The second Merseyside team is none other than Liverpool FC. After a disappointing season last year and finishing in 8th place, Brendan Rodgers started the season badly. However, in their last 5 games, they have won 3, drawn 1, and lost 1. Since the signing of Daniel Sturridge, the partnership between him and the controversial Luis Suarez (22 goals) has been a revolution for Liverpool. With these two strikers, Liverpool have a good chance of getting back up to their old expectations. Liverpool aren’t a team without their skipper Steven Gerrard (6 goals), who has been in exceptional form this season and is really bossing the midfield with along with Lucas. I think Liverpool will end up in 7th place behind neighbors Everton due to their poor defensive efforts.
The blue side of Manchester is taken up by reigning champions Manchester City, who, after winning the Premier League last season following a dramatic ending, are stuck 7 points behind United at the end of January. City’s top goal scorer is Edin Dzeko with 11 goals, followed by Sergio Aguero with 10, and Tevez with 9. Dzeko was in superb form at the end of December through to the end of January, scoring 4 goals in 3 games. However, after Balotelli’s departure to join AC Milan, all 3 strikers can expect to play much more game time and will need to perform much better if they want to catch up with United. City have been in exquisite form 7 of their last 9 games, only losing to rivals Manchester United. A key matter in Man City picking up points at the moment is their defense after keeping a clean sheet for 4 games. Overall, I think its going to be tight, however with a 7 point gap, I think United will succeed and win the title.
Meanwhile, United, who dominate the red half of Manchester, are still recovering from their disappointment last season after losing the title on the last game. United have had the best start to a season in their history, and it is all as a result of many different things. One thing is the signing of Robin Van Persie; the ex-Gooner has scored 22 goals and is the top scorer in the Premier league, and even when the team is playing not as well, he always seems to get them out of trouble and hit the net to gain crucial points. Another factor of their success is their superb home form this season; they are unbeaten at home since the September 29 and are on an 11 game winning streak. However, if United do want to win the title, Wayne Rooney is going to have to continue his great form (as illustrated in the last 7 games and scoring 8 goals), however with only 12 goals this season, he is going to have to score much more frequently to take pressure off of Van Persie. Man United’s weak point this season has certainly been their defense, including their goalkeeper, David de Gea. Fortunately for United, they have managed to outscore most teams they have played, however their defense is going to have to perform much better if they are planning on taking back the title. Overall, I think United will just nab the title a couple points ahead of City.
The Toons would have expected a successful season following their 6th place finish the previous year, however things haven’t been so simple for Alan Pardew and his men as they finished 15th at the end of January. As things stand now, Newcastle are in a relegation battle due to their lack of goals, especially now that Demba Ba has completed the move to Chelsea. A key player in the final months of the 2012-13 season will certainly be Yohan Cabaye. The French midfielder is a key play-maker for the Toons, and he has certianly been missed during his time recovering from injuries. A crucial win last week against Aston Villa was imperative for Newcastle’s efforts in edging relegation, and to no one’s surprise, Cabaye had a great game and proved he has what it takes to keep them up.
After finishing 12th last season (joint 10th on goal difference), a mid table season was in order for Norwich. However, so far, they are below expectations and are sitting in 14th at the end of January. Just looking at Norwich’s top goal-scorer (Snodgrass 5 goals) shows that they do not have very successful attacking efforts. Their top striker is Grant Holt, who is the captain this year with 4 goals. He has a great stature however he is not an out and out goal scorern and this is where Norwich are under-performing. One player Norwich fans will be looking forward to see back is John Ruddy, who had a great start of the season with some outstanding performances but has been recovering from injuries for 3 months.
Written by PAFCBake