PREMIER LEAGUE MID SEASON PREVIEWS: PART 4

Manchester City

City came into the season hoping to etch their names in history with cross-town rivals Man United, as only the second team to three-peat. However, despite falling two points short of their own record, the Citizens 2018/19 triumph was their most impressive yet as they beat Liverpool to the title by a single point. Manchester City had acquired the Spanish midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid for a club record fee of 63 million. City also had completed the signing of Joao Cancelo in a player plus cash deal involving Danilo moving to Juventus..

Pep had built a squad with tremendous strength in depth, as demonstrated by their domestic treble last season. The citizens had started the premier league in fine fashion, but their run came to halt, by the newly promoted Norwich City in the 5th round of the premier league. Since, the game against Norwich, City dropped points against Wolves and Liverpool. After the loss at Anfield they fell nine points behind league leaders Liverpool and hopes of a third successive title had taken a sizeable dent after the 3-1 defeat.

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City virtually had a flawless record but again had slipped against the likes of Newcastle United, Manchester United, Wolves, and Tottenham Hotspurs during the winter period. Losing the title to Liverpool was not enough as UEFA went atomic and announced that City will be banned from playing all European competitions in February. The citizens are second in the premier league with 10 games to go. The fans can expect City to remain in second as the premier league is set to resume.

manchester United

Manchester United had signed club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December of the 2018-19 season as a caretaker boss, resulting in a 12-game Premier League unbeaten streak. The more scattered transfer windows in the recent years had improved in the 2019-20 season as the red devils opted for Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka early, both young and bright players intended as long-term solutions to their known weaknesses. Harry Maguire’s signing was announced in August, the 80 million England international’s deal might have taken ages but was worth it as it improved a make-shift defence from last season.

Solskjaer was about to head into his first full season as manager and there were new faces and a new style of play that resembled more of United’s old way, but the project had just only just begun back then. The season might have given the fans a lot of thrilling moments to cheer, as they have beaten the likes of Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham and they would have beaten Liverpool if it wasn’t for Adam Lallana’s goal in the 85th minute to secure a vital point.

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Man United did lack a true creative midfielder and finally, the red devils signed Bruno Fernandes after months of speculation. The signing has brought positivity in the squad, since then Manchester United have improved a lot and the fans can expect more competition in the midfield as Pogba has returned to full fitness. Manchester United can qualify for the champions league football as they are competing against the likes of Sheffield United, Wolves and Tottenham Hotspurs for the remainder of the season.

Sheffield united

After impressing in the Championship last season, with an incredible 2019 run featuring only three losses, Sheffield had looked to reinforce in the hope that they can build on their success and push towards Premier League survival. Chris Wilder’s 2018-19 season was an unpredictable one, and the fans were positive, but the experts predicted relegation for them. The transfer window of the blades had been successful as they were able to bring in new players for more depth and competitiveness upfront.

With the Premier League 2019/20 season on the horizon, it was a positive pre-season to great extent for the Blades. The balance and energy of the team allowed Wilder to deploy a fluid 3-5-2 system, with pace on the counters which was necessary going forward. The start in the England’s top flight was not good as the blades had dropped a lot of points within 2 months of the premier league. But as the season has progressed Sheffield United’s dominance through the defence proved to be their best form of attack.  

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Sheffield United has been flabbergasting throughout the season, while both Henderson and the defense have kept 10 clean sheets in totality. The underdogs has shined the premier league and are at seventh position and are yet to play the top teams in the remaining part of the season.

Burnley

Last season was a rather quiet one for Burnley, the club had reached the 40 point mark and finished 15th in the Premier League, but could do no more. As always, Burnley looked for a strong defence as an elementary unit of their squad.Jay Rodriguez had returned to Turf Moor, they also signed Leeds’ Bailey Peacock-Farrell who will likely act as back up to Nick Pope. Tom Heaton joined newly promoted Aston Villa for roughly 8 million and Peter Crouch also left the club as he had retired earlier in the summer.

With Sean Dyche at the helm, the Clarets looked in safe hands. Dyche had created strong partnerships in the squad like Ben Mee and James Tarkowski at the back they were in safe hands and Jeff Hendrick and Jack Cork in the middle of the pitch everyone could notice the strong spine that Dyche has created in his side. Burnley’s start in the premier league season was optimistic and better than the previous season but as the season progressed the Clarets form dipped by a large margin.

Nick Pope has been the standout performer in Burnley’s side keeping 11 clean sheets, but the defence been a disappointment throughout the season conceding 40 goals. As the premier league is about to resume the fans can look forward to a hopeful top 10 finish.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves defied all expectations last season as they finished seventh and claimed the deserved title of the ‘best of the rest’. However, if they want to fulfil their ambitions of breaking into the top six Wolves need to ameliorate their records against lower table sides. Nuno Espírito Santo built an incredibly well drilled and well-structured side with Wolves’ 3-5-2 formation which proved very difficult to breakdown.

Wolves brought in a number of top players, with Raul Jimenez, Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone being the marquee signings which added attacking threat to Nuno’s side. Moutinho will continue to be pivotal for Wolves, however, the club’s need for goals is more pressing. Raul Jimenez was expected to be the key man after impressing during his loan spell last season and Wolves triggered their option to sign the forward on a permanent basis, breaking their transfer record in the process.

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Wolves have improved a lot in this season but other teams too have underperformed in this season which led to inspire them for a champions league finish. As the premier league is about to kick off Wolves relatively have easy fixtures and stand a chance of finishing in the top four.

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