18/19 Mid-Season Premier League Recap

789 media representatives take another peak into the top 6 clubs’ current results, January transfer rumors and speculation, potential weaknesses and our thoughts on how they’ll finish this season.

If Wednesday’s match between Liverpool and City proved anything, it’s that we should hold on to our seats; this campaign is a real life episode of Game of Thrones.

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Manchester City edged past league leaders Liverpool 2-1 with the help of Aguero and Sane.

 

 

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Arsenal

Current Form:

DL – Mediocre at best. The only thing positive coming out of December was their 4 – 2 win against Tottenham. After going 19 games unbeaten, Arsenal’s form has dropped and injuries are starting to be a huge factor. Currently, they still hold a top 5 spot and look to  start off on a positive note in 2019.

AM – Like Danny said, they were hot. I was actually scared for a second. But every soccer fan knows December through February are the hardest months in the season. Plagued with injuries (Danny Wellbeck, Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mikhitaryan, Hector Bellerin), they’ll be lucky to maintain that 5th place.

January Transfers:

DL – I’m really not sure what’s going to happen. Are we going to pull a “Wenger” and not sign anyone? Will the new boss make a splash and make a move for his targets? There are two possible players: Dembele, who is having a hard time adjusting at Camp Nou, and Nicholas Pepe, who is supposedly going to cost 75 million.

AM – Aaron Ramsey has signed a pre-contract agreement with Italian giants Juventus. After months of speculation, the 28-year-old Wales international will look to provide depth to their midfield and it’s rumored that he’s signed for a five year contract.

Aside from his departure, I bet Arsenal goes silent with big time player acquisitions.

Weaknesses heading into the end of the season:

DL – Defense….Defense defense defense, defense defense. But other then that, probably defense.

AM – I think the mentality and fatigue of the current team will be their weaknesses. Pressure is mounting on the Gunners for them to just maintain 5th place.

Manchester United, now having regained some momentum, is the most realistic threat. Arsenal must be very careful in how they approach these upcoming games or else the early success of Emery’s first season will go down the drain.

Result for the end of the season:

DL – I had them originally finishing 2nd. Now – 3rd.

AM – 6th

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Chelsea

Current Form:

DL – With the talent they have, I haven’t been too impressed with Chelsea overall. Still hold a top 4 spot at the moment, but also still making Hazard have to come and save the day every game.

AM – Chelsea’s reliance on Hazard is beginning to show. Actually, he’s the main reason they’re still in 4th place. Willian has only managed two goals in the league (also limped off against Southampton on Wednesday), while Pedro has only been marginally better with six goals. Also, shout out to Kepa. Ily.

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Alvaro Morata has netted 7 times throughout the season and has recently fallen out of favor with Sarri. Hazard is now fulfilling the role of Chelsea’s striker duties.

January Transfers:

DL – CHRISTIAN PULISIC!!!! As an Arsenal fan I am not even mad about this because now I get to see him play and develop more frequently. I keep hearing “bye-bye Hazard,” but until I see him in a jersey other then Chelsea, I won’t believe that one. Could the Higuain swap be the answer if Hazard does decide to leave?

AM – It’s rumored that Fabregas and Cahill are both looking to part ways with Chelsea duringthis window. I will be sad to see both go. Squad depth is so crucial during this time and getting rid of two experienced players may cost them in the long run.

Oh yea, and we just got a kid from Hershey, PA. Heard he’s kind of good. With this deal, Chelsea is sending a signal to Hazard, who has yet to commit to a contract extension.

Weaknesses heading into the end of the season:

DL – Not having a true forward. Although, Hazard is great up top. He’s not a true center forward and can’t do it all by himself.

AM – I’m pretty sure I’ve said this already but imagine having a Costa/Drogba-esque player up top to accompany Hazard, Willian and Pedro? Ewwww. Ultimately not having a top striker will be their downfall.

Result for the end of the season:

DL– 4th

AM – 3rd

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Liverpool

Current Form:

DL – In the last four years, whoever has been top of the league on Christmas Day has gone on to win the league. Liverpool are the only team to NOT do that – TWICE in the last 10 years. Could they go 3 for 3?

AM – At last, Liverpool are beaten. It was a tough match against Man City on Wednesday, and aside from the result being their first league lose all season, Liverpool are still in first place. With an easy (in my opinion) month of upcoming fixtures, I don’t expect them to lose anymore points (unfortunately).

January Transfers:

DL – Honestly other then a big swap deal for Salah to bring Suarez back to Liverpool, I haven’t heard much. Rumors of Rabiot possibly making a move to bolster that midfield have risen. Although, I don’t think that big of a move will happen until summer especially knowing Liverpool could win the title.

AM – Liverpool has been quite during the transfer window, so I agree with Dan. Klopp has even stated they aren’t looking for any January signings.

Weaknesses heading into the end of the season:

DL – I still feel their midfield could be better and I think if anything, that will be their down fall. Along with injuries to anyone on that back line.

AM – Maybe securing a loan for a centre back? Matip and Gomez are injured but are expected to return at the end of the month.

Result for the end of the season:

DL – I think they’ll break their own curse and win the title- 1st

AM – Sigh… 1st.

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Manchester City

Current Form:

DL – I think teams took notes of their lose and are finding out how to beat Pep. With two massive loses, Liverpool take charge going into the New Year but City will always be in the race with the team they have.

AM – City is Liverpool’s only opponent left in the ring. And with Wednesday’s massive win, anything can happen going into the final stretch. Don’t rule City out just yet.

January Transfers:

DL – Realistically, who isn’t Pep trying to sign?

AM – If I were Pep, I’d be losing sleep over finding a true replacement to Fernandinho. Although I’m an admirer of Gündogan, he doesn’t posses the same physical presence the Brazilian carries. That and another full-back to cover the injured Bejamin Mendi wouldn’t hurt.

Result for the end of the season:

DL – 2nd

AM – 2nd

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Manchester United

Current Form:

DL: LOL! Mourinho got sacked. But now United have decided to start playing. Currently, the Red Devils are in top form with Pogba leading the way and only a few points back from Arsenal.

AM – Four wins against Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Newcastle have brought life back into the Theater of Dreams. With the nightmare of Jose Mourinho finally concluded, Pogba and Co. seem happier on and off the field without the Portuguese gaffer.

Their next opponent? Tottenham Spurs. Surely this will be there biggest test in January.

Godspeed, Solskjaer.

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Between 1996 – 2007, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored 91 goals in 235 appearances for United.

January Transfers:

DL – I think United are more worried about who is going to be the coach next summer rather then worrying about who is going to strengthen the team at the moment and I think that man should and has to be Zidane. But growing talks in support of  Pochettino should not be dismissed.

AM – Again, I agree with Dan. With the new coach, Solskjaer, in charge for the remainder of the season, he’s more or less been tasked with getting them through the remainder of the campaign. Any amount of wins will overshadow the beginning of the season. Man United’s focus will be in the summer window. Will we see the house cleared?

Weaknesses heading into the end of the season:

DL– Defense has been a problem for United as well as Lukaku struggling to find form. Thank goodness he has Pogba and Mata underneath him to help.

AM – Lukaku and Sanchez absolutely need to regain their confidence. Can Solskjaer change that? He’s going to try.

“I think he’s player that would benefit from the interchanging, the rotation, the movement,” Solskjaer said [speaking of Sanchez]. “The more chances you create, the more times you get the ball into the final third, he’ll be an asset for us. You can read more here.

Result for the end of the season:

DL– 6th

AM – They take over Arsenal and cruise into 5th

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Tottenham

Current Form:

DL – The only one I am impressed with at the moment on that team is Son Hueng-min. That dude is on fire and everyone is just feeding off his energy. I hate it.

AM – January’s first match against Cardiff was needed. After falling to the Wolves at the end of December, it was crucial to regain confidence.

“I think it was so important [to bounce back from the defeat to Wolves]. It’s so important to build another positive run. Of course in football it’s impossible to win every game, but sure we’re going to try to win every single game,” said Pochettino.

He continued, “It was so important for our confidence because in three days we’re going to start another competition, the FA Cup, which is going to be important too. Then we’re going to play the Carabao Cup semifinal against Chelsea.”

January Transfers:

DL– Again I think the only thing they are worried about is whether Mauricio Pochettino is about to leave for their rivals Manchester United this summer. I’m surprised that hasn’t stirred things up in the dressing room.

As far as player transfers, not much to talk about anyone coming in but concerns grow as players like Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen are holding off on signing contract extensions.

AM – No rumors of any incoming players, but Moussa Dembele is on the verge of heading to China. Locking down new contracts with the aforementioned players is a must.

Weaknesses heading into the end of the season:

DL – They’ve had some problems in the back with not having their usual center backs playing together. Also, Son Hueng-min is set to miss a run of games due to competing and representing South Korea in the Asian Cup. I could see the spark starting to slow down and dropping points.

AM –  Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, and Erik Lamela are all back in full training after their respective injuries.  Victor Wanyama is undergoing outside one-on-one training. It’s important all these players don’t re-injure themselves – Pochettino can’t exhaust his starters.

Result for the end of the season:

DL – I say the weaknesses show and they drop back- 5th

AM – 4th

Do we suck at soccer? Should we be panelists on ESPNFC? No clue, but tweet us at @789MediaCo to discuss everything and anything!

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Andy Moran

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