EPL Early Report Card | Who’s definitely not happy!
And now for the fun part… (for some)
Last week we looked at which teams would be happy with their performances in the opening month of the Premier League season.
Now it’s time for the other end of the spectrum.
One month down and there are plenty of clubs who would be wishing they could go back and have it all over again. It’s considered the toughest and most competitive football league in the world and there are plenty of teams understanding that all too well so far.
So much expectation is placed on all the big six clubs but Manchester United (8th), Tottenham (9th) and Chelsea (10th) haven’t been able to live up to it, all sitting on five points with a win, loss and two draws each.
Manchester United got their season off to the perfect start with a 4-0 trouncing of Chelsea but weren’t able to build any kind of momentum, struggling to break teams down and suffering from an inability to see games out.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has let both big money forwards Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez depart for Inter Milan since then and will be relying heavily on his younger forwards to do the job in front of goal.
Chelsea meanwhile have continued to suffer defensively conceding nine goals in four games so far – second worst in the league only to newly promoted Norwich who they narrowly defeated for their only win so far.
Frank Lampard has somewhat of an excuse given Chelsea’s current transfer ban but he’ll need to shore up his backline if they’re any chance of retaining their Champions League spot.
Tottenham have undoubtedly been one of the most unsettled major clubs in Europe so far this season with multiple of their star players being continuously linked with moves. No one would have been happier to see the transfer window close than Mauricio Pochettino. He’ll have used the international break to buckle down and refocus his side who many considered outside title contenders.
Tottenham will be slightly buoyed by the fact they’ve gotten two of their toughest fixtures out of the way – Manchester City (A) and Arsenal (A) – securing a point from each.
Wolverhampton (17th), whilst not considered one of the big clubs, were expected to be one of the main competitors to them considering their strong 18/19 season. Yet a busy schedule with Europa League qualification has seen Nuno Espirito Santo’s side struggle, yet to get their first win.
Watford (20th) started last season with four wins in their first month but unfortunately see themselves finish the first month of this season on the bottom of the table with just a single point. This has resulted in Javi Gracia being the first manager to be sacked in the Premier League for Season 19/20. Some may see this as a hasty move by Watford but such has become the club’s reputation in recent years.
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Newcastle (14th) suffered an extremely tumultuous off-season with the stalled sale of the club and the departure of Rafael Benitez. Fans were bracing for the worst, especially after a 3-1 loss to Norwich. However, an impressive win away to Tottenham gave Steve Bruce his first win and somewhat of a platform to try and build upon.
Bournemouth (15th) have become the consistent over-performers of the Premier League since their promotion in 2015 which is why they’ll be slightly disappointed with their results so far. A loss to Manchester City was to be expected but dropping points to Sheffield at home is something they’ll need to avoid from this point onward to ensure they keep distance from the relegation battle.
Brighton’s fans (16th) may be suffering from a slight case of false disappointment. Four goals and four points from their first two games had Seagulls fans feeling a touch of giddiness before Southampton and Manchester City quickly squashed that. Six goals conceded with none scored in the last two games will have Brighton’s players firmly back on the ground ready to start grinding again.
Aston Villa (18th) and Norwich (19th) have had starts typical of newly promoted sides although both have reasons to be feeling a touch disappointed.
Villa spent an astonishing $175 million on new players to try and ensure their re-introduction to the Premier League would be long-term. Having spent that kind of money, their fans would be hoping to at least come away from games against the likes of Bournemouth and Crystal Palace with more than two losses. An impressive 2-0 win against Everton shows the potential is there but they’ll need to click into gear quick-smart to ensure that money wasn’t spent in vain.
Norwich on the other hand spent less than $2 million with many pegging them as a team highly likely to be relegated again immediately. But the Canaries are using those expectations as a license to play without fear and its resulted in plenty of goals, especially from their Finnish strike revelation Teemu Pukki who sits second on the Golden Boot standings. Defence has certainly been an issue though, conceding more than any other team which won’t be sustainable if they want to avoid relegation.
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