An international break only calls for a recap

As it’s the International break, it seems to be the right time to reflect the Premier League season so far and all its surprise packages, good or bad.

Well let’s start with the good. Manchester City are really heating up the English top flight with their scintillating football with the likes of Silva linking up their play; Newcastle are sitting 3rd in the league giving all their opponents problems and all three newly promoted teams are around mid-table.

The biggest surprise for me is Everton and Fulham’s league position. Last season, the Cottagers finished a respectable 8th without a striker being in the top 20 goal scorers and they also had the fourth best defence in the league, tied with Arsenal, conceding 43 goals. Only Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City let in fewer goals than them and they were teams in the top three.

Everton finished last season one spot above Fulham in 7th, conceding and scoring a few more goals than Fulham but having the same goal difference as the South West London club, +6. The Toffees were another team with a good goalkeeper and a strong back four which made it difficult for teams to break them down home or away.

It’s amazing to see all those stats about the last campaign for both teams and find out this season, so far, they are 16th (Fulham) and 17th (Everton), level on 10 points. Can they both see the same success this season as they saw last season?

I don’t see why not. Both teams still have their strong goalkeepers in Tim Howard for Everton and Mark Schwarzer for Fulham and back fours. So let’s look a bit deeper into the situation.

Everton manager David Moyes is one of the best managers in the country at the moment but he hasn’t had the money to develop his squad this year. Sometimes, as a manager, you need to bring new players in to improve the squad and add more competition for starting places, but this year no money has been spent on transfer bids, although they have brought in a few players on loan and for free like former Real Madrid player Royston Drenthe.

Let’s not forget, Arsenal did snap up their former captain Mikel Arteta for £10 million at the end of August. Getting rid of such a high profile player, that was able to pick out a pass and get the Toffees attacks started, was a big blow and not being able to buy someone to replace him was an even bigger one. Things are looking up for Everton now though. Starting the season with a few injuries didn’t help them, but only in their last game most first team players made their return.

Fulham have had different problems. With Martin Jol taking over as manager of the club this summer, it’s taken a little while for the team to play the way he wants them to, which is expected without any friendlies to experiment in due to their busy schedule at the beginning of their season. A schedule packed with UEFA Europa league fixtures meant that Fulham started their season on the 30th of June, less than a month after the 2010/2011 season finished.

I think both teams can overcome their current problems and finish the season well. Finishing 7th may be too hard for either club with Man United, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Aston Villa all looking very strong at the moment. Both teams have world class managers who can turn their team’s fortune around at any time and players who can produce moments of magic, so there’s no need to be worried yet guys.

Jordan Brown @MediaJB

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