Football

Title race, European locations, relegation battle

The midweek spherical of fixtures sees the vast majority of Premier League golf equipment enter the house stretch of the 2020-21 season, with 12 of 20 groups passing the midway stage of the marketing campaign.

It has been probably the most unpredictable seasons in Premier League historical past, with a mixture of the late begin in September, a congested fixture record and the continued affect of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in a number of shock outcomes and a title race so tight that simply 11 factors separate leaders Manchester United from Southampton in 10th place.

So what can we count on from the second half of the season? ESPN has assessed the prospects of all 20 Premier League golf equipment, working from the highest to the underside forward of the midweek video games, as they put together to chase their targets between now and the top of the season on Might 23.

Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
ESPN+ viewer’s guide: Bundesliga, Serie A, MLS, FA Cup and more

1. MAN UNITED
(40 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s workforce ended the primary half of the season as shock Premier League leaders after taking only one level from their first 4 residence video games. United are unbeaten away from residence within the league since they misplaced 2-Zero at Liverpool on Jan. 19 final 12 months, and they’re going to create a brand new membership document of 18 away league video games with out defeat in the event that they emerge with a win or draw from Saturday’s journey to Arsenal. It might have been higher, however United are title challengers for the primary time since their final success in 2013.

What wants to vary?

United’s residence type should enhance if they’re to win the title. Sustaining their unimaginable type on the street can be a problem so if they start to falter away from residence, it’s essential that they start to win commonly at Previous Trafford. Solskjaer’s workforce should additionally begin to win in opposition to their title rivals, having didn’t beat any of the highest 5 up to now this season.

Any ins or outs this week?

No arrivals, though Amad Diallo arrived earlier this month following his October signing from Atalanta. Jesse Lingard will depart, however health points are prone to forestall a transfer for Phil Jones.

The place will they end? 2nd

play

1:10

Julien Laurens feels shedding Kevin De Bruyne might severely hinder Manchester Metropolis’s title hopes.

2. MAN CITY
(38 factors, 18 video games)

Season up to now

Metropolis made their worst begin to a season since 2009 and dropped to 11th after shedding to Spurs on Nov. 21, however they’re unbeaten since that defeat and had been resulting from journey to West Brom on Tuesday with high spot up for grabs with a win. Saturday’s FA Cup win at Cheltenham noticed Metropolis document their 10th successive victory in all competitions.

What wants to vary?

Pep Guardiola’s workforce have ironed out their early season defensive flaws and at the moment are scoring freely once more, however Sergio Aguero‘s health issues have left them with out a dependable striker. Sooner or later, they might want to resolve that challenge, both by getting Aguero match or discovering a method to get extra from Gabriel Jesus.

Any ins or outs this week?

Nothing on the agenda, though Metropolis might flip Scott Carson‘s mortgage from Derby County right into a everlasting deal for the third-choice keeper.

The place will they end? 1st

3. LEICESTER CITY
(38 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Having missed out on Champions League qualification on the ultimate day of final season, Leicester have bounced again impressively, with Brendan Rodgers’ workforce briefly climbing to the highest with a 2-Zero win at residence to Chelsea final week. Leicester are as soon as once more within the combine with the division’s “Huge Six.”

What wants to vary?

Leicester are unbeaten in eight video games in all competitions and looking out robust, however final season’s type nosedived within the second half of the marketing campaign resulting from accidents to key gamers. This time round, they merely should hope that the likes of James Maddison, Wesley Fofana and Wilfred Ndidi keep match, particularly now that Jamie Vardy is going through a spell on the sidelines following a hernia surgical procedure.

Any ins or outs this week?

Demarai Gray might transfer to Crystal Palace, however new arrivals are unlikely.

The place will they end? 4th

play

0:57

Gab Marcotti analyses the problems Liverpool have after they begin Thiago and are with out Jordan Henderson.

4. LIVERPOOL
(34 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Jurgen Klopp’s workforce claimed high spot in mid-December with a 2-1 win at residence to Spurs and appeared set to race away from the pack as soon as once more, however the wheels have come off spectacularly since that victory, with each wins and targets drying up. Liverpool might drop to as little as seventh this week in the event that they lose at Spurs on Thursday.

What wants to vary?

Liverpool must get the targets flowing once more: Klopp’s workforce has gone 438 minutes with out a Premier League purpose. A brand new centre-half to cowl for the loss to harm of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez has grow to be a necessity, however there is not any apparent answer to that drawback.

Any ins or outs this week?

Klopp desires a centre-half to ease the defensive issues, however a mortgage signing is the one probably choice and Liverpool have but to determine the precise man.

The place will they end? third

5. TOTTENHAM
(33 factors, 18 video games)

Season up to now

Spurs have been persistently inconsistent and their type has been significantly patchy for the reason that December defeat at Liverpool, when Jose Mourinho’s workforce missed the prospect to go clear on the high following Roberto Firmino‘s late winner. The attacking partnership of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, who’ve scored 24 of Tottenham’s 33 Premier League targets up to now this season between them, has stored Mourinho’s workforce in contact with the leaders.

What wants to vary?

Spurs want to search out targets from elsewhere within the workforce to keep away from their prospects being on the mercy of Kane and Son’s health. Defensively, Spurs are spectacular, however an absence of aptitude threatens to carry them again, Mourinho actually wants Gareth Bale to search out health and type to assist Spurs push for the title.

Any ins or outs this week?

Paris Saint-Germain might make a transfer for Dele Alli, whereas Mourinho is eager to rival West Ham for Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard.

The place will they end? fifth

6. EVERTON
(32 factors, 17 video games)

Season up to now

Everton are having fun with their finest season since David Moyes guided them to fourth spot in 2004-05 and there’s a perception inside Goodison Park that Carlo Ancelotti can emulate Moyes by securing Champions League soccer.

What wants to vary?

Everton have misplaced three of their final 5 residence video games within the league and must rediscover their early season Goodison Park type to take care of hopes of a top-four end. Dominic Calvert-Lewin must hit the purpose path once more, too, having failed to attain within the league since netting his 11th of the season in opposition to Burnley on Dec. 5.

Any ins or outs this week?

Striker Cenk Tosun could possibly be on the best way out to CSKA Moscow.

The place will they end? seventh

7. WEST HAM
(32 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

West Ham reached the midway stage simply two factors adrift of the highest 4, with David Moyes’ workforce seven video games unbeaten in all competitions. 5 gamers have appeared in each league recreation up to now, and that consistency of choice has enabled Moyes to construct from a stable base on the London Stadium.

What wants to vary?

If West Ham are to problem for European qualification, they should discover a method to beat the highest groups. Out of the highest 10 on the halfway level, West Ham have solely managed to beat Leicester and Aston Villa, however they face out-of-form Liverpool at residence on Sunday, which might be an ideal alternative to land a blow on the heavyweights.

Any ins or outs this week?

Moyes desires to make not less than two new signings, with Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard on the high of his record.

The place will they end? 10th

8. ASTON VILLA
(29 factors, 17 video games)

Season up to now

Having prevented relegation within the last week of final season, Villa have been one of many shock groups of this marketing campaign, with October’s 7-2 residence win in opposition to Liverpool a specific spotlight. Jack Grealish‘s performances in midfield have been a catalyst for Villa.

What wants to vary?

Villa’s precedence this season was to keep away from one other relegation battle, in order that they have already exceeded expectations. However Villa, European champions in 1982, are an enormous membership with huge ambitions and can wish to qualify for Europe. For that to occur, they want Grealish to remain match and Ollie Watkins to hit not less than 20 league targets.

Any ins or outs this week?

Villa are near sealing a £14 million deal for Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson, who will substitute Conor Hourihane following his mortgage transfer to Swansea.

The place will they end? ninth

play

1:29

Steve Nicol identifies one key challenge he believes was important in Chelsea’s resolution to sack Frank Lampard.

9. CHELSEA
(29 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

The sacking of supervisor Frank Lampard this week tells you all it’s good to learn about Chelsea’s season up to now. Not adequate, when it comes to outcomes or performances by star gamers, together with costly summer season signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.

– Chelsea in chaos: Why Lampard was sacked, who is Tuchel, to-do list

What wants to vary?

Thomas Tuchel is the person lined as much as substitute Lamaprd and he’ll inherit a powerful squad, blended with youthful promise and expertise, however the German must encourage Werner and Havertz to search out their type in addition to carry some organisation to their defence.

Any ins or outs this week?

Tuchel is prone to be the one new face.

The place will they end? sixth

10. SOUTHAMPTON
(29 factors, 18 video games)

Season up to now

Ralph Hassenhuttl has made Southampton a harmful workforce whose capabilities had been highlighted when beating Liverpool at St Mary’s earlier this month. However their inconsistency is why they’re in mid-table.

What wants to vary?

Southampton’s finest run this season was a sequence of three successive league wins in October/November, however the Saints have been unable to maintain any consistency. Resolving that, and discovering extra targets from the workforce to share the load with striker Danny Ings, are essential to hopes of a top-10 end.

Any ins or outs this week?

Any switch enterprise at St. Mary’s is unlikely.

The place will they end? 11th

play

1:28

Gab Marcotti feels Martin Odegaard could hinder the event of a few of Arsenal’s youth gamers.

11. ARSENAL
(27 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Arsenal have endured their worst begin to a season since 1974 and stay within the backside half, proof of what has been a dismal marketing campaign up to now. Regardless of their poor type, Arsenal nonetheless stay inside touching distance of the highest 4.

What wants to vary?

Each space wants to enhance, however 4 wins from their final 5 league video games have hinted at Arsenal turning a nook. Mikel Arteta’s workforce want extra from star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, however a win in opposition to Manchester United on Saturday could possibly be a catalyst for a surge into the European qualification spots.

Any ins or outs this week?

Martin Odegaard is ready to signal on mortgage from Real Madrid, becoming a member of Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan as an arrival on the Emirates till the top of the season. Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have left this month, changing into free brokers and becoming a member of Fenerbahce and Olympiakos respectively.

The place will they end? eighth

12. LEEDS UNITED
(23 factors, 18 video games)

Season up to now

Leeds have introduced pleasure and leisure to the Premier League of their first marketing campaign on the high degree since 2003-04, however Marcelo Bielsa’s workforce have additionally given us a number of the worst defending of the season.

What wants to vary?

Leeds must defend a lot better and learn to make a recreation secure, however that is merely not the Bielsa manner and there’s little likelihood of the enigmatic Argentine coach altering his philosophy. Leeds ought to have sufficient factors within the financial institution to keep away from a relegation battle, however count on extra excessive highs and lows.

Any ins or outs this week?

No plans to vary the squad.

The place will they end? 14th

13. CRYSTAL PALACE
(23 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Having ended final season with seven defeats and a draw from their last eight video games, Palace seemed doomed to a relegation battle this time round, however Roy Hodgson’s workforce have prevented that destiny and are comfortably hovering in mid-table.

What wants to vary?

Palace have picked up their wins in opposition to groups they might regard as fellow strugglers, except for an early season win at Manchester United, so they may keep out of hassle in the event that they preserve that pattern. However some wins in opposition to the highest 10 would give Palace hope of a top-half end.

Any ins or outs this week?

Incomings are unlikely, however striker Christian Benteke could possibly be bought to West Brom

The place will they end? 13th

14. WOLVES
(22 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Wolves have been one of many huge disappointments of this season, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s workforce failing to problem for the European spots. The summer season gross sales of Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty, plus the long-term harm suffered by striker Raul Jimenez, have hit Wolves arduous.

What wants to vary?

With only one win of their final 9 league video games, a spell that included six defeats, Wolves merely should regular the ship and begin successful once more. They’ve simply 10 targets throughout that run, which has coincided with Jimenez’s absence with a fractured cranium; discovering a brand new purpose scorer is essential.

Any ins or outs this week?

Brazilian striker Willian Jose has arrived on mortgage from Real Sociedad to cowl for Jimenez.

The place will they end? 12th

15. BURNLEY
(19 factors, 18 video games)

Season up to now

Burnley collected simply two factors from their first seven league video games and seemed doomed to relegation, however historical past has proven that Sean Dyche’s workforce all the time show the doubters fallacious and, as soon as once more, the Clarets have bounced again and at the moment are seven factors away from the drop zone, recent off ending Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten residence run final week.

What wants to vary?

Burnley all the time want extra targets, however they nonetheless handle to get the job carried out with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood shouldering the burden. New possession could unlock funds for squad additions, however the Burnley ethos is unlikely to vary an excessive amount of within the months forward.

Any ins or outs this week?

No plans for adjustments.

The place will they end? 15th

16. NEWCASTLE UNITED
(19 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Steve Bruce’s workforce are dropping in the direction of the relegation zone and have scored simply two targets of their final seven league video games. Requires the supervisor to go are getting louder with each defeat.

What wants to vary?

Proprietor Mike Ashley is unprepared to commit additional sums to strengthen Bruce’s squad, so the supervisor should revive his workforce with the gamers he has and too many usually are not adequate for the Premier League. Callum Wilson has Newcastle afloat with eight league targets up to now, however he hasn’t scored since mid-December.

Any ins or outs this week?

Newcastle had been fascinated by PSV Eindhoven defender and United States youth worldwide Chris Gloster, although the membership had been suggested that he would not qualify for a UK work allow at current, which means any pursuit may need to attend.

The place will they end? 18th

17. BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
(17 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

The Seagulls are nonetheless ready for his or her first win of the season at residence, with all three of their victories coming away from the Amex Stadium. Graham Potter’s aspect stay outdoors the underside three, however Wednesday’s residence recreation in opposition to third-bottom Fulham could possibly be essential.

What wants to vary?

It is fairly easy, actually — Brighton want to begin successful at residence! In the event that they acquire all three factors in opposition to Fulham on Wednesday, they may open an eight-point hole between themselves and Scott Parker’s workforce, so it’s arguably the largest recreation of the season for each groups.

Any ins or outs this week?

Supervisor Graham Potter desires to scale back his 28-man squad, however no new signings probably.

The place will they end? 16th

18. FULHAM
(12 factors, 18 video games)

Season up to now

Promoted by way of the Championship playoffs final season, Fulham have struggled to acclimatise to the highest flight and have received simply twice. Scott Parker’s workforce have been caught within the backside three all season.

What wants to vary?

And not using a win since November, Fulham not less than managed to stem the tide with 5 successive attracts in December and January, however they want wins and targets. A win at Brighton on Wednesday would give Fulham hope of survival.

Any ins or outs this week?

Parker stated this week that Fulham are “not remotely shut” to any signings.

The place will they end? 17th

19. WEST BROM
(11 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Slaven Bilic was sacked as supervisor in December after successful only one league recreation following promotion final season. Sam Allardyce has since are available in and earned simply 4 factors from six video games, so the survival specialist appears on the right track to endure his first relegation as a supervisor.

What wants to vary?

Six factors adrift of security and with the worst defensive document within the division (43 targets conceded), West Brom want Allardyce to repeat the miraculous escapes he has achieved previously with Bolton and Sunderland.

Any ins or outs this week?

Anticipate a busy few days of ins and outs with Allardyce in cost.

The place will they end? 19th

20. SHEFFIELD UNITED
(5 factors, 19 video games)

Season up to now

Disastrous is the one phrase for it. The Blades recorded the worst begin to a top-flight season in English soccer historical past, relationship again to 1888, and are 12 factors adrift of security having collected simply 5 factors and one win up to now.

What wants to vary?

With simply 10 targets, Chris Wilder’s workforce have, by a long way, the weakest assault within the league, in order that they merely should discover a method to rating extra targets and provide a larger menace. Rhian Brewster, a £23.5m summer season signing from Liverpool, has but to attain in 15 league video games.

Any ins or outs this week?

Wigan striker Kyle Joseph is the highest goal, with Wilder additionally making an attempt to steer Jesse Lingard to depart Manchester United for Bramall Lane.

The place will they end? 20th

Source link

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button
Close