It has been a football extravaganza over the past couple of weeks. I for one have been glued to the tv – watching the drama unfold over the crazy Christmas schedule and the upsets of the FA Cup – there have been many highs and lows for all concerned – the teams, the managers and of course us, the fans.
So with the season now past the halfway point, this is where the drama really starts to unfold and we begin to see the stress and strains of the Premier League run in, and what will prove to be make or break for a lot of teams. But before the hullabaloo really gets going, lets look back on the first half of the 2013/14 season and the story so far (Part 1) –
The gunners came out the gate running (in August), and caught many teams by surprise. They remain at the top of the table, but how long will they maintain this position? Theo Walcott is out for six months and their list of injuries continues to grow. The next few weeks will be critical to their title challenge and their fortunes may depend on their dealings in the Transfer window and how they perform during the crunch games against the bigger teams. I believe they will finish in the top four, but they will not be champions this season.
This team is truly awful. They are hovering in the middle of the table but are sinking fast. Over the past couple of seasons’ they have escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, but at the end of this season it may be time for them to go.
With a new manager (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) at the helm, Cardiff has a chance. They are hovering above the relegation zone, but are capable of playing better football than the teams around them. They just beat Newcastle in the FA Cup so that will help them gain the confidence they need to start picking up points.
Well, what to say. Chelsea promised so much at the beginning of the season, and they still have the chance to push for the title. However, they seem to lack the ability to move into the much needed ‘top gear’ to grab the league by the scruff of the neck and take charge. If they can find the higher gear and stay there, they may have a chance to become champions.
In the bottom three, the next 6 weeks will make or break their season. They have the ability to stay up, but they must want to.
Roberto Martinez has taken Everton to a level David Moyes couldn’t take them to. Currently in fifth place, they are playing some beautiful football, scoring freely and have a very good chance of finishing in the top four. Good luck!
Over the Christmas period Fulham were beaten 6-0 by Hull. Given that these two teams are normally at the same level, this could be described as a freak result. Fulham have January to sort themselves out and climb away from the bottom three. They have the players and management team to do so, but may remain this season’s enigma and go down.
This seasons grinders. Hull find themselves in tenth place, while (at the start of the season) many believed that were a safe bet to go back down. Steve Bruce has done an amazing job but they may need to sign a proven goal scorer to ensure they score the goals they need to keep them out of trouble.
So close yet so far. They have the player of the season in Luis Suarez and it has been years since Liverpool have played this well – the fans are cheering again. If they can get Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge back in the team, hit top form and keep their concentration, they may be pushing for the top spot come May.
Oh…what has happened to the team that strolled to the Championship last year? Manchester United have lost five times at home this season (including four of their last six games – at Old Trafford), were dumped out of the FA Cup by Swansea and are looking woeful in every part of the team. Many are questioning whether David Moyes is the right man for the job, and at the moment he looks like a deer caught in headlights. As an avid fan I hope they can gain some momentum and at least finish in the top four – but I am not about to put money on it.
Part 2 will follow soon…