This week I will be taking a look at the progress of the top six teams in the Premier League and using my football knowledge to predict where they will be when the 2014/15 season comes to an end. Without further ado, let’s get on with it!
1. Chelsea FC
Predicted league finish: Champions
Without a doubt, Chelsea are the best team in the Premier League so far this season and, given the form they are in, they are a force to be reckoned with in Europe too.
The Blues started the season with an overhaul, taking in a selection of Atletico Madrid players, such as top goalscorer Diego Costa and left-back Filipe Luis.
In my opinion these were two of the best signings made in the summer transfer window. Spanish international Costa came to England with a hefty weight on his shoulders, following his £32 million move from Madrid to the Bridge, and with 10 goals in 12 matches, not to mention the persistent hamstring injuries, Costa has so far lived up to expectations. Similarly, Brazilian born Luis has provided boss Jose Mourinho with versatility down the left, due to his quick pace and technically defensive mind.
Now nearly halfway through the season, Chelsea have clinched 29 points from 11 matches and many now back them to win the league; something which is hard to argue with. Who knows, have we found the new Invincibles?
2. Southampton FC
Predicted league finish: 5th
WOW, what a shock surprise this has turned out to be. Following the departures of several key players and staff – Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Mauricio Pochettino – many were weary of how Southampton would cope in the Premier League, with many predicting a battle for survival. However, with the dutch maestro Ronald Koeman now in charge, the words Champions League are starting to be mooted around the club, and deservedly so.
During the summer window the Saints were able to acquire the talents of Italian striker Graziano Pelle from Dutch side Feyenoord, and he has set the Premier League on fire. Pelle came to England with a panic buy feeling to his name, but with 6 goals and 2 assists so far, such fears have already been extinguished.
With 25 points from 11 games, only 4 points behind leaders Chelsea, it would be unfair to say that there is no chance for them making the top four. However, in my eyes, I can’t see the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal being kept out of the Champions League spots with all the talent that they have at their disposal. Sorry Saints fans.
3. Manchester City FC
Predicted League Finish: 3rd
The current champions enter the international break in third place, with 21 points from 11 matches, and if their current form is a signal of things to come then I find it hard to see them retaining the title.
Much like the 2012/13 season, City have struggled to replicate the form that won them the title last season. Going forward, with the exception of Sergio Aguero and James Milner, City have looked bored and tired, with Yaya Toure looking below par compared to last season. Similarly, in defence they have appeared weak and unorganised, with Eliaquim Mangala failing to provide the strength and technical ability City fans had hoped he would bring following his £35 million transfer from Porto this summer.
However, with the Argentine maestro Aguero banging in the goals left, right, and centre it’s hard to see the retaining champions falling out of the top four.
4. West Ham United FC
Predicted League Finish: 8th
Like Southampton, this is another major surprise and full credit has got to be given to Sam Allardyce for turning his team around following last season’s antics. The Hammers finished the 2013/14 season on 51 points. With a fantastic 18 points from 11 games so far this season, surely Big Sam and his team can eclipse that total.
West Ham had a busy Summer transfer window, making a total of 8 signings. Most notable was the acquisition of strikers Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho for a combined total of £16.5 million and the phrase ‘money well spent’ could not be used in a better context.
The best thing about the London club this season, however, is the fact that they are now playing an attractive style of football, which the crowd enjoys and gets them off of their seats. Despite all of this and the fact Big Sam’s head is no longer on the line (far from it in fact), I can’t stop thinking that when West Ham come off of this hot streak they will seriously struggle to get back on it, which is why I can’t see them finishing above 8th place. Still, not bad in comparison to last season’s 13th place finish.
5. Swansea City FC
Predicted league finish: 7th
What a start Garry Monk has had to his managerial career. Swansea have made an impressive start to this season, beating the likes of Manchester United at Old Trafford in a comprehensive victory, and this stellar form seems to be going nowhere any-time soon.
The Welsh team currently sit on a well-deserved 18 points from 11 games and with Monk in charge I’m positive they can maintain this run of form. However, the problem with smaller teams such as Swansea and West Ham, seems to be that, following a good run of form, they can become over-confident and let things go to their head, which is why I predict a 7th place finish, although I’m sort of hoping that I’m wrong about this one.
6. Arsenal FC
Predicted League Finish: 4th
No surprise here, as once again Arsenal are predicted to finish in fourth place. The Gunners, like others, have had a slow start to the season, which, somewhat ironically, has been hampered by injury to key players such as Koscielny and Giroud once again. Arsene Wenger has endured an average start to this season, coming into the winter with a respectable 17 points which leaves them in sixth place.
The task of getting the club into a Champions League spot appears to rest solely on the shoulders of summer signings Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean star switched to the Gunners following a fantastic World Cup showing from the Chilean national team, and his form has continued into the Premier League season, having so far netted an impressive total of nine goals. Because of this man and his goalscoring abilities, Arsenal are one of the favourites to make the top four. It’s something which is hard to argue against, although, who knows? Stranger things have happened.