We are now just over a 1/3 of the season through and its has been a thriller with already 3 sackings, a bag full of goals, Mike Dean phone calls about slack referees and the most open title race in the history of the Premier League all without Sir Alex. Still sure were missing him? Were now in December and this is the time usually where the cream comes to the top and pretenders fall away. While its 8 years without a trophy, it the Gunners who have set the Premiership alive this season with stimulating football namely for the likes of Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosicky and not to forget Oliver Giroud who’s found his goal scoring touch. With the gunners 4 points clear at the summit are they catch-able. The same can’t be said for Palace, Sunderland and Fulham with all three sacking their mangers after dismal starts to the season. Can they survive relegation in my run down teams predictions.
Prediction and Review for Arsenal, Aston Villa, Cardiff, Chelsea and Palace.
Booo’s were ringing around at their opening day defeat at the hand of Villa, with dismay of the lack to summer activity and the poor performance of the players, but that all changed. The signing of Mesut Ozil for 50 million Euros is a hell of a lot of money, but there is no doubt that it was a snip. It was the catalyst of Arsenal improved fortunes with their 9 game unbeaten league run, completion of the ‘group of death’ in Europe (nearly), 4 point gap at the summit and the rise of the Premier League Player of the Season Aaron Ramsey. There’s just not denying he has taken the league by storm, matching his goals tally combined ever for Arsenal in 22 games, improving his assists ratio and all round link up play has been unrivalled. With the improved form of sole striker Giroud with 10 this season, goals have not been hard to come by. But its their defensive record which has taken them to the top of the league and UCL qualification, there’s now this resistance which was lacking in past years. Along with the keeper who’s been excellent, its the partnership of Koscielny and Mertesacker which has given Arsenal a base to build upon. If they can stay fit, then there is no reason why they cannot but if Giroud picks up an injury who will replace him? The lack of strength in depth is a worry, but if Wenger can add in January they have a great chance of ending their goal drought.
Position = 2nd
Its been a mixed bag this season. I was expecting them to push on, but they have just stalled. After Paul Lambert brought in a number of players it seemed European place could be in sight but they have disappointed in that regard. 75% of games they have lost have been at home which is concerning although is the away games that suit them with their counter attacking style of play. With Benteke only scoring 5 goals a lot more was expected of him although he has been injured a fair few times . While they are not going to win the league maybe their mid table position is where they should be.
Position = 12th
Difficult is an understatement being a promoted team in the Bpl but they have settled in nicely in one of the best leagues in the world. Although their league position, 17th and a place away from the relegation zone states that they are in trouble, they are also a win away from 11th place. Having spent £32 million in the summer they are the best equipped squad wise to survive. With the likes of Odemwingie, Medel and Caulker signed quality is their to be seen with a solid attack and defence. Wining only 3 games this season has seen the manger placed under pressure by the Malaysian maniac, and if the manger is sacked it could lead them to danger. But I can see other teams worse than them.
Position = 15th
The return of the ‘ Special One’ placed Chelsea as heavy favourites for the title but thus far they have faltered. I questioned the appointed by Roman Abramovich as a step backwards in terms of football with his negative style of play which he clearly do not like. The omission of Juan Mata has left us shocked, by far Chelsea’s best play last year has been warming the bench of late, somewhere where players of his quality should not be. In terms of results they are right up their only 4 points behind Arsenal and qualification for the knock-out round assured, they look set to be challenging on all fronts. The form of Oscar has been exceptional and is their top scorer in the league with 5, but that tells me a problem. Chelsea like of goals from the front men is a major worry at this stage. With only 4 goals scored by Ba, Eto’o and Torres all season in the league it does ponder a question of why he let go Lukaku to Everton as possible rival to a top 4 place and with his goals he has scored for Everton they could be needed if Chelsea want to win the league. If they sign a striker in January, they have the squad and manger with the experience to win the league. If not we could be heading for another sacking at Chelsea.
Position = 4th
To be honest the wrong team came up in the play-offs, Palace were not ready while Watford had a better team with supplied needed to stay in the Premier League form Udinese. With 9 defeats in the first 10 games the lack of quality is clear to see. Signing a bunch of Premier League rejects spells doom. They were a 2 man team last year and now with no Zaha, and Murray top scorer last season with 31 goals. They have just not filled that gap with suitable replacements. Kevin Phillips is just not going to get you 15 goals a year to survive. The offensive department is not helped with a mediocre defence with no quality Ward, Moxey, and Gabbidon have been left exposed this season. With Tony Puils brought in as a last ditch attempt for survival, route 1 football could be the norm at South London. But it seems too little to late, I feel that the payments would be of a great use for Palace in their rebuilt next season in the Championship for this beloved club.
Position = 20th