Happy New Year everyone! Sorry for a pause in my posting, I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas! The Premier League has just past the half way point and I thought I’d continue my season ‘review’ after the positive reception last time.
I’ll be looking how my pre-season predictions compare with the current table at this mid-point, and consider if each clubs league position matches the expectations.
Hopefully the layout isn’t too confusing! Basically the number in brackets is the difference between the current position and my pre-season predictions. For example I predicted Leicester City to finish 13th, they’re currently sitting bottom at 20th (that’ll soon change!) so there is a difference of -7.
Let me know what your thoughts on the Premier League are so far!
1st (+0): Chelsea – Well Chelsea are still top but their position is no longer as secure as it was back in October. Man City are now level on points but I still believe the squad that Mourinho has is the strongest of the two. I highly doubt we’ll see another ‘Liverpool’, a club which dramatically rises up this second half. They’re almost in a league of their own.
2nd (+0): Manchester City – Pellegrini set an ambitious target of winning every remaining game in 2014 earlier in December which was almost fully carried out with the exception of a surprise 2-2 draw with Burnley. This has led to the gap being cut after it appeared like Chelsea were already the Champions, and I suppose it’ll keep that aspect of the season exciting.
3rd (+3): Manchester United – Okay I was perhaps a bit harsh on United for predicting a sixth place finish but I still find it unlikely that they will be a top four side come the end of the season if the defence isn’t strengthened. A busy January perhaps to keep a hold on their current position.
4th (+10): Southampton – The Saints are still here! I had them down for a tough season but they’ve started the season well and to their credit, have on the large part kept that going. It is a bit amusing to see them without their English core they’ve had present for years but I suppose they can’t really be blamed for that.
5th (+0): Tottenham Hotspur – An inconsistent start from my recollection but the results have been very encouraging during this winter period. I wasn’t too impressed with the performances however, and felt like Leicester had been robbed of a win last home game, but fair play for that thrilling 5-3 victory over Chelsea yesterday!
6th (-3): Arsenal – Same old Arsenal really. So many injury issues in the first few months but the team are gradually recovering and reaching full strength. I’m delighted to see Alexis Sanchez find his feet in England after the disappointing Ozil seemed poor business. Hopefully Walcott will have a good impact and help get Arsenal up to 3rd.
7th (+8): West Ham United – Like Southampton, West Ham were a big surprise yet they’re also still around these top spots at the half way point. The summer transfers have all impressed and I’m glad to see Cresswell settle in so quickly. I’m not convinced West Ham will keep this up having recently faced a couple of top teams and lost but you can’t rule it out.
8th (-4): Liverpool – Thankfully Liverpool are starting to improve and head back up to where they belong but there is still a sense that there is still a lot that needs to be worked on. I’ve grown sick of the criticism aimed at Rodgers which I feel is hugely unfair. The magic of Sturridge and perhaps the potential recall of Origi may be enough to end the season positively, just sadly not likely to be as incredible as last year.
9th (-1): Swansea City – The Swans were my dark horse for the season and they’ve just dropped slightly below the 8th spot I predicted. I believe Garry Monk will keep Swansea battling for a Europa League spot regardless and hopefully they’ll be able to keep a hold of Bony who himself had a poor start but is now on a handy nine league goals.
10th (+0): Newcastle United – I don’t even know… I’ve really disliked the treatment of Pardew from the fans yet I’m massively surprised to see him take such a downgrade to Palace. I don’t have too many positives comments towards this club at the moment. Cabella has been a disappointment for sure from what I’ve seen.
11th (-2): Stoke City – I had Bojan to be one of the bargains of the season and he’s finally beginning to look like the player we (neutrals) hoped we’d see. The season has so far been a bit disappointing for me but they’ve had some positive results in this busy winter period against Everton away and a point yesterday against United at home.
12th (+8): Aston Villa – Villa were the unfortunate team I placed bottom, they’ve had a good start, but have been picking up a lot of draws in this period that I’m sure has caused some annoyance. Really it is 11th and 12th position that separates the top half and bottom. There is a four point gap now with Stoke a position above and the same number with West Brom sitting in 17th. Very tight!
13th (-6): Everton – Blimey. Martinez has really been lucky to avoid criticism at this period where it appears like any defeat for any club is blown up in importance. I really like Martinez but his teams stats for conceding goals is quite shocking. It seems to me like the players are massively under-performing as it feels like he’s only made improvements to last years side.
14th (-3): Sunderland – Another team who have been underachieving. I really liked Poyet’s transfers in summer and so it has really come as a surprise to me to see them struggle this year. Saying that, Sunderland have looked a bit better in recent games but it is a bit worrying in my opinion to see them like this once again.
15th (-3): Hull City – Steve Bruce has looked a pretty depressed figure in recent matches and it was a bit difficult to celebrate Leicester’s win at Hull with so much at stake for both teams and both of the managers futures.
16th (+1): Queens Park Rangers – QPR have done annoyingly well… I am hoping that someone picks up Austin in January as they appear to be reliant on him and of the clubs that looked to be in a relegation fight, I’m sorry to say that QPR are my most desired to go down of the lot. Hopefully Leicester’s last game of the season against them will send QPR down, aren’t I evil.
17th (+2): West Bromwich Albion – West Brom are doing slightly better than I expected, although they have of course just sacked Irvine so I suppose that adds them to the relegation list too for me. Unfortunately the man to replace him is Pulis and that’s just instant safety right?
18th (-2): Crystal Palace – Just sitting in the relegation spots and have perhaps a better claim to sack their manager than West Brom did. I’ll have to see what January brings with Pardew no doubt eager to bring in some of his own players before making a judgement on their survival chances this season.
19th (-1): Burnley – Fantastic really. There were comments that had really pissed me off about Burnley struggling to even acquire a point this season so I’m delighted to see such a low-budget team put up such a good fight. They’ve had an extremely tough Christmas period but I think the spirit they’ve shown will keep them up.
20th (-7): Leicester City – Oh dear. Well at least from the home games (you must have been impressed with my Tottenham match report) Leicester have been extremely unlucky to be in the position they find themselves in. The last eight games of the season will be huge and I still believe Leicester will survive. Come on you Foxes!
OCTOBER 31st: (+12) Southampton, (+11) West Ham, (+6) West Brom
JANUARY 1st: (+10) Southampton, (+8) West Ham United, (+8) Aston Villa
OCTOBER 31st: (-7) Sunderland, (-6) Tottenham, (-4) Newcastle
JANUARY 1st: (-7) Leicester City, (-6) Everton, (-4) Liverpool