Club-by-club review of Premier League season so far
The Premier League, like the rest of British football, is in limbo following the agreement to bring things to a halt due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Here, the PA news agency takes a club-by-club look at how each of the top flight’s teams had been faring in the 2019-20 season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have raised the bar in a dominant season, and are on course to break numerous Premier League records as and when the season resumes. A 3-0 loss to Watford in late February ended hopes of an unbeaten campaign but there is no questioning the brilliance of a side who have dropped only five points from 29 games – leaving them 25 points clear at the summit. The coronavirus outbreak may mean Liverpool have to wait a little longer for confirmation of their title, but after 30 years, what is a few more weeks or months?
It has been a frustrating season for City, who have rarely looked capable of keeping up with Liverpool’s relentless pace and have instead been scrapping over second place. The injury to Aymeric Laporte was a major factor as they have struggled defensively for much of the campaign, undermining an attack which has scored two more goals than Liverpool having played a game less.
Brendan Rodgers has Leicester on track for a return to the Champions League in his first full season in charge of the Foxes. Though Jamie Vardy scored in eight straight games between October and December Leicester are far from reliant on the ex-England man, with the youthful James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho all showing their importance in an exciting attack.
It has been a season of growing pains for Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea side, but there have been more ups and downs as they compete for a Champions League place. As exciting as they are going forward, Lampard’s side have been vulnerable at the back and have struggled for consistency.
A 4-0 opening day win over Chelsea was an outlier in an otherwise slow start to the season but there is no doubt United have shown progress as they moved themselves into a fight for a Champions League place. Though Paul Pogba has barely featured through injury as speculation continues over his future and Marcus Rashford was also sidelined, the January signing of Bruno Fernandes has given United a new impetus going forward.
A poor start to the campaign suggested Wolves might struggle to balance the demands of Europa League football, but an 11-match unbeaten run between September and December allayed those fears and they are on course for a return to European competition next year.
The surprise package of the year, United were tipped to be fighting relegation but instead Chris Wilder’s men might need their passports handy next season as they keep up with the European contenders. Working with several players who have been with him since League One, Wilder has built a well-drilled side who do not score many, but do not let many in either and have lost only seven of their 28 Premier League games so far – the same number as Pep Guardiola’s City.
A campaign which began with such optimism after Spurs reached the Champions League final last season soon began to unravel as Mauricio Pochettino was sacked in November with his side 14th in the table. Jose Mourinho was handed the task of rescuing the season and initial results were encouraging, but after injuries – not least to Harry Kane – devastated his attack things have gone off the rails in recent weeks as they crashed out of Europe and the FA Cup while taking only one point from three Premier League games.
Having begun well, Arsenal lost their way in late October with a run of only one win in 15 in all competitions. Unai Emery was shown the door and the club turned to their former midfielder Mikel Arteta in his first managerial role. The Spaniard has quickly made the Gunners harder to beat, even if the number of draws has slowed their rise up the table.
As Burnley lost 10 of 14 league games between October and January there were real fears this was going to turn into a relegation scrap for the Clarets. But since a 3-0 loss to Chelsea on January 11 Sean Dyche’s men are unbeaten in the league and have climbed up to 10th in the table.
Aside from a 2-1 win at Old Trafford back in August Palace have failed to take anything approaching a big scalp this season, but three wins from three in their final outings before the enforced break have powered them well clear of the relegation scrap and coincided with a new contract for manager Roy Hodgson.
When a 5-2 loss to rivals Liverpool pushed Everton in to the relegation zone in early December, the writing was on the wall for Marco Silva who was sacked the following day. Landing Carlo Ancelotti was an undoubted coup and a swift upturn followed, but initial optimism that the Italian could guide them into the European places has faded after a tough run of fixtures before the enforced break.
Steve Bruce was not a particularly popular summer appointment amongst frustrated Newcastle fans and a poor start to the season did little to improve the mood. But despite the well-documented struggles of £40million forward Joelinton, who scored his only Premier League goal to date in August, they have edged their way up the table and away from immediate danger.
When the Saints picked up only two points from eight league games between September and November it seemed a full on relegation scrap was sure to follow. But they rebounded with five wins from seven and Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have been treading water above the drop zone since
Five points separate Southampton in 14th and Brighton in 15th, effectively the divide between the relegation battle and those with a cushion to lean on. Brighton have never been far from the bottom three all season, and with only one win in their last 14 there has been little sign they are about to break free now. However, though Graham Potter’s side have won only six league games all season, the fact they have drawn 11 shows they can keep picking up points along the way.
It has been another season of discontent in east London. The Hammers broke their transfer record twice in the summer, bringing in Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller for a combined £81million but rarely looked like a side that had received much investment at all. Manuel Pellegrini was sacked in December with the side 17th in the table, and David Moyes has so far been unable to get them away from the immediate threat of relegation.
Watford were bottom of the table when Quique Sanchez Flores – himself a replacement for Javi Gracia – was sacked at the start of December. But Nigel Pearson is on course for another great escape after picking up 15 points from his first eight games in charge. Results have slowed since that initial lift but Watford became the first side to beat Liverpool in the Premier League all season with their stunning 3-0 victory at the end of February.
This feels like a season that has never really got started for Bournemouth, who have been stuck at the bottom end of the table throughout and unable to build any momentum. Having punched above their weight for so long, this could the year Bournemouth’s Premier League stay comes to an end.
Villa’s battle against the drop has taken a significant turn for the worse in recent weeks with four straight league defeats – punctuated only by the League Cup final defeat against Manchester City – plunging them into the relegation zone.
Only six points separates Norwich from safety but the gulf feels bigger given how few signs they have shown that they can turn their fortunes around. The early season optimism that came with Teemu Pukki’s electric form and that surprise win over Manchester City has long since evaporated, and only twice this season have Norwich gone more than two league games at a time without suffering defeat, losing 18 of their 29 games.