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 31, 2014, 12:13 AM EDT
After FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls defeated their opponents in the first two games of the MLS playoffs, the postseason picture exists in its beginning stages.
Oct 30, 2014, 11:37 PM EDT
Robbie Keane stands ready to play for his international side right after the LA Galaxy’s playoff contests vs. Real Salt Lake.
Oct 30, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT
Final: New York Red Bulls 2, Sporting KC 1
Oct 30, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT
Men in Blazers preview Round 10, most notably the Manchester derby.
Oct 30, 2014, 8:36 PM EDT
Fernando Torres, expanding on his decision to leave Chelsea on loan, says he wanted to “feel important.”
Oct 30, 2014, 7:21 PM EDT
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is happy for the recent triumphs of criticized Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
Oct 30, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney will be available in the upcoming Manchester derby following his three-match suspension.
Oct 30, 2014, 5:56 PM EDT
Action taken against alleged racist actions in the Scottish Premiership.
Oct 30, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT
Sturridge on injury woes: “Maybe it’s my body type, maybe it’s hereditary.”
Oct 30, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT
A young Messi was eyed by Juventus in 2005, says Russia manager Frank Capello.
Oct 30, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
How has the soccer world (via Twitter) responded to the news? With a mixture of interest and humor.
Oct 30, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT
In what will be called “Los Angeles Football Club” as it goes through its branding, MLS has announced that L.A. has officially been awarded another team.
Oct 30, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT
So who do you have tonight: the Red Bulls or the champs?
Oct 30, 2014, 1:35 PM EDT
Mike Prindiville and Joe Prince-Wright join Jenna Corrado to discuss the Manchester Derby between Manchester United and Manchester City.
Oct 30, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT
Like Steve McQueen in “Papillon,” only nattily-attired, the Newcastle United manager just seems to be constantly yelling out, “Hey… I’m still here.”
Oct 30, 2014, 12:09 PM EDT
He’s being linked with Swansea City, though club chairman Huw Jenkins said while the club is entertaining investors, any specific names would be “pure speculation.”
Oct 30, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
The proposed moves would leave only 10 days prep time before the World Cup began, and would also alter the UEFA Champions League schedule.
Oct 30, 2014, 10:40 AM EDT
What do you think? Mean-spirited to the public or just a decent Candid Camera-style prank?
Oct 30, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT
“I’ve got 30 and 34-year-olds in my locker room in tears because we feel it’s been unfairly taken away from us,” said coach Carl Robinson.
Oct 30, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT
And it’s claimed that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will sign a veteran back from Juventus, bucking his trends of signing attackers and youth.
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