Premier League 2015/16 progress report after 20 games
Lee Gormley | January 4, 2016
Premier League progress report
This 2015/16 Premier League campaign has been one of the most enthralling to date and, after the turn of the New Year, clubs will be getting themselves into position for a strong run-in.
The top-flight sides have now reached the 20-game mark since proceedings kicked-off in August last year, and Coral bring you a progress report on how each team are doing and what their realistic targets are.
Arsenal will never get better chance to win title
Arsene Wenger has not guided Arsenal to a Premier League title since his famous ‘Invincibles’ stormed to victory back in 2004 but, after a decade a waiting, the club may not get a better chance to regain top-flight success.
The Gunners are locked in a battle with Manchester City for title glory, while Leicester City continue to defy the odds and look to maintain their sensational rise to prominence under Claudio Ranieri.
Arsenal are flying high this term with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott performing outstandingly in attack, while Laurent Koscielny and Hector Bellerin assert themselves in defence, making this astute all-round outfit 7/5 with Coral for a title triumph.
Many thought they may struggle initially after adding only Petr Cech in the summer and no outfield players, but the recalling of wing wizard Serge Gnabry from his loan at West Bromwich Albion could prove to be a decisive move, similar to Francis Coquelin’s early returning surge.
Foxes fighting to maintain dream start
Under former Chelsea coach Ranieri, Leicester have enjoyed a stunning season after sensationally sitting atop of the Premier League table at Christmas, despite narrowly avoiding relegation last term.
Jamie Vardy has grabbed the headlines following his record-breaking goal scoring run, along with fellow dazzling attacker Riyad Mahrez, but the Foxes can thank other stalwarts Wes Morgan, Kasper Schmeichel, Shinji Okazaki and Marc Albrighton for such success too.
The Foxes are still surprisingly in the mix for the title at present but could tail-off early this New Year if injuries occur and form takes a slight dip, meaning a top four finish (11/8) may be more of an achievable aim following possible January acquisitions.
Man City challenging for further dominance
Manuel Pellegrini’s Sky Blues looked like supremely running away with the league crown early this term, similar to PSG in Ligue 1, after a solid start to proceedings which saw them comfortably win their five opening games without conceding.
Although, despite several setbacks since that bright start, they still remain very much in the running for a third title in five years and are the 11/10 favourites to add to their 2012 and 2014 victories.
Record summer signing Kevin De Bruyne is proving he is worth every penny of that £54m price-tag with his creative displays on home soil, but his struggles on away days are reminiscent of former misfit Robinho, while David Silva and Raheem Sterling are also enjoying impressive form.
Sergio Aguero can single handedly fire City to the title if he can avoid further injury setbacks and continue previously clinical form, with the Argentine 7/1 to finish the campaign as top scorer again.
Spurs surge towards earning European spot
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham have avoided the major spotlight at the beginning of this current campaign, quietly, yet rampantly surging into the top four. The Londoners are likely to be involved in a battle with Manchester United for a Champions League place but, if they continue in their rich run of form, anything is possible, as Leicester have proved.
Spurs are 11/1 to clinch a historic league title, but will face a tough task of edging out the big boys Man City and bitter capital rivals Arsenal. Harry Kane is proving he isn’t a one-season wonder with his scoring exploits and can be the linchpin of any success this term, while Son Heung-Min enjoys an emphatic maiden campaign.
English youngsters Dele Alli and Eric Dier have been outstanding and have rewarded the faith shown in them by Argentine boss Pochettino, with the pair’s early potential highlighting Tottenham’s season promise.
Man Utd looking to build better 2016
Louis van Gaal looked to be heading for the exit door at the back-end of last year but, after an encouraging win over bogey-side Swansea City in the first set of 2016 fixtures, Man Utd can build for a hopeful run-in.
Results and performances were far from great during the first-half of the season and their upcoming Europa League clashes may be a hinderance, but the Red Devils have showed signs of an encouraging uplift and are evens for a top four finish.
Hammers have firepower to enter Europe
If West Ham United’s superb humbling of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the opening 2016 Premier League clash is anything to judge them by, the east Londoners are set for an exciting end of the campaign.
Under Slaven Bilic, the Hammers have plenty of promising credentials which could see them secure a European position, after climbing into a strong spot in the table already, and are 5/1 to earn a top six finish.
With Dimitri Payet returning to the club’s impressive ranks after an injury lay-off, West Ham are a dangerous outfit which have proved they can mix it with the division’s top teams and will be one to look out for ahead of their Olympic Stadium switch this summer.
Palace need reinforcements for European push
Yohan Cabaye is proving to be one of the signings of the season so far, with his majestic midfield displays helping Crystal Palace progress into a strong position, along with wing wizards Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon as well as former misused Man Utd prospect Wilfried Zaha.
After Patrick Bamford ended his loan spell at Selhurst Park and returned to fight for his place at Chelsea, the Eagles may need a boost within their strikeforce in order to properly challenge for a hopeful European position and are 7/2 for a top six finish.
Liverpool face further wait for Klopp revolution
Liverpool looked to have finally turned a corner under Jurgen Klopp after the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, but recent form has suggested that the Anfield faithful may have to wait until next summer to fully benefit from the German.
The new boss has inherited a squad which was previously struggling to pick-up results and it seems some of that former lack of confidence has crept into their current set-up again, with Klopp potentially seeking reinforcements in January and the summer.
Liverpool are 5/2 to end the current campaign within the top four but will need to regain consistency in order to do so, having gone from looking fluently brilliant in a 4-1 thrashing over Man City to appearing completely hapless in a 3-0 defeat to Watford.
Watford looking up rather down in table
Many assumed Watford would struggle on their return to the top tier this season, but those doubters couldn’t have been more wrong, as the Hornets continue to cause a sting in the top 10 (11/10).
Of the three newly-promoted sides competing in the Premier League, it’s Quique Sanchez Flores’ men that are stunningly looking towards an incredible European place or a top 10 finish, while Bournemouth and Norwich City simply look to survive at this point.
Stoke seeking to add better results to impressive season displays
Stoke City have looked brilliant under Mark Hughes this term but the results have sometimes not matched their performances, with the Potters now seeking to become a more consistent formidable force.
With wins over Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Southampton this season being mixed in with defeats at the hands of relegation strugglers Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion, the Potters clearly need to bring their enthusiasm for the big clashes into meetings with seemingly less threatening teams.
Hughes’ men are 5/4 for a top 10 finish and, with the likes of Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri providing a bright attacking spark and Ryan Shawcross, Jonathan Walters and Glenn Whelan bringing the muscle, Stoke have a complete package which might need a slight tinkering with in January for success.
Everton must find new spark to progress
Roberto Martinez’s Everton have endured an indifferent campaign to date after 20 games played in the top-flight and will need a New Year rejuvenation in order to spring to life, with the Merseyside outfit sitting uncomfortably.
The Toffees’ lacklustre campaign can be summed up by the fact they have failed to win back-to-back league games so far but, if stars like Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku can end the season strongly, a shift in form and fortunes can be gained.
Baggies battling to avoid relegation scrap
Down the years there have been several managers regarded for steering sides away from relegation, and Tony Pulis is one of those, and he faces that scenario once again if West Brom cannot maintain a constant flow of positive results.
The Baggies earned domestic victories on either side of the New year against Newcastle United and Stoke respectively, showing they have what it takes to push adrift of any daunting dropzone scrap and continue strongly.
Saints seek season revival in 2016
Ronald Koeman’s Southampton were one of the success stories of last season but have faltered during the current one and are below the top 10, following just a single triumph in their final seven Premier League matches of 2015.
The New Year didn’t start encouragingly either, with the Canaries earning a narrow 1-0 victory over them, and their form on the road is worrying. Koeman’s south coast side have won on just two occasions domestically on their travels and need a serious resurgence this year in order to avoid a disaster (40/1 to be relegated).
Chelsea can battle back up table under Hiddink
Hope is slowly creeping back into the Chelsea squad, and amongst their loyal fans, as Guus Hiddink looks seemingly likely of rescuing the Blues once again in his second stint as temporary coach.
He was able to secure silverware success in his previous short-term spell, but overturning this so far disastrous season and guiding the Londoners to a top six finish would be regarded just as successful as a trophy at this point in time.
The Blues have looked sharp again under Hiddink since Jose Mourinho’s departure and are 7/4 to somehow recover to the top six positions this term, following nine defeats in the first-half of the campaign.
Norwich need to maintain current streak
After going six league games without a win during last year’s opening months, Alex Neil’s Canaries showed signs of improvement during the Christmas period and are now 4/1 to face an immediate return to the second tier.
Norwich ended 2015 with a victory over rock-bottom club Villa, a result which gave them confidence to also topple Southampton and the New Year may bring with it much more hope and prosperity than initially expected.
Bournemouth bouncing back breeds hope
Howe’s Cherries are another club that have looked a lot more promising as the season continues, after encouraging wins over Man Utd and West Brom but, with ties against the Red Devils, Liverpool and Chelsea among their final fixtures, they must continue strongly.
Last season’s Championship champions were expected to struggle massively but they have shown great character and drive to avoid becoming whipping boys early on, and they are now 13/2 to drop down divisions.
Sorry Swansea face disastrous decline
Other than reigning champions Chelsea, Swansea have been involved in the most surprising fall from grace this term, having previously dismissed fan favourite Garry Monk as boss following just four league wins to date.
With the Welsh national side flourishing and preparing for a promising Euro 2016 campaign in the summer, the country’s highest ranked club could taste bitter domestic disappointment before all eyes are cast towards France.
Toon need confidence boost to end torrid run
The passionate Toon faithful were full of optimism as always ahead of this current top-flight term, but they were swiftly met with further let-down as Newcastle continue to struggle dangerously towards the bottom.
Former England boss McClaren possesses a squad full of intriguing talent, with Georginio Wijnaldum a beacon of hope for the Magpies with his dynamic midfield outings, but such reliance on the Dutchman may result in a second relegation in seven years (8/13).
Black Cats clawing haplessly at top-flight status
The only shred of delight Sunderland fans are being treated to presently is the fact that their bitter Northeast rivals Newcastle are also battling to avoid the drop.
Sam Allardyce is a renowned coach and could yet still oversee a revival on Wearside, but he faces an almighty task of doing so. January signings could be his saving grace, though the toothless Black Cats need an incredible boost to rapidly rejuvenate their troubles.
Villa look destined for the Championship
There’s no denying it, things look extremely bleak at Villa Park and the West Midlands club are showing no signs of improvement. A defeat at the hands of relegations rivals Sunderland looked like the killer blow for Aston Villa, as Remi Garde seeks to avoid dauntingly dropping down divisions.
No team has ever recovered to stay up after possessing such a low points tally at Christmas and the Villans seem destined to be playing Championship football next season, though they are 12/1 to make the great escape.
Read our Premier League archive.
Keep up to date with every winter move in the January market with our LIVE transfer blog.