All the Premier League sides have played ten games this season, we take a look at what effect the coronavirus pandemic has done to the Big Six.
Premier League Contenders
This is shaping up to be a tight two-horse race between Jose Mourinho and his former lead midfielder and now Chelsea manager Frank Lampard. Tottenham is third in terms of goals scored but have also conceded the least. A pure Mourinho masterstroke.
Compare this to Chelsea who sits in second in goals scored and have sorted their defensive retributions and are only behind Manchester City and the Blues in terms of conceding goals. Spurs are running high on the Mourinho renaissance while in south-west London the Chelsea brass has thoroughly backed Lampard with “his” signings. These two sides are the cream of the Premier League this season. Both defend at a high level and have so much offensive talent the usually edge out slugfests.
Deciding who will take the Premier League is based on personal taste in managers, whether Lampard youth movement and total football approach or Mourinho’s result based methods and tremendous man-management skills – the majority of the Spurs squad are peaking as players right now. Lampard’s side is youthful and has great depth while Tottenham is more mature but thinner in more positions but the majority of these players have been in title races before and are bringing that experience to the table. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min missed out on the Premier League title in 2015/2016 and by the way their playing does not want to make that mistake again.
Premier League Hopefuls
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool is the Premier League’s most prolific side but have conceded one less goal than 16th placed Brighton. The only way they win is by outscoring teams which is a very shaky position for any hopeful contender to be in, getting crucial stops late in-game is what defines title teams and Liverpool over the last ten games just haven’t shown the ability to contain teams. All this of course due to terrible injury luck and a shorter break in-between seasons.
Alisson has stabilized over recent weeks getting back to his usual 70% save percentage but that weak start may really set back Liverpool’s charge to repeat as Premier League champions. Through all this, the Merseyside club is playing with one hand tied behind their back. Defenders returning from injury and a January investment in depth may stabilize them and have them back in proper contention.
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in my eyes are not contenders this year, they are in transition. Young players like Ferran Torres and Phil Foden are being made staples of the starting eleven while the defender pairings change on a week to week basis. The Spaniard is, of course, a brilliant manager and City are loaded with talent so they may luck themselves into contention on those two factors alone but it’s usually what sets squads apart with stable back lines who win titles.
A team integrating young talent while figuring out who their best four defenders are will run into problems as the season goes on and they meet squads experiencing neither of those problems. Guardiola has proceeded over two absolutely dominant Premier League sides and this current squad just doesn’t feel as threatening or as overwhelming, maybe in a season or two but definitely not right now.
Premier League Pretenders
Tottenham and Chelsea have separated from the pack statistically, the table will show this is a two horse race over time. Liverpool are a functioning defense away from turning this into a three horse race. Sheffield United and Burnley are probably going down. #PremierLeague pic.twitter.com/H4NVJeBOkS
— Mab Sidam Analysis (@MabSidam) December 12, 2020
Not to be rude but Manchester United are performing like mercenaries. Overpaid and little to show for it. Mercenaries do not win titles. Manchester United cluster with Everton, West Ham and Southampton. United are the crowd. Ole has talented young players and a solid defence but his team excels at neither attack nor defence their just above average in both. This is not how Premier League champions are built. To ascend past their mid cluster they must either start getting better production from Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood or have Harry Maguire and his unit go back to last seasons best.
Arsenal fans were excited when Mikel Arteta took over the reins at the Emirates stadium. The negative football under Unai Emery reached a breaking point about 2 months before he was fired. To receive a Pep Guardiola disciple was such an exciting proposal for the majority of fans who came up on Arsene Wenger-ball. 12 months in, we are clustered in with the free-flowing sides of……double checking notes……. Wolves and Newcastle United?!
If you searched negative football in the dictionary a picture of Tony Pulis will appear but right below as a synonym will be Steve Bruce. Why is a total football disciple placing with Steve Bruce? Why have we taken the fourth-least shots in the Premier League? Right ahead of 19th placed West Brom. A lack of single creative midfielder can’t just be the reason.
The Gunners actively can’t breakdown the opposition. Arsenal can’t feed a world-class striker. I believe in Arteta but this stretch has been extremely worrying. I forgot he has worked for other Premier League managers (he worked longer with David Moyes than Arsene Wenger) and he may not be a pure disciple like Pep Guardiola who came up at a total football club under a pure total football manager. I’m not really sure what Arteta’s Arsenal will be but the January transfer window is going to be huge for teams in the bottom half of the table.
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