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Premier League Mid Season Review

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Grading every Premier League team’s Season so far

 

Premier League Mid Season Review

We are now surpassing the halfway stage in England’s top flight, in what has been a unique season of Premier League football for obvious reasons. There was a quick turnover from pre-season and the majority of games have been played with either no fans, or at very least a very limited number of fans. This being due to the implementation of national lockdown and the varied tier systems, that have been put into place in the UK since March 2020.

In this article we rate and analyse every teams season so far, whilst also looking at the stand out player from each Premier League club.

 

Arsenal

Rating 3/10   

Current position: 9th

There were high hopes for Mikel Arteta at the start of this season following his sides FA Cup triumph over Chelsea and a impressive victory over Liverpool in the Community Shield.

Unfortunately for The Gunners this season, it has been a notable struggle, as Arsenal have already lost 8 of their 20 Premier League games. November was a particular low point, with the Gunners scoring just one Premier League goal for the duration of the entire month.

By Christmas, Arsenal were flirting with relegation, with West Brom manager Sam Allardyce having the audacity to claim Arsenal were in a relegation battle. Arteta was amongst the bookmakers favourites for the sack at the end of December.

There has been a great deal of scrutiny on the Spaniard and whether he is the right man to lead the club forward given his lack of managerial experience. However, a turnaround in fortunes and 4 victories from their last 5 games has helped Arsenal rise up the table, giving Arteta a bit more time in the job. The Gunners are 7 points off a Champions League place and there is still a chance for Arsenal to turn things around.

Best performer – Bukayo Saka

In a bleak season where starman Aubameyang has been misfiring and the likes of Partey and Gabriel have been ruled out to injury, one huge positive for Arsenal has been the impressive form of youngster Bukayo Saka. Last season he emerged as a hot prospect and was included sporadically, however this year he has cemented himself as a key player and one the first names on the team sheet. His versatility at left back and left wing has proved invaluable.

 

Aston Villa

Rating 8.5/10

Current Position: 10th

Dean Smith’s side narrowly avoided relegation last season after a difficult first season back in the Premier League and most expected a similar story this time around.

After some shrewd business in the transfer market Aston Villa are looking like a completely different team. The goalkeeper position was a huge problem last year for the Villains with the likes of Reina,Heaton and Nyland all having spells in between the sticks. New signing Martinez has been key and he has added real stability in goal, so far he has managed 8 clean sheets (the highest of any Premier League goalkeeper), a stark contrast to last season where they often leaked goals.

At the top end of the pitch, Barkley, Traore and Watkins have all impressed as Villa sit comfortably in the top half of the table with three games in hand. Aston Villa have produced a number of shocks along the way, their best being a 7-2 demolition of champions Liverpool.

Best Performer – Jack Grealish

Aston Villa have had the luxury of having a number of players in form this season such as new signings Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Martinez.

One player however has stood head and shoulders above the rest and that is Jack Grealish. The academy graduate was a key player last season but has hit another level this campaign, having scored 5 goals and provided 9 assists so far.

Such form has forced Grealish into the England squad where he has continued to impress, even drawing comparisons to Paul Gascoigne. On current form he looks a certainty to make this summer’s European Championship squad.

 

Brighton

Rating: 4/10

Current Position: 17th

Now in their third season in the top flight, many Brighton fans expected a tough season. Since their promotion to the top flight the Seagulls have been amongst the favourites for the drop but have been able to defy expectations to survive in the Premier League.

Graham Potters side sit narrowly ahead of the relegation places in 17th, with a 5 point gap on Fulham in 18th. As it stands Brighton have drawn 8 of their 17 games, the most of any side in the Premier League this year.

If they are to survive in the Premier League it is crucial that they can turn good performances into victories on a consistent basis.

Best Performer – Neal Maupay

With Brighton battling it out at the foot of the table they have become reliant on a regular goalscorer to keep them in the league. So far one man who has stepped up to the task has been Neal Maupay, currently accumulating a tally of 7 and has been amongst the top scorers in the bottom half of the league.

An honourable mention also goes to youngster Tariq Lamptey who is making a big impression at Brighton following his move from Chelsea, Lamptey’s blistering pace and marauding runs have been key to Brightons hopes of survival and he has looked a real prospect prior to his injury.

 

Burnley

Rating 4/10  

Current Position: 15th

Burnley made very few signings during the summer transfer window and it was inevitable that they would find it tough this season. Particularly when the teams around them have been so active in the transfer market and bolstered their squads.

Sean Dyche’s men have been a stable side in the league for a number of years, however that status became in great jeopardy as the Clarets began the season in poor form failing to win any of their opening 8 games. A major problem for Burnley has been scoring goals and they are currently the lowest scorers in the division.

A turnaround in fortunes since December has since seen Burnley climb out of the bottom three and they have made big steps towards survival after becoming the first side to win at Anfield since 2017.

Best Performer – Nick Pope

Sean Dyche has prided his team on having a solid defence and being tough to breakdown. One man who has been key to their defence is England goalkeeper Nick Pope, recovering from a shaky start to the season, eventually helping Burnley to pick up some valuable points. He has kept 6 clean sheets this season, the fourth most in the Premier League.


Crystal Palace

Rating 5/10

Current Position: 14th

Crystal Palace have so far been steady but unspectacular in the Premier League this season. They are currently 10 points clear of the bottom three.

There is no real danger of them being relegated at this point in time but it looks unlikely that they will be able to compete at the top end of the league. The form of new signing Eze, accompanied with star man Zaha has been pivotal this campaign.

The same problem from previous seasons seems to persist with Crystal Palace, lacking a clinical centre forward who can regularly score goals. Many had hoped Michy Batshuayi would shine on loan from Chelsea but he has barely been able to get off the bench so far.

Best Performer – Wilfried Zaha

Crystal Palace were able to retain the services of Wilfried Zaha this summer after interest from a number of big teams. The Ivorian has once again proved to be the star man for the Eagles, the player to make things tick in attack and Palace have notably struggled when he hasn’t been on the pitch.

Zaha has been a key outlet for The Eagles and is their top scorer with 8 goals whilst also providing 3 assists.

 

Chelsea

Rating- 4/10    

Current Position 8th

Despite only being 5 points off the Champions League spots, to be as low as 8th place for Chelsea at this stage of the season will be hugely disappointing for the Blues thus far.

During the last campaign Lampard was given a great deal of credit as he successfully managed to get Champions League football for Chelsea despite dealing with a transfer embargo. However this seasons string of poor results so far has proved the nail in the coffin for Frank.

This summer the Blues were back in the market and were the highest spenders in Europe, enhancing their squad with a number of big name signings such as Bundesliga stars Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, along with Ziyech from the Eredivisie. The defence was also bolstered with the veteran Brazilian international Thiago Silva adding a wealth of experience to Chelsea backline.
Most pundits felt this additional quality would allow Lampard to push on with the Blues and mount a serious title push.

Many of these signings have had slow starts in the Premier League and Chelsea have looked well off the pace this season. Roman Abramovich has now sacked Lampard and replaced him with Thomas Tuchel in a bid to turn Chelsea’s season around.

Best Performer- Mason Mount

A number of Chelsea players have not performed to the level they were expected to, however one player bucking the trend who has continued to thrive at Chelsea is midfielder Mason Mount. Having linked up with Lampard at Derby, Mason Mount was soon fast tracked into Chelsea’s plans during Lampard’s first season with the club.

This year he was expected to be rotated a lot more in the Chelsea side. But he has once again established himself as a first team regular. Mount has showed great consistency featuring in 18 of Chelsea’s 19 games, scoring two goals and adding five assists.

 

Everton

Rating – 7/10

Current Position 7th

After difficult starts in their last few campaigns, Carlo Ancelotti got off to a great start in his first full season as Everton boss. A free scoring Calvert Lewin fired the Toffees to the top of the league table in the early weeks of the season.

Everton currently sit in 6th position and they are showing huge signs of improvement this year with new signings in midfield such as Allan, James and Doucoure all growing into their roles at the club. As it stands Everton are just two points off Liverpool in 4th with two games in hand. This looks to be the year that Everton could move from a mid table team to a European contender.

Best Performer – Dominic Calvert Lewin

Since the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, Dominic Calvert Lewin has made great progress and is consistently adding more goals to his game. Such formidable goalscoring form has carried on into this season as he has scored 11 goals and made 4 assists.

Such form has forced him into the international set up and put him fourth in the goalscoring charts for this season, giving the Toffees a great chance of competing for European football.

 

Fulham

Rating 3/10

Position 18th

Following their promotion to the Premier League this year Fulham opted for a much more quiet approach in their transfer market than they did back in the 2018/19 season, with Scott Parker remaining loyal to the majority of players which got him back up from the Championship.

The Cottagers have found life in the Premier League very difficult and they have won just 2 of their 19 Premier League games so far this season. The positive for Scott Parkers side will be fact that they have been much more competitive in games since November.

At this moment in time Fulham need to do much more to avoid relegation.

Best Performer – Ademola Lookman

Ademola Lookman was a late signing at the end of the summer transfer window but he has definitely made an impact since being brought in to the club scoring 3 goals and supplying 3 assists.

He has added a touch of flair and pace to the side to help unlock opposition defences, he will be a key man for the Cottagers if they are to survive in the Premier League.

 

Leeds United

Rating 7/10

Current Position 12th

After a 17 year absence it’s fair to say Leeds have held their own on their return to the Premier League. Bielsa’s side have been the entertainers of the division and have been able to score goals for fun with their aggressive press and their desire to get forward.

The majority of this team had little Premier League experience but despite that Bielsa has implemented a style of play which all his players have bought in to and so far have carried out with great effect.

At times such a cavalier style of football has left Bielsa’s men exposed at the back, with only West Bromwich Albion conceding more goals than the Whites. Despite that their ability to score goals suggests that they will be more than capable of surviving in the Premier League this year.

Best Performer- Patrick Bamford

Going into this season there remained a great deal of scepticism surrounding Patrick Bamford. He has always looked very comfortable at Championship level and fired Leeds to the title last year, however questions remained whether he had the ability to deliver on England’s biggest stage. Bamford had previously struggled in the Premier League during previous spells at Crystal Palace,Norwich, Burnley and Middlesbrough, scoring just one Premier League goal up until this season.

This season he has proved all doubters wrong and has so far been a revelation in the Premier League, scoring ten goals and making five assists in his 17 Premier League appearances.

 

Leicester City

Rating 8.5/10

Current Position 3rd

After a late collapse last season which saw Leicester narrowly miss out on Champions League football, some felt that Leicester City would drop off slightly this season. They also had to contend with the loss of first choice left back Ben Chilwell to Chelsea this summer.

Leicester City have once again been able to defy expectations under Brendan Rodgers and have recruited very well over the summer,signing the likes of Castagne and Fofana to further strengthen their defence and Leicester are looking like genuine contenders for the Premier League title this season.

As it stands The Foxes sit 3rd in The Premier League table, just two points behind league leaders Manchester City. It has already been a year of extreme highs on the pitch with notable victories against the likes of Chelsea,Tottenham and Manchester City.

The Foxes are currently seen as outsiders for the Premier League title but have proven in years gone by that they are more than capable of producing a shock.

Best Performer – Jamie Vardy

When Leicester City last won the league back in 2016, many football fans foolishly believed that Jamie Vardy would become a one season wonder due to his age and his reliance on pace to get in behind defences.

But at the age of 34, Jamie Vardy has shown no sign of slowing down and has continued to be one of the best performers in the Premier League, propelling Leicester to a title push. This season he has fired 11 goals and provided 8 assists at the halfway stage.

 

Liverpool    

Rating 5/10

Current Position 5th

Last year Liverpool ended their thirty year wait for a Premier League title, steamrolling the division with 99pts and an 18pt gap on second place. They went into this season as huge favourites for the league title but have failed to match those standards this time around.

After a strong start to the season Liverpool suffered a humiliating 7-2 defeat against Aston Villa. In the following game they were handed a further blow against rivals Everton with star man Virgil Van Dijk being ruled out for the rest of the season with a long term injury. Additional long term injuries to the likes of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Diogo Jota rubbed the salt in the wounds of a underperforming Klopp side.

Liverpool originally seemed to cope well with these absences and were amongst the league leaders at Christmas. However signs of fatigue have began to show with the champions. They have scored just one goal since Christmas and are on their worst run in front of goal since 2005, having failed to score in their last four games.

The positives for Liverpool will be that they are still in the title race and they are currently just seven points behind league leaders Manchester City. If Liverpool are to retain the league title it is important that they can shake off this poor run of form as quickly as possible. Despite the current blip in form I still expect Liverpool to be amongst the title contenders this campaign.

Best Performer – Mohamed Salah

A number of Liverpool players have struggled to match their form of last season and fatigue has proven a factor this year with injuries.

Although the front three may be struggling for the goals over the last few games, there remains no doubt that one man who has carried Liverpool to victories over the course of this season has been Mohamed Salah. So far the Egyptian winger season has scored 13 goals and made 4 assists this season. Such form will need to continue if Liverpool are to retain their Premier League title.

 

Man City

Rating 7.5/10

Current Position 1st

Manchester City went into the season keen to avenge their title after being blown away by Liverpool during the last campaign.

It was far from a vintage start for Manchester City with defensive frailties highlighted early in the season by a 5-2 hammering at home to Leicester City. Rueben Dias was soon brought in to stabilise the defensive issues and John Stones has revived his good form at the back.

The problem for Manchester City at times has unusually been their ability to not score enough goals. In seasons gone by they have breezed through defences with the goalscoring exploits of Argentine striker Sergio Aguero. But this year it has been a frustrating season for their talisman who has spent most of the season sidelined by injury.

After a frustrating start to the season it is fair to say Manchester City are beginning to hit their stride once more and they are currently on a seven game winning streak which has propelled them to the top of the Premier League table. They are currently the bookmakers favourites to take the Premier league title.

Best Performer – Kevin De Bruyne

Throughout the last few seasons Kevin De Bruyne has established himself as not only one of the best midfielders in the league but also one of the best in world football. This season has been no different as he has continued that rich vein of form for the citizens, scoring three goals and making ten assists.

De Bruyne currently stands second in the assist charts with only Harry Kane creating more goals at this moment in time. De Bruyne has recently been sidelined for six weeks, which will be a huge blow to Manchester City’s title push, notably putting more pressure on the likes of Phil Foden to provide a creative outlet.

 

Manchester United

Rating 9/10

Current Position 2nd

After a lacklustre start to the campaign which saw Man Utd beaten by Crystal Palace and receive a 6-1 hammering from Spurs, the rumour mill circulated for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be the first manager to lose his job. How quickly times can change…very few people would have foreseen that by the start of 2021, Manchester United would be second in the Premier League table.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had to contest with a host of problems this campaign: from Pogba’s agent talking up interest from other clubs, a loss of form to Mason Greenwood who was sent home from international duty and the court case involving Harry Maguire which damaged his early season form. But despite these issues the Red Devils have been a force this season and are rightly seen as genuine title contenders.

Manchester United’s form has been particularly potent away from home where they have set a new record for consecutive away victories.

Best Performer – Bruno Fernandes

Arguably the most influential signing in the post Fergie era, since last January, Bruno Fernandes has been pivotal to Manchester United’s upturn in fortune. In his first 6 months his signing was the catalyst for a return to Champions League football.

This form has continued this campaign and the Portuguese midfielder has hit a staggering 11 goals from midfield in the first half of the season whilst also producing 9 assists to guide the Red Devils to second in the league table. It is clear to see that Man Utd are not the same team without him on the pitch and it is crucial that his form continues if they are to be victorious at the end of the season.

 

Newcastle United

Rating 2.5/10

Current Position 16th

It truly has been a bleak season for the Magpies in Steve Bruce’s second season at the club.

The early months began with some bright results over the likes of West Ham and Everton and it seemed that Newcastle would have enough in the bag to comfortably survive in the Premier League. Some Newcastle fans were even optimistic after Bournemouth pair Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser were recruited to the club along with Norwich youngster Jamal Lewis.

Despite picking up some good results early in the season the Magpies have ranked in the bottom three in the Premier League in a number of areas such as shots on target, possession and chances created. In every game this season they have been heavily reliant on Karl Darlow in goal who has been brilliant when covering for the injured Martin Dubravka, Darlow has made a staggering 73 saves so far this season, the second most in the Premier League.

Such statistics were inevitably going to lead to a difficult period and the Mapies seem to have regressed throughout the season, a particular low point came when they were beaten by a Sheffield United team who hadn’t won a game since June 2020.

Such poor form has led to a great deal of pressure on manager Steve Bruce who is failing to get the best out of his team. At this moment in time the Magpies look to be sleepwalking towards a relegation battle having picked up just one point from their last eight Premier League games.

Best Performer – Callum Wilson

A great deal of Newcastle’s players have performed poorly so far this season. The only stand out performers so far have been goalkeeper Karl Darlow and new signing Callum Wilson.

In a team that has been tremendously poor in terms of creativity Callum Wilson has done incredibly well to score 8 goals and make 4 assists. His goals will be crucial if Newcastle are to avoid relegation to the Championship.


Sheff United

Rating 1/10

League position 20th

After a tremendous season in the Premier League last year which saw the South Yorkshire side finish in the top half of the table, it has proven to be a case of second season syndrome for the Blades. As it stands they have made the worst start to the season in Premier League history picking up just 8pts from their opening 20 league games. So far they have won just two games all season, the recent win against Manchester United however will provide the Blades with some form of optimism.

Chris Wilder’s side have performed miracles over the last few seasons to make it from League 1 to the top half of the Premier League table but it looks a certainty that the Blades will be heading back to the Championship at the end of the season.

Best Performer – David McGoldrick

A major problem for the Blades this year has been the fact that they leak to many goals and simply do not score enough at the other end, their tally of 12 goals in 20 games is the equal lowest in the Premier League so far this season.

David McGoldrick has proven to be their main attacking source having scored 70% of the Blade’s goals this year, managing an impressive seven goals in a nightmare season for Sheffield United.

 

Southampton

Rating 7.5/10

Current Position 11th

It is hard to believe that it is just over a year since the Saints were humiliated 9-0 by Leicester City during last season’s campaign. At the time many people expected to see Ralph Hasenhuttl sacked after such a dismal display.

They ended last season in strong form to comfortably finish mid table and this season they have taken a step further and they look capable of competing for european football next season. The Saints have the fourth best defensive record in the Premier League and also look strong on the front foot with James Ward Prowse pulling the strings in midfield whilst Danny Ings remains in a rich vein of goalscoring form.

As it stands Southampton are in 11th position and remain just five points behind 5th place Liverpool.

Best Performer – James Ward Prowse

There has been a number of strong performers for the Saints this year with the likes of Ryan Bertrand and Jannik Vestergaard both being solid at the back and Daniel Ings also impressing in front of goal.

But the most consistent performer this season has to be the captain James Ward Prowse. The midfielder has looked calm and composed on the ball. The homegrown talent has established himself as one of the Premier League’s best set piece takers and so far he has scored four goals and made four assists for his side.

Such form will keep him right on Gareth Southgates radar as he looks ahead to the European Championships this summer.

 

Tottenham Hotspur 

Rating 7/10

Current Position 6th

It has been a fairly strong showing from Jose Mourinho’s side during his second year at the club and the North London side look to be taking steps in the right direction towards silverware having reached the League Cup final.

Overall this season there have been times where Tottenham have looked irresistible and defences have been unable to contain the partnership of Heung Min Son and Harry Kane, who have both looked formidable in front of goal. Mourinho was aiming to make Tottenham a nastier team and Hoiberg has added a bit of that in the midfield whereas Tanguy Ndombele seems to be settling into his role at Tottenham much better this season.

The disappointing factors this season will be the way that Dele Alli has been frozen out of the team at Tottenham and the poor form of returning legend Gareth Bale. If both players were back to the best they would certainly add another dimension to Tottenham’s side.

Overall I feel Mourinho’s side have made progress and they are slowly getting to where he wants them to be, the minimal aim for Tottenham this year will be to try and secure Champions League football and end their silverware drought in the domestic competitions.

Best Performer – Harry Kane

Harry Kane has been amongst the best performers in the Premier League for the last five seasons but he has continued to add a new dimension to his game under manager Jose Mourinho.

Not only is Harry Kane regularly finding the net this season, he is also showing that he has the technique and vision to be able to drop deep and create chances for his team mates. He has struck a particularly potent partnership with Son and they are looking like one of most clinical partnerships in Premier League history.

This season Kane has been world class scoring a staggering 12 goals and also providing 11 assists so far this season. As it stands he could be on track to beat Henry and De Bruyne’s all time Premier League assist record.

 

West Brom

Rating 2/10

Current Position 19th

West Brom have developed a reputation as a yo yo club over the years and it looks to be a similar story for them this season. It was a frustrating summer for Slaven Bilic following his sides promotion last year, unable to get the investment that he wanted in the previous transfer window.

There was already tension with the owner over the transfer window and that tension eventually reached breaking point in December as the Croatian manager was sacked with The Baggies in the relegation places. With the club facing relegation threat West Brom followed the footsteps of Blackburn, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton by turning to Sam Allardyce mid way through a relegation battle in the hope that history will again be able to repeat itself and that Big Sam will keep them in the top flight.

So far the veteran manager has found life at the Hawthorns difficult, and has won just one of his opening six games as manager. He has also been on the end of some heavy defeats, being beaten 4-0 at home to Arsenal and 5-0 at home to Leeds. Big Sam prides himself on having teams that are tough to break down and he will have to improve his sides current record as they have the worst defence in the division.

You can never rule out an Allardyce team from escaping the drop given his recent track record, but a lot of improvements need to be made if Allardyce is to avoid a first Premier League relegation as a manager.

Best Performer – Sam Johnstone

West Brom have conceded the most goals of any Premier League side with 48 goals being conceded in 20 games. However that figure could easily have been much higher if it wasn’t for the good performances of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

In total he has made 80 saves which is the highest of any goalkeeper in the Premier League, his best performance came in Bilics’ final game in charge when his heroics in goal provided the Baggies with a vital point against Manchester City.

 

West Ham

Rating 8/10

Current Position 4th

Going in to this season many people had tipped West Ham to be relegated to the Championship following unrest over the summer. Captain Mark Noble had expressed his frustration over the sale of Grady Diang to West Brom and it seemed to be a disastrous season in store particularly when the Hammers were comfortably beaten by Newcastle at the start of the season.

The Hammers also had to contend with the absence of key player Michail Antonio who has been injured for large sections of the season. Despite these problems the Hammers have been fantastic under David Moyes and currently occupy a European position in 4th place.

Best Performer – Aaron Cresswell

There has been quite a few impressive performers this season for the Hammers such as Jarrod Bowen in attack and Soucek in midfield. But the outstanding performer so far for West Ham has been Aaron Cresswell.

The full back has been excellent in defence and has also caused huge problems going forward registering 6 assists this campaign and helping his side to 7 clean sheets.

 

Wolves

Rating 4/10

Current Position 13th

Wolves have been one of the biggest success stories since their promotion to the Premier League in 2018. It is hard to believe that this is only Wolves’ third year back in the Premier League. In their previous two seasons they have made a great impression in the Premier League, finishing 7th on both occasions.

This summer they had to deal with the loss of key players Matt Doherty to Tottenham and Diogo Jota to Liverpool, these departures have registered a direct correlation with their poor results this campaign. This drop in form was compounded by the fact that they have had a long term injury to talisman Raul Jimenez whereas the form of Adama Traore has heavily dropped off from last season.

Despite the drop in performance Wolves remain a strong side and there is little fear of them being relegated from the Premier League this year. There has been some bright sparks such as the form of Podence prior to injury and the emergence of youngster Matt Kilman.

Best Performer – Pedro Neto

Following the sale of Diogo Jota this summer, their became an increasingly important role for Pedro Neto in his second season at the club. The winger has certainly stepped up in his absence scoring 4 goals so far this year and also making 5 assists from out wide.

 

We hope you enjoyed this article ‘Premier League Mid Season Review’. Which teams have you been surprised with this season? Let us know!

 

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