Jan 6, 2014, 8:52 AM EST
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.
Nov 22, 2014, 11:59 PM EST
On Sunday, AC Milan will play host to rivals Inter Milan in “derby della Madonnina”, and Roberto Mancini is back.
Premier League Saturday highlights: Manchester United skirts by Arsenal, Newcastle gets fifth straight win
Nov 22, 2014, 10:41 PM EST
Watch Premier League highlights from all of Saturday’s Round 12 games.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:47 PM EST
New York Red Bulls’ Designated Player Tim Cahill is far from doubting his team’s capabilities against the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Championship on Sunday.
Nov 22, 2014, 7:56 PM EST
La Liga weekend roundup, as it stands now.
Nov 22, 2014, 7:12 PM EST
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho apologized to supporters for criticizing the stadium atmosphere, while praising his team’s play in a 2-0 blanking of West Brom.
Nov 22, 2014, 6:45 PM EST
Rooney: “We weathered the storm” in 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
His squad controlling possession and gathering a fair amount of chances on goal, Arsene Wenger believes his side deserved a better result against Manchester United.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:03 PM EST
One game is a rematch of the 3-3 draw that left Luis Suarez in tears, but both Palace and Liverpool have much bigger things to worry about.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
All the action from the PL’s seven games on Saturday.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
Elsewhere, USMNT defenders Timmy Chandler (right) and John Anthony Brooks picked up wins in 90 minutes each for their clubs.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:25 PM EST
Despite an wonderful 1-0 result over QPR to keep their winning run alive, Alan Pardew feels the pain of Ryan Taylor’s sudden injury.
Nov 22, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
Barcelona’s diminutive legend is really good at soccer.
Nov 22, 2014, 3:38 PM EST
This season, he has all his players and no excuses. So The Special One is a little ticked off that his Blues aren’t pouring forth goals to match their dominant play.
Nov 22, 2014, 3:35 PM EST
Irvine: “We actually went a goal down to a goal which I thought was offside and that makes life very difficult here.”
Nov 22, 2014, 3:32 PM EST
Red Devils surge to victory away at Arsenal, as LVG’s masterplan is taking shape.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:51 PM EST
And there’s still time Saturday to make the record his own, as the game is just at halftime.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:34 PM EST
What did we learn from United’s big win at the Emirates? Plenty. But here’s three things.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:28 PM EST
A testy affair that could’ve gotten Jack Wilshere a red card instead got him injured, and Arsenal had no finish at the Emirates.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
Klopp has been at Dortmund since 2008 when he arrived from Mainz, and would likely have his choice of jobs should Dortmund let him walk.
Nov 22, 2014, 12:14 PM EST
Foxes and Black Cats cancel each other out at the King Power.
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