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Premier League Season 2013/2014: half time.
Arsenal vs. Everton - Premier League
With 22 rounds gone, and 16 to go in the Premier League, it's safe to say that we have reached the halfway mark in the competition, it's also time to take a closer look at how the teams involved in England's primary football competition have done.
This is an important part of the season, because, by now, all of the teams know which are their objectives for the second part of the season, and can make changes according to their respective objectives.
Some teams need new players, some need to offload some players that haven't impressed, one thing is for sure: every team will analyze its progress so far, and make various changes.
By now, most teams know what they're aiming for, whether it's to win the league, to avoid relegation, to fight for a Champions League or an Europa League place, each team has a strategy.
The thing is, that strategy may be different from the one at the start of the season. What does that means? It means that, some teams have exceeded their expectations, while some teams have disappointed.
What teams have impressed so far?
Well, let's start with the first place, which is occupied by a team that, in August, after an unimpressive display of football in the pre-season friendlies and a loss in the opening match of the Premier League, was more likely a relegation contender that a title one.
You know what is the name of the team I'm talking about, but I'm going to say it anyway: it's Arsenal. As an Arsenal supporter I'm pleased to wave witnessed this resurrection of the North London club that has gone 9 matches without defeat from that first loss against Aston Villa, and in that period it has climbed to the top of the Premier League, a place that Arsenal still retains.
Manchester City and Chelsea are also close to the top of the league and, this season, it looks like the battle for the Premier League will go on till the last stages.
Of course, Chelsea and City near the top of the table isn't that unexpected, and some people may say that, after signing Mesut Özil, Arsenal was expected to be a contender for the title, but, as a supporter of this team, I'll tell you, this season really is a breath of fresh air, especially after some, let's say, "roller-coaster results" in recent years.
Another team that has impressed this season, and has also been the leader of the league at times, is Liverpool, and although the team has slowed down a bit recently, it still looks impressive, especially when going forward, and is expected to finish, at least, on fourth place.
And let's not forget Everton, another team that is a real contender for a top four finish, and has looked impressive this season. Everton has lost only two matches in the Premier League this season, the fewest defeats registered by any team in this competition so far, which shows that they are a notoriously hard team to beat and people that rate them as serious contenders for a top four finish should be taken seriously.
The fact that Moyes' former club is in front of the Scot's current one, Manchester United, has spurred numerous jokes but, instead, people should acknowledge the hard work done by Roberto Martínez and his players, that led to this season's results.
Kick-off at White Hart Lane
The teams that have disappointed so far.
So, what are the most disappointing teams so far this season?
There are a few, but one stands out from the pack. You won't win any prizes for guessing this one, will you? Yes, I'm talking about Manchester United.
When Alex Ferguson announced his retirement, everybody was talking about the end of an era, but nobody thought the new era will start so badly. I mean, yes, Ferguson has left United after leading the club for 27 years, but has also left with another Premier League title as the prefect farewell gift to his successful reign.
Moyes' job looked easy after he inherited one of the biggest clubs in the world, and a club that, before the start of the new season looked to be in good form.
The truth though, was far from that. United needed a lot of changes, as an aging defense, some unimpressive central midfielders, players with low morale like Nani, and players that don't seem to suit United's current formation (e.g. Kagawa) were bound to have a negative effect on the team's performance.
Manchester United has slowed down in recent years, a problem that wasn't so obvious in the Premier League but more so in the Champions League, were the team has been inconsistent and quite unimpressive.
The fact that Moyes, a manager who many believe to be lacking the experience of managing a club of this size, has arrived at the team, and has registered inconsistent results, made a lot of supporters panic and ask for the Scot's replacement since the early stages of the season.
The situation isn't so bad as far as I'm concerned. United needs changes, but not in the form of a new manager, the team needs new players, fresh blood if you will.
The fact that United was more impressive so far in the Champions League than in the Premier League shows me that Moyes isn't as bad as people think, because the Champions League is actually the competition where he doesn't really has any experience.
Now let's move on to the next disappointment of the season: Tottenham. Yes, I know they are fifth right now, and in front of the "surprise" I've talked about earlier, Everton, but after having spent over 100 million Pounds in the summer break, they were rated quite high to win the Premier League.
Right now, they are fighting for the last Champions League place with Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United. Not quite what was expected from them, right?
Tottenham's biggest problem this season is that nobody can really put his finger on what isn't working properly at the club. They have replaced André Villas-Boas, a manager that many people said to be too "safe", too defensive with Tim Sherwood, which is being regarded as too attacking and reckless at times. Maybe the answer is to use both as managers of the club, that way, Tottenham will play a football that is well balanced between the attack and defense.
But seriously now, from managers that haven't convinced, to players that are very inconsistent, Tottenham has problems, and these problems could lead to them not playing in the Champions League again next season, despite the massive amount of money the club has spent before the start of the season.
Premier League poll:
Which team is more likely to win the Premier League this season?
So far in the Premier League, we have had a lot of interesting matches and many changes in the League Table, and it looks like we'll also have a lot of things to talk about in 2014.
With two points between the first three teams in the table, one point between the teams sitting on the next three places, and four points between the team sitting on the thirteenth place and the one on the last place, the second half of the season will surely be at least as interesting as the first.
Vote in the poll the team that you think will win the PL this season, have your say in the comments area below about the competition or take a look at more statistics and news concerning the Premier League by following the link below.