Mind the gap please - Premier League mid-season report
The new year means we're a little more than half-way through the Premier League season01 January 2018 | Sally Freedman
Manchester City fans will be extremely happy waking up to 2018 as they sit a whopping 16 points clear of their cross-town rivals, Manchester United and 14 points clear of second place Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola’s side look irresistible in their charge towards the 2017-2018 Premier League title. After 20 games, City are top of the Premier League table with and incredible record of 19 wins and two draws. Their run of 18 consecutive victories was brought to a halt on New Year's Eve with an unpredicted draw against cellar dwellers, Crystal Place. Nonetheless, Guardiola's men finish the year with an impressive point tally of 59.
Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are separated by only eight points and there will likely be plenty more twists and turns in the second half of the season as the giants vie to secure a Champions League spot.
At the other end? It's tight.
West Ham United, Swansea and West Brom. fans will be hoping that 2018 brings them some New Year cheer as they occupy the last three spots. Crystal Palace and Newcastle United can hardly breathe easy either, just one point outside the dreaded relegation zone.
The other talking points of the season so far?
First, Mo Salah (pictured). Is he the signing of the season? The Egyptian star signed for Liverpool from Roma for an initial £36.9million and he has set the Premier League alight with his pace and goals. Salah has scored an impressive 23 goals in 29 matches in all competitions since signing for Jurgen Klopp’s side. 17 of those goals are in the Premier League. His goal tally sees him share a Liverpool record with Roger Hunt.
Then there's Harry Kane. The Tottenham star equalled Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer's record for most goals scored in a calendar year after netting a hat-trick against Burnley. The striker has now scored 36 times in the English top flight in 2017 - the same number Shearer managed in 1995. Kane scored a first-half penalty against Burnley before finding the back of the net twice after the break. Kane surpassed Shearer's record the following game with another hat-trick with Spurs winning 5–2 against Southampton, ending the year with 39 Premier League goals.
Finally, the six sacked managers. An incredible six Premier League managers have been shown the door already - and there may well be more y et.
1. Frank de Boer, Crystal Palace, replaced by Roy Hodgson
2. Craig Shakespeare, Leicester, replaced by Claude Puel
3. Tony Pulis, West Brom, replaced by Alan Pardew
4. Slaven Bilic, West Ham, replaced by David Moyes
5. Ronald Koeman, Everton, replaced by Sam Allardyce
6. Paul Clement, Swansea, replacement by Carlos Carvalhal (main picture)
With the newly promoted teams, Huddersfield, Brighton and Newcastle remaining outside the relegation zone, pressure has mounted on other established clubs to up their game.
As we head into 2018, we can expect all clubs looking to bolster their squads during the January transfer window. As always, it will be interesting to see who’s in and who's out. All fans will be hoping their team makes a big, season-changing signing this January.
Already Liverpool have shown they mean business with the purchase of Virgil van Dijk, and we know they have attacking prowess. Liverpool fans are also calling for a new world class keeper. Should Klopp manage to lure more big names to Anfield, they will undoubtedly start to hold onto their leads with much more consistency.
Other players that are likely to be seen on the merry-go-round in January include Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge, Emre Can and Danny Ings, Tottenham’s Danny Rose and Everton’s Ross Barkley.
Stay tuned for the transfer window merry-go-round, and happy new year to all.
premier league, epl