With almost a third of the season completed, the Premier League is starting to take shape.
Ahead of the latest international break, we look at some of the winners and losers of the campaign so far.
The Liverpool manager is the man with the Midas touch at the moment. Revered on Merseyside by the Reds faithful, Klopp’s stock rose further still with Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Manchester City at Anfield, opening up an eight-point gap over nearest challengers Leicester, and a nine-point cushion to Pep Guardiola’s side. The 52-year-old German has so far masterminded a near-perfect league campaign, with 11 wins and a draw from 12 matches. Under Klopp, this could well be the year Liverpool finally end their 30-year wait to land the league title.
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has been in stunning form this season. (Nick Potts/PA)
When the 32-year-old striker spurned a reported £22million move to Arsenal in the summer of 2016 on the back of helping the Foxes to their fairytale league title success with 24 goals that campaign, the suggestion at the time was that he had missed an opportunity to really make a name for himself at one of English football’s biggest clubs. Vardy, instead, stayed loyal to Leicester. Brendan Rodgers’ arrival in February appears to have allowed Vardy to recapture his best form, scoring 20 goals in 23 games and, with 11 this season, he is the leading scorer in the top flight.
Everyone associated with the Blades would have snatched your hand off if you had offered them fifth place in the league after 12 games at the start of the season, but that is the position the pre-campaign relegation favourites currently find themselves in. Admittedly, the eight-point gap to fourth-placed Manchester City directly above them is only one point less than to 18th-placed Watford, 13 positions below, but credit has to be given to Chris Wilder and his squad for a job well done so far. The platform has been a rock-solid defence that has conceded just nine goals, bettered only by second-placed Leicester.
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is starting to face a fight for his job. (Richard Sellers/PA)
When West Ham beat Manchester United 2-0 in late September, the Hammers found themselves riding high, putting behind them the embarrassment of an opening-day 5-0 home loss to reigning champions Manchester City. Since then, the wheels have fallen off and Pellegrini is under increasing scrutiny. Following a humiliating 4-0 loss at Oxford in the Carabao Cup, Pellegrini’s side have since taken just two points from a possible 18 in the league to slip to 15th in the table. Injury to goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has hit the Hammers hard, with replacement Roberto making a number of high-profile errors. London derbies against Spurs and Chelsea immediately after the forthcoming internationals could be make or break for Pellegrini.
A sensational 3-2 victory over Manchester City in mid-September suggested Norwich had what it takes to defy the pre-season odds and expectations that they would make an immediate return to the Championship following promotion last term. But the Canaries have since suffered an alarming slide, taking just one point and scoring two goals in their last seven matches to hit rock-bottom in the table. Manager Daniel Farke can only hope that now a recent injury crisis is starting to ease, City can find their feet again. Or, is it the case that the rot has set in and there is no way back for the east Anglian club?
These are tough times for Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. (Nick Potts/PA)
Just over five months ago, Pochettino was on the brink of Champions League glory following Spurs’ remarkable run to the final, the culmination of a season in which he was also heavily linked with the jobs at Manchester United and Real Madrid, such was his stock. Beaten by Liverpool in that final, and following a wretched start to this season, Pochettino has now suggested he may not be given time to continue what he considers to be a rebuilding process at the club. The facts do not lie, as Spurs have won just three league games this season and only six of their last 24.
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