For the first time in many years, we are finally seeing a Premier League race worth watching. A season not marked by widespread margins of victory and a clear winner from the beginning. As we are now over the halfway point of the season, I just want to give some general thoughts as to the season and what to expect in the second half of the Premier Leauge Season.
Even I will admit my surprise at the rise and dominance of Chelsea this year. Now before all you Chelsea fans get mad at me, don’t get me wrong- I knew they’d be better. All they could do was get better after the last few years. But what was unexpected was the absolutely marvelous form they came into the season with. Conte’s game plan has taken hold and made Chelsea one of the biggest games of every Premier League club’s season. Now as to the second half of their season, should we expect the same dominance? That’s largely up to Chelsea. Since they’ve done well without Champion’s League, they have the reserves to keep up form but they do have some tough games against Southampton, Manchester United, Manchester City, Stoke City, and Everton.
Once again, Arsenal have proved themselves to be the most boring team in the PL. Lackluster performances and some disappointing results have put them in their favorite spot- that number 4 spot. Don’t expect much to change in the second half of the season. Games against West Brom, Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, and West Ham provide more than a challenge for the Gunners to overcome.
I swear that Manchester City is one of two teams that has created a roller coaster of absolute mediocrity in the top of the league. The supposedly unbeatable system that Guardiola brought from Germany has done well for them so far this year, but he obviously did not know what he was getting into with his players at Man City and the transfer market. Granted he’s doing better than Klopp at Liverpool, but not by much. They’ll make it in the top 5, but with games against Liverpool, Arsenal, West Brom, Stoke City, Chelsea, and Southampton, they’ll be lucky to escape with the 5 spot.
Liverpool’s season has about as much drama as a season of Jersey Shore, starring Jürgen Klopp as Snooki. With lackluster performances in both league and cup performances, their season is taking a turn for the worse. Make the top 5? Depends on how badly Man City does and how well they do in their matches against Arsenal, Man City, Everton, Stoke City, West Brom, Southampton, and West Ham. Good luck with that one…
Honestly, Man United should be in second place right now. But a series of unlucky draws have set them sixth. Expect that to change, however. Unlike most of the top teams, they’re only in Europa League, finishing the EFL cup, and still in the FA Cup, but now have the depth to compete on all levels. The scariest thing for the rest of the league is that now Man United is achieving consistent results- which are all wins. If this keeps up and they win big games against Southampton, West Brom, Everton, and Chelsea, they’ll have a great chance to not only win all cup competitions, but also take second place in the league…or even first if Chelsea slips that far.
Tottenham is another team that has exceeded all expectations to their season in form and outcome. As in past years, however, I have my doubts as to whether they will be able to finish out the season in the same form. Last year, they failed at the end which led to them losing the title. I expect them to do well but not win the league.
For the first time in my life, I can say Everton is not the epitome of mediocrity. Their youth program is making progress, and their league results are showing it. Now, before everyone loses their minds, it doesn’t make them elite yet. They are clearly below the top 6 in the league, but its progress. They technically could make it into the top 6, but the planets would have to align just right for that to happen.
Stoke have proven themselves to be one of the better teams in the league on the top end of the middle table. They’ve given several top teams a run for their money, and are a tough defense to break down. If they can avoid injuries and continue to balance attack and defense well, they have a large chance of finishing in the top 10.
After a tough loss in the EFL final, Southampton can refocus on the remaining part of the Premier League schedule. Barring any major problems or acts of God, expect Southampton to sit in the top of the middle 3 with Stoke and Everton. All three are on a very level playing feel and make great showings against top level teams.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom have been a surprise this season. In past years, they have seemed to struggle to keep out of the bottom 5. This year, however, it seems that they’ll never even approach that potential range in the Premier League table. While not being anywhere near a top-level team as of now, they have proved to be a significant competition to the breadth of the league. I expect them to stay this way.
Like West Brom, Watford have been a surprise, but a tough second half to their season has seen their mid-table place slowly disappear. They are, in my opinion however, nowhere near being in any kind of trouble in the League, and indeed could pose a threat for the top half of the table in the coming years. Keep your Premier League patches handy and I’ll see you next year.
West Ham United
Hyped early in season talks, West Ham have been a large disappointment. It just goes to show that Payet is a great player, but a lack of team unity and talent have severely affected West Ham. Lower mid table awaits them, and better luck next year.
Impressive showing from Burnley, and it should be enough to get them through to next season. They do need to, however, make some moves between this and next season if they wish to remain long-term in the Premier League.
I honestly expected more out of Bournemouth this season. They have shown vast improvement and one of the best fighting spirits in the football world. Yet they haven’t quite performed as expected. I will continue to watch them next season. Yeah, I think they make it to next year.
Now is when we get dicey with the table. Swansea is one of the reasons. Get them a new coach- nothing. Get the coach fired- nothing. Get new coach- win 3 games. Since then- nothing. They could end up ANYWHERE in the bottom of the table. I will give them benefit of the doubt here and say they make it.
Like Burnley, a good showing from Middlesbrough. It’s a tough adjustment from Championship to PL, but they have done so with some quality games. I think they’lll survive, but they need some more depth for next year if they want a shot at staying in top tier football.
Super dicey time. Hull has been disappointing this season. Even with a new mid-season manager, it’s a tall order to survive in the Premier League. Hull gets to guide their own fate here as to whether they want to stay or not.
The same goes for Leicester City. They have been rather disappointing this season. Nowhere near the team of last year. And they are paying the price for it. They are barely surviving, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go from Premier League champions to FL Championship. Once again, though, they steer their own fate.
Look this team up in the dictionary- synonym: disappointment. This is a team I always considered a top 10 team. Instead, it seems they’ll be trying to take the top 10 of the Championship. Bye bye.
Bye bye. That’s it. Bye bye. You escaped this fate on a last week game last year. The irony is that Newcastle will be coming back better than ever and sunderland will be leaving worse off than if they’d gone to Championship and rebuilt. Looks like Moyes loses again.
So here we go. Yes I’m going to attempt this. Here’s a potential table. Keep in mind, however, that the bottom six are basically a puzzle. Who will make enough moves is beyond my knowledge. Good luck to all teams, and see you next year!
- Manchester United
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Manchester City
- Stoke City
- West Bromwich Albion
- West Ham United
- AFC Bournemouth
- Swansea City
- Hull City
- Leicester City
- Crystal Palace