Jan 6, 2014, 8:52 AM EDT
Every day this week at ProSoccerTalk we will be assessing how all 20 Premier League teams have fared so far, as we issue our midseason reports.
The second half of the season is already upon us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reflect on what’s been a sensational start to the 2013-14 PL campaign. Here we go…
Best moment: A dominant 2-0 win over Liverpool showcased exactly why the Gunners are top of the table. Giroud was the focal point and a plethora of attacking options destroyed the opponents defense.
Worst moment: A 6-3 hammering by Manchester City at the Etihad. Arsenal didn’t play that poorly and created plenty of chances, but incidents involving Mesut Ozil not applauding Arsenal’s fans and Jack Wilshere flipping the bird at City’s supporters left a sour taste in the mouth.
Top player: Aaron Ramsey. Has perhaps been the player of the season so far in the PL. 13 goals across all competitions in the opening half of the season from the flourishing Welshman has driven Arsenal to the top of the league. Hopefully he isn’t out for too long with a recent injury.
Manager: Wenger has done what he needed to do, buy a big name player that complemented his squad. Ozil has done that. Arsenal’s defense has also improved drastically.
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.
Best moment: One of two massive wins at the start of the season, as Villa beat Arsenal 3-1 away on the opening day and Man city at home a few weeks later.
Worst moment: A 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day saw the Villans drop perilously close to the drop zone. A last-gasp defeat made the natives restless.
Top player: Gabriel Agbonlahor. The Villa veteran is still young and his electric pace has caused plenty of problems. Plenty of goals from him this season too.
Manager: Paul Lambert still has his hands tied behind his back, with a young squad and no money to spend. That said, there’s been no real progress.
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.
Best moment: Beating Man City 3-2 at home on a hot August day in South Wales definitely the highlight. Frazier Campbell scored twice late on to give the Bluebirds a famous PL win.
Worst moment: Losing 3-0 at home to Southampton on Boxing Day spelled the end for Malky Mackay, as the entire saga between Cardiff’s manager and controversial owner Vincent Tan came to a head.
Top player: Jordon Mutch. The young attacker has taken to the PL like a duck to water, four goals and three assists easily make him Cardiff’s most productive player.
Manager: Mackay was doing a good job but Tan’s involvement made it untenable. Now the Bluebirds’ hopes live with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, as the former Manchester United boss manages in the PL for the first time.
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.
Best moment: The 2-1 home win over Liverpool on Dec. 28 showed how Jose Mourinho’s side can defend well, are resolute and full of creative nous when needed.
Worst moment: A 1-0 away defeat at Everton early in the season proved there was plenty of work to do, as the offense looked weak and devoid of ideas. A wake up call.
Top player: Eden Hazard. The young Belgian winger has flourished under the Special One and has scored plenty of important goals, plus he looks hungry to succeed.
Manager: Mourinho repeatedly states he’s starting a project at Chelsea, and with the exciting young attackers he has you can see that. But Chelsea look at their best with staunch defense and lightning-quick counters. So far, so good.
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.
Best moment: A 2-0 win against Cardiff City at home completed a great run for Palace as their fans began to believe they could survive in the PL.
Worst moment: A 4-1 hammering by struggling Fulham, as Ian Holloway knew his time was up at Selhurst Park and left soon after.
Top player: Mile Jedinak. Doesn’t grab many goals but captain Jedinak has been superb in the midfield engine room. The Aussie is powerful, keeps the ball and thwarts the opposition.
Manager: Holloway stepped aside as he thought someone else could save Palace… turns out he could be right. Tony Pulis has arrived and the Eagles have been soaring.
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.
Oct 21, 2014, 12:10 AM EDT
Paderborn hasn’t stopped winning or scoring insane goals, if you haven’t noticed.
Oct 20, 2014, 11:29 PM EDT
Actor Mark Consuelos made his way to the Crap Part of Soho while the Men In Blazers tried to keep the ball out of their own net.
Oct 20, 2014, 10:47 PM EDT
Bayern Munich have a very difficult match on the road in Italy, while other matchups in Spain, Russia, and Germany will all prove enjoyable.
Oct 20, 2014, 9:28 PM EDT
Meghan Klingenberg bagged a laser beam for her first US goal and Abby Wambach grabbed two as the Americans will move on to the semifinals.
Oct 20, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT
Manchester Police confirmed a man was arrested after flying a drone over the match that entertained 45,000 people.
Oct 20, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Aron Johannsson bagged a penalty in his return from groin surgery, while Juan Agudelo continues to search for a new club.
Oct 20, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT
Adel Taarabt says the harsh words from manager Harry Redknapp are not only untrue but damaging as a professional.
Oct 20, 2014, 6:16 PM EDT
The New York Cosmos completed a massive signing, beating out a few of his former clubs to nab the Spanish legend as a player and coach.
Oct 20, 2014, 5:36 PM EDT
Despite a solid confirmation from Croatia, the friendly will reportedly not be happening.
Oct 20, 2014, 4:56 PM EDT
Manchester United came from behind twice but still must settle for a disappointing result away from home.
Oct 20, 2014, 4:35 PM EDT
19-year-old Lazio striker Keita Balde Diao somehow walked away from what looks to be a major accident. His Lamborghini, however, didn’t.
Oct 20, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT
Unruly fans will cost Wales and Galatasary as UEFA continues to crack down on off-the-pitch incidents.
Oct 20, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT
The yearly tournament organizes five-a-side matches for people that are homeless or living in extreme poverty.
Oct 20, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
Liverpool, Everton and Swansea City are just a few of the Premier League clubs reportedly looking to sign the Marseille winger.
Oct 20, 2014, 12:37 PM EDT
With transfer rumors swirling, the Arsenal forward made it clear that he is #AlwaysAGunner.
Oct 20, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Amidst the Ebola outbreak, South Africa has ruled out hosting the continent’s premier tournament should Morocco back out.
Oct 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Sad news out of India as a young player died after injuring his spinal cord during a celebration.
Oct 20, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Ahmed Musa stirred the pot ahead of his club’s Champions League clash this week, calling out City’s form.
Oct 20, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Watch the Baggies take on Manchester United today, live at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Oct 20, 2014, 8:40 AM EDT
The Chelsea backup is teaching his replacement how to stay safe from head injuries, which have affected both keepers.
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