I’ve already looked at the teams who’ve been a disappointment in the Premier League so far, but who are the teams who fit in the ‘could do better’ category? Those teams with real potential who spark only sporadically? I was mulling over whether Chelsea should go in here, but really Chelsea belong in a category all of their own.
Arsenal are nearly becoming traditional slow starters. Some short sighted fans are calling for manager Arsene Wenger to go or for other major changes at Ashburton Grove. The fact is that Arsenal have never really been title challengers since the billionaires got involved in the game. Even still, before yesterdays win against West Brom, Arsenal were languishing in 10th. They will be hoping that Spurs and Chelsea remain inconsistent
Reading were relegation favourites, so it can’t be too surprising to see them second from bottom after 16 games. Still, they’ve only managed one win so far this season. They must have had ambitions to stay in the Premier League.
Like Spurs, Liverpool took on a much vaunted new young manager. Brendan Rogers was credited with producing Swanseas remarkable form last season. Though his project is a long term one at Anfield, fans have been disappointed (but patient) with how slowly progress is being made. Liverpool have only lost one of their last six, but desperately need greater firepower up front. Fans will be looking to the January transfer window for signs of ambition
With a new manager, and the loss of arguably their 2 best players (Modric and Van Der Vaart), it was always going to be difficult to repeat last years (nearly) heroics. They are still in 4th place, which isn’t bad, but they have yet to really get or impress. Todays last minute defeat at Everton shows they are still mentally and defensively fragile. Spurs have conceded 10 goals in the last 15 minutes of games this season.
Given their size and budget, every season that Wigan remain in the Premier League is an achievement. When on form, Wigan can be a threat to anyone. However, they lose too many games – rarely managing to scrape a valuable draw. As usual, Wigan are in a relegation battle again this season.
Last year, under Alex McLeish, Villa were awful – narrowly avoiding relegation. Unsurprisingly they have a new manager this year in the shape of Paul Lambert. Thus far, he has struggled to turn his charges into a force to be reckoned with. There are signs of improvement – they are unbeaten in their last 4, but Villa are still at the wrong end of the table, and if Lambert stays, it looks like his project will have to be a long-term one
Mark Cruise is a soccer writer on Rantsports – follow him on Twitter: @chiefhairyman