• September 30, 2020 8:20 am

Reporting From Delhi

England’s best, 100 games down

ByShaunak Ghosh

Nov 1, 2019

As the English Premier League 2019/20 season completes 100 games, here’s a look at which team stands where currently

On 27th October, the 2019/20 season of the English Premier League completed 100 matches after 10 weeks of riveting footballing action. With the points table beginning to shape up, fans have already witnessed the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in just 100 games of actions.

Teams have begun well and kept their momentum throughout the period, while some teams have performed below par and some have even sprung great surprises. Here, we take a look at the highs and lows of the first 100 games of the English Premier League, and what we can expect from the rest of the season.

Reds’ rollicking start

The team that has been in top form since the beginning of the season has been Liverpool. In their 10 games, they have won nine and drawn one, thus being the only team among the 20 to remain unbeaten throughout the first 10 weeks. With 28 points from 10 games, they now lead the table by a six-point margin, which is quite hefty considering the number of games played.

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery reacts during their UEFA Europa league Group F football match between Arsenal and Vitoria Guimaraes at the Emirates stadium in London on October 24, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Virgil van Dijk has been the greatest asset for the Reds, like he has been for the past few seasons since his arrival to Anfield. Though his defensive prowess hasn’t been as great as last season, Van Dijk has remained solid at the back, cementing his place as one of the league’s greatest defenders. Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander Arnold have been as usual brilliant, like last season. Though Salah has not been in the best of form this season, Sadio Mane has effectively step into his shoes with five goals.

The difference this season has been the form of Fabinho, who has been the pivot of the team connecting the defence and midfield, with tackles and key passes. The Brazilian has definitely been the best defensive midfielder this season.

Jurgenn Klopp’s men have had a dominating start, and if they continue this form, they may be able to lift their first ever Premier League title.

Unpredictable Citizens

The champions of the past two seasons, Manchester City too have had a strong start to the season registering 22 points from the first two games. But what sets their record apart is that while they have won comprehensively against some sides, including an 8-0 win vs Watford, they have also lost against lower placed teams like Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Though City sit second on the table, the two losses have already put them on the backfoot in the title race in the early stages of the season, with them six points behind Liverpool.

In this season, Kevin De Bruyne has undoubtedly been the best player of Pep Guardiola’s side. He has already notched up a swashbuckling nine assists from 10 games, leading the assist table. Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero too have been in sensational form upfront, notching up seven and eight goals respectively.

But in spite of scoring the most goals this season in the league, it looks difficult for City to win their third straight league title.

Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring his team’s eighth goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Watford at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on September 21, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /

Lampard’s young guns

Chelsea had quite a torrid start to the season this time around. They suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss at the hands of Manchester United in the opening game of the season.

They had been handed a two-year transfer ban by UEFA, and thus they couldn’t purchase a single player in the transfer market this season. Their marquee player in their recent past, Eden Hazard,

had left for Real Madrid during the transfer window. One of their main defensive players, David Luiz also left for Arsenal in a shock last minute move.

Their manager, Maurizio Sarri too had left for the gaffer’s position at Juventus, with club legend Frank Lampard, who was inexperienced as a manager stepped into the shoes of manager of Chelsea.

However, when things looked bleak, it has been the young Chelsea academy graduates, and Lampard’s faith in them that has propelled the side to a dream run of seven consecutive wins in all competitions.

Tammy Abraham, 22, has been the best young player in the league, notching up eight goals in 10 games, currently sitting at second place in the golden boot table. Mason Mount in midfield and a rejuvinated Kurt Zouma at the heart of defence have been the other two key contributing factors in Chelsea’s resurgence this season.

Lampard’s men now stand at fourth in the table, and with the form they are in, they should look to book their place in next year’s Champions League.

Another Leicester dream

In 2016, Leicester City did the unthinkable and won the Premier League, thus becoming one of the ultimate underdog stories in the history of football. The next few seasons after that, Leicester couldn’t recreate the same magic that they had done in the 2015/16 campaign.

This year, the foxes are on another impressive run, this time under the stewardship of former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers. In the course of their first 10 matches, Leicester has notched up an impressive win over Tottenham and almost won against league leaders Liverpool. Leicester have already got 30 points, and have the joint best defensive record in the league – along with Liverpool and Sheffield United.

Leicester, in their match away vs Southampton, defeated the saints 9-0, thus registering the biggest win ever in Premier League history.

Jamie Vardy has been sensational in front of goal racking up nine goals in 10 games, leading the race for the golden boot. Back at defence, new recruit Soyuncu and Ben Chilwell have been crucial in Leicester’s fortunes. James Maddison and Wilfred Ndidi in midfield have also been key men for the foxes.

Leicester are currently third in the Premier league table with 20 points from  10 matches, and if they play like this, they could secure a place in Europe’s top flight next season.

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Super Cup 2019 football match between FC Liverpool and FC Chelsea at Besiktas Park Stadium in Istanbul on August 14, 2019. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

The disappointments

Manchester United had a pretty difficult start to this year’s Premier League. Under new manager Ole Gunner Solksjaer, the Red Devils had their worst start ever in the Premier League, losing matches against teams like Crystal Palace, West Ham and Newcastle, even though they began the season strongly with a 4-0 victory against Chelsea.

This start, coupled with injuries to key players like Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, exposed the lack of depth of the United squad. They were three points off the relegation zone at one point of time. However, there was a turnaround after the impressive draw vs Liverpool and a thumping 3-1 win over Norwich City.

United stands at seventh in the table, having won only three of their 10 games, and needs a lot of work if they want to book a place in the top four.

Last season’s Champions League runners’ up, Tottenham Hotspurs were expected to start the season with a bang especially with the acquisition of players like Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso in their ranks. However, Tottenham have had a disastrous start, losing four and winning just three of their first 10 games.

They have lost to teams like Brighton and Newcastle, and currently stand in the lower half of the league table, in 11th place with just 12 points from 10 games. Mauricio Pochettino’s men really need to up their game if they really want to be in the race for a place in next year’s Champions League.

Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham (R) runs over to celebrate with Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard (L) after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Chelsea at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on August 24, 2019. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /

Arsenal, too have been showing pretty much very poor quality of football as they currently stand fifth in the table, and even though they somehow manage to grind results, they look a bleak team with seemingly no direction. Even their manager Unai Emery looks clueless.

The situation for Arsenal even worsened last week in their match vs Crystal Palace, when club captain Geranit Xhaka left the football field fuming and showing the middle finger and hurling abuses at the fans. This has raised many questions over the players’ commitment to the club, and with the quality of football the Gunners are playing now, it looks highly likely that manager Unai Emery may be shown the door sooner rather than later.