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Premier League Half-Term Report, part 3

January 9, 2010

We now move on to part 3 of the Premier League half-term report, looking at those sides currently placed 11-15th. Some sides here will have ambitions of a top-half finish or even point towards Europe as a reasonable aim; others will want to avoid a relegation fight come April and May.


Darren Bent has been finding the net all season for Sunderland

After a fantastic start to the season Sunderland’s form has rapidly deteriorated. By the end of November they had beaten Liverpool (with a little help from a beach ball) and Arsenal, and held Manchester United to a well-deserved draw at Old Trafford. Since then they have gone seven league games without winning, losing four and drawing three.

Darren Bent’s form has been the most positive aspect of the season so far for Steve Bruce, and with 13 goals to his name already he will be in contention for a place in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad. They have often looked shaky at the back and have sorely missed the injured Lee Cattermole. Midfielder Lorik Cana and defender Michael Turner are good signings for Bruce and with a fit Cattermole and in-form Darren Bent there is no reason why Sunderland should not find the form which closer resembles their early season promise.

Current Position: 11th
Videprinter prediction: 9th


Landon Donovan has arrived on loan from LA Galaxy

Everton are yet to really get going this season; their win against Burnley at the end of December was their first in eight league games. This is probably down to the fact that they have had so many injuries: Jagielka and Arteta have not kicked a ball while Phil Neville has been out since early on. Performances have improved recently and they are still in the Europa League and FA Cup. Louis Saha has been lethal in front of goal; netting 10 in 17 league games.

With an array of players to come back into the first team, and the loan capture of Landon Donovan, Everton should be good enough to climb the table and compete for domestic and European honours. Without the spending power of Manchester City, Tottenham and Villa, they will have to accept they are no longer the fifth best team in England. But with a fit squad they are not far behind.

Current Position: 12th
Videprinter prediction: 8th

Blackburn Rovers

David Dunn has stayed injury-free and is enjoying his best run in the Blackburn team

Sam Allardyce, in his first full season in charge, has seen Blackburn become a difficult side to beat at home, but they still remain just three points above the drop. The main problem is a lack of goals: top scorer is the excellent David Dunn with five from midfield. McCarthy, Roberts, Di Santo and Kalinic have just five league goals between them, so Allardyce could do with strengthening his options up front. At the back Paul Robinson has impressed and Pascal Chimbonda has settled in well.  They are a well-disciplined side unlikely to be dragged into the relegation battle.

Current Position: 13th
Videprinter prediction: 13th

Brian Jensen's saves will prove crucial to Burnley's fortunes


Burnley started life in the Premier League brilliantly, winning five of their six home matches, including a win over Manchester United. Unfortunately their away form has been abysmal, drawing one and losing nine. On paper the weakest side in the division, they have so far performed well above expectations. But having lost manager Owen Coyle to Bolton the future looks bleak for the Clarets. Coyle worked wonders in achieving promotion, but the current team has gone nine games without a win. The heroics of goalkeeper Brian Jensen and 38-year old defender Graham Alexander need to be aided by some new signings who have top flight experience.

Current Position: 14th
Videprinter prediction: 19th

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Jody Craddock has been solid at the back and chipped in with some goals

Mick McCarthy’s men have given themselves a chance of survival with victories over Bolton, Tottenham and Burnley in December. Defender Jody Craddock has rejuvenated his career at the age of 34, and bagged four goals in the process. Wolves may fall short given a lack of Premier League experience in the squad and strikers Ebanks-Blake, Andy Keogh and Kevin Doyle need to start scoring more. Results in winnable games against West Ham, Wigan and Hull this month will give an indication as to their chances of staying up.

Current Position: 15th
Videprinter prediction: 18th

What do you think? Are any of more the teams here likely to move into the relegation zone? Or could one or two make a push for Europe?

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