EPL mid-season review – Man City Champions already?

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Manchester City are yet to be beaten this season and are looking unstoppable with a record earliest title win seeming more and more likely.

The English Premier League season of 2017/18 has just passed its halfway mark with all teams playing 20 games out of their total 38. The top 6 in the table so far is hardly surprising, with Manchester City dominating at the top with 58 points, having won 19 out of their 20 matches so far and drawing one. Manchester United at second place are in a heated battle with Chelsea FC with United having 43 points and Chelsea just one point behind with 42 points. Liverpool are in fourth place with 38 points, Tottenham in fifth ahead of rivals Arsenal who place sixth on goal difference, both on 37 points.

Manchester City     

Manchester City have so far been the runaway leaders of this season having broken records along the way such; they are currently on a very impressive 18 game winning streak, and are so far unbeaten in their 20 Premier League matches. They currently lead second place Manchester United by 15 points.

City only dropped points so far this season when they came up against Everton in their second match of the League, where the match ended 1-1. Since then they have been in unbelievable form, getting big wins; 5-0 win against Crystal Palace, a 0-6 away win against Watford and a 7-2 thrashing of Stoke. They are also yet to drop points against any of the other top 6 teams, thrashing Liverpool 6-0, edging past Chelsea 1-0 and securing a 3-1 win over Arsenal, a big 1-2 win in the Manchester derby and a dominating 4-1 victory over the Spurs.

In their current form they surely seem to be on their way to winning the title in record time. Their top goal-scorer Raheem Sterling has scored 13 goals so far. If City keep their current form going, they are set to break more records such as most points from a single season, most wins from a single season and largest title win margin.

Player of the season so far – Kevin De Bruyne

Manchester United 

 After quite a few poor seasons where they did not even finish in the top 3, halfway through the current season United are in second place but trail the leaders by 15 points and are only 1 point ahead of third place Chelsea. United have not been having a bad season so far but failure to get all 3 points in matches against the likes of Burnley and Stoke and also failing to beat the likes of Huddersfield meant that it was easier for the leaders Manchester City to increase their lead at the top. United have needed their star man in goal David de Gea to come to their rescue on multiple occasions to ensure that they got at least a point out of certain matches.

Manager Jose Mourinho has come under heavy criticism from many of the home fans regarding some of his defensive tactics and how he continuously ‘parks the bus’. Outside the Premier League, United have qualified for the round of 16 in the Champions League but crashed out of the English League Cup after a 2-1 loss to Championship side Bristol City.

Player of the season so far – David de Gea

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea celebrates after the final whistle

Chelsea FC

 At this time last season Chelsea were on a long unbeaten run after Antonio Conte decided that changing to 3 at the back was the key strategic decision for Chelsea; Diego Costa was also banging in goals which saw his team leading the Premier League with 49 points.

Chelsea came into this season as the defending champions but did not get off to the best of starts as they started off the season with a 2-3 loss to Burnley and ended the match with 9 men. Chelsea have had a mixed season so far with more loses to the likes of Crystal Palace and West Ham which were matches they should have comfortably won. Even with the addition of Alvaro Morata who was signed in the summer for a club record of £70 million and is currently leading the goal scoring for the club with 10 league goals, there still have been signs of Chelsea missing the presence of Diego Costa on a few occasions.

Star man Eden Hazard has been in blistering form this season living up to many people’s claims of him being the Premier League’s best player. Manager Antonio Conte who found amazing success last season with the 3-4-3 formation seems to be trying out a 3-5-2 formation on many occasions this season with Hazard and Morata up top which has meant that star players such as Pedro and Willian have found themselves on the bench much more than people would have expected.

Conte will be hoping to sign some top players in the upcoming January transfer window as he has complained many times on Chelsea needing more star power to compete with City who are currently running away with the title. Newly named vice-captain Cesar Azpilicueta who has been under-rated for many seasons is once again showing his brilliance as he has been one of the star men for Chelsea so far this season and has 6 assists to his name so far.

Player of the season so far – Cesar Azpillicueta

Liverpool FC 

 This season Liverpool have either looked like they could beat any side in Europe one week and then have struggled to even register a shot on goal in games against the so called lesser teams. Mo Salah leads the PL goal charts for his team scoring 15 goals in 20 appearances and also making 5 assists. He has proven to be the best signing of the season so far as he has lit up the league with his pace and goals showing Chelsea what a mistake they made in selling him.

Liverpool’s defence has been problematic all season and while the club can get up to play their top 6 rivals they have trouble winning ugly when they need to dig in and grind out a result as it showed most recently against Arsenal when they were leading 2-0 only to end up trailing 2-3. The Reds did of course come back to tie the match 3-3 and claim a point but the result could have been better. However, now with the big signing of centre-back Virgil van Dijk, the second half of their season should go much better. Liverpool in the recent years have had their realistic target as qualifying for a Champions League spot rather than winning the title and will be looking to do finish in the top four again.

Player of the season so far – Mohamed Salah

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham after being serious title challengers in the previous two seasons will be very disappointed with their current situation in the Premier League as they sit in 5th place with 37 points so far. The Spurs are still comfortably in the fight for a Champions League qualification spot currently just 1 point behind 4th place Liverpool. Tottenham have had a pretty wayward season up to now, losing matches to opponents they were easy favourites against. Spur’s star man Harry Kane however has been in blazing goal-scoring form, this season Kane comfortably leads the League’s goal scoring charts having scored 18 goals from just 19 appearances, and with 18 matches left if Kane keeps up his goal scoring form we could see the record for the most goals in a season which is currently 31 goals, broken easily.

Player of the season so far – Harry Kane

Arsenal FC     

The Gunners fans will be unhappy with their teams’ current situation in the League as they lie in 6th place, 1 point behind the closest Champions League qualifying spot. Fans however will be unhappy that once again their team is not in the title race. Speculation on superstars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil keep coming as they are heavily rumoured to be leaving the club in the upcoming January transfer window. If they do go and Wenger fails to add some good quality to the team, the Gunners are likely to seriously struggle to qualify for the Champions League for a second consecutive season. New comer Alexandre Lacazette has scored 8 goals up to now but has failed to make as much of an impact for his team as new comers else where such as Morata and Salah have done for their teams.

Monreal is one of the most consistent players Arsenal currently have and his passion shines through. All you need to do is look at his face whenever the ball is in the back of the opposition’s net to see how much he adores this club. He has completed 92% of his passes, makes an average of eight defensive actions per game and has created four chances.

Player of the season so far – Nacho Monreal

Elsewhere in the League, the biggest surprise story is from Burnley who were serious relegation contenders last season but this season currently sit 7th in the table, having opened their season with the massive win over defending Champions Chelsea and holding teams like Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool to draws. Leicester City who finished their campaign last season as defending champions in 12th position are currently in 8th position while Everton who were in the relegation zone in the early stages of the season currently sit in 9th.

New comers Huddersfield Town and Brighton and Hove Albion are currently 11th and 12th respectively.

In the relegation battle so far, Swansea currently are bottom of the table with just 13 points from their 20 games with West Brom in 19th place with 15 points but having won only 2 of their 20 matches thus far. The final relegation spot sees a much closer match-up at this stage with only 4 points being the difference between 18th placed Bournemouth and 12th placed Brighton.

It is safe to say the way the League is panning out this season, we will see many records being broken.