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Premier League Half Term Reports

We may be slightly over the half way mark in the Premier League season but like everyone else I need some element of a Christmas break so I will be writing these half term reports with Week 20 of the season all but complete, the premise is simple enough as I run down how each of the teams have fared in the first half of the campaign (reports listed in order of Premier League table at time of writing)

Manchester City – What else can you say but top of the class, they are approaching the kind of levels where if it was school you would see a kid be moved to the year above. Obviously City are as high as they can get right now and they have taken the bar and lifted it to levels that absolutely no-one else can get close to

Manchester United – Started brightly with a string of impressive victories but with a 15 point gap to their cross town rivals there are rumblings of discontent at Old Trafford. Quite simply they have been well beaten in the race for the title now they have to make sure that they are the best of the rest

Chelsea – The defence of the Premier League title has not got to plan but defending the trophy is not something that has been managed since 2011 so the fact that they are competing on multiple fronts this time around has come at the expense of back to back titles, that said don’t be surprised if Antonio Conte still delivers some silverware this season

Liverpool – Fantastic going forward, almost shambolic at the back. That however is an issue that as far as Jurgen Klopp is concerned will be resolved with the arrival of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton. Whether £75m is good value will ultimately be defined by whether or not the club finish in the top four once again

Tottenham – Two steps forward, one step back for Mauricio Pochettino. They have looked brilliant at times but stuttered too much for their own liking, a point off of a Champions League place with the returns of Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld still on the horizon gives them cause for optimism while I could be here all day talking about the exploits of Harry Kane

Arsenal – Depending on the week or the result depends on what light you look at Arsenal this season, they may have won the first North London Derby this season but in terms of league placing they are now worse off than they finished the 2017 campaign. A big month ahead as we will see whether Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez finally leave The Emirates.

Burnley – Making a mockery of many pundits this season, many had them tipped for relegation after the sale of Michael Keane and the possibility of being a victim of ‘Second Season Syndrome’ but they have kicked on under the continued stewardship of Sean Dyche. The biggest task will be keeping him in the Turf Moor hotseat at the start of next season

Leicester – Decided early on in the season that Craig Shakespeare had played out his final act. The decision to hire Claude Puel did not get fans jumping for joy when the announcement was made but it is fair to say that the appointment of the former Southampton boss is looking a particularly shrewd one

Everton – Early season turmoil for the Merseyside outfit as Ronald Koeman’s decision to spend big in the Summer backfired, it took a while to bring the fire under control but they finally found the right man for the job in Sam Allardyce. It might not be the most expansive football on show but it is certainly working right now as they continue to move up the table.

Watford – The last two seasons have seen Watford start brightly in the first half of the campaign only to then fall away after Christmas and it is fair to say that the club are in danger of seeing lightning striking thrice. The club have been rattled slightly after fighting to keep hold of Marco Silva, the Portuguese boss now has to make sure Watford do not slip into the bottom half

Huddersfield – Huddersfield have done half of the job in terms of beating the drop after being promoted but they cannot afford to rest on their laurels in the second half of the campaign. They continue to keep their heads above water by picking up points against the teams around them, the ideal blue print for survival

Brighton – Without being lazy I could write almost verbatim for Brighton as I did for Huddersfield. Like their Yorkshire counterparts, Chris Hughton’s men have never really been mentioned in relegation circles this season as they always manage to keep a comfortable buffer between them and the bottom three. They could like Huddersfield though perhaps do with some more goals in the next few months

Stoke – Amazing what two positive results can do for the outlook of your season, last week the pressure was on Mark Hughes as a managerial axed reportedly loomed large but he has managed to calm the nerves of Potters fans by earning four points from six and moving up to 13th. That said the clamour for ‘Hughes Out’ never really subsides regardless of results

Southampton – After looking at the resurgence that Leicester are undergoing thanks to the stewardship of Claude Puel, Southampton fans will be questioning whether the grass really is greener on the other side now that Mauricio Pellegrino is in charge. The sale of van Dijk has given the former Alvaes boss some transfer funds, he now needs to make sure he spends them wisely

Newcastle – A win over West Ham last weekend pulled Newcastle out of the bottom three but Rafa Benitez’s men still hover precariously above the drop zone. With the backdrop of whether the club will be sold arguably not helping, whoever is in charge needs to give the former Liverpool boss some money to spend in January

Crystal Palace – Quite simply a shocking start to the campaign but that is almost just a mere footnote as Roy Hodgson has not only steadied the ship but also moved it on calmer waters. The initial plan was just not to be cast adrift come January but now with the window nearly re-open the South London club have an opportunity to strengthen and move further up the table

West Ham – Another London club who rolled the dice in terms of the man in charge, David Moyes has come in and showed that he is not a busted flush after all with Marko Arnautovic being the epitome of the transformation which is taking place at the London Stadium, that said there is still a lot of work to do

Bournemouth – Avoided ‘Second Season Syndrome’ last time around but perhaps these are delayed symptoms for Eddie Howe’s men. The signing of Jermain Defoe promised much but unfortunately has delivered little as the struggle for goals has been apparent. They are perhaps worse teams than them in the division but they are certainly not too good to go down

West Brom – No win in 18 Premier League matches says it all, not only that but they have changed their manager and they still cannot find that first elusive win since August. Alan Pardew has had six attempts at time of writing without success and the fact that he has given the club no new manager bounce which is usually a given after a new appointment must be of concern

Swansea – Bottom of the table and the league’s lowest goalscorers with just 11 goals to their name, a paltry return and one that at present means that if that the ratio does not improve they will be staring relegation in the face. Carlos Carvalhal has been given the task of trying to keep the club up. the fact he has a contract until just the end of the season speaks volumes

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