BDG Football Blog: The Premier League To-Date

As we’ve exited another International Break, and now have the first game under our belts, it’s time to assess the season after 12 games and compare results to-date versus my beginning-of-the-year SWAG about this season.

What is unsurprising?

Man City look good and I will maintain my prediction, they will win the League.
The Top 6 race looks to be among the usual suspects as predicted although the order will show some movement. ManU as noted in my Week 2 post, have the horses and should challenge their neighbor although their defeats by Huddersfield and Chelsea clearly showed they are incomplete and will play inconsistently. They have little room to make mistakes this season. And they are arrogant.
Tottenham are solid with a very good coach that the team will hope to keep as Manager as other top teams on the Continent will come calling. But they looked poor versus Arsenal and the usual game of blaming the referee simply doesn’t fly. Arsenal was the superior team for once in recent memory.
Liverpool too has been inconsistent and will have to improve to take a Champions League spot.
Chelsea. OY! I expect Conte to quit or more likely be given the sack considering the Owner’s history and recent departure of their respected Technical Director, Emenalo, who had been at the club for 10 years due to Management politics. Why put yourself through it especially when your talent will make you attractive to another team with needs. And look — Italy truly NEEDS him back — not to say another team.
Which brings us to Arsenal and 1+ year remaining with Wenger as Manager – maybe. As a supporter, I will devote an entire post or two to them, but amongst the issues they need to think though, who will follow Wenger – provided somehow (doubtful) he will be re-upped – and how will they align Management next year with a Director of Football, Technical Director or whatever title he is given. They did play in the North London Derby like we all know they can, but rarely do consistently. But they have won 11 PL home games in a row, but I seem to recall half the games are away and poor play and losses to Liverpool, Stoke and Watford were horrible exhibitions.
Wenger believes Sanchez and Ozil love the team and want to reup, but he faces critical decisions: do we sell one or both and make a small return or hold them on the basis we get back into the Top 4 or win the Europa Cup?
And they elect to stay.
And why not play Lacazette with them both? More readers than I want to know and do not understand.

What Else?
The newly promoted teams have shined and provided some inspirational football to their fans and league, which is a wonderful thing. If they can maintain their pace none will be relegated. In this I was clearly wrong having Huddersfield and Brighton going down. More likely the current 3 cellar dwellers will go.

More directly, which teams and what else have been surprising?
Burnley and Watford and Everton and Bournemouth and Leicester.
The first two quite positive and the latter, well not so much at all. Everton bought poorly and incorrectly without replacing Lukaku. And as much as Koeman had good technical/tactical Nous, he was a poor man manager, too tight, too prickly and not able to handle the situation. From this group I like Dyche and Howe as young managers who one day might go higher in the League, perhaps Arsenal. But more on this topic later.
Leicester, mediocre team, mediocre Management. One extremely lucky taste of the Cup, but not again for quite a while. I for one am neither surprised nor sorry.

Let My People Go!
Please Liverpool let Coutinho go to Barca; he’ll get there anyway in time.
Can will also be gone.
Tottenham will lose several good players because of their prior illusory wage structure. Memo to the Chairman: you get what you pay for. I am not crying obviously.
Bale will return and likely to MauU (or dark horse Chelsea) in January or the Summer. His Spanish expedition will conclude.