Premier League Mid-Season Previews:Part 2

Arsenal

After the disappointing loss against Chelsea in the Europa League finals, Arsenal knew that they needed to bolster their squad in the summer window. Arsenal’s summer transfer window was a captivating one, as the young Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli was the first signing for a reported fee of £8m, he was then followed by the acquisition of midfield maestro Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid on a season-long loan. They bought Nicolas Pepe from Lille at a hefty price of 72 million euros, Unai improved his defense with the acquisition of highly-rated left-back Kieran Tierney from Celtic and David Luiz from Chelsea.

After an engaging summer window, the fans hoped the club to finish in the top 4, after failing to qualify into the champions league for the 3rd consecutive year. The disappointing run of Arsenal continued gaining only 18 points out of 13 games, the time had come when the board decided to sack Unai Emery. Soon after, former assistant coach and former ‘Invincible’ Freddie Ljungberg earned the caretaker boss role. Arsenal continued to perform below par and lacked ferocity in the midfield.

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Despite the appointment, Arteta was obliged to watch Freddie Ljungberg’s final Arsenal game from the stands, in a tricky trip to an Everton side in a similar predicament to the Gunners. Since Arteta’s appointment, Arsenal have improved a lot and have remained unbeaten in the premier league. With the premier league getting back underway arsenal still stands a chance to get into the top 6 but need to be consistent.

Tottenham Hotspurs

After so many rumours surrounding Mauricio Pochettino leaving the club after he had reached the Finals of the champions league which he had lost after a devastating performance against Liverpool. Mauricio Pochettino’s aim to win a silverware was yet to be completed, so Poch had to move on and the healing process was no doubt assisted by the purchase of Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon for a club record £55m plus add-ons at the start of July and Ryan Sessegnon was bought for a fee of 25 million.

Ahead of the the premier league match against Aston Villa, Spurs were genuinely seen as the challengers in the premier league, but as soon as the premier league had started Pochettino started loosing the grip on the squad. By the end of October Spurs had some dismaying performances against the likes of Brighton, Leicester City and many other clubs which led to the arrival of Mourinho. Since the arrival of Mourinho at Spurs, they have been stable but have not been at their best with the arrival of Bergwin and Lo Celso in January.

Mourinho’s side have been a team capable of winning against City but are also capable of losing against Wolves and drawing against Burnley. They stand 8th and can still finish in the top 6 if they beat the likes of Leicester City and reinforced team like Manchester United.

Southampton

The Saints have underperformed in the 2018-19 season, but no blame can be placed on their current head coach Hassenhuttl (former RB Leipzig coach). Hasenhuttl had acted swiftly to strengthen his attacking options during the summer transfer window. Southampton had also splashed the cash on Che Adams, who scored 22 goals in all competitions for Birmingham City last season.

Southampton do pose a good threat in front of goal as Ings, Djenepo, and Adams can play their part rigorously in the premier league. As the saints did lack a creative outlet through the midfield, James Ward-Prowse does posses creative attributes but he is more of a number 8. A mid table finish would have been a perfect finish in the premier league if they would have started the season on a good note. The Saints started the season with back to back defeats, till November the saints were sitting in the relegation zone.

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After December Southampton have been beating the likes of Chelsea and Leicester City. Ings being one of the top scorers in the premier league he has been carrying the Saints for most part of the season. It’s difficult to say that Southampton can finish the season on a high note as they are yet to play the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Brighton and Hove Albion

The Seagulls being known for their defensive capabilities, and in last season the club only conceded six more than Manchester United who finished sixth, and the Seagulls hoped to improve on it again in this campaign. Brighton bought Adam Webster from Bristol City for almost £20m who would give Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk some competition, another fabulous addition to the squad was of Brentford’s Neal Maupay, who scored an incredible 28 goals last season. 

A mid table table finish would have been fair towards Brighton but due to the appointment of Graham Potter who is known for his attacking style of football it could turn their season upside down. A pretty average start in the premier league could have thrown them into the relegation zone but beating the teams like Spurs and Arsenal might have paved their way into the top 10.

Since January the Seagulls have been poor having not won a single game in the premier league. It is tough to say that Brighton can finish in the top 10 competing with likes of Southampton and Newcastle United who are 5 points ahead of them.

Watford

Javi Gracia’s side were one of the surprise packages of last season as they finished 11th, only 7 points behind the European spots. It had been a quite transfer window for Watford which impacted the first team. The strike partnership of fan favourite Troy Deeney and Andre Gray is a powerful combination that is capable of causing damage in the Premier League.

However, a lack of depth in certain areas could leave them short given their injury ridden squad throughout the season. Watford started the premier league campaign on a very lousy note and did not register a single win until they met Norwich City in the 11th round. Watford were not able to get out of the relegation zone till the time they were able to register consecutive wins in December.

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Watford has been devastating throughout the season by beating the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool which brought new enthusiasm to their fans, but Watford need to improve a lot. Watford have not been good at scoring goals only scoring 27 goals in 29 premier league games. Watford still are 17th placed in the premier league trying to finish the season on a high note.

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