The Premier League season is well underway, and it’s shaping up to be an exciting campaign.
Many expected another two-horse race between Manchester City and Liverpool, but Arsenal are our early pacesetters. Meanwhile, it’s tight at the bottom, with only nine points separating ninth and 20th.
But now it’s time for a six-week break from the English top tier, with the World Cup just around the corner. Here is our recap of the 2022/23 season so far.
Arsenal have had to be patient with Mikel Arteta, and there have been plenty of moments over the last three years where he’s looked like the wrong man for the job. However, they have suffered through that pain barrier and are now reaping the rewards.
The Spaniard has got his side consistently picking up results, winning 12 and losing just one of their opening 14 outings. Additionally, they boast the joint-best defensive record in the division, while only Man City have scored more goals.
But the question still gets asked regularly – can Arsenal actually win the title this year? Well, they’re five points clear at the time of writing – surely we can consider them contenders at this point?
Despite this, Man City remain the firm favourites for the trophy. Pep Guardiola’s men have won four of the last five league titles, breaking all sorts of records along the way.
In their last game before the World Cup break, they suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Brentford, while they needed a contentious injury-time penalty to defeat Fulham in the previous match. This suggests that they’re not as bulletproof as before.
Nonetheless, we know what City are capable of. How often have we seen them hit a sudden winning streak of ten or more games? Once they turn it on, they’re near impossible to stop.
As mentioned above, Liverpool were widely touted for another title push. However, they have failed to reach the heights of before, collecting just 22 points from 14 games.
This leaves Jurgen Klopp’s men in sixth place. They’ll still be widely fancied to challenge for a top-four spot, but adding another league title to their cabinet is looking increasingly unlikely.
Chelsea are in a similar category. After a big-spending summer under new owner Todd Boehly, they were heavily fancied to qualify for the Champions League at the very least.
Things haven’t panned out as expected. Record signing Wesley Fofana picked up a long-term injury, and manager Thomas Tuchel was sacked and replaced by Graham Potter in September.
The Englishman initially brought about an upturn in form but has since failed to win in any of his last five league games, losing three. As things stand, the Blues are in eighth place, eight points off fourth.
Erik ten Hag’s beginning at Manchester United has been similarly chaotic. The Dutchman has dealt with all sorts of off-the-pitch drama while things on it have been inconsistent.
They began with two defeats before picking up four consecutive victories. However, things have since somewhat stabilised, and they’re now in fifth.
One place above them are Tottenham Hotspur. While the results for the Lilywhites have been mostly good, the performances have been called into question. Aside from the wins against Southampton and Leicester City, they have struggled to dominate games.
This can be interpreted in two ways. The first is that their form isn’t sustainable, and eventually their luck will run out. The second is that they have another level to reach, and they will be a real threat should they step it up.
Spurs’ record against the top sides is what has many fans concerned. From six outings against the current top eight, they have picked up only four points.
And then there are the surprise packages – Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Perhaps the former aren’t too much of a shock. Since the takeover in October 2021, many expected them to be competing in a few years. They seem to be a couple of years ahead of schedule, sitting in third heading into the break.
Meanwhile, not much was anticipated of Brighton after Potter’s departure. But new man Roberto De Zerbi has managed to maintain their form, and they reside in seventh.
Wolverhampton Wanderers currently occupy the bottom spot, with just two wins from their first ten outings. They will be hoping that former Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui can inspire them to better things.
Southampton are another side who have put their faith in a new manager, with Nathan Jones replacing Ralph Hasenhuttl. The Welshman took charge of his first game at the Saints last weekend, losing 3-1 to Liverpool.
In contrast, newly-promoted Nottingham Forest have persisted with boss Steve Cooper, handing him a new contract back in October. Despite this, the Midlands side remain inside the relegation zone in 18th place.
Just one point above the drop are Everton. They have also stuck with their manager for now, but six defeats in their last eight games is surely testing their patience.
Having qualified for Europe in two consecutive seasons, West Ham United find themselves in some danger. They have lost four of their last five league games, leaving them one point above the relegation zone.
Jesse Marsch is another manager who has survived this long despite coming under intense pressure. Leeds United have had plenty of ups and downs this season, winning at Anfield but also suffering seven defeats.
At the beginning of the campaign, Bournemouth were widely tipped for relegation. They have exceeded expectations, although they have conceded the most goals in the league with 32.
After a nightmare start, Brendan Rodgers’ time at Leicester City seemed nailed on to be ending soon. However, the Northern Irishman has since managed to steer the ship in the right direction, accumulating 12 points from his last five games.
Player of the season – Erling Braut Haaland
Is anyone else really in contention for this accolade right now? Erling Braut Haaland has made an absolute mockery of the Premier League so far, scoring in all but three games.
The Norwegian has found the net on 18 occasions in just 13 appearances. If he keeps up this strike rate for the rest of the season, he will end on 51 league goals. FIFTY-ONE. That’s utterly incomprehensible.
Harry Kane is on course for his best-ever goalscoring season. Kevin De Bruyne has a real chance of breaking the Premier League’s assist record. And yet, both are being overshadowed by Haaland.
Manager of the season – Mikel Arteta
It may seem a bit simplistic to choose the table-topping manager for this award. However, it’s difficult to ignore Arteta’s achievements with Arsenal this season.
The former Gunners captain has built a young, entertaining side who know how to get results. It may have taken a while, but the north Londoners are finally reaping the rewards for their patience. For the first time in years, the fans have a reason to believe they can win the title.
Game of the season – Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Leeds United
At times, Antonio Conte has been accused of playing boring football. This was not evident on November 12, as his Tottenham side picked up three points from a breathless battle with Leeds.
The excitement began in the tenth minute when Crysencio Summerville netted in his fourth consecutive game. He latched onto Brendan Aaronson’s pass and fired home at Hugo Lloris’ near post.
This lead lasted for around 15 minutes as Harry Kane snatched his 12th league goal of the season. The England captain excellently controlled in a tight area and slammed into the top corner from close range. It was not without controversy, however, as VAR checked for a potential foul on Illan Meslier before awarding the goal.
Shortly before half time, the Yorkshire club took the lead again. Having just been left out of Spain’s World Cup squad, Rodrigo showed Luis Enrique what he was missing with a powerful volley past Lloris.
But again, Spurs hit back. Kane’s effort was blocked, but the ball fell kindly for Ben Davies to smash home through the arms of Meslier.
Incredibly, Leeds went ahead for the third time in the game. Rodrigo was on the scoresheet again, brilliantly finding the far corner from Marc Roca’s pass for his ninth of the campaign.
Heading into the final ten minutes, Marsch’s men were on the brink of an impressive victory. That was until a moment of bad fortune took the scores level again. Luke Ayling attempted to block Rodrigo Bentancur’s goalbound shot but could only deflect it into the bottom corner.
And just moments later, Bentancur added another to complete the comeback. Dejan Kulusevski skipped past Robin Koch and cut the ball back for the Uruguayan, who calmly rolled it into the back of the net.
There weren’t any more goals, but there was enough time for Tyler Adams to see red. He picked up a second yellow card late on for a trip on Yves Bissouma.
Seven goals, one red card, end-to-end action, and a dash of controversy. What more could you want?
Goal of the season – Miguel Almiron vs Fulham
Miguel Almiron has been one of this season’s shock superstars. Having scored just nine goals in his first three-and-a-half seasons in the Premier League, he has been one of the standouts this year, netting eight.
Several of those eight have been spectacular, but there is one that stands out above the rest. In his side’s 4-1 win against Fulham, the Paraguayan netted either side of half time, including an outstanding strike before the break.
Teammate Bruno Guimaraes clipped a ball over the top of the hosts’ backline for Almiron. From a tight angle, the playmaker unleashed a Marco van Basten-esque volley over the head of Bernd Leno and into the far corner.
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