Premier League Mid Season Previews: Part 3

Chelsea

The signing of Frank Lampard meant that the blues were ready to break all the traditions and back an inexperienced manager. With the transfer ban and some well-earned goodwill towards him at Stamford Bridge, Lampard was given more time to succeed as Chelsea manager than many of his predecessors. The transfer ban, and Eden Hazard leaving the blues indicated that a well infused squad with a group of youngsters and the experienced players would help him stay within the top 4.

Lampard had a decent team with the likes of Pulisic arriving from Dortmund in the summer, and a few loanees coming back from the Championship. Until December everything was going great for Chelsea but as always the blues had a disappointment plunge going into the Christmas period. Chelsea’s early season momentum was squandered after a run of bad performances at home, which weakened their grip on a top 4 spot.

Chelsea being at the fourth position need to step up and perform consistently as they face competition from the likes of Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United for a spot in next seasons Champions League.

Crystal Palace

The off-season began with Palace losing one of their brightest young stars, Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United for a fee of £45m plus add-ons. One of Palace’s main squad concerns was their lack of goal-scoring center-forward, Christian Benteke was a big name, that came in from Liverpool in 2017, but has failed to deliver. To bolster their attack they signed Jordan Ayew from Swansea City for a reported fee of £2.5m and brought in some experience at the back in the form of Gary Cahill. 

Palace have been heavily reliant on Zaha to create goal scoring chances, and their defence to prevent them at the other end. But despite all their flaws, when you look at the remainder of Crystal Palace’s season, the pessimist will glance at the fixture list and still be hoping for survival. The optimist looks at it and thinks about Europe. 

Even with Roy Hodgson, the architect of one of the most improbable European adventures, at the helm, the road to continental football won’t be easy. Of the fixtures against the top eight, only the Chelsea, United and Spurs games are at Selhurst Park. Palace would undoubtedly have stood a better chance of winning those with a packed house roaring them on rather than the backdrop of a vacant stands tarped with advertising.

Bournemouth

This season has been a tumultuous one for Bournemouth. After a summer that saw fan favourite Tyrone Mings leave, and a slew of young talent like Harry Wilson arrive at the Club, fans expected the team to cement their position in the top flight with another top half finish. 

Bournemouth in previous seasons had always secured their position early in the season, and never really found themselves in the battle for survival. But this season they are very much in the thick of it as they sit 18thon goal difference, level on 26 points with fellow strugglers Watford and West Ham. On the surface, Bournemouth have a very good squad and decent depth, with talented youngsters like Dominic Solanke and Harry Wilson, backing up regular starters like Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser.

But Injuries have played are a big part for the predicament Bournemouth find themselves in. Key players like Josh King, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser have all been injured at some point this season, not to mention the long-term loss of midfielder David Brooks. As the season resumes, Bournemouth have a very large mountain to climb if they want to stay-up, especially with tricky fixtures against Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton coming up.

Leicester City

The appointment of Brendan Rodgers led to fast-flowing football on the field. He helped to avoid a costly summer spending. The transfers of Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United in the summer looked to be well scouted. After an eternity of speculation, Harry Maguire went to Manchester United for a world-record fee of £80m. In the pre-season, Çağlar Söyüncü’s decent form suggested that he would be the man to replace Harry Maguire, at least in the short-term.

As the season had started Jamie Vardy started to flourish under Brendan Rodgers as people could witness his goal-scoring prowess in a few games. Leicester possesses one of the best full-back pairings in the Premier League and their attacking dynamism is vital in forcing overloads out wide. Vardy was not the only one performing at the highest level, players like Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have been ruling the midfield.

Since January Leicester City have only won 3 out of 9 games that has shown their dip in form. As the season resumes we can expect Leicester City to bounce back and qualify for the Champions League.

West Ham

West Ham United finished 10th in the premier league in the 2018/19 season and were keen on making a push in the premier league table and finish somewhere in the top 8. West Ham lacked a goal poacher in the team and were waiting for an oppurtunity to sign a player like Sebastien Haller. West Ham United finally allowed Marko Arnautovic to move to China that he had been desperate for so long.

Manuel Lanzini has been one of the main creators in the west ham squad but the injuries has always taken a toll on him. As the season progressed the hammers were not consistent and had a drop off from a Europa league spot to the relegation zone. Pellegrini was dismissed after their fourth successive home defeat in the league which left West Ham one point and one place above the relegation zone. David Moyes was reappointed this season to save the hammers from getting relegated.

West Ham United has been unreliable at the back and has not made a considerable improvement in front of the goal. West Ham United still are are 17th placed with 27 points competing with likes of Bournemouth, Watford, Brighton, and Aston Villa. With the premier league about to resume West Ham needs to step up their game otherwise they might play the next season in the championship.

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