We’re now almost a third of the way through the 2019/20 Premier League season – but how is each side performing compared to pre-season expectations?
Our October report card is in as we grade all 20 sides after the first 11 games.
Part 1 looks at Arsenal through to Liverpool…
Premier League Review – October 2019 Report Card
Current position: 5TH
Verdict: The healthy league position doesn’t quite tally up with the mood at the Emirates with storm clouds gathering in North London. Unai Emery faces a fight to get the fans back on side after a series of underwhelming displays and a lack of leadership in the dressing room a continuing running sore for the Spaniard. The next batch of games looks a little less daunting with games against struggling Southampton and Norwich, albeit an away trip to high-flying Leicester next presents an immediate test of character.
Current position: 16TH
Verdict: Regrets? Villa might have a few if they find themselves sliding through the Premier League trapdoor in May. At times, Villa look top-flight naturals, giving nearly all their opponents a real examination so far this season. However, a real concern for Dean Smith will be his side’s naivety and occasional lapses in game management as they continue to drop points from winning positions. Unlike Norwich, Villa’s confidence doesn’t look shot to pieces even despite losing some of their early-season momentum. In John McGinn and Jack Grealish they also have two players that can win a game single-handed. That said, a few more demoralising defeats similar to the late Liverpool collapse could see confidence start to crumble.
Current position: 7TH
Verdict: Eddie Howe has received so many plaudits during his long reign at Bournemouth, it’s almost hard to find anything new to say as his Cherries side continue to tick along with the minimum of fuss in the Premier League, safely treading water in mid-table. One thing that is worth talking about, however, is the fact Bournemouth are doing something odd this year – keeping their defensive discipline. Howe’s side shipped just a solitary goal in October, keeping three clean sheets out of four. It’s perhaps too early for opposition fans to start chanting ‘boring, boring Bournemouth’. However, if it proves to be the winning formula that keep the Cherries in this division for a sixth successive season, Howe won’t be losing any sleep.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Current position: 8TH
Verdict: The outpouring of criticism hurled at the Seagulls hierarchy after they sacked Chris Hughton in the summer looks increasingly misguided. Brighton look rejuvenated under the inventive Graham Potter. The former Swansea man hasn’t wasted any time implementing his ambitious new playing style, with the Seagulls now looking much more potent in front of goal from all areas after leaning so heavily on Glenn Murray in previous campaigns. Caution is required, however. Brighton now face a nightmare autumn with Man Utd, Leicester, Liverpool and Arsenal all to come.
Current position: 14TH
Verdict: Given the amount of ‘crisis club’ talk circling the Premier League at the moment, Burnley’s alarming slump in form has gone relatively unnoticed. The Clarets have picked up only two wins in 10 matches following their thumping opening day win over Southampton. In mitigation, October served up testing fixtures against Chelsea and Leicester City, but their next three games could define where their season is headed. Fixtures against West Ham, Watford and Crystal Palace offer the ideal chance to get back on track.
Current position: 4TH
Verdict: Chelsea may not still be bona fide title contenders, but one thing’s not in doubt. Frank Lampard has brought the fun times back to Stamford Bridge. Perhaps even more impressively, after the divisive regimes of Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, and Maurizio Sarri, the rookie Blues boss has also helped to make Chelsea likeable again for the neutral with their cavalier approach to games proving infectious. Whatever happens from this point onwards, Chelsea surely deserve the title of this season’s great entertainers. With their young talent seizing their chance to shine, that’s also potentially great news for England at Euro 2020.
Current position: 9TH
Verdict: After an impressively clinical start to the season that saw them sitting pretty in fourth in early October, Palace’s form has tailed off slightly after reverting back to the mean following a tough of run of games in October. Still, despite defeats to Man City and Leicester City, there’s little reason to panic in South London with the Eagles still looking capable of giving every team a game. Reports suggest veteran boss Roy Hodgson is close to extending his stay at his hometown club. He’ll surely be keen to get the ink dry quickly with Chelsea and Liverpool their next opponents this November.
Current position: 17TH
Verdict: Could Cenk Tosun’s late, late goal be a turning point in Marco Silva’s Everton career? The knives would surely have been out for the beleaguered Portuguese boss if the Toffees had failed to take anything more than a point at home to struggling Spurs. Under his reign, Everton still look a side badly in need of an identity, albeit with the class to pull out an impressive performance at any given moment. It’s Southampton away next for Silva. That game that will surely make or break him against a side currently scared of their own shadows at St Mary’s. Everton are still seeking a first away win of the season. They might not get a better opportunity all season.
Current position: 3RD
Verdict: What a difference a year makes. Or more bluntly, a managerial change. After the stale football served up under Claude Puel that failed to get the best from their biggest attacking threat, Jamie Vardy, it’s been a season of radical re-invention at the King Power with Brendan Rodgers breathing new life into his young Leicester charges. With so many sides outside the top two faltering, Leicester now have the chance to write an unlikely sequel to their 2016 triumph by reaching the Champions League for only a second time. With this side nowhere near reaching its peak, it’s not outlandish to suggest this side could – in time – emerge as genuine title contenders. In fact, they’re currently 40/1 in the Premier League outright odds with Marathonbet. It’s exciting times in the East Midlands.
Current position: 1ST
Verdict: This Reds side just don’t know how to lie down. True, their 100% winning start has now been thwarted after Man Utd showed some fighting spirit to deny their rivals any taste of victory at Old Trafford. However, Liverpool look like a side desperate not to let this latest opportunity to seal a Premier League title slip through their fingertips. It’s as close to full marks as you can possibly give for the Reds so far with their winning mentality a hallmark of all likely champions. However, November looks potentially dicey with an early title decider on the cards against Man City and an away trip to Selhurst Park – a ground with unhappy memories for many Reds fans dreaming of the title. Will there be any sign of a Liverpool wobble on the horizon? We’ll find out shortly.
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