I’ve already covered the bad and the downright ugly from this seasons’ Premier League, but who are the ‘good’? A lot of what is perceived as a ‘good performance’ is down to expectations. Chelsea are in third place, but no-one can argue they are having a good season. Likewise Man City in second. So who are the overachievers?
When Man Utd lead the league after signing one of the best strikers in England, it’s easy to question why I would regard them as overachieving. However, when you compare them to the financial might of their noisy neighbours or the Chelsea car crash, they are relative paupers. One of Uniteds strengths under Alex Ferguson is that they are always greater than the sum of their parts. Players like Rafael and Evans would sink without a trace if they left Utd – just ask Wes Brown and John O’Shea.
West Bromwich Albion
I may have come to this article a little too late for The Baggies. Their run of good form seems to have deserted them in the last week or two. Still, no-one can argue that under Steve Clarke, they have done far better than anyone expected them to. With Shane Long, Peter Odemwinge and Romelu Lukaku they have an excellent attacking line up. You have to hope that after losing their last 3 games, they can pull out of their dip in form.
I have to confess that when Michael Laudrup took the reins at Swansea, I was pessimistic for this pure footballing side. Laudrup hadn’t really done well as a coach since 2008 and Swansea defied all expectations in doing so well last season. However, the signing of Michu, amongst others, was an inspired one. Swansea have lost one of their last 6 games, and sit nicely in 8th place.
The Canaries were another side starting with a new manager this season. For some reason, Chris Hughton has never received his dues as a manager despite doing well at Newcastle and Birmingham. Based on current form, Norwich are the 3rd best team in the league – losing only 2 of their last 12 games. There is nothing flash about them – they are organised and Hughton has built the team from the back. Tipped as possible relegation fodder, they look anything but.
Though they are a newly promoted side, no-one really thought a team managed by Sam Allardyce and with West Ham’s presence would struggle this season. However, they have remained well clear of the relegation zone from the start, and don’t look like dropping back there any time soon. Recent losses have come against good sides and they look more than capable of going toe-to-toe with most around them.
Based on form, Stoke are the second best team in the league. They have turned their home: The Britannia stadium into a fortress, and have only lost 2 of their last 6 away games. Only the tactical purists can enjoy how they play, but no-one can deny they are effective.