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.
Mar 9, 2014, 5:07 PM EDT
Wilmer Cabrera gets a win in his debut as boss of Chivas USA.
Mar 9, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT
This Johannsson kid is easily the best Icelandic-Alabaman we’ve seen in a long time.
Mar 9, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT
Meyler capped off a long run with a left-footed finish to score the second of Hull’s three goals in a shutout win over Sunderland on Sunday.
Mar 9, 2014, 3:26 PM EDT
It’s a horrifying story, and one that is sure to have severe repercussions throughout Ghana’s soccer structure.
Mar 9, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
With Pique picking up his fourth yellow against Real Valladolid, he could sit next league match to ensure his availability against Real Madrid.
Mar 9, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT
At least one of Wigan, Hull City or Sheffield United will make the FA Cup final as the quarterfinals are complete and the semifinal draw is out.
Mar 9, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT
In the midst of a 4-match winless skid in the Bundesliga – 5 if you include the Champions League drubbing by PSG – Bayer Leverkusen now lose a key midfield component.
Mar 9, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT
An offshore Swiss bank account has betrayed the 62-year-old as he faces 10 years in prison.
Mar 9, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT
Jozy Altidore was left out of the Sunderland squad today thanks to a knock he picked up in training, but this season as a whole has been a train wreck.
Mar 9, 2014, 9:26 AM EDT
According to the player’s agent and brother, an English club – and possibly multiple – made a large offer for the defender, but he is happy at Real Madrid.
Mar 9, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT
Because there’s still hope for humanity, a player convinces the referee he wasn’t taken down in the box and that a penalty shouldn’t be awarded
Mar 9, 2014, 7:34 AM EDT
Two goals from players in their Major League Soccer debuts crack our first Top 5 list.
Mar 9, 2014, 7:02 AM EDT
Will Bruin, Federico Higuaín, and Kenny Miller each scored two goals as a cagey start transformed into fireworks.
Gastón Fernández pays immediate dividends for Portland, but don’t overlook a strong night from Philadelphia
Mar 9, 2014, 6:10 AM EDT
“La Gata’s” late heroics can’t overshadow a strong start for the new-look Union.
Mar 9, 2014, 5:25 AM EDT
MLS’s best forward had a very non-best night on Saturday, with his inability to convert a late penalty kick costing his team in Carson.
Mar 9, 2014, 4:02 AM EDT
The former Canadian international drew a late penalty in the Galaxy’s loss to RSL.
Mar 9, 2014, 12:18 AM EDT
Holding serve was enough in game one under their new coach, with Dallas’s big three threat delivering against the Impact.
Mar 8, 2014, 10:18 PM EDT
They finished last year at opposite ends of the East. On Saturday, D.C. and New York both stumbled in their 2014 openers.
Mar 8, 2014, 9:34 PM EDT
After a downturn in 2013, Houston’s main attacking threat has already bagged two.
Mar 8, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT
The 35-year-old, four-time Best XI midfielder is left looking for his fourth team in three seasons.
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