The Premier League – Early season summary

by Mark Godfrey

The circus that is the English Premier League has reached the stage of the season where Managers and fans make their first big review of where they are, and where they’re going. Late October/ early November is usually seen as a good marker to the performance of each club as they head into the harsh winter fixture list.

Here is a brief early season report for each club, how they have done so far and what the rest of the season could hold.

Arsenal

A promising start especially defensively but they are now leaking a few goals and unusually for Arsenal, struggling to score. The pressure is on the board and even Arsene Wenger to push into the top 4. Failure to achieve this or win a cup would be disastrous. Must replace RVP in January with top quality.

Aston Villa

New manager, very few new players. Paul Lambert is working with a lot of youngsters and is in for a long hard season.  Must make the most of their home games to stay up. Relegation dogfight ahead but Lambert’s qualities and some talented forwards may just be enough.

Chelsea

Great start with flowing attacking football. Hazard/Mata/Oscar are the future of the club. Could do with another top quality striker. Can be got at defensively without John Terry. Genuine title challengers.

Everton

Uncharacteristic good start to the season. Starting XI could challenge for a top 4 place but could struggle if injuries affect key players. If David Moyes can add a couple of signings in January he will hope for the usual late season to charge to secure European qualification and a good Cup run.

Fulham

Good at home, bad on the road. This sums Fulham’s Premier League history and will continue to do so. Key players Dembele and Dempsey lost in the summer could have spelt trouble for Martin Jol. Decent mid table side and expectations of the same again will surely be met. Any success depends on the form of Berbatov.

Liverpool

Inconsistent but improving under new manager Brendan Rodgers. Some talented youngsters breaking through ahead of underperforming stars. Defensively weaker than previous years but Suarez finally scoring regularly. A top 8 finish could be considered a good first year for the new regime.

Manchester City

Unbeaten so far but nowhere near the team of last season either defensively or in attack. Summer signings have yet to spark. However, they are picking up points despite performances. Must do better if they are to retain their title.

Manchester United

Addition of Robin Van Persie will be key to title challenge. No problems in attack but still short of quality in numbers in midfield and defence. But if they are in contention at Christmas who would bet against them? Have the most valuable asset in the League-Sir Alex Ferguson.

Newcastle United

A continuation from last season for Alan Pardew’s men. Entertaining side who will take the game to any opposition. Expect another top 6 finish for the Magpies.

Norwich City

New manager Chris Hughton has struggled with his side’s woeful early season defending. Still a decent footballing side who will need to make Carrow Road a fortress to avoid the drop. Might just be lucky enough to find 3 teams worse than them.

Queens Park Rangers

Continued big spending by Mark Hughes on experienced Premier League standard yet results have been terrible. Currently bottom of the league and need points fast to pull away from the drop zone. The alarm bells are beginning to sound. Will be hoping the old adage ‘too good to go down’ applies to them.

Reading

A slow start for the newcomers sees them instantly in the expected relegation battle. They will need to find some form quickly and will be hoping for a good transfer window in January to bring some quality to the squad.

Southampton

Terrible defensively, which if not arrested soon will spell the end of Nigel Adkins and the Saints’ brief return to the top flight. More pragmatism needed or they will be cut adrift by New Year.

Stoke City

Stoke City-does exactly what it says on the tin. Tough to play against, tough to beat. The archetypal mid table battlers. Fans will be hoping for another run the Cup to bring some excitement.

Sunderland

Expected to fill a mid-table spot throughout the season and Martin O’Neill’s have failed to disappoint on that front. Don’t score enough goals as a team to expect anything more so keeping record signing Steven Fletcher fit and in form essential to staying clear of trouble.

Swansea City

Good start for new boss Michael Laudrup as he continues the good work of the previous manager in the Swans’ return to top flight football. Good attacking side boosted by the excellent summer addition Michu. Will be hoping to finish in the top half.

Tottenham Hotspur

After a summer of upheaval, controversial appointment Andre Villas-Boas appears to be putting his stamp on the team. Steady improvement sees Spurs heading towards another challenge for Champions League placing. Keeping squad members happy and motivated may provide biggest headache for the manager.

West Bromwich Albion

One of the surprise packages of the season to date, both on the field and in the dugout as Steve Clarke steps out of the shadows into his first managerial role. Loan addition of Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea has given the Baggies a focal point up front and they will be hoping to maintain a healthy league position and clear of the relegation battle as the season progresses.

West Ham United

Sam Allardyce is doing exactly what he was brought to Upton Park to do-get the Hammers up and keep them there. The style is often criticised but is effective and after a promising start they can expect a comfortable mid-table slot. Utilising Andy Carroll to full effect is the key.

Wigan Athletic

Never a dull moment with Roberto Martinez’ side whether they are defending badly or playing an attractive attacking game. Inconsistency will always mean they’ll be looking over their shoulder, but with tactical nous, team ethic and inspired transfer dealings it should be another season of survival for the Latics.

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