, seem doomed this year. The side lacks quality across the park and even Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega has turned in a series of desperate displays. Good luck Roberto, you’ll need it.

Season So Far: 2/10

Inspiration: James McCarthy

Disappointment: Hugo Rodallega

 

BOLTON

Oh dear, oh dear. What is going on with Owen Coyle’s men. A brilliant 4-0 win on the opening day turned out to be the only highlight of a dismal start to the season. No-one can quite believe Bolton are in relegation trouble and without serious funds to lift them out of the danger zone, they are going to have to rely on Coyle’s astute use of the loan market again to steer clear of the drop. Older heads have been woeful and Gary Cahill looks Chelsea bound when the window opens. January could be an interesting month for the Trotters and I’m sure if it wasn’t Coyle in charge, we’d have already seen a change in manager.

Season So Far: 0/10

Inspiration: Ivan Klasnic

Disappointment: David N’Gog

 

BLACKBURN

Where do you start with Blackburn? Occupying the dreaded ‘bottom at Christmas’ spot is just a side note in their season so far. The atmosphere around Ewood Park is incredibly dark as fans wage war on Steve Kean and the owners, who have incredibly resisted the urge to change manager so far. Steve Kean must have armour-plated skin to have lasted this long and it is to his credit, but he looks so far out of his depth, it’s untrue. The playing squad isn’t bad and if the fans got behind the side, things might change. However, I have a feeling this is a situation that isn’t going to change unless the Venkys’ wield their chicken-chopping knives and use them on Steve Kean’s head. Look destined for the Championship.

Season So Far: 0/10

Inspiration: Yakubu

Disappointment: David Goodwillie

THE COIN TOSS PREMIERSHIP TIPS

 

Champions: Manchester United

Champions League: ManchesterCity, Tottenham, Arsenal

Europa League: Liverpool

FA Cup: ManchesterCity

League Cup: ManchesterCity

Relegated: Blackburn, Wigan, Swansea

 

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