Image: Nathan Rogers / Unsplash
Image: Nathan Rogers / Unsplash

The Premier League at Christmas

It’s not even Christmas and already the league seems won. Liverpool stretched their lead at the top to ten points with victory over Watford. They have got 49 points out of a possible 51, and they now head off to the club World Cup in high spirits.

Leading the chasing pack are Leicester who have, surprisingly, picked up more points than they did at this point in their title-winning season of 2015/16. It, therefore, shows the quality of this Liverpool side that they have been able to be so consistently good; winning 16 out of a possible 17 games is no mean feat. Man City will already feel that their title hopes are over, with a substantial 14 point gap to close. Their hopes this season will surely rest on the Champions League, a competition which they will feel is in definite reach. 

On a relatively small budget, Chris Wilder has done wonders and will be in the running for manager of the year if they keep their form up.

Leading the race for the last Champions League place (assuming of course that the three teams previously mentioned do not capitulate in the rest of the season) is Chelsea. Under the stewardship of Frank Lampard, they have had a fairly underwhelming season, losing six times already, including at home to Bournemouth and West Ham, yet they still find themselves three points clear in fourth place. This does say quite a lot for the standard of the Premier League this year with established top-six teams such as Chelsea, Man United, Spurs and Arsenal all underperforming. This had led the way for teams who normally would not have had a chance of getting into Europe. Wolves and Sheffield United especially have taken advantage of the weaknesses of the traditional top-six this year. Both have had impressive seasons, with Wolves continuing their domestic form of last year and hoping to renew last years’ European qualification. Sheffield United’s form has been especially remarkable. They were one of the relegation favourites at the start of the season, yet now sit in seventh place and are still unbeaten away from home. Their feat is all the more remarkable when you consider the amount of money they have spent this season, just £43 million; the sixth least in the league. On a relatively small budget, Chris Wilder has done wonders and will be in the running for manager of the year if they keep their form up. 

At the bottom of the table, the relegation fight already looks to be a close-run thing. Watford, however, look to be in real trouble. Having only won once all season, their five-season stint already seems to be at a close. They are six points adrift and need a real run of form to be able to survive. Their main issue seems to be in goalscoring, having only scored nine goals all season, almost half the next least team (Newcastle on 17 goals). Norwich have also had a troubling season back. Apart from their scalp against Man City, they have a disappointing season, losing 11 out of a possible 17 games. They will need the help of Teemu Pukki especially to be able to get out of the rut they currently find themselves in. 

The premier league this season is sure to be an exciting and congested run-thing but then again, when isn’t it?

Southampton and Aston Villa are also both in real trouble. Southampton’s leaky defence has been a real concern this season, conceding 36 goals this season, nine of which were against Leicester. They need a real upturn in form if they are to maintain their eight-year stay in the top division of English football. Villa have an eleven-better goal-difference than Southampton; however, their run of three successive Premier League defeats means that they are in real trouble. Nevertheless, with their next three games being against the three teams currently below them, they will hope that their position will soon improve. The congested nature of mid-table does nonetheless mean that any team up until 9th place Crystal Palace could realistically be brought back; however, it also means the opposite. Teams that currently find themselves just a couple of points above the relegation places might soon be in the comfort of mid-table. The premier league this season is sure to be an exciting and congested run-thing but then again, when isn’t it? 

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