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PA’s Premier League Mid-Season Report Cards: The Top Four

As the Premier League reaches its mid-way point, Pundit Arena takes a look at the mid-season report cards from the top four teams in the country.

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Liverpool

The Story So Far: 

About as perfect a first half to a season as you’re likely to come across, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been the Premier League’s standout side in the opening 19 games.

The Reds have yet to suffer a defeat and sit six points clear of their nearest rivals Spurs. They have managed to keep their free-flowing attacking football with Mo Salah again amongst the league’s top scorers but they’ve added quality defensive options which have added much more balance to their side.

Despite a couple of high profile errors, Alisson has looked a steal at £67 million, and in Virgil Van Dijk they have arguably the best defender in the world. Add to that the quality that Fabinho has shown in the middle of the park and the effectiveness of Xherdan Shaqiri off the bench and you get a Liverpool side that looks favourite for the title.

Where Can They Improve?

Naby Keita has taken a little time to adjust to the league and they’ve been weakened by injuries in the defence but other than that the squad at the moment and the way they are playing is perfect. If it ain’t broke as they say.

Mid-Season Grade: A +

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Tottenham

The Story So Far:

Criticised by most for failing to bring in any new faces during the Summer, Spurs have rather snuck under the radar and into second spot amidst a first half of a season dominated by the City/Liverpool narrative.

After a tough spell of losing three of their opening six games of the season Pochettino’s side have bounced back well and are currently on a five-game winning streak in the league, thanks to once again the goals of Harry Kane but also the increasing influence of players around him.

Brazilian Lucas Moura has been like a new signing in his first full season in English football and the likes of Erik Lamela and even Moussa Sissoko have been impressive. The return of Heung Min-Son has also been massive with the South Korean in scintillating form scoring and assisting for fun during his recent purple patch.

Where Can They Improve?

The only question marks surrounding Spurs would be whether or not they can maintain their form as the season progresses and should they lose the likes of Eriksen and Kane can the quality that surrounds them continue to perform at a high level in their absence.

Mid-Season Grade A-

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Manchester City

The Story So Far:

Had it not been for their last four games in the Premier League we likely would have been still questioning how any team will ever be able to get the better of this Manchester City side in the title race.

Three losses in four, however, have thrown a major spanner in the works and City now find themselves in third, six points off the top and very much in a slump in form.

The likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero have continually been impressive in City’s blow out victories but they have missed the influence of Kevin De Bruyne and showed their heavy reliance on Fernandinho, losing two games in a row without him.

Manchester City

They’ve also been occasionally questionable in defence especially during their recent run of poor form.

Where Can They Improve?

They, of course, possess a wealth of attacking talent but Gabriel Jesus has struggled this season and City could look to bring in a new striker as Aguero comes into his 30s.

Quality cover for Fernandinho is also desperately needed if the last two games are anything to go by.

Mid-Season Grade: B –

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Chelsea

The Story So Far:

It’s been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde start to the season for Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri. When they’ve been good they’ve been tremendous, playing fluid possession-based football, defeating Manchester City and going unbeaten in the league until meeting Spurs last month.

When it’s been bad, however, it has been truly awful. The defeats to Leicester, Wolves and Spurs all showed Chelsea’s apparent reliance of new signing Jorginho, who has been tremendous, and the mercurial Eden Hazard.

Overall though it has been mainly positive with Sarri-ball proving to be a popular and effective style of play which despite limiting the previously so influential N’golo Kante, has brought out the best in Jorginho, Barkley and their key man Hazard.

Where Can They Improve?

The black and white of it is that Chelsea are in desperate need of a proper number nine. Morata has essentially been a bust and Giroud is effective but was never going to be the answer to their problems.

Mid Season Grade: B +

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Author: Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here [email protected]