Now we are at the halfway point of the Barclays Premier League season; we have a better understanding of how things are shaping up when it comes to challenging for titles, hitting into the European spots and trying to avoid the dreaded drop back down into the championship.
The first half of the season has provided us with many twists and turns and some fantastic football matches. In a week where we have had some significant football news, mainly Jurgen Klopp’s announcement that he is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, and also Marcus Rashford being a naughty boy, I feel now is a good time to make some predictions on how the second half of the season will pan out in the division.
Liverpool currently leads the way, sitting on the table with 48 points. They have only lost once all season, and that was a controversial loss at Tottenham. Behind them are three teams, all sitting on 43 points. The usual suspects sit in second: Manchester City, Arsenal and Aston Villa. City has a game in hand over everyone in the top four, so the gap could be closed to two points soon enough.
I think this year will be a title race between Manchester City and Liverpool. City now has midfield maestro Kevin de Bruyne back in their ranks, as well as the goal-scoring machine Erling Haaland returning to the squad. I fancy City to just about edge Liverpool out, but as it’s Klopp’s final season, this may galvanise Liverpool to give him the send-off that his players and fans feel he deserves.
With Manchester City and Liverpool occupying the top two places, that only leaves two spaces left for the Champions League. It will be a tight race between Tottenham and fierce North London rivals Arsenal and a very exciting Aston Villa side. Arsenal was in a slump, but they returned to form last time out with an emphatic five-nil win over Crystal Palace. Spurs have a lot of players returning, so they will be at full strength again soon. I .fancy them to have a good run of results, although, towards the end, they have some very tough fixtures in a row that could hinder their chances. As for Villa, they also have a great opportunity. Unai Emery is a fantastic manager, and The Villans will be a constant threat all season. I think Tottenham finish third, Villa fourth, and Arsenal go into the Europa League in fifth place.
This will depend on Everton and Nottingham Forrest getting docked points (a second time for Everton would be a disaster, and that would see them relegated). Luton has shown pluckiness that may keep them alive for next season, but if I’m honest, it will be the bottom three that go down. Luton, Burnley and Sheffield United. The Blades have been awful at times this year, and Burnley doesn’t have the players to play the style of football they want to play.
Of course, this is just one man’s prediction; anything can happen in football. We all know that. Let’s hope for an exciting second half of the season.