At the time of writing, we are one game away from the mid-season point of this year’s Premier League, and what exciting fun we have already had! Here is the mid-season round up, also compared against our Kick London, pre-season predictions!
Man City running away with it!
Zero losses and the longest winning run in English top-flight history? Do we dare trigger the Arsenal fans by uttering the word “Invincibles”?! It would very much seem that Manchester City are on the war path to a convincing league win, and considering they are eleven points clear at this stage, having dismantled Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs in recent weeks, it would appear that they are unstoppable.
This goes quite handily along with the prediction made by eight out of ten of our Kick London pundits, who claimed Manchester City would be the team holding aloft the trophy come May.
Have we ever seen a group of people play musical chairs so cannily as the Premier League managers?! In any other industry, were you to not be good enough for your job, you’d have to start from the bottom and try again, but apparently in the Premier League, being a failure is the perfect pre-requisite for getting a brand new job!
The first Premier League casualty was Crystal Palace’s Frank De Boer, having only been in the job for 77 days (although that makes it feel longer than it was), he only stood in the technical area for three games. In comes Roy Hodgson, ready to sit back on the throne of “making below average teams seem quite decent” after former stints at Fulham and West Brom.
The next two to fall were Craig Shakespeare and Ronald Koeman, within a week of each other, as their respective Leicester and Everton sides languished near the foot of the table, severely underachieving. Let us not forget that Leicester are ex-Champions, I’ll have you know! In at Leicester, Claude Puel, fresh from a three month sabbatical having been dumped by Southampton, and ex-Blackburn, Newcastle, West Ham and Crystal Palace (and England, Ha!) manager, Sam Allardyce. Anybody seeing the theme here?!
Slaven Bilic was finally mercifully chopped from the West Ham dugout having had two games to save his job for what felt like a year, and underwhelmingly replaced by serial failure (three jobs in a row is serial, right?!), David Moyes.
The latest sackee was Tony Pulis, his West Brom side dropping through the league like a stone. Alan Pardew was feeling a little left out that everyone else had got a new job, so he threw himself into a new Premier League challenge.
With Mark Hughes under extreme pressure at Stoke, we can be sure that ex-Stoke (and now West Brom) manager Tony Pulis will be back at his old-now-new desk by Christmas Day.
Frank de Boer being first sacked was correctly predicted by Simon, Joe and Zuko, and surprisingly, none of the other sacked managers were predicted by our coaches! However, Andy and Matt both suggested Mark Hughes, who is currently gathering his belongings.
Fighting for their lives!
The fear of falling out the Premier League seems to be the energy that the aforementioned merry-go-round runs off of. Each team to have sacked their boss (Crystal Palace, Leicester, Everton, West Ham and West Brom) have all spent proportions of this season in the bottom three, and since their respective managerial shake-ups, each team has managed to have a bit of a turn around in fortunes (except, at the time of writing, West Brom, who are currently giving Alan Pardew nothing to dance about).
In the pre-season predictions, our coaches made Brighton, Swansea and Newcastle heavy favourites to go down. At present, Brighton are faring well, in 13th, Swansea are looking cut adrift in 20th, and Newcastle have been falling in recent weeks, currently occupying the third relegation spot, one place and one point above West Brom (who only two of our coaches predicted to get relegated).
The race for the top four places (or next three places after Man City) has been hotly contested, but is starting to settle down. Manchester United’s strong and consistent form sees them 8 points clear of 5th, and Chelsea just three points behind them. Fourth spot is currently being contested by Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley…wait…what?! Burnley?! No, that’s not a typo. Sean Dyche’s men have been the surprise of the season so far, and are just two points off of fourth spot. Spurs are also in the mix, currently sitting in 7th.
Our coaches so far are correct in their predictions, as they had suggested Arsenal, Manchester United to make the top four, and a Chelsea/Spurs flip of a coin to join them.
None of our coaches predicted Burnley to be the season’s surprise package, although Hans did suggest Huddersfield, who are currently sitting in 11th.
Pedro and Joe also suggested that Spurs would under-achieve, and compared to recent seasons, that could be seen to be true (although their Champions League form is something to behold), and Andy correctly suggested that Stoke would struggle this year, and on current form, they could well be headed out of the league.
The Golden Boot
At the time of writing, Liverpool’s Mo Salah tops the scoring charts with 14 goals, followed by Harry Kane on 12 and Raheem Sterling on 11. Other notable mentions are Lukaku (10), Rooney (10), Aguero (10). Our coaches predicted Lukaku to be top scorer, so he has some work to do still!