Midseason review 2016-17

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Revised: Predicting Premier League standings for 2016-17

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After reaching the halfway point of the 2016-17 Premier League, Pro Soccer Talk is handing out its awards over the next few days.

[ MORE: PST’s full midseason awards ]

Click on the link above for all of the midseason awards, while below we release out revised predictions for the Premier League standings and how things will look at the end of the season in May.

[ LISTEN: The 2 Robbies, Rebecca Lowe, midseason review

In case you were wondering, here’s our predictions from the start of the season.


Joe Prince-Wright

1. Chelsea
2. Manchester City
3. Manchester United
4. Spurs
5. Arsenal
6. Liverpool
7. Everton
8. West Brom
9. Leicester City
10. Stoke City
11. Saints
12. West Ham
13. Bournemouth
14. Burnley
15. Sunderland
16. Hull City
17. Swansea City
18. Middlesbrough
19. Watford
20. Crystal Palace

Nick Mendola

1. Chelsea
2. Manchester City
3. Manchester United
4. Arsenal
5. Liverpool
6. Spurs
7. Everton
8. West Ham
9. Saints
10. Bournemouth
11. Leicester City
12. Stoke City
13. Burnley
14. West Brom
15. Middlesbrough
16. Crystal Palace
17. Watford
18. Sunderland
19. Swansea City
20. Hull City

Kyle Bonn

1. Chelsea
2. Liverpool
3. Manchester City
4. Arsenal
5. Spurs
6. Manchester United
7. Everton
8. Bournemouth
9. Southampton
10. West Brom
11. Stoke City
12. West Ham
13. Leicester City
14. Watford
15. Burnley
16. Middlesbrough
17. Crystal Palace
18. Swansea City
19. Sunderland
20. Hull City

Matt Reed

1. Chelsea
2. Liverpool
3. Manchester City
4. Arsenal
5. Manchester United
6. Spurs
7. West Ham
8. Everton
9. West Brom
10. Southampton
11. Bournemouth
12. Watford
13. Crystal Palace
14. Leicester City
15. Burnley
16. Stoke City
17. Middlesbrough
18. Sunderland
19. Hull City
20. Swansea City

Eric Scatamacchia

1. Chelsea
2. Liverpool
3. Manchester City
4. Arsenal
5. Manchester United
6. Spurs
7. Everton
8. West Brom
9. Southampton
10. West Ham
11. Bournemouth
12. Stoke City
13. Leicester City
14. Burnley
15. Watford
16. Crystal Palace
17. Middlesbrough
18. Sunderland
19. Swansea City
20. Hull City

Midseason awards: Overachievers, most to prove, under the radar

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After reaching the halfway point of the 2016-17 Premier League, Pro Soccer Talk is handing out its awards over the next few days.

[ MORE: PST’s full midseason awards ]

Click on the link above for all of the midseason awards, while below we discuss who has overachieved, who has the most to prove and who has flown under the radar.

[ LISTEN: The 2 Robbies, Rebecca Lowe, midseason review


Team who has overachieved most

Joe Prince-Wright’s pick: Burnley – With the squad they have, the fact that Burnley is within one point of the top 10 is superb. Turf Moor is a fortress.

Nick Mendola’s pick: West Brom – They’ve overachieved the most, but astute Tony Pulis has adapted from his infuriating defensive methods to follow more of a Leicester 2015-16 model.

Matt Reed’s pick: West Brom – It wasn’t impossible believe that this could be a top 10 side but the Baggies have certainly outdone themselves at the halfway stage. While the team is still lacking a signature win, Tony Pulis’ side is in a good spot for the time being.

Eric Scatmacchia’s pick: Chelsea – Chelsea were not among the top echelon of title contenders at the start of the season and now they are the odds-on favorite to win the Premier League. There wasn’t much turnover from last year’s roster that struggled mightily, but a few key additions, most notably N’Golo Kante, and a system change have Chelsea in historic form.

Player who has overachieved most

Joe Prince-Wright’s pick: Adam Lallana – We always knew he had this quality but he has added goals and assists to his game and is arguably Liverpool’s most important player. A machine.

Nick Mendola’s pick: Theo Walcott – All things considered for an English international at Arsenal, has overachieved on the finishing front with his eight goals.

Matt Reed’s pick: David Luiz – Since making his Stamford Bridge return, the Brazilian has played a massive role in Chelsea’s three-back system. Luiz and the backline have allowed just eight Premier League goals since he made the move back to the PL and the club hasn’t lost since September.

Eric Scatamacchia’s pick: Jermain Defoe – This is not about Defoe’s talent as he has been a productive striker in the Premier League for over a decade, but rather what he has around him. The Sunderland striker has been in great form this season, but is part of one of the worst offenses in the Premier League. Defoe has 11 of Sunderland’s 19 goals and is tied for the team lead in assists with two. He is on pace for one of his highest scoring seasons of his career and every goal will be vital as he appears to be Sunderland’s only hope of Premier League survival.

Coach who has overachieved most

Joe Prince-Wright’s pick: Antonio Conte – We know he is top quality but without doubt he has overachieved in his first few months in charge. High expectations from Chelsea’s fans now.

Nick Mendola’s pick: Walter Mazzarri – He has overachieved as a manager, though Watford’s drop-off makes this a risky call.

Matt Reed’s pick: Eddie Howe – The Cherries finished 16th a season ago, and while they likely won’t pull off a Leicester-like upset in 2016/17, Howe has done a tremendous job of putting Bournemouth on the map. Wins over Leicester and Liverpool, as well as a draw against Tottenham, has the Cherries well above anybody’s expectations.

Eric Scatamacchia’s pick: Antonio Conte – So much for needing time to adjust to the Premier League. Conte has 16 wins from his first 19 matches in the Premier League and has frustrated opposing sides with his 3-4-3 system. Conte has had great success in his managerial career, but it would have been unfair to expect this type of success so soon for the Italian.


Team with most to prove 

Joe Prince-Wright’s pick: Manchester United – Mourinho’s men have finally got going in recent weeks but there’s still plenty more to come from them.

Nick Mendola’s pick: Swansea City – They have the most to prove, largely in the transfer market. There’s a lot to prove for a club which fired two managers before you get to a necessary transfer window.

Matt Reed’s pick: Manchester United – Considering the big-time moves at manager and across the pitch, the Red Devils shouldn’t be content with just finishing top six.

Player with most to prove 

Joe Prince-Wright’s pick: Claudio Bravo – Much has been made of his arrival at City and the subsequent departure of Joe Hart. I’ve yet to see why Bravo was brought in.

Nick Mendola: Paul Pogba – He has been absolutely wonderful for United but will remain under the microscope due to his record transfer and non-English status.

Matt Reed’s pick: Jamie Vardy – You could really go with the entire Leicester squad but five goals over the first half of the season surely isn’t where the striker expected to be. It’s beginning to get to the point where the Foxes aren’t just floating above the bottom but seriously in danger of falling into the relegation zone, and Vardy has to improve if his team is to last another season in the PL.

Coach with most to prove

Joe Prince-Wright’s pick: Slaven Bilic – West Ham must now kick on in the second half of the season after a poor opening 20 games. Bilic must prove that last season was a one-off.

Nick Mendola’s pick: Claude Puel – He has a lot to prove at Southampton, as both Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman have raised expectations for what a Saints boss should be able to do almost regardless of tumult.

Matt Reed’s pick: Jose Mourinho – His second stint at Chelsea had its ups and downs but the Portuguese now has great expectations to turn around a United team that has had more struggles than positives since Sir Alex Ferguson‘s exit from Old Trafford. There’s no question that the Red Devils have talent in the squad, so it’s more a matter of seeing what Mourinho can get out of his roster and prove once again that he is in fact the “Special One.”


Under the radar awards

Joe Prince-Wright’s pick: Ander Herrera – Ask any Manchester United fan what they think of Herrera. You’ll hardly ever hear a bad word about him. He does all the leg work for the flashy stars and has been sublime this season.

Nick Mendola’s pick: Matt Phillips – JPW and longtime readers will be rolling their eyes as I’ve loved him going back to his days in the PL with QPR, but Matty Phillips of West Brom has only gotten better and smarter as a crosser of the ball. At $7 million? Not bad, Mr. Pulis.

Matt Reed’s pick: Jermain Defoe – He’s 34 and still banging in goals left and right, and honestly Sunderland would be buried at the bottom right now if it weren’t for the veteran. Defoe has 10 of the team’s 18 finishes this season and barring some major transfer signings in January the Black Cats will need Defoe to survive the rest of the way.

Midseason awards: Player of the season, so far

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After reaching the halfway point of the 2016-17 Premier League, Pro Soccer Talk is handing out its awards over the next few days.

[ MORE: PST’s full midseason awards ]

Click on the link above for all of the midseason awards, while below we select our player of the season based on their performance so far.

Let us know in the comments section below.

[ LISTEN: The 2 Robbies, Rebecca Lowe, midseason review


Joe Prince-Wright
The pick: Alexis Sanchez – He has been the best player on the pitch in so many games this season. His consistency is astonishing and overall he can create goals just as easy as he makes it look to score them. The Gunners should pay him the big bucks to keep him and let him run their offense. With 12 goals and 7 assists so far, he could easily reach 20 in both category. Special shout-out to Zlatan too, even though Diego Costa and Eden Hazard would be my second and third picks respectively.

Nicholas Mendola
The pick: N'Golo Kante – He was my player of the season for Leicester City last season, and both sides’ reversals of table fortune can be directly tied to the absence or arrival of the French engine.

Kyle Bonn
The pick: Eden Hazard – Hazard, Alexis Sanchez and Costa have shouts here, but Hazard is back to his old self again, and he’s the best player in the league.

Matt Reed
The pick: Diego Costa – The re-emergence of Eden Hazard has certainly provided another stable option up front for the Blues, however, Costa has been scoring at a lightning pace and has already surpassed his goal total of a season ago.

Eric Scatamacchia
The pick: Diego Costa – Costa has thrived in Antonio Conte’s system using his strength, drive and precision to rip apart Premier League defenses. He has 14 goals to lead the Premier League, not to mention his five assists. The biggest difference for Costa this season has been his emotional control. The outbursts and antics he has been known for have vanished under Antonio Conte who seems to know exactly how to manage the talented striker. A steady Costa has been vital to Chelsea’s success this season.

Midseason awards: Coach of the season, so far

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After reaching the halfway point of the 2016-17 Premier League, Pro Soccer Talk is handing out its awards over the next few days.

[ MORE: PST’s full midseason awards ]

Click on the link above for all of the midseason awards, while below we select our coach of the season.

[ LISTEN: The 2 Robbies, Rebecca Lowe, midseason review

Let us know who you’d pick for the top gaffer, at the midway point, in the comments section below.


Joe Prince-Wright
The pick: Antonio Conte – There really is no other contender here. Conte has taken pretty much the same group of players who looked useless for most of last season and reinvigorated them. I was at his press conference following the 3-0 drubbing at Arsenal in September. He was furious and changed to a 3-4-3 after that. The rest (and the winning streak) is history.

Nicholas Mendola
The pick: Antonio Conte – With respect to Eddie Howe and Tony Pulis, it seems a bit too much to say anyone’s done more than Conte (even given Chelsea’s player strength). Adjusting to a new formation and system in close to record time, the Blues are rolling under the Italian manager.

Kyle Bonn
The pick: Antonio Conte –  Nobody else is in the same zip code.

Matt Reed
The pick: Antonio Conte – It’s not just because Chelsea is leading the league at the moment or that the club has ripped off 13 straight wins. Conte has transformed the way the Blues have played in 2016, giving the attack a much more free-flowing style and the three-man backline has quickly evolved into the best in Premier League.

Eric Scatamacchia
The pick: Antonio Conte – This choice is fairly obvious. Conte and Chelsea have dominated the Premier League as the Italian manager has galvanized his players with his endless energy and implemented tactics that have Chelsea looking unbeatable. Conte’s decision to change Chelsea’s formation to a 3-4-3 has not only been the turning point of Chelsea’s season, but the turning point of the Premier League season.

Midseason grades: Rating each Premier League club

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After reaching the halfway point of the 2016-17 Premier League, Pro Soccer Talk is handing out its awards over the next few days.

[ MORE: PST’s full midseason awards ]

Click on the link above for all of the midseason awards, while below we dish out grades to each PL team based on their performance so far this season.

[ MORE: PL standings  | schedule

Too harsh? Too lenient?

Let us know in the comments section below.

[ LISTEN: The 2 Robbies, Rebecca Lowe, midseason review


Chelsea's Eden Hazard, left, and Chelsea's team manager Antonio Conte celebrate after winning the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Monday, Dec. 26, 2016.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Chelsea: A+
16 wins out of 19 will get you top of the class. Antonio Conte has made a huge impact and Blues are the title favs.

Liverpool: A
Jurgen Klopp‘s project is gathering steam. Offensively incredible but still question marks in defense. Legit title contenders.

West Brom: B+
Tony Pulis‘ side have started to score goals by the bucket load. Combined with their tight defense, the Baggies are flying high.

Burnley: B+
Turf Moor is a fortress and it seems like Sean Dyche‘s side have learned from their PL experience two seasons ago. Great start.

Tottenham Hotspur: B+
Mauricio Pochettino‘s youngsters are back in the groove after their shock UCL exit. Spurs’ star players Kane and Alli back to their best.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Gareth McAuley of West Bromwich Albion (C) celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Jose Salomon Rondon of West Bromwich Albion (R) and Hal Robson-Kanu of West Bromwich Albion (L) during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Hull City at The Hawthorns on January 2, 2017 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Arsenal: B+
The Gunners are ticking over nicely as we hit halfway. Futures of Arsene Wenger, Sanchez and Ozil up in the air but title contenders.

Manchester United: B
Six-straight wins heading into halfway has confidence high at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho’s stars in Zlatan and Pogba are stepping up.

Bournemouth: B
The Cherries continue to punch above their weight and look like they can finish in the top 10. Great work from Eddie Howe.

Manchester City: B-
Yes, Pep Guardiola‘s men are still in the title hunt (just) but we all expected a bit more, didn’t we? So did Pep. A work in progress.

Everton: C
Toffees have had an up and down start but Ronald Koeman is bringing through youngsters and had a good festive period. Promising.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City looks on during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Watford at Etihad Stadium on December 14, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Watford: C
Walter Mazzarri makes so many changes to his team that its hard to judge them. That said, Hornets started well but are currently in a slump.

Middlesbrough: C
Scoring goals is a massive issue for ‘Boro but Aitor Karanka‘s side are staying solid at the back. They should stay up quite comfortably.

Southampton: C
Europa League exploits (and shock exit) took its toll and Claude Puel is under pressure after a poor festive period. Scoring goals a huge problem.

Stoke City: C-
Everyone expected a lot more from the Potters. Injuries haven’t been kind to them but shaky defensive displays hampering Mark Hughes.

Sunderland: D
What did we really expect from the Black Cats? The perennial relegation battlers are fighting away under David Moyes. Get ready for a rally.

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Robert Huth of Leicester City reacts to the final whistle after the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Leicester City at Riverside Stadium on January 2, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

West Ham: D
Exiting Europa League in qualifying set the tone and the move to London Stadium a negative. Bilic’s side have recovered well from early struggles.

Hull City: D
Much like Sunderland, what else did we expect? Mike Phelan finally got the job permanently and January transfers are much needed. Hanging in there.

Leicester City: D-
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the season far. The reigning champs have underwhelmed on the road and UCL has been the priority. Relegation battle.

Crystal Palace: F
Eagles have ditched Pardew for Allardyce and they know they’re in a relegation battle. With the quality in their squad, that’s shocking. Defensive issues galore.

Swansea City: F
A big fat F for the Swans. Firing two managers by the midway point not a recipe for success. Bob Bradley not given a chance. Paul Clement has a huge challenge.

SWANSEA, WALES - NOVEMBER 26: Bob Bradley, Manager of Swansea City looks on prior to the Premier League match between Swansea City and Crystal Palace at Liberty Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)