A mid-year review of the Premier League - Unstoppable Liverpool and the standout players so far in the League
|Roberto Firmino enjoys that winning feeling and jumps for joy into the arms of Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool thrash Leicester City 4-0 at the King power stadium. (Image credit: premierleague.com)|
How time flies! Twenty rounds of the English Premier League fixtures have been played and like ancestors of the game already know, Liverpool has peeled away from the rest and nothing seems to be able to stop them.
Beyond the top spot and the chase for UEFA Champions League places, we look at the red zone and the lead actors down under, hits and misses so far as well as managerial positions. It’s the midseason review and you might want to get something to drink and munch while we’re at it.
Liverpool... Now or now?
Rafael Benitez was close in the 08/09 season but many believe he lost to Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous mind games. Not many would have forgotten Steven Gerard’s infamous slip at Anfield under the unforgiving watch of Demba Ba, the rest is history and all the bad blood that followed can be easily forgotten with the premier league title very much in sight.
All the credits should be given to Jurgen Klopp who has brought out the best in the likes of Trent Alexander Arnold, Andy Robertson, Gini Wijnaldum and everyone at Anfield.
Take a bow Jurgen, he endured the bullish Pep Guardiola and his City side, barring a sort of collapse that would be worse than whatever happened to the house of the Lannisters in the famous series, Game of Thrones, Liverpool should and would be champions as early as late March or early April at the latest.
Early in the season, Liverpool had to deal with the absence of their efficient goalkeeper and the surprise summer signing Adrian stepped in and nothing went wrong.
They lost Joe Gomez and suddenly, Joel Matip became the best thing to happen to the Kops since Nigerian Jollof rice.
They’ve had reasons to miss either of their electrifying front three and results were never in doubt on each occasion, safe for the stalemate against Manchester United, Liverpool have expertly taken care of businesses on the domestic front and even fielded kids against Arsenal in the Carabao cup and still made it through.
Champions of the world, champions in waiting in the premier league and could very well go on and do the treble, too early? No one would question celebrations at this stage anywhere in Merseyside.
Standout players so far
Kevin De City
|Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne takes a corner under the lights at Emirates Stadium (Image credit: premierleague.com)|
His name is Kevin De Bruyne, first of his name and best of his league, Bender of the round leather and assister of brethren; Manchester City will not be champions this season no doubt about that but Kevin De Bruyne deserves all the plaudits.
The big Belgian is neck above the rest any day and the reason City haven’t crumbled, brilliant in conceptualization, intelligent in executions and arguably the best midfielder in Europe.
Talk about vision and awareness, talk about positioning and those neatly threaded passes, and like we’ve never seen before.
De Bruyne is now defensively handful, playing on the left side of the midfield, he’s always there to help Mendy or Zinchenko out at left-back and putting in precise tackles to win the ball back.
While credits are due to Pep Guardiola, Kevin De Bruyne deserves all the praises as well for all that he is and what is yet to come
Pierre Gunner Aubameyang
|Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang acrobatically celebrates putting Arsenal 1-0 up against Newcastle at St James' Park . (Image credit: premierleague.com)|
Best players are identified when a team is struggling, when everything is ticking, it’s hard to pick out a weak link but the shining star can’t hide even on the windiest of nights.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang remains the leading light in Arsenal’s horrific season so far, the Gabonese striker is up there on the scorers’ chart behind only Jamie Vardy.
Arsenal may be in no Man’s land at the moment but their captain and talisman Aubameyang is the reason they’re not in the relegation zone, take away his goals and Arsenal would be in between Watford and Norwich down and under.
It’s no coincidence that every away goal Arsenal have scored this season was off the feet of the lanky African forward, handed the armband after Granit Xhaka was stripped.
There are news in some quarters that Aubameyang wants out of Arsenal and if that happens, it would be seen where the shattered gunners head afterward.
|Crystal Palace 2-1 West Ham United: Crystal Palace recorded a Premier League double over West Ham for just the second time, having previously done so in the 2013/14 season under Tony Pulis (Image credit: premierleague.com)|
We understand the rave around the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Robby Firminho, Heung Min Son and Jamie Vardy.
Let’s take a moment to celebrate someone who wasn’t even in the list of the top fifty forwards in the premier league before the start of the season, Andrew Ayew of Crystal Palace, the goals, assists, hold up play and the way he helps the defense.
Andre burst into life against Manchester United, latching on a Jeffrey Schlupp lay-off to slot past De Gea and he hasn’t looked back since.
His mesmerizing finish against West Ham would rank neck to neck with the goals of the season anywhere in Europe, taking on everyone on his way before lobbing Roberto in the Hammers’ goal, he has amazingly overshadowed Wilfred Zaha and that should worry defenders...
To be continued...
Written by @komptrolla