• Moderators, please send me a PM if you are unable to access mod permissions. Thanks, Habsy.

2019-20 English Premiere League Thread

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Easy to forget that Wesley is still just a kid. He's only working on his third season as a primary player in a senior league and I'm not sure he even took PKs for Brugge. Abraham was pretty crap taking penalties early on last season too, but he's deadly at it now. One thing I like about Smith as a manager ... he's patient with the young ones and knows they'll only learn with experience.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Pulisic potted 3 for Chelsea in their 4-2 win over Burnley. He had been buried on the sub's bench for most of the season, or worse ... scratched. US fans can take a deep calming breath now.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Leicester applied a brutal beating to Southampton on Friday, 9-0. Perez and Vardy both had hat tricks, Chilwell had a goal and 2 assists. Southampton played with 10 men for 78 minutes after Bertrand was sent off on a VAR straight red. They were only down 1-0 when he was sent off but capitulated completely after.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Heading into the last international break of the calendar year, it looks like the league is Liverpool’s to lose. They opened up an 8 point lead on Leicester and Chelsea and 9 points on Man City. The top 4 are pulling away from the rest, with 5th place Sheffield United (?!) 8 points behind Man City. Arsenal, Man U, Wolves, Bournemouth and Burnley are the rest of the top half of the table. The middle is unusually bunched with only 3 points separating Sheffield in 5th from Everton in 15th. At the other end, Watford, Southampton and Norwich are in the drop zone, with the Canaries winless in 2 months, since their shock win over Man City in September.

When they come back on 11/23, it’s a 10 match slog in 7 weeks, ending with the Third Round Piper of the FA Cup on the 1/4 weekend. The teams playing in Europe have 2 more matches and the 6 teams remaining in the EFL Cup have 1 the week before Christmas.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
The bottom half of the table is fascinating this year. Spurs are only 6 points clear of the relegation line despite a plus goal difference (OK .. +1, but still) and Everton is right there one point below them. Meanwhile, Villa is playing very well but can't get a result, largely because they hit a tough month in the schedule and Watford is also playing largely decent football but can't keep from drawing when they play well ... which is a bad look. With everybody else in the bottom 6 or 7, it's Angst City FC. Right now, I'd guess that Southampton and Norwich are unlikely to claw out of trouble ... Southampton due to their general 2 or 3 year arc and Norwich because they just aren't really built for it. The other spot ... God only knows.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Southampton has really backslid in the last few years. They finished with 63 points in 2015-16 season and played in the Europa League, missing the knockout round on a tiebreaker. That’s almost always a strain for first time clubs without the squad depth to deal with the increased number of matches. They finished 8th in 2016-17 but dropped to only 46 points. The last 2 years, they’ve barely avoided relegation, by 3 and 5 points, respectively. They’ve also dealt with continued raids on their senior squad at a time when their academy isn’t churning out talent like it was.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Coinciding nicely with when their outside the box leadership group bolted one by one for other jobs, only to be replaced with the same old, same old retread types ... former Chairman Ralph Kreuger (current Sabres coach in the NHL) being primary among the departed.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Exit Pochettino, enter Mourinho. Seems odd to do it in the 2nd week of the International break but whatever.

The whole backoom staff was sacked too. Pochettino walks away with a £12 million buyout.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Talk about a sea change. Poch may have lost the room, but bringing in Mourinho? Wow. Complete change of course. Have fun with that.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Arsenal kicks Unai Emery to the curb after losing to Frankfurt in a half empty stadium. Freddie Ljungberg, who had been coaching Arsenal’s U-23s was appointed caretaker.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Bad fit. Too stubborn for that job, given how little control the Arsenal manager actually has over the roster.

In happier news ... probably ... Aston Villa extended manager Dean Smith's contract to run 4 seasons after this one. Not only did he manage promotion last season, which looked entirely unlikely when he was appointed, but Smith has also managed the massive roster turnover of this past summer quite well, and shown that he can hold his own tactically in the Premiership.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
If you had Javi Gracia as the first manager to be sacked, collect your winnings. After guiding Watford to their best ever Premier League finish and the FA Cup Final, he was sacked yesterday, along with his entire staff. He was replaced by the man he replaced, Quique Sanchez Flores.

After 10 games in charge, Quique Sanchez Flores was sacked by Watford. Again. Chris Hughton and Paul Clement are rumored to be in the mix.
 
Aston Villa take the first point they've ever taken off of Manchester United it feels like or at the very least potentially the first one I've ever personally watched. This was feeling a lot like one of the many matches where Villa are the better team for the majority of the match and still manage to lose and honestly Man U were a little lucky to get a point. Sure looks like there was a potential penalty shout for Villa right at the end of the first half, but they didn't show a single replay of it, so I have no idea. This was a quintessential Jack Grealish game. He drew something like 27 fouls, scored an absolutely beautiful curler and couldn't get his foot on a sitter right in front of the net.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Well ... they followed that up with a plucky performance against Chelsea but I doubt anyone would call them the better team for any real stretch of that game. The 2-1 loss was a bit flattering given the disparity in possession and chances. Still ... not bad. Molten hot Leicester are next, as Villa are in the part of the schedule that requires survival skills more than anything else. After this things ease up a bit ... aside from the Carabao Cup mathup with Liverpool and who really gives a rat's about that? Sheffield United, Southampton, Norwich and Watford to close out the year? Yes, please.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Sheffield are playing reasonably well but the other 3 are 17, 19 and 20 in the table.

Everton, currently 18th in the table have parted ways with Marco Silva.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Everton, currently 18th in the table have parted ways with Marco Silva.
Matter of time, that. They've been disappointing even by Everton's high standards for such. A club with that much roster oomph has no business slumming it in the relegation zone.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
After West Ham play Arsenal today, everyone will be sitting on 16 games played and heading into the Holiday busy season. Worth a pause to consider where we are, I think.

The top:
Liverpool ... 46 pts
Leicester (!) ... 38
Man City ... 32
Chelsea ... 29
Liverpool, fine. City trailing by more than you'd figure, but also fine. Chelsea coming off a summer movement ban, a coaching change, what for them passes for a sweeping youth movement and a seeming tightening of the belt? Ummm ... ok. Leicester? Like at all? Wow. And look, Chelsea sort of slipped into the top four by virtue of being a little better (and more efficient) than the more disappointing big names. Their Plus 7 goal diff isn't telling any lies. But freaking Leicester is 12-2-2 with a league leading +29 diff. They have hammered their way to 2nd place and more than deserve it.

The Chasers:
Man United ... 24 pts
Wolves ... 24
Spurs ... 23
High anxiety in Manchester and North London ... relative calm in the West Midlands. Spurs slow start cost Poch his job, and United are a tabloid editor's dream as usual. I don't see this lot making a move unless Spurs really were bagging it on the best manager they've had in 20 years.

The Mankie Middle:
Sheffield U ... 22
Crystal Palace ... 22
Newcastle ... 22
Arsenal ... 19
Brighton ... 19
Burnley ... 18
Arsenal made a change and hope to climb out of this neighborhood, and the Irons are just glad to be here. Everybody else ... something, something, water finds its level.

The Scrum for the Bottom:
Everton ... 17 pts
Bournemouth ... 16
West Ham ... 16
Aston Villa ... 15
Southampton ... 15
Norwich ... 11
Watford ... 9
Watford Is falling apart at the seams, which I honestly expected them to do LAST year. Meanwhile Bournemouth and Southampton have been on this arc for awhile now. Everton is just playing terrible football, but a change of bosses will probably get them up to the next group eventually. West Ham seem a general purpose mess, while Villa is fairly happy to survive and are coming off a stupidly challenging month with at least some dignity intact. Norwich isn't built for this and look to stick near the bottom. I look for Watford and Norwich to start getting ready for the Championship while the others slug it out for survival ... or pride ... or both.

January should be fun. There's a few relatively heavy investments looking to fail, which generally leads to drunken sailor level spending. Looking at Everton, West Ham, Arsenal and Man U here. Most everybody else that circumstances would suggest as buyers seem to be more invested in working a longer term program. We'll see. Somebody always breaks ranks and does something dumb and then it's Katie, bar the door.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Arsenal remembered how to football in the 2nd half against West Ham and now sit on 22 points. If Everton can play with the passion they did for Big Dunc on Saturday, they’ll be OK, but there are rumors that they're talking to former Arsenal boss Unai Emery as a permanent manager. Don’t do it, Toffees. Wolves have already advanced to the knockout stage of the Europa League, so we’ll see how they handle additional midweek matches. But they came out of the 2nd qualifying round and have had to go to Armenia, Slovakia and Turkey already, so they should be OK too.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Wolves answer to that question thus far has been to just bunker back in the 5 deep version of that 3-4-3 of theirs and defend. They've been boring, but fairly effective playing that way, but I don't see any way they make up ground in the table being that blunt. Shame, because they're fun to watch when they actually flow forward in numbers.
 
Top