Premier League Mid Season Review – Part 4

by Bob Smith

With the Premier League season more than well and truly underway, it is time to have a look at each club and how they’re doing and where they’re on (or off!) course to finish.

Swansea City

Swansea have had a brilliant season so far and have lots to cheer about. After losing Scott Sinclair, Joe Allen and most importantly Brendan Rodgers, it all looked like it might go downhill for the Welsh club. However they bought in Michael Laudrup who has excelled in his spell so far. His knowledge of the Spanish league has meant he has been able to bring in some real gems to the Liberty Stadium. The most well known has obviously been the Spanish sensation Michu but Pablo Hernandez, Chico Flores and De Guzman have also been very impressive in my opinion.

Swansea got off to a blistering start and then dipped slightly but it all looks rosy again after a brilliant win away at Chelsea in the Capital One Cup that all but guarantees a place at Wembley in the final against either Bradford or Villa who are both more than beatable. This means they have a great chance to get some silverware, an amazing achievement for a club who were in the Championship a few seasons ago and are now comfortably in the top half of the Premier League and a cup final.

In conclusion, I think Swansea have been great so far and are a testimony to how you don’t need to splash the cash to do really well, Laudrup has done a fantastic job, exciting times for Swansea fans!

Tottenham Hotspur

At the time of writing, Spurs sit in 4th place, 3 points above 5th placed Everton after a dull 0-0 draw away at QPR. Tottenham’s main objective has to be Champions League football and obviously so far they have left themselves in a good position to achieve this. The one thing I would point out however is that they were in a very similar position this time last year and fell away slightly, albeit with some unfortunate luck that Chelsea winning the Champions League meant they fell just short.

Since their demolition in the North London derby they have gone on a good run and picked up many points. They won all their games in December apart from a loss at Everton which is no embarrassment this season. They won all those games rather comprehensively too, especially the 3-0 win at Fulham. Spurs do however have a really tough run of games coming up soon including Man Utd, a tricky cup tie at Leeds or Birmingham, Norwich who seem to be their bogey team and West Brom. If they can pick up a few points there and remain where they are after those games then that will put them in a really good position to ensure Champions League football come the end of the season.

Everyone knows their main man is Gareth Bale but I think what will really help them stay solid is the return of Scott Parker. He will keep it tight, protecting the back 4 whilst putting his body on the line and giving 100%. This will allow the other midfielders such as Dembélé to roam forward and create more which is what Spurs need.

In conclusion, I think Spurs simply need to keep doing what they’re doing in order to get Champions League football, perhaps a fresh attacking midfielder in the window would be ideal too.

West Bromwich Albion

West Brom currently sit in 7th position at the time of writing and we all know they had a blistering start to the season and for many were definitely the surprise package of the Premier League. Steve Clarke came in and so far has done a great job in my opinion. He bought in Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea and this was a master-stroke as he has gone on to score some great goals and be a real handful for teams.

I think Steve Clarke has managed his team very well. If you look at the West Brom squad then you don’t see a wide array of world superstars but he has so far managed to get them playing really, similar to what Harry Redknapp is good at. Their form has dipped quite significantly since December as they have only managed to win one game since the win away at Sunderland on 24th November.

Some will say that their early season form was just a fluke and you’d have good evidence to say that, however I think that they still are a good team but they’re just going through a bad patch at the moment. They have been quite unlucky in some of their games recently so I’m sure they’ll be able to turn it around and finish in the top half of the table.

In conclusion, I think West Brom will finish around 10th, they only need a win to get them going again.

West Ham United

Since being promoted in May West Ham have enjoyed a relaxing start to the Premier League. They currently sit 11th at the time of writing and have impressed many by looking remarkably comfortable despite being a newly promoted team. Allardyce has done a great job in East London and their league position reflects this as his intelligent signings and invaluable half time team talks have changed games.

They have dipped a little bit recently, most lately in their shocking 3-0 defeat to Sunderland where they looked terrible. What will boost them though is the return of rampaging midfielder Momo Diame who has been brilliant for them so far this season and they haven’t looked the same team without him. He has the ability to beat a few players and carry the ball forward, he gets the crowd on their feet and also defends like a trojan in closing down opposition players.. This is just another genius transfer coup by Allardyce who managed to bring Diame in on a free in the summer.

They have been hard to beat at home this season and that has been pivotal in their form up until now. They need to work on their away form as they are very unpredictable when they don’t play at the Boleyn Ground as it should be called. Nonetheless, they have had a great season so far and their main objective should always be to avoid relegation however they have done enough to steer clear of the drop zone so far.

In conclusion, I think West Ham will finish around 12th and comfortably survive. I don’t think they need to bring players in, more importantly they need to tie their best players down to new contracts such as Winston Reid and Momo Diame.

Wigan Athletic

Wigan currently sit in 17th place at the time of writing and are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. When I looked at their league position, it surprised me. I think they have improved huge amounts since last season and in certain games have looked like a slick cohesive unit that should be no where near the drop zone.

I think that Roberto Martinez is a brilliant manager, he has been given so few resources to succeed at Wigan however he has defied the odds on a number of occasions now and kept Wigan in the Premier League. He brought Arouna Koné and Ivan Ramis, both have been outstanding for them this season and have been crucial for the team.

Wigan have some nice fixtures coming up in what remains of January and February bar a game at Chelsea and I think they will want to pick up some substantial points in order to put some daylight between them and the relegation zone before they hit some really tricky fixtures in March. Whilst the results haven’t been overwhelming so far, the performances have been positive mainly and they can look on this and gain confidence from it, they know how well they can play.

In conclusion, Wigan manage to just escape every year and I don’t think this year will be an exception; Martinez has what it takes to keep them clear of trouble in my opinion.

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