Premier League mid-season review

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The 2012/13 Premier League season is already at the half-way mark. With that in mind, now seems like a good time to take a closer look at each club's performance in the competition thus far. What teams have under-performed? And which teams have surpassed all expectations? Find out here in GiveMeFootball's mid-season review.

Club: Arsenal

Position: 5th

The summer departures of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United and Alex Song to Barcelona dealt Arsenal's chances of success this season a huge blow. However, manager Arsene Wenger allayed fears that the Gunners were set for a season of disappointment by recruiting wisely, adding the likes of Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski to the ranks at the Emirates.

Arsenal started the season in fine form at the back, with Southampton the first side to breach their defence after shut-outs against Sunderland, Stoke and Liverpool.

Although Wenger's side were resolute defensively, their lack of goals suggested that they were struggling to fill the void left by last season's talisman, Van Persie. However, the goals soon started to flow as Arsenal thumped Southampton 6-1 back in September, with that display prompting people to consider the Gunners' title chances once again.

However, a title challenge has yet to materialise with their league form inconsistent and best described as solid, if unspectacular. They currently sit in 5th place, four points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea who have a game in hand, meaning that Wenger's side have it all to do in the second half of the season if they are to qualify for the Champions League.

Mid-season rating: 6/10

Club: Aston Villa

Position: 16th

Paul Lambert's arrival at Villa Park led to many pundits suggesting the midlands-based club were all set for a successful season.

However, early season form soon put an end to the pre-season optimism that met Lambert's arrival, with the Villans winning just one of their first thirteen league games.

Villa recorded only their second win of the season against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on November 3, although that result was followed by back-to-back defeats with both Manchester clubs comfortably beating Lambert's men.

A five-game unbeaten run that followed seemingly put an end to talk of relegation, but a dreadful set of results over the festive period has left Villa in serious danger of slipping out of the Premier League via the trap door this season.

Mid-season rating: 4/10

Club: Chelsea

Position: 4th

In the summer transfer window, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich spent big to lure Eden Hazard and Oscar to Stamford Bridge, prompting talk of a Chelsea title-challenge this season.

Former manager Roberto Di Matteo guided his team to seven wins from eight games, remaining unbeaten until a controversial loss against Manchester United on October 28 - a result that sparked a six-game winless streak. Such form prompted Abramovich to sack the Italian tactician, replacing him with former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.

The Spaniard's arrival was met by widespread disapproval, with a number of Chelsea fans protesting against Benitez's appointment. However, the club's fans are starting to warm to their 52-year-old manager with the Blues currently on a three-game winning streak, including an 8-0 mauling of Aston Villa on December 23.

Mid-season rating: 7/10

Club: Everton

Position: 6th

Everton, who are notoriously slow starters in the Premier League, got their 2012/13 season off to the best possible start with a 1-0 win over Manchester United on the opening day of the season.

With four wins from their opening six games, it looked like Everton had finally shaken their early-season blues, losing just once in their next 13 games, drawing eight and winning four.

Everton currently sit in 6th place, just one point behind Arsenal following their 1-1 draw with Southampton on New Year's Day.

Although Everton have limited resources to strengthen in the January transfer window, if they can make one or two astute signings, there is every chance that David Moyes' side can kick on and finish the season in style.

Mid-season rating: 8/10

Club: Fulham

Position: 13th

Martin Jol's men started the season by selling their two most prized assets - Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele. With both players signing for London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham were in need of a creative influence to fill the void left by the midfield duo. Step forward Dimitar Berbatov.

Jol pulled off something of a coup by securing the services of the mercurial Berbatov, with the 31-year-old striker signing for a fee in the region of £5million from Manchester United. The Bulgarian striker has undoubtedly been the highlight of Fulham's season, leading the line superbly and scoring seven goals in 17 league appearances.

With Berbatov in the side, Fulham started the season brightly enough, claiming three wins out of a possible five - including a 5-0 opening day thrashing of Norwich. This early season promise soon faded however, as Fulham won just two of their next 14 league games, leaving them languishing just six points above the relegation zone.

That said, a 2-1 away win against high-flying West Brom has given Jol's side a renewed sense of optimism going into the new year, and the club's fans will undoubtedly be hoping that the Cottagers can kick on and pull themselves further away from the drop zone.

Mid-season rating: 5/10

Club: Liverpool

Position: 10th

The arrival of Brendan Rodgers sparked a new chapter in Liverpool's history, with the club's owners hoping that the former Reading and Watford boss could replicate the free-flowing and attacking style of football that was so prevalent during his tenure at Swansea.

The switch in philosophy was clearly a long-term vision and very much a work in progress during the early stages of the season, with the Anfield giants opening the season with a five-game winless run. It was sixth time lucky for Rodgers, as he secured his first league win as Liverpool manager by demolishing Norwich 5-2 at Carrow Road, with Luis Suarez grabbing all the headlines with a remarkable hat-trick.

That win sparked an eight-game unbeaten run, losing narrowly to Spurs on November 28. Since then, four wins from six has left Liverpool in mid-table, so European qualification is a very real possibility for Rodgers' men this season.

Mid-season rating: 6/10

Club: Manchester City

Position: 2nd

Manchester City's performances haven't been as convincing as last season, yet they have still picked up points, even going on an unbeaten run for the first 15 games of the season - a sign of true champions, perhaps?

Their first defeat of the season came in the Manchester derby, with their city rivals running out 3-2 victors on December 9, courtesy of a last-minute Robin Van Persie free-kick.

The defending champions succumbed to another loss, this time against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day, a result which allowed United to stretch their lead at the top to seven points.

As such, their hopes of a successful title defence looks bleak, unless they can repeat their exploits of last season by overturning a considerable points deficit. You'd be foolish to rule Roberto Mancini's side out of the title race altogether, but right now, it appears that the title is United's to lose. Sound familiar?

Mid-season rating: 7/10

Club: Manchester United

Position: 1st

Manchester United are desperate to win the title back from rivals Manchester City this season, after they were denied being crowned champions with the last kick of the 2011/12 season. Sergio Aguero's stoppage-time winner snatched the title from under United's noses, and Sir Alex Ferguson's side will be doing everything they can to ensure there is no repeat this time round.

The arrival of attacking players such as Shinji Kagawa and Robin Van Persie has boosted United's forward line, with the Red Devils now boasting a plethora of attacking options.

This season, and much like title rivals City, United haven't been at their best but they have been getting the job done, so to speak. Vital wins away at Chelsea, Liverpool and their local neighbours City have ensured that Ferguson's side sit proudly at the top of the table going into the new year.

There league position is thanks largely to their potency in front of goal, with Manchester United's attack in imperious form, notching 54 goals in 21 games, although their defensive frailties have been exposed, shipping a total of 28 goals - just five fewer than they conceded throughout the entirety of the 2011/12 season.

With 17 wins out of a possible 21, United have a seven point cushion over nearest rivals City, with this season's race for the title seemingly a two-horse race between the Manchester clubs once again.

Mid-season rating: 8/10

Club: Newcastle United

Position: 15th

Newcastle surprised everyone with a 5th-placed finish last season, and Alan Pardew's men began the new season where they left off, starting the current campaign by losing just once in their first six league games.

It looked like Newcastle were destined for another convincing top-half finish until a loss of form and a number of injuries to key personnel resulted in a run of just three league wins from their next 13 games, losing eight.

The Magpies poor run of results has seen Pardew's side flirt with relegation, currently sitting in 15th spot and just two points clear of the drop zone, although they do have a game in hand on a number of their rivals.

The Geordie faithful will do all they can to roar the side on to bigger and better things in 2013, and with reports suggesting that Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy has agreed to sign on at St. James' Park, one or two further additions of similar ilk will ensure Newcastle steer clear of relegation trouble come May.

Mid-season rating: 4/10

Club: Norwich City

Position: 12th

As one of the favourites for relegation before the season began, Norwich did little to defy people's pre-season predictions.

Beginning the campaign with a seven-game winless run - the Canaries were thrashed by Fulham, Liverpool and Chelsea - a return to the Championship seemed almost inevitable.

However, a ten-game unbeaten run, which saw Chris Hughton's side beat the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, quickly propelled City up the Premier League table, and now they sit comfortably in 12th spot.

That said, Norwich have lost their last two league games, so they will have to be careful that they do not get sucked back into the relegation mix during the second half of the season.

Mid-season rating: 7/10

Club: QPR

Position: 20th

With new owners and a number of high-profile signings, QPR were regarded as certainties to avoid the drop before the season got underway.

This season has not gone to plan at W12, with the 'Super Hoops' being everything but during a winless run that stretched to 16 games - a Premier League record.

Those results put an end to Mark Hughes' reign at Loftus Road, with QPR chairman Tony Fernandes turning to former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to revive the west London club.

However, Redknapp has struggled to improve the fortunes of QPR, who have recorded just one win in 20 games and remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

As Redknapp's men make the short trip across London to Stamford Bridge for this evening's Premier League clash with Chelsea, it's hard to see QPR's fortunes changing any time soon.

Mid-season rating: 2/10

Club: Reading

Position: 19th

Reading have only two wins to their name in 21 games this season, and sit just above QPR in the relegation zone.

Brian McDermott's side have struggled to adapt to life in England's top-tier, although a recent 1-0 win over West Ham gave the Royals a renewed sense of optimism.

Reading's main problem is their inefficiencies in attack, having scored just 16 goals all season. If they can address their lack of goals in the January window whilst building on their resolute defensive displays shown against Manchester City and West Ham, Reading could yet beat the drop.

Mid-season rating: 3/10

Club: Southampton

Position: 17th

Southampton have been arguably the most entertaining of the three promoted sides this season, but their attractive brand of football hasn't always got Nigel Adkins' men the results they require to be competitive in the Premier League.

With just one win in their first 11 games, the Saints' start to life back in the top-flight was far from ideal, but a recent upturn in form has given Southampton every chance of avoiding the drop.

A run of just two defeats in the past ten matches, including a respectable 1-1 draw with Arsenal on New Year's Day, has left the Saints in 17th spot, outside the relegation zone on goal difference with 18 points from 20 matches.

Mid-season rating: 5/10

Club: Stoke City

Position: 9th

Stoke have become a regular fixture in the Premier League in recent seasons, but they got the 2012/13 campaign off to poor start, winning two of their first ten games, prompting some to suggest that Tony Pulis' side would end up in a relegation dogfight.

Yet the Potters soon proved the critics wrong by going nine games without loss, with their unbeaten home record still in tact after Cameron Jerome's last-minute wonder-strike on Boxing Day earning Stoke a hard-fought point in a pulsating 3-3 draw with relegation-threatened Southampton.

With few teams able to match Stoke's power and physicality, they provide a stern test for most Premier League sides, so the prospect of a Europa League finish is very realistic, with Stoke sitting in 9th spot halfway through the season.

Mid-season rating: 8/10

Club: Sunderland

Position: 14th

Sunderland are having a below-par season with five wins from 20 matches.

Until Martin O'Neill's side recorded back-to-back wins over Southampton and Manchester City, a relegation battle seemed certain, but the Black Cats' recent points haul has left them in a much stronger position heading into the new year.

They are far from out of trouble however, and must continue to improve in a bid to avoid the drop.

Mid-season rating: 5/10

Club: Swansea City

Position: 8th

After the departure of Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool, it was expected that Swansea would struggle to play the same eye-catching brand of passing football under a new boss, but Michael Laudrup has ensured Swansea continued with the style of play that has become synonymous with the club in recent seasons.

Laudrup's side started the campaign in scintillating form, scoring eight goals in their first two games, without conceding. One win from their next nine games saw the Swans plummet down the table, but they re-grouped and returned to form, losing just two of their next eight games.

Europa League qualification is very possible, and should they qualify for next season's competition, who knows how far Swansea could go? Their style of football is perfectly suited to European football, and the Welsh-based club could definitely hold their own with some of Europe's elite.

Mid-season rating: 7/10

Club: Tottenham Hotspur

Position: 3rd

Andre Villas-Boas joined Tottenham after Harry Redknapp was relieved of his duties at White Hart Lane.

The Portuguese tactician has brought about significant change at Spurs, with a host of stars joining 'AVB' at the Lane. Hugo Lloris, Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey all joined the Tottenham revolution, and they have made a considerable impact during their short time with the club.

Twelve wins from 21 games has lifted Spurs to 3rd place, one point clear of 4th-placed Chelsea, although the Blues have two games in hand on their London rivals.

If Tottenham can maintain their current run of form and take it into the second half of the season, they are well placed to continue their charge for Champions League qualification, possibly even going one better.

Mid-season rating: 8/10

Club: West Brom

Position: 7th

Not much was expected from West Brom this campaign - a season of mid-table mediocrity beckoned with one or two tipping the Baggies to get dragged in to a relegation battle. How wrong people were.

Their blistering start to the Premier League season took everyone by surprise, as they lost just once in their first seven games. A four-game winning streak pushed West Brom up into the top six, and they have remained at the top end of the table throughout.

Such form has left the Baggies faithful dreaming of European qualification, but it remains to be seen whether Steve Clarke's men have got what it takes to mix it with the Premier League big boys for the duration of the season.

Mid-season rating: 9/10

Club: West Ham

Position: 11th

After winning promotion back to the big time at the first attempt, West Ham have returned and given a good account of themselves.

Under Sam Allardyce, they play a direct and effective style of football that suits their on-loan striker Andy Carroll.

With just two losses in their first eight games, West Ham had hit the ground running on their return to the top-flight, although a run of one win from six games cemented the Hammers' position in mid-table.

West Ham have more than enough quality in their ranks to preserve their Premier League status, and having been linked to Liverpool's Joe Cole, Southampton's Rickie Lambert and former Chelsea star Nicolas Anelka, the Hammers could yet improve on their current league standing.

Mid-season rating: 7/10

Club: Wigan Athletic

Position: 18th

Every pre-season, Wigan are touted as relegation certainties and yet Roberto Martinez continually proves the doubters wrong, having remained a Premier League outfit since their promotion in 2005.

Five wins from 21 matches has left Wigan in the relegation places, although they are level on points with their nearest rival, Southampton, having played a game more.

Although Wigan have defied the odds in recent seasons, their luck may finally run out this year and Martinez faces a tough task to beat the drop this season.

Mid-season rating: 4/10

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