Friday 20 January 2017

The good, the bad and the ugly...

Arsenal

Published 12/01/2011 | 05:00

Overall verdict? Reasonable. I think we've done quite well seeing as we didn't spend any money in the summer.

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Verdict on manager? He has done well, I'm pleased at the moment. He needs to spend, but he hasn't done that any other season.

Star man? Samir Nasri, top goalscorer and his overall performances have been the best.

Biggest disappointment? Cesc Fabregas: you expect your best players to be the best performers and he hasn't been.

Transfer target? Shay Given, because we need a good goalkeeper.

Where will you finish? 2nd.

Best moment? Beating Chelsea 3-1 at the Emirates.

Hywel Jones (Lifelong supporter)

Aston Villa

Overall verdict? They could and should have been better.

We have a good squad and the team needs to start settling.

Verdict on manager? He has not been as bad as other candidates first mentioned such as Sven, but the fans aren't behind him. I think he will be there next season.

Star man? Marc Albrighton. He has been a breath of fresh air.

Biggest disappointment? Stephen Ireland. He has not had much of an opportunity, but when he has played, he hasn't exactly shone.

Transfer target? I would like to see a striker. Robbie Keane wouldn't be bad.

Where will you finish? 8th.

Best moment? Ciaran Clark's equaliser at Chelsea -- it might just change our season.

John Leavy (Season-ticket holder)

Birmingham City

Overall verdict? You can't fault the performance, but we don't score enough. We do everything right but score.

Verdict on manager? He hasn't spent the millions other clubs have. We are 15th, but he gives players a chance and I feel will keep us up.

Star man? Craig Gardner -- top scorer and has put in great performances.

Biggest disappointment? Nikola Zigic. He was brought in to score goals and be the link man, but he hasn't done anything.

Transfer target? Robbie Keane. We can get him and he is what we need.

Where will you finish? 15th.

Best moment? The 2-1 win against Villa in the cup, no doubt about it.

Matt Sheriff (Lifelong supporter)

Blackburn Rovers

Overall verdict? Up until Sam Allardyce leaving it was going well, but now it's going on a downward spiral.

Verdict on manager? It looks like Steve Kean will remain, but three dreadful games out of four isn't a good start.

Star man? El-Hadji Diouf, when he's behaving...

Biggest disappointment? David Dunn hasn't lived up to last season's heights. Losing Big Sam was also a blow.

Transfer target? David Bentley, if we could get him back in the same form.

Where will you finish? In trouble.

Best moment? Winning at Blackpool was a great day out.

Dan Clough (Season-ticket holder)

Blackpool

Overall verdict? We are in Tangerine dreamland. I didn't really care if we got zero points, but somehow we've got 25.

Verdict on manager? He (Ian Holloway) somehow got us to the Premier League and now we're mid-table. Bigger clubs may come calling, but he should stay with us -- we're a perfect fit.

Star man? Charlie Adam.

Biggest disappointment? Nobody.

Transfer target? Keeping Charlie (Adam).

Where will we finish? In the Premier League.

Best moment? Winning at Anfield. Second only to getting promoted via play-offs at Wembley last May.

Marc Padgett (Lifelong supporter)

Bolton Wanderers

Overall verdict? We've had a fantastic campaign. To be looking up towards the Europa League places is fantastic.

Verdict on manager? Owen Coyle has done a fantastic job and justified his decision to leave Burnley. The only danger is if the top clubs come in for him.

Star man? Stuart Holden has been key to everything good about our season so far. Biggest disappointment? Martin Petrov has struggled to live up to the expectations and has a petulant attitude.

Transfer target? A centre-back would help -- Curtis Davies might be available.

Where will you finish? 8th.

Best moment? Thrashing Newcastle 5-1 was fun.

James Derbyshire (Writer for Bolton's ESPN Soccernet blog)

Chelsea

Overall verdict? The first three months were excellent but the last two months have been shocking at times.

Verdict on manager? Carlo has done well -- the board undermined him by releasing Michael Ballack and Joe Cole; sacking Ray Wilkins and appointing Michael Emenalo.

Star man? Branislav Ivanovic has been superb this season -- solid in every game. I can barely recall him making a mistake.

Biggest disappointment? By far, Nicolas Anelka. He hasn't seemed interested, and he isn't working for the team at all.

Transfer target? Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero.

Where will you finish? Top (seriously).

Best moment? Ivanovic's 84th-minute winner at Ewood Park. Completely undeserved. We were outplayed all game and didn't play well at all.

Steve Mantle (Season-ticket holder)

Everton

Overall verdict? Frustrating. The team have been undone by their failure to put the ball in the net.

Verdict on manager? Mixed reviews from some fans, yet the main problem has been the strikers. Their inability to score undermines confidence.

Star man? Leighton Baines edges out Sylvain Distin, with honourable mentions for Seamus Coleman, Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Tim Cahill.

Biggest disappointment? The strikers have been hugely disappointing.

Transfer target? A goalscorer. Realistically, who knows -- Michael Owen?

Where will you finish? 8th.

Best moment? The Goodison derby and the home victory over Tottenham.

Patrick Hart (Season-ticket holder)

Fulham

Overall verdict? Disappointing. We've had little goal-scoring ability after Bobby Zamora's injury.

Verdict on manager? So-so. It depends mainly on results, but performances have improved in recent weeks.

Star man? Zoltan Gera. Hughes doesn't seem to want to start with him, but he impresses whenever he comes on.

Biggest disappointment? Andy Johnson. He has been delayed in getting his form back after his return from injury.

Transfer target? Roque Santa Cruz, who seems to be dying at Man City. Hughes might be able to revive him.

Where will you finish? 12th.

Best moment? Beating Stoke 2-0 away.

Mike McCarthy (Season-ticket holder)

Liverpool

Overall verdict? Shameful. The players have underperformed for 18 months. Our worst team since 1993. Hopefully, Kenny Dalglish will instil some desire.

Verdict on manager? His first game gave us hope and there were signs of life at last. He's only here till the end of the season, but it'd be great if he does well and stays on.

Star man? Pepe Reina. Player of the year.

Biggest disappointment? Hicks and Gillett, the Hodgson era, the latter Rafa era, etc, but Mascherano's moanfest and subsequent departure was a low.

Transfer target? Can I cheat and have two? A left back and a right back.

Where will you finish? 12th.

Best moment? The win against Chelsea. Off the pitch it's been the removal of Bill and Ted from the board room.

Karl Coppack (Writer for LFC online)

Manchester City

Overall verdict? Better than expected. We're second and the defence is the best I've seen at City, although we have struggled to break teams down at home.

Verdict on manager? He's certainly imposed his style on the team. He'll stay if we finish in the top four, which he is probably hopeful of.

Star man? David Silva has been the best, followed by Vincent Kompany.

Biggest disappointment? Jo has been laughably bad, but we knew that anyway. The full-backs are still to settle.

Transfer target? It was Edin Dzeko, but now he's joined, there's no-one else.

Where will you finish? 3rd.

Best moment? Taking Fulham apart at Craven Cottage 4-1, one of the best away performances I've ever seen.

Tom White (Lifelong supporter)

Manchester United

Overall verdict? It's United so it's a pleasure because it always is, but relatively speaking it's been pretty miserable; not much entertainment, few outstanding performances, and little worthy of memory. Happily, everyone else is even more useless.

Verdict on manager? Better. The tinkering urge persists, but he's exercised more restraint than last season.

Star man? Nani has been excellent, but is disqualified for his demeanour, so it's between Dimitar Berbatov and Rafael.

Biggest disappointment? Not battering City when there was no reason not to.

Transfer target? Because we're skint, the who-should-we-sign game has been depressingly redundant for years.

Where will you finish? Top.

Best moment? Hernandez's winner at Stoke; duping Liverpool into thinking they had a chance; and the 3-3 at Everton.

Daniel Harris (Author of 'On the Road: A Journey through a Season')

Newcastle United

Overall verdict? I am pleased so far. To be sat mid-table is a positive, especially after expecting an uphill struggle.

Verdict on manager? I haven't seen enough of him to rate how he has done so far. But I do believe he will see out his contract.

Star man? Andy Carroll has fitted in comfortably, followed by Cheik Tiote.

Biggest disappointment? Either Peter Lovenkrands or Jonas Gutierrez. Both have more potential than they have shown.

Transfer target? I would like to see Robbie Keane on loan. I think he has the pace up front that we seem to lack.

Where will you finish? 12th.

Best moment? Beating Sunderland 5-1 at home was and will be the best moment at the club for years to come.

Sam Keys (Season-ticket holder)

Stoke City

Overall verdict? We are currently 10th which is an excellent achievement. If we can stay up this year we could really move forward.

Verdict on manager? Tony Pulis continues to do a remarkable job. I imagine he will be still be here in five years.

Star man? Robert Huth has been outstanding. The big German is quickly becoming a fans favourite.

Biggest disappointment? Eidur Gudjohnsen -- a bizarre situation. He has barely figured and did not make the squad at all last week.

Transfer target? Charles N'Zogbia or Hugo Rodallega, of Wigan.

Where will you finish? 10th

Best moment? Beating Liverpool 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

Sam Abbots (Season-ticket holder)

Sunderland

Overall verdict? The team have performed very well, minor disappointing results and the humiliation at Newcastle aside.

Verdict on manager? Steve Bruce seems to be doing a great job building a good team spirit and there seems to be a great amount of faith in his transfer dealings.

Star man? The unsung hero has to be Phil Bardsley. His all-round game has come on leaps and bounds.

Biggest disappointment? Christian Riveros and Marcos Angeleri have featured very little and seem unable to adapt to the English game.

Transfer target? We're crying out for a creative midfielder who can score, so the likes of Charles N'Zogbia, Adam Johnson and David Bentley.

Where will you finish? 9th

Best moment? Beating Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, following a series of batterings there.

Steven Carter (Season-ticket holder)

Tottenham Hotspur

Overall verdict? We have made great progress in the Champions League and are still in the title race. We're good in attack, but lacking in defence.

Verdict on manager? Harry has done a terrific job and I'm certain he will remain for many seasons to come.

Star man? Has to be Gareth Bale -- needs no explanation.

Biggest disappointment? Peter Crouch. He isn't delivering the goods he was signed to produce.

Transfer target? Andy Carroll would be a great asset as he is strong on the ball and has shown his finishing skills.

Where will you finish? 4th

Best moment? Beating Internazionale at White Hart Lane and generally the progress in the Champions League.

Alex Jethwa (Lifelong supporter)

West Brom

Overall verdict? We had been doing well although the Christmas period hasn't been good to us, so we need to pick it up. Verdict on manager? Roberto has made us into a solid outfit and we look much stronger than when we last came up.

Star man? Peter Odemwingie; Chris Brunt.

Biggest disappointment? Pablo Ibanez came to us with a good reputation, but has struggled to hold down a place.

Transfer target? We need a striker and maybe Mateja Kezman would be a good addition as he has a proven reputation.

Where will you finish? 13th

Best moment? The win at Arsenal was like a dream come true. To see Jerome Thomas and Peter Odemwingie tear apart the Arsenal defence was great.

Kieran Crowley (Lifelong supporter)

West Ham United

Overall verdict? It looks as if we have turned the corner. Too many draws is the real summary -- and poor home form.

Verdict on manager? He has done a fantastic job with lots of pressure on him such as demanding owner and fans.

Star man? Scott Parker by a mile. He should be in the England squad.

Biggest disappointment? Benni McCarthy, who was signed for £2.5m. Has had weight problems and hasn't repaid his high fee.

Transfer target? If we could do it then Santa Cruz, but realistically we will get a second-rate striker like Jay Bothroyd.

Where will you finish? 15th.

Best moment? The 4-0 win against Manchester Utd in the Carling Cup. Got us back on track, and the confidence has transferred into the league.

Nick Cronjaeger (Season-ticket holder)

Wigan Athletic

Overall verdict? We have played a lot of good football so far this season, but this has perhaps been to the detriment of results.

Verdict on manager? Roberto Martinez is a Wigan Athletic legend. He has the club's interests at heart and genuinely wants to take Wigan forward as a club.

Star man? Once again Charles N'Zogbia, who provides a very important link between midfield and attack.

Biggest disappointment? Must be £6m man, Mauro Boselli. The pace of the league appears too quick and he is struggling.

Transfer target? I'd be pleased to sign Ali Al-Habsi on a permanent deal from Bolton.

Where will you finish? 17th

Best moment? The win at Spurs was a real confidence booster.

Paul Farringdon (Editor of Wiganer.net)

Wolves

Overall verdict? We are certainly battling hard, but the plan is a bit confused.

Verdict on manager? Mick McCarthy is fairly secure. The culture of hard work he has built at the club is fantastic.

Star man? Matt Jarvis is the main man.

Biggest disappointment? Some fans would pick Steven Fletcher, but with five goals and just seven starts he's actually been a victim of circumstance.

Transfer target? Many were dreaming of Joleon Lescott and Robbie Keane, but the reality is we'd take just about any help.

Where will you finish? 16th.

Best moment? Beating Chelsea was a wonderful night. In truth, however, it's been downhill since September.

Adam Bate (Season-ticket holder)

Compiled by Joshua Engleman and James Mariner

Irish Independent

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