Christmas is done, and so is half of the Premier League season. Liverpool sit top, undefeated, and six points clear – looking good. Arsenal are loving post-Wenger life, United have been in a nightmare whilst at the other end Fulham spent Christmas day on the bottom, with Huddersfield and the once able Burnley filling the other daunting relegation spots.
It’s been an entertaining season so far, and here is my review.
1st – Liverpool – Grade A*
The red side of Liverpool are loving life. New keeper Allison has been key, whilst centre-halve Van Dijk is on the lips of many pundits’ praises. Mane, Salah and Firmino have all been frightening, scoring left, right and centre. Liverpool fans can start to dream that it is their year.
2nd – Spurs – Grade A
Pochettino and Spurs are in fine form, going largely under the radar, seeing them go above Manchester City on Boxing Day. The awesome foursome of Kane, Alli, Erikson and Son, with help from the likes of Lucas Moura and Poch’s favourite Sissoko, have been showing why Spurs might be right not to have spent at all in the summer. Watch this space.
3rd – City – Grade A-
Pep and City started the season strong but have blipped in recent weeks. Sterling has been on fire and has continued to improve, but with the likes of Aguero and De Bruyne being out injured for spells of the season, City have struggled. However, with the depth in their squad and the fact they have Pep you can’t rule them out.
4th – Chelsea – Grade B+
Sarri has come in and Chelsea have done their jobs quietly, be that with some shock defeats. Hazard has been electric, many saying he is the star of the Premier League so far. David Luiz has resurrected from nowhere, however Morata is struggling and looks set to leave in the January window. Chelsea are still sniffing around the top of the league, but a top four finish and a return to Champions League football should be their goal.
5th – Arsenal – A-
Wenger out. Emery in. Arsenal look a new team, full of life and attacking flare. Aubameyang is the Premier League top scorer, Guendouzi and Torriera have brought some grit that was needed in the Emirates side for many years. Still in transition, but you won’t hear many Gooners moaning.
6th – Manchester United – D
Jose had his time at the club, but in that time he drained all of the excitement in the game for both players and fans, which resulted in his dismissal after losing to arch enemies Liverpool. Solsjkaer has come in, and has brought positive football and excitement back to Old Trafford. We shall see what happens here.
7th – Leicester – A*
Losing anyone is hard, but losing the most loved man in a football club is agonising. The way Leicester have bounced back from such tragic events is a credit to them. On the pitch summer signing Maddison has shone along with the ever present Vardy and young English stars Gray and Chilwell. A club nobody can hate.
8th – Everton – B
Silva has brought Goodison Park back to life. A host of new players, such as Richarlison, Mina, Digne and Bernard have shone, with attacking football coming back to the club. There is a good feeling around the club, and Everton seem to be back with a bang.
9th – West Ham – B
The Hammers started off poorly, as they often do, but have found their feet. Anderson has caught the eye with his silky skills, whilst Rice has shone in the middle of the park. Sitting in the top half, West Ham fans will be delighted with what they are seeing.
10th – Watford – A-
A very strong start to the season saw Deeney and co in with the ‘big boys’ in the early stages. Perreira, Delefeou and Doucore have shone, with a mixture of skill and strength. Manager, Gracia, has even been rewarded with a new contract, which isn’t a regular occurance at Vicarage Road. Again, a positive start for the Hornets.
11th – Wolves – B
Newly promoted Wolves have caught many people’s attention. Their smooth, aesthetic attacking play has been a pleasure to watch. Sitting mid-table going into the new year, the only aspect they are missing is the killer touch from an out an out striker. Even so, there won’t be many Wolves fans moaning.
12th – Bournemouth – Grade B
King has been on fire with the help of Fraser and Brooks in behind. Howe has continued to impress, with Bournemouth continuing as one of the most attractive teams to watch in the league. The next step for the Cherries would be to challenge a top eight finish, but for now being a well recognised and respected Premier League side will do.
13th – Brighton – Grade B
Brighton have made the Amex their fortress, but their away form has been poor hence why they are where they are. Murray has been key once again, scoring for fun, whilst Dunk and Duffy have been solid at the back. The Seagulls are loving life in the top flight and will hope they can hang on for another season, which is very likely.
14th – Crystal Palace – Grade C
Like Brighton, Palace have been very inconsistent. Zaha has been in and out of fitness, whilst Townsend and Meyer haven’t shone. Wan Bissaka however looks a talent both going forward and defensively, which is exciting for England’s future. Palace will stay up, but only just.
15th – Newcastle – Grade C-
Rafa and Newcastle have had a tough season so far. No transfer backing in the summer is the obvious reason for this. Rondon, however, has started to bag the goals but the Magpies leak too many weekly. It’ll be a struggle for the Toon to stay up, but one thing is for sure, they would be missed.
16th – Southampton – Grade C
Saints have simply drawn too many games and their home form has been horrendous. Hughes has gone and a new name in Hassenhutel has come in. The energetic manager will bring life to Saints, it will be interesting to see if this is enough to keep them up.
17th – Cardiff – Grade B
Many would have thought Cardiff would be in the bottom three at this stage, however Warnock has managed to get a few impressive results to ensure this isn’t the case. Survival would still be a miracle, but it seems less of a miracle than it was in August.
18th – Burnley – Grade D
This is a shocker. Many thought they would struggle after being in Europe, but they were knocked out early so it can’t be used as an excuse. Turf Moor used to be a fortress, but now it is the opposite, losing many of their home games whilst their once solid defence seems to have collapsed. Big second half of the season for Dyche and the Clarets.
19th – Fulham – Grade D-
Many backed Fulham to do well after their promotion, however they have been naïve and struggled to click both defensively and offensively. Ranieri has come in, but the results haven’t changed. The Cottagers need to make Craven Cottage a fortress if they are to stay up.
20th – Huddersfield – Grade E
Huddersfield had a fine season last campaign, however they have been poor so far. Defensively week, meanwhile they have no star striker. Wagner will struggle to turn this around, losing their last five is a sign of this. Their fans will enjoy it whilst it lasts though.
Its set to be an entertaining second half of the Premier League both at the top and bottom. Will Liverpool hold on? Who’s going to be in the Top 4? How will the bottom three look in May? We will see.