And here’s the final grade book, with out verdict on each team at the midway point of the season.
Do you agree?
If Everton are to capture a spot in the Top 4 they’ll need to improve their depth by adding a player or two in the January transfer window (and not selling anyone) avoiding slip-ups against clubs they should defeat (e.g. Sunderland). Roberto Martinez has worked wonders at Goodison.
The league favorites have settled into a nice shape but there are still questions in defense and in net – Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart are the keys to this club’s success in the second half of the season.
Almost top marks for the Gunners who led the way by eight points in November. That lead at the top is down to just one point now but players returning from injury is good news.
No one expected this output from Hull City. They play the game the right way and, as Liverpool found out, will punish anyone who’s looking for a walk in the park. Would be a huge boost if they could find the money for a striker in January.
The goal of finishing in the Top 4 will come only if Liverpool learn to avoid lapses like the one at Hull City while also knocking off at least one of top clubs in the league.
Chelsea have plodded along nicely, beaten the sides they should have and frustrated the top teams with tight defensive displays. The Blues are perfectly poised for a title push in the second half of the season.
The Saints have been the surprise package for much of this season and have a talented crop of teenagers who are impressing. Despite a recent dip in form, the future is bright on England’s South Coast.
Newcastle have exceeded many people’s expectations this season, as they sit in the top eight and are firing on all cylinders. Last season’s relegation battle was a blip. Can they finish in the top six?
A good passing grade, as improvements are there for all to see. Goals are still a problem so if they can stay solid and forward starts to fire, Stoke will soar up the standings.
It’s never easy to lose your best player (Gareth Bale) and bring in a whole litter of superstars. Gelling could take the entire season but Sherwood’s easy going demeanor is the best way to ensure success.
Norwich need to step it up in the second half, as some massive defeats have shown their weaknesses. Scoring goals has again been a problem, will that led to Norwich being sucked into another relegation scrap?
When things are clicking, West Brom can be a very tricky side to play, as Arsenal, Everton and United have all found out. Sacking Clarke was the wrong move and, at just four points above the drop, it’s time for chairman Jeremy Peace to hire a permanent manager.
Still plenty of work to do at Villa, but some massive wins here and there have shown promise. But there’s been plenty of dismal displays, especially going forward. Given all that, their league position isn’t bad.
Nobody expected great things from Palace but they’ve given themselves a fighting chance of staying up with four wins since November. Some shrewd signings in the transfer window could see them just beat the drop.
For a squad noted to be one of the best pure footballing sides in the Premier League, Swansea have been vanilla at best this season. The Europe League is leaving its mark so much that, if the Swans remain in that tournament, don’t be surprised if they slip to the bottom of the Premier League table.
United’s aging team has been exposed terribly and without Rooney and RVP (who’ve both been out injured) it’s been a torrid start for Moyes. In seventh and 11 points off the pace, United need a massive second half of the season to just get into the top four.
Yes, Sunderland is in last place but they’ve had to undergo a major transformation since Di Canio’s sacking. Poyet and the players have handled it admirably, defeated some quality opponents (City, Everton) and if calls/injuries start going their way, could be the next club to make The Great Escape.
Cardiff were so strong and solid for most of the opening weeks but as the season wore on Mackay’s personal feud with Tan took over. A decent squad who can dazzle on their day, new boss Solksjaer must buy big in January.
But for the injuries, the grade would be an F. West Ham is too big of a club to be playing such poor, leaderless football. Deservedly sit second from bottom, three points adrift from safety. Will take a special effort for this club to stay in the top flight.
Too much wasted talent in this side, they should be nowhere near the relegation zone. Leadership needs to step forward in the wake of Brede Hangeland‘s injuries.