With the latest round of fixtures over and the international break in the way, the Premier League has reached an interesting point. At the moment, there seems to be little certainty about things at any club in the league. Even though there is a group of teams that could look at themselves as safe, there is turmoil in many places. Teams that have done well are seeing players eye a move away to a bigger club. Romelu Lukaku craves Champions League football; Gylfi Siggurdson is bigger than Swansea and Southampton seems to lose big players every summer. There is still a lot of twists and turns in the league this season.
Although Chelsea look to be clear at the top, in football it is never over until the final whistle blows. The Blued still has games away to Manchester United and Everton as well as a tough home fixture with position 3, Manchester City. If they drop points in these games, then the pack circling around them will be buoyed and will feel like they have a chance. With that said, there the chasing pack has proven itself inconsistent to put a winning run together that will ramp up the pressure. No PL team has given Chelsea an easier run this season. All Chelsea needs do is focus on adding to their squad to cope with Champions League and the Premier League next time season.
The Champions League Spots
This is where it gets really interesting. The race for the top 4 is hot this season. Although Manchester United still harbours dreams of making it, one just can’t see them getting there as they are 4 points behind Liverpool – a team that seems to have come back into great form. As for Arsenal, the Gunners have been nothing short of dreadful of late and the impending news about the future of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Arsene Wenger has been a distraction that they didn’t need. They just don’t have enough at the moment to get back into the spot that they have occupied season after season. I can’t see Champions League football being at the Emirates next season. Spurs and Manchester City look like they will qualify for the automatic spots and go straight into the group stage. My prediction is that Liverpool will take expected fourth place and go into the playoff round for next season. Their game against Everton on April Fool’s Day will set the tone for the rest of the season for them.
The Relegation Zone
Year after year Sunderland find themselves in this position and then find a way out. They are rock bottom and a full seven points adrift of safety. It just doesn’t look like it is going to happen this year. Their only potential saving grace is that they still have to play many of the teams in and around them in the remaining fixtures. It will be interesting, but I think that they have diced with relegation too many times and this is the year they go down.
Five of the bottom six clubs have replaced their manager already this season, with the only exception being Sunderland who usually have changed their manager by this point in the season. Leicester are probably the only club that can say it has been a total success with 3 consecutive wins in the Premier League being matched by progress in the Champions League. They are looking forward rather than backwards.
Which leaves two from Crystal Place, Swansea City, Middlesbrough and Hull City to join Sunderland. It doesn’t look good for the last two of these teams. Middlesbrough have just discarded their manager in an attempt to score more goals and see a longer stay in the top division than just one season. But they still have to play Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool in their run in. Things look tough for them. Hull and Swansea have played one more game than those around them so might feel nervous about what is left to come.
There are notable mentions for West Bromwich and Everton this season who have played very well at times. They both have good managers and can look forward to better things in the future. Everton are backed with a lot of money and will want to keep hold of Ross Barkley as well as Lukaku. They can look to better things next season if they hold on to their nest players and invest in more.
What are your thoughts on the Premier League? Let us know in the comments below.