Chelsea – 2nd
Successful season so far? A few weeks ago it was, with Chelsea winning and playing entertaining football whilst being toe to toe with Liverpool. Recent poor results mean they enter 2009 three points behind. The long 86 game unbeaten home record went too with defeat to Liverpool. The next one only lasted two games before defeat to Arsenal.
Top player: Anelka has scored 14 goals but you still feel he isn’t to be relied on in tight games. Lampard had a top start followed by a poor November and December. He picked up again at Christmas after getting his fill of mince pies. But for sheer consistency, Jose Bosingwa has been brilliant. He’s adapted straight away and provided solid defending coupled with great attacking support from the right wing.
Flop player: Deco started well with two goals and two assists in three games but now looks slow and cumbersome and has added just one goal. Joe Cole has had another injury interrupted season and has completed 90 minutes once.
January shopping list: Big Phil wants a striker, Peter Kenyon says he has to sell to buy. Let’s see this one play out…
Dream scenario: Anelka and Drogba form a devasting partnership as Chelsea stroll to the title. Oh and West Ham get relegated.
Realistic scenario: Big Phil gets his striker but continues to play just one out of him, Drogba and Anelka. Chelsea come close, but not quite close enough.
Everton – 6th
Successful season so far? Considering the circumstances, yes. David Moyes continues to work wonders on a shoestring budget. A solid defence and midfield compensates for no fit strikers and Everton sit pretty in 6th. This will be good enough for Europe come the end of the season.
Top player: Fellaini has done enough to suggest he wasn’t a waste of £16million but Arteta is the one starting to run the show once again.
Flop player: Louis Saha was a gamble who scored three times before his injury jinx struck. Leighton Baines still hasn’t established himself at left back.
January shopping list: One centre forward. Injury prone strikers need not apply.
Dream scenario: David Moyes finds some money down the back of the sofa to buy a striker. One of their existing ones stays fit long enough to maintain the push for European football next season. Liverpool fail to win the league, again.
Realistic scenario: Not many goals from either existing players nor new ones, but enough to keep hold of sixth spot.
Fulham – 9th
Successful season so far? Yep. A year ago, Fulham were in the relegation zone with a squad of two bob championship and Northern Irish players. Hodgson has come in, made some good signings and turned Fulham into a comfortable mid table side with one of the top flight’s most solid defences. Still can’t win away from home mind.
Top player: The back five of Schwarzer, Hughes, Paintsil, Hangeland and Konchesky have conceded only 14 goals. It’s hard to pick one person but Brede Hangeland seems to be getting the most admiring glances from other clubs. Jimmy Bullard has played well enough to be called up by Don Fabio.
Flop player: No one has really flopped but Andy Johnson needs to score some more goals to avoid being here at the end of the season.
January shopping list: Some cover at the back.
Dream scenario: Bullard and Hangeland stay till the end of the season at least. Fulham’s defence carries on not conceding and sees them finish in the top half of the table. An away would be nice too.
Realistic scenario: Hangeland stays, Fulham’s defence carries on not conceding and sees them finish in the top half of the table. A chance of an away win will come at Sunderland, Bolton or Middlesbrough.
Hull – 8th
Successful season so far? The success story of the season. 17th would have been amazing, instead Hull like 8th and have away wins against Arsenal and Spurs in the bank. Phil Brown’s side have had a go in every game and often succeeded, despite a few heavy defeats along the way. Need to be careful however as 20 points came in the first ten games but just seven have followed in the ten since.
Top player: Geovanni. Free from Man City and the inspiration behind their great results. Even does some defending now and again.
Flop player: Stelios would probably have expected more playing time after signing from Bolton.
January shopping list: Nothing major needed but a fresh face or two would ensure Hull don’t completely collapse.
Dream scenario: Hull’s form picks up again and they complete a remarkable first season in the Premier League by finishing in the top half.
Realistic scenario: Hull’s form picks up again and they complete a remarkable first season in the Premier League by finishing in the top half.