PREMIER LEAGUE REPORT CARD – PART ONE: Burnley’s return has been a DISASTER, Arsenal’s miserly defence puts them in title contention, while free-scoring Aston Villa are gate-crashing the elite… so how has YOUR team fared so far this season?
- Aston Villa have scored the second highest number of goals so far this term
- Arsenal’s defence has been exceptional and is keeping them in title race
- It’s baffling why Guardiola sold Palmer to a rival club – It’s All Kicking Off
As this season’s third international break halts Premier League action, it gives us a chance to reflect on how each team has started so far.
Despite only being twelve games in, there have been plenty of huge stories and controversies. From VAR blunders and apologies to furious rants from managers blasting the quality of the Premier League’s officiating – things have certainly been feisty.
So, has your team made a quick start to the season or are they showing signs of being a slow burner? Mail Sport are splitting up our report card into two parts, of which this is the first, alphabetically splitting the teams.
Let’s take a look at the first report cards of Premier League teams from Arsenal to Fulham…
Cole Palmer earned the Blues a point with his penalty in a pulsating 4-4 draw against Man City
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Position: 3rd Points: 27
For the second consecutive season, Arsenal have made a fast start to the league as they sit one point off first place.
Following an agonising second place finish in May earlier this year, Mikel Arteta’s men have cemented themselves as genuine title contenders.
With wins against Man United and current title holders Manchester City, the Gunners have certainly impressed despite a slip-up against Newcastle.
They have the fifth best attack in the league after scoring 26 goals and have lost only once. They also have the joint best defence in the league with Liverpool only conceding 10 goals so far.
Arsenal have continued their form from last season and currently sit third in the league table
To add to this, they have the joint-first most clean sheets this season with five, alongside Crystal Palace and Newcastle.
While there is still a long way to go this season and it is vey early days, the signs are positive for the Gunners.
The only potential problem might come with having to compete in the Champions League as well as in the league.
This might put a strain on the squad and with a few injuries, Arsenal’s form could drop off.
The addition of Declan Rice by Mikel Arteta looks to have strengthened Arsenal’s midfield
Position: 5th Points: 25
Aston Villa have been a breath of fresh air so far this season as they sit just three points off first place.
The Birmingham side have the second best attack in the league after scoring 29 goals.
They are also fourth in taking the most shots with 179, sitting behind only Spurs, Man City and Liverpool. Unai Emery’s men certainly look to be building upon their seventh place finish last season.
Aston Villa have enjoyed an excellent start to the season and sit just three points off first
Despite having to compete in Europe, Villa’s frontline of Ollie Watkins, Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey have recorded a combined 23 goals and assists.
Diaby and Watkins have also created the second most amount of chances in the league.
However, there is cause for concern with Villa’s defence this season, as showcased in their 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest.
Emery’s men have only managed to keep two clean sheets so far. They are also, slightly worryingly, joint-third for missing the most number of big chances with 23.
Villa’s front-line of Watkins, Bailey and Diaby have been the second best so far in the league
Position: 16th Points: 9
After deciding to sack the highly-praised Gary O’Neill at the beginning of this season, pundits and fans alike criticised Bournemouth’s hierarchy as the club find themselves 17th in the table.
With just seven goals scored so far, the Cherries have struggled in front of goal and have taken the fifth least amount of shots.
Manager Andoni Iraola, who was formerly in charge of Rayo Vallecano, has struggled to implement his playing style.
With no former Premier League experience having coached mainly in Spain, the risk doesn’t look to be paying off.
Bournemouth earned a crucial win over Newcastle on the weekend defeating the Magpies 2-0
Bournemouth also have the third worst defence after conceding 27 goals and have only managed to keep two clean sheets.
And with the fourth most league losses out of any team, it’s no surprise that many Bournemouth fans are worried.
But, after their fantastic 2-0 win against an injury-hit Newcastle, Cherries fans will be hoping their team kick on.
Manager Andoni Iraola has struggled to get the Cherries playing well at this early stage so far
Position: 11th Points: 16
After finishing in ninth place last season, Brentford’s form for this campaign certainly hasn’t been disappointing.
The side have won four, drawn four and lost four out of twelve games in what has been a solid start.
They have been aggressive in games, taking the sixth most amount of shots out of any side with 175.
A particular high note came for them during their 2-0 win against London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Bryan Mbuemo has been key to Brentford’s attack, enjoying a fantastic start to the league
However, what will be worrying Brentford is their lack of clinical finishing. The Bees are first when it comes to the number of big chances missed with 27.
If they can tidy that up, Thomas Frank’s side can hope for another mid-table finish in the Premier League.
For a club who were in the third-tier of football until 2014, that is certainly good going. But we all know how much quality this side possesses and currently they should be higher in the table.
Brentford’s highlight of the season came during a 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
Position: 8th Points: 19
After recording their highest ever Premier League finish last season in sixth place, it was always going to be difficult to retain those same levels without significant investment.
Brighton have certainly played an attractive brand of football so far in this campaign. The Seagulls have recorded the second most amount of passes out of any team, behind only Man City.
But, Roberto De Zerbi’s side currently sit in eighth, seven points away from fourth placed Tottenham.
The talented manager has maintained that Brighton will not change their playing style despite results.
Brighton are ranked second in terms of making the most amount of passes this season
But, with the sixth worst defence in the league this season after conceding 21 goals and having failed to keep a clean sheet, Brighton may need to.
Seagulls fans will still be enjoying their magical European nights where they have beaten the likes of Ajax away from home, but the league may prove to be more difficult this year.
At the moment, though, they are performing below their expected levels.
The Seagulls have enjoyed a sub-par start to the season and currently sit in eighth position
Position: 20th Points: 4
As a newly promoted side, it can sometimes be unfair to heap criticism on a team that still has time to adapt to the playing level of the Premier League.
It’s easy to forget that Burnley enjoyed a fantastic campaign in the Championship before earning promotion.
Manager and former Man City defender Vincent Kompany revolutionised the way the Clarets have played in recent years.
And that can be seen by how Burnley are ranked tenth in terms of playing the most number of passes.
Yet, while they were thrilling to watch as they daringly played out from the back in a league below, it’s clear to see that set up is not working in the Premier League.
Burnley have the worst attack out of any side in the Premier League, scoring just nine goals
A balance needs to be found and currently, Burnley have not found that as teams are finding it relatively easy to press them and win the ball back in dangerous areas.
Sat in last position, Burnley have recorded the most number of losses and have the worst attack in the league scoring only nine goals.
They have also taken the second least amount of shots this season with 122, above only Sheffield United.
In addition, they have the second worst defence conceding 30 goals and they are yet to record a clean sheet.
They also have the second worst defence after conceding 30 goals so far in this campaign
Position: 10th Points: 16
Prior to Chelsea’s bizarre encounter against Tottenham where the Blues came out as 4-1 victors, there was a fair deal of gloom hanging over the London side.
With a 3-1 loss to West Ham followed by consecutive 1-0 defeats at home to Forest and Villa, much was made about Chelsea’s enormous transfer budget and subsequent lack of quality.
There was also a great deal of concern regarding how many players the Blues had in each position.
Many pundits and fans felt there was no way Pochettino could keep that dressing room happy.
Chelsea’s attackers are beginning to find form after a shaky opening to the season
But with the win at Spurs followed by a defiant 4-4 draw against Man City at home, there has been hope.
The addition of Cole Palmer to Chelsea has revitalised their attack and with Raheem Sterling finding form, the Blues could start to climb the league table.
While that remains to be seen, with a club of Chelsea’s magnitude sitting in 10th it is still well below par.
The side have only managed to keep three clean sheets and are, alarmingly, ranked second in terms of missing the most big chances.
A win at Spurs followed by a pulsating 4-4 draw against Man City has certainly lifted spirits
Position: 13th Points: 15
Much like their London neighbours Brentford, Crystal Palace have enjoyed an average start to their season.
The Eagles finished in 11th place this season and currently are sitting in 13th position. It is clear to see that Palace boast huge talent in their squad with the likes of Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Danish international Joachim Andersen.
But it remains to be seen whether this team can push on above mid-table mediocrity. Roy Hodgson has certainly been solid at the club since he has come back, but not outstanding.
Crystal Palace have not yet quite fulfilled their potential in unleashing their attackers
The Eagles have only scored 12 goals this season and boast just four wins from twelve.
But, with the joint-first number of clean sheets this season, a solid defence is critical for any success.
If they can unlock their attacking prowess while maintaining that defensive structure, Palace can reach that next level.
Roy Hodgson’s return to the Eagles has been largely positive and they currently are 13th
Position: 19th Points: 4
All the optimism of recent weeks and the upturn in performances that led Sean Dyche’s side up to 14 has been extinguished by the 10-point deduction for breaching financial rules.
Similar to Chelsea, Everton fans were hugely disappointed with their club’s start to the season.
With no wins in their first five games and a loss to newly-promoted Luton, Sean Dyche was under serious pressure. But recent wins against West Ham and Crystal Palace – both away from home – certainly improved the mood.
Abdoulaye Doucoure proves to be an invaluable asset for the club and the return of Calvert-Lewin up top is huge.
Everton have turned around their start to the season with wins against West Ham and palace
But there are still alarming signs to the way Everton are playing. They are ranked fifth in the number of big chances missed this season with 22 and have scored only 14 goals.
Couple that with just two clean sheets this season, Everton are not in the clear yet, especially now they’ve been plunged down to 19th, only above Burnley on goal difference following their punishment, which they are appealing.
The Toffees suffered a derby-day defeat to fierce rivals Liverpool at the Anfield stadium
Position: 15th Points: 12
Coming off the back of an impressive campaign last season finishing in 10th, Fulham have struggled to get going so far.
The London side only have three wins to their name in 12 matches and have lost six times.
They have also only been able to keep three clean sheets and rank as the seventh worst defence in the league after conceding 20 goals.
With the loss of their star striker Mitrovic this season, goals were going to be hard to come by.
Marco Silva’s men are in worryingly bad form at the moment following last season
But it is worrying to see that Fulham has the joint second worst attack in the league this season alongside Luton and Sheffield, scoring only 10 goals
They have also attempted the fourth least amount of shots out of any side with 133.
Marco Silva knows what his side are capable of after their finish and run of form last season.
He will be expecting more from Fulham in the new year.
The London club have struggled to score and currently have the second worst attack
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.
It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.
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