Progressing well or room for improvement – how Premier League teams are faring

By Sports Desk November 13, 2023

Title favourites Manchester City head into the international break in pole position in the Premier League, but only three points separate the top five teams.

At the other end of the table, the three promoted clubs occupy the relegation places and face a tough fight for survival.

Here, the PA news agency compiles an end of term report card with a third of the season complete.

Good progress

Aston Villa sit top of the class in terms of progress made since the same stage last season. If Unai Emery’s side maintain their impressive home form a top-four finish might not be beyond them.

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou made the best start to a season by a new manager in Premier League history after 10 games as his side sat five points clear at the top. Despite back-to-back defeats since then, it has been an eye-catching start under the Australian.

Liverpool were 13 points adrift of City in ninth place at the same stage last season, but Jurgen Klopp has got the Reds firing again. Currently second, one point off top spot, they are genuine title challengers once more.

Nottingham Forest were rock-bottom at the same stage last season, but have not looked like relegation candidates so far this term, while West Ham are also looking up the table after last season’s Europa Conference League triumph.

More to come

Pep Guardiola’s City have put back-to-back league defeats in October behind them and despite not being as consistently dominant this season, they remain favourites for an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title.

Bournemouth climbed out of the relegation zone with a fully deserved 2-0 win over Newcastle at the weekend and will be looking to kick on after their second win of the season under Andoni Iraola.

Fulham sat seventh after 12 games last season and went on to secure a top-10 finish, but have taken only one point from their last four matches.

Brentford appear to have turned the corner after a slow start, with a recent three-game winning run lifting them comfortably into mid-table, while Crystal Palace have yet to register back-to-back wins but are still closer to the top six than the bottom three in terms of points.

Looks promising

Arsenal, two points clear at the top after 12 games last season, have bounced back from their first league defeat this season at Newcastle and trail City by a single point. Mikel Arteta’s side are well placed for another title challenge.

Wolves turned in their best display of the season at the weekend by beating Tottenham. They were second bottom at this stage last season, but their fourth win of this campaign lifted them nine points above relegation trouble.

Brighton have continued to shine under Roberto De Zerbi as they battle on two fronts, while Sean Dyche’s Everton have made big strides since their poor start to climb eight points clear of the bottom three.

Work to do

Manchester United’s struggles are on-going as Erik ten Hag strives to turn his side into a cohesive unit and close the gap between themselves and the title challengers.

Newcastle’s progress has been stalled by a lengthy injury list and the extra burden of Champions League football and Eddie Howe faces a tough task to keep his side in touch with the top four.

Chelsea are arguably this season’s biggest underachievers, winning only four of Mauricio Pochettino’s first 12 league games in charge, but at last in their two latest matches – against Tottenham and Manchester City – there have been signs of their potential.

All of last season’s promoted sides have found the chasm between Premier League and Championship football difficult to bridge. Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton have each won just one of their first 12 games and face a daunting task to preserve top-flight status.

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    Rashford was replaced in the second half after a frustrating outing against Newcastle, with manager Erik ten Hag saying afterwards: “He works hard and he is investing a lot. He will get back, he will recover and he’s got all our support.”

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    He said: “They are a top side and they are doing a great job there.

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