The season so far…………
After this weeks round of games in the Premiership all 20 teams have now played 15 games, and we are just under the halfway point of the season. So it seems like an ideal chance to review what we’ve learned and how things sit as we approach the pivotal holiday period.
City Still Rule
It’s no real surprise after last seasons sheer dominance that Manchester City once again are proving to be the team to beat and any side to finish above them will be champions. Having Won 13 of their 15 games and dropping just 4 points en route to another undefeated start they really are a class above. With attacking options that are unrivalled in the league they are largely head and shoulders above the rest.
Liverpool are legitimate challengers
In a league season that could easily have been a one horse race, Liverpool have proved through the 1st 15 games that they are the most equipped to challenge Man City’s dominance. They currently sit just 2 points behind the leaders and are also undefeated. Whether they can match City stride for stride for the next half of the season remains to be seen but it will be fascinating to see how the situation looks after the festive period.
The Emery effect
After Arsene Wenger’s reign ended at Arsenal in the summer following 22 years in charge, it’s been fascinating to see the transformation at Arsenal in Unai Emery’s short time in charge.
Although they will likely not have enough to challenge the top 2 this season, in just 5 months Emery has been able to re-engage both the players and supporters. After a long period of uncertainty in which the Arsenal fans grew disgruntled with Wenger and his refusal to move aside, they’ve been rewarded with Emery who has galvanised the club and brought a new enthusiasm and honesty that the club and supporters were so desperate for. Likewise the players have seemingly bought into his methods. The next 2 or 3 transfer windows will be big for the club as the new man looks to shape his squad in his mould and build a sustainable challenger for success over the coming years.
Despite a recent run of 4 defeats in 5 games Bournemouth have performed beyond expectations and currently sit in 7th (ahead of Manchester united). They are one of those teams that will always be ‘tipped’ to struggle by experts at the start of each campaign just because of the stature of the club. But they’ve been good value for their 7th spot and leading striker Callum Wilson has earned international recognition. It will be a struggle to crack the top 7 and keep Man Utd beneath them but a top 10 finish and an improvement on last seasons 12th place should be considered a major success and solidify Eddie Howe as one of the countries finest young coaching talents.
Manchester United in 8th is always likely to be classified as the biggest underachievement but on the basis of year to year difference, Burnley’s struggles can’t be ignored.
Following a borderline miraculous 7ths placed finish last season, Sean Dyche’s Burnley were another feel good story in the Premier League having qualified for this seasons Europa league. However a disastrous start this season sees them 2nd from bottom with just 2 wins from 15 games. There is no doubting the job Dyche has done at Turf Moor, but he may becoming a victim of his own success at an unfashionable club and will be banking on the equity he has built to be able to right the ship and get Burnley heading back in the right direction.
With the festive period coming thick and fast, what happens in the next few weeks will go along way to shaping the rest of the season as always and so will have another look at things sit in the Premier League in January.