Zack Sorkin casts his eye over the twenty Premier League clubs, identifies the key performers for each and predicts the final finishing positions…
League Position: 1st
Star man: Aaron Ramsey – Been a revelation at Arsenal this season, scoring loads of goals, and keeping the likes of Santi Cazorla out of the starting line up.
Overall Assessment: Fantastic season for Arsene Wenger’s team after that awful start at home to Aston Villa. They look the real deal this year and have to be one of the favourites for the title.
My Prediction: 3rd
League Position: 13th
Star man: Fabian Delph – Has been a bright spot in a fairly bland season for Villa. Looks calm on the ball and has shown he has a shot on him as well.
Overall Assessment: Villa’s success was going to depend on Benteke performing, and unfortunately he hasn’t. This means they aren’t really scoring a lot of goals and find themselves only 4 points from safety.
My Prediction: 12th
League Position: 16th
Star man: Gary Medel – Signed this summer for a hefty fee by Cardiff’s standards. He’s been very impressive; one could call him a destroyer in the middle of the park.
Overall Assessment: Off the field drama has caused a bad effect on the pitch. Mackay was doing a great job, but the lunatic Vincent Tan has perhaps taken a step too far, which could be detrimental to Cardiff’s premier league status.
My Prediction: 17th
League Position: 3rd
Star man: Eden Hazard – Scoring lots of goals, making up for what the strikers aren’t doing. The Belgian is always a threat with his pace, trickery and vision.
Overall Assessment: Not a great comeback season for Mourinho even though they are only 2 points off the lead. Strikers can’t score, and don’t seem as lethal as they were in his first spell in charge.
My Prediction: 2nd
League Position: 17th
Star man: Mile Jedinak – A big strong physical presence in the centre of midfield. He can pass, tackle and is strong in the air. Key to Palace staying in the division.
Overall Assessment: After a shaky start with Holloway, Pulis has come in and really tightened them up. Some decent results have seen them creep out of the drop zone.
My Prediction: 19th
League Position: 4th
Star man: Ross Barkley – In what has become a breakthrough season for the young lad, he has demonstrated that he is one of the biggest up and coming talents in world football. Great vision, great shot, good in the tackle.
Overall Assessment: Martinez has done wonders with this squad. Some great business in the last window bringing in Lukaku and Barry on loan has been crucial to their success.
My Prediction: 7th
League Position: 18th
Star man: Scott Parker – Always puts in 100 %, despite his team really struggling this season. Has popped up with a couple of crucial goals for Fulham.
Overall Assessment: It’s been a horror show for Fulham this season, they look poor all over the park, and there is a chance they could lose Berbatov in the January transfer window.
My Prediction: 18th
League Position: 10th
Star man: James Chester – Been a rock this season for Hull, even John Terry like in his defending. Been a great debut season in the premiership for the defender.
Overall Assessment: Talk about over achieving! Steve Bruce is doing a fabulous job this year, making Hull so hard to beat at the KC stadium. Can see them surviving with ease.
My Prediction: 14th
League Position: 5th
Star man: Luis Suarez – What an incredible talent; 19 league goals already this season and looks a certainty for the golden boot. Could lead Liverpool straight for the Champions League.
Overall Assessment: Even though they have just lost back-to-back games, they were so unlucky in both defeats. Liverpool have been very impressive this season, playing wonderful football and I would back them for a Champions League spot.
My Prediction: 4th
League Position: 2nd
Star man: Sergio Aguero – The whole City attack has been sensational this season, but Aguero in particular has been lethal in front of goal.
Overall Assessment: A little shaky defensively, but so prolific on the attack with a plethora of attacking talent. My favourites for the title, due to having the best squad in the division.
My Prediction: 1st
League Position: 6th
Star man: Wayne Rooney – Rooney has been incredible this season, pulling United single-handedly through a very tough start to Moyes’ Manchester United career.
Overall Assessment: Moyes hasn’t had a great debut season for United. But it isn’t as bad as people are making out. 3 points off the Champions League places however I think they will just fall short.
My Prediction: 5th
League Position: 8th
Star man: Yohan Cabaye – Cabaye has been a marvel this year, a quality playmaker who is so creative, with a great passing range and a really good shot. No surprise the big clubs in Europe are after him.
Overall Assessment: A really good season for Pardew after a horrific one last season. Newcastle look good in all areas of the field, but keeping Cabaye is their main priority.
My prediction: 8th
League Position: 14th
Star man: Gary Hooper – 7 goals already in a season that has been slightly plagued by injury, and I expect him to go on and add to his tally in the second half of the season.
Overall Assessment: Not a bad season for Norwich, and if Hooper starts a little goal scoring run, it could turn out to be a decent season for the Canaries.
My Prediction: 13th
League Position: 9th
Star man: Adam Lallana – Lallana has had a wonderful season, scoring and assisting plenty of goals. He has surely booked himself a place on the plane to Brazil.
Overall Assessment: Southampton under Pochettino are a joy to watch; fast flowing football with plenty of English youngsters coming through the ranks and impressing.
My Prediction: 9th
League Position: 12th
Star man: Charlie Adam – Adam has started to show the form he showed at Blackpool a couple of years ago. He’s creating goals and scoring a couple as well.
Overall Assessment: Hughes is doing very well at Stoke this year; before the season started I feared the worse for Stoke, but now I think they should be aiming for a top half finish.
My Prediction: 11th
League Position: 20th
Star man: Wes Brown – Brown has been one of the only bright spots in a poor season for Sunderland. He has been a warrior in that defence which has been very shaky this year.
Overall Assessment: Sunderland had to get rid of Di Canio, but it was always going to be hard for Poyet to come in and rescue them. I can’t see Sunderland beating the drop this season despite a couple of decent performances of late.
My Prediction: 20th
League Position: 11th
Star man: Jonjo Shelvey – Shelvey has been a great acquisition for Swansea this season. He always puts a shift in, he’s got a great eye for a pass, and has a cracking shot on him.
Overall Assessment: Hasn’t quite been the season I was expecting for Swansea, and I think that’s due to Michu and Bony not quite finding their form. I still think they will improve in the second half of the season.
My Prediction: 10th
League Position: 7th
Star man: Sandro – In a season that hasn’t quite gone to plan for Spurs, Sandro has consistently been impressive. He’s a machine in the middle of the field, and definitely one of the best central midfielders in the league.
Overall Assessment: It has not been a good season for Spurs. AVB was sacked prematurely and Sherwood seems naïve in his team selection at the moment, which makes me think that although they will score a lot of goals, they will concede a fair few as well.
My Prediction: 6th
West Bromwich Albion:
League Position: 15th
Star man: Youssouf Mulumbu – I’ve been impressed with this guy for a couple of years now. His tackling ability is second to none; he’s a proper terrier in the centre of the park.
Overall Assessment: Steve Clarke was another manager casualty this season, and West Brom, despite a couple of impressive results such as at Old Trafford, have been poor this season. The loss of Lukaku has been detrimental.
My Prediction: 15th
West Ham United:
League Position: 19th
Star man: James Collins – West Ham have been so poor this season, but James Collins is the steady performer at the back. When he got injured against Arsenal, they fell apart defensively.
Overall Assessment: The Hammers have been awful this season with no recognised striker playing in the side regularly. However, when Andy Carroll comes back, I could see him linking up effectively with Jarvis and Downing to get Big Sam’s side out of trouble.
My Prediction: 16th
Images courtesy of telegraph.co.uk