Christmas gives an opportunity for all teams to take stock. The league is starting to take a more regular shape and we have almost reached the halfway part of the league season, though COVID has played a role in some recent results, most of the league can be fairly judged. All teams judged over eighteen unless mentioned.

  1. Manchester City (first, 44 points) – no move

Easily the best squad in the league, scored eleven goals in two games without conceding. If Foden and Grealish continue to play well then the club will be able to do without Ferran Torres and potentially get through the season with just Jesus as a traditional striker.

  1. Liverpool (second, 41 points) – no move

The only team who look close to Man City, and you would have to say they need their first eleven to all be fit to give them a game. Jota seems to have taken over from Firmino in the front three and the midfield still looks as solid as ever.

  1. Chelsea (third, 38 points) – no move

Seem to have had a stutter at the worst time in the run up to Christmas. Strange that their game wasn’t off against Wolves at the weekend, but none of that seems to make any sense.

  1. Arsenal (fourth, 32 points) – up one

Remember when Arteta was rubbish and he didn’t know what he was doing? Appears that time may have been and gone, has stood up to Aubameyang where previous managers indulged players on big contracts. Hammered Sunderland with their kids as well.

  1. West Ham (fifth, 28 points from 17) – down one

David Moyes can enjoy another relaxing Christmas. He has once again got West Ham playing with fluency, but probably more importantly a belief that they can beat anyone.

  1. Tottenham(seventh, 26 points from 15) – up four

Conte will not be pleased that the games have been moved as they had a very busy schedule anyway. A place in the Carabao semis probably not high on their agenda but Conte is a winner and be interesting to see if he goes for it.

  1. Manchester United (sixth, 27 points from 16) – up two

Ronaldo is scoring a bit more often, the team seems to have been given a lift and the club as a whole seems to have remembered that history and nostalgia don’t actually count for much in terms of chances of winning the league.

  1. Wolves (eighth, 25 points) – down two

Better than some of the other midtable sides but need to find some flow to their game, be interesting to see if they strengthen in attack during the window to try and score more.

  1. Aston Villa (tenth, 22 points from 17) – up nine

Gerrard’s clarets are clicking so far, the goals are flowing and he seems to have the players believing in him already. His reputation as a player will have helped but is he going to be a better manager than previously thought.

  1. Leicester (ninth, 22 points from 16) – up two

Rodgers is a good manager, they are a good team but they seem to have fallen away from where they were the last two years. Wouldn’t be surprised if they finished eighth and that would be a disappointment for the fans after the last two years.

  1. Crystal Palace (eleventh, 20 points from 17) – down four

Not been brilliant, but showed steady development. The midfield revelation of Conor Gallagher from Chelsea has been a real bright spot, as has the limited reliance on Wilf Zaha.

  1. Brentford (twelfth, 20 points from 16) – up four

Form has really picked up since sneaking out of SJP with a point thanks to the crisp packet hands of Karl Darlow and the inability of anyone in black and white to defend.

  1. Everton (fourteenth, 19points from 17) – up one

Rafa has got them hard to beat still and they desperately need Calvert Lewin back, though Demarai Gray has to be signing of the season in terms of value for money.

  1. Southampton (fifteenth, 17 points from 17) – down three

Still no nine goal defeat yet for Saints, they will likely stay up but only due to the inability of those around them to improve and finish above them.

  1. Brighton (thirteenth, 20 points from 16) – down seven

Who on earth thought this Brighton team would finish top half? Look like they could tumble down the table on current form, however there are some poor sides below them.

  1. Burnley (eighteenth, 11 points from 15)–down one

Is this the year when Sean Dyche can’t get his players over the line and keep them up? They looked poor as they became Newcastle’s first victims and Cornet will be key if they are to survive.

  1. Watford (seventeenth, 13 points from 16) – no move

Ranieri has not had the impact the board would have hoped, that Murphy miss as he went through at Vicarage Road may prove costly to United, we would be confident of staying up had we won that.

  1. Leeds United (sixteenth, 16 points) – down five

Leeds were embarrassed at the Etihad last week and then Arsenal on the up destroyed them again on Saturday. They need a morale boost soon otherwise they may tumble into the group below.

  1. Newcastle United (nineteenth, 10 points) – up one

One win and some positivity as an attacking force against even the bigger sides. However, we need defenders in early in January and they need to be good enough to make an immediate impact.

  1. Norwich (twentieth, 10 points from 17) – down one

They are a Championship side and any team that can play us with ten men for that long and only score once, is a sure-fire relegation certainty. Will we join them?

STEPHEN ORD