Mid-table isn't what it used to be in the Premier League.
There was a time around when Alan Curbishley was managing Charlton when sides could happily spend season after season in mid-table anonymity.
Those days are long gone now with the sides placed from 10th to 13th all just one poor run of form the relegation quicksand.
With this in mind the January transfer window is more important than ever for these sides so lets take a look at where they need to strengthen.
With the defence and midfield looking solid Hull should look to improve in attack. Prior to netting six against Fulham they had only scored 16 goals in 18 games.
The score-sheet against Fulham reveals why. Tom Huddlestone celebrated his first goal in over two and a half years whilst Robert Koren got his first league goals in over four years and both Kris Boyd and Matty Fryatt scored their inaugural Premier League goals.
Simply put, Hull have a chronic lack of goals in the side. If they could sign a forward with a proven record of scoring then the January window would be a successful one.
With their Europa League commitments Swansea have played far more games then any of the teams around them and it is putting a strain on their squad. Tired looking performances led to the Swans picking up only one win in eight December fixtures.
Added to this is an injury list that now includes star player Michu, who is out for six weeks.
Michael Laudrup's men need some reinforcements and possibly a quick exit at Napoli's hands in the Europa League if they want to safeguard their Premier League status. A rumoured move for Spainard Iago Aspas would be a good start but Swansea will need at least a couple more
players on top of this.
It's hard to know what to make of Stoke. In one game they beat Chelsea or give Manchester United a run for their money in another lose heavily against Newcastle and Tottenham.
As Mark Hughes seeks to move Stoke on from Pulis' more direct style he has a job to do reshaping the squad. After his experiences at QPR though Hughes will probably seek to do things more gradually.
Still, with players like Jermaine Pennant and Brek Shea remaining on the books Hughes will probably look to offload some flops and use the funds generated to improve a central midfield area that looks creaky with Glenn Whelan playing the holding role.
If Andy Carroll's injury has exposed Sam Allardyce's poor planning then Christian Beneteke's lack of form has done the same for Paul Lambert. With the big Belgian in poor form Villa's near complete reliance on the counter attack has become painfully obvious.
At home despite a shock win against Man City Paul Lambert's men average less than a
point a game. Away from home this counter attacking style does bare more fruit as sides go on the attack however, it is a brave side that relies on its away form to guard its Premier League survival.
With Villa's plan A of breaking quickly and utilising Beneteke up front not doing well they desperately need to inject some creativity into their midfield in January. Will Randy Lerner part with the necessary cash?
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