5 things we learned from the first half of the Premier League season
It is half-time in the Premier League. After yesterday's round of matches, almost all teams have now played 19 of the 38 matches they will play this season. It has been one of the more exciting seasons in recent times. Manchester City blew everyone away last season to win the league with a record 100 points.
This season, however, there has been stiffer competition with Liverpool the unofficial champions of the first round. Not even the most optimistic Reds fan could have predicted this turn of events.
Jurgen Klopp's men are top of the table, 6 points ahead of another huge surprise; Tottenham Hotspur. Manchester City's terrible form of late (3 losses in four games) sees the Cityzens drop into third place, 7 points behind Liverpool.
The race for the last UEFA Champions League spot looks to be a straight shootout between the London clubs; Arsenal and Chelsea. Maurizio Sarri's men have blown hot and cold in a manner similar to Unai Emery's Gunners.
The sacking of Jose Mourinho by Manchester United was certainly the biggest story of the first round. Under caretaker manager; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; the Red Devils have now won two games in a row, scoring 8 goals.
Here is a look at 5 observations from the first round of games:
#5 Teams with a large core of British players/managers are struggling
The English national team has certainly had a productive 2018 campaign. It got to the semi-finals at the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. The Three Lions also managed to top their group in the maiden UEFA Nations League competition ahead of favourites Spain and Croatia.
However, in the Premier League, teams with a large core of English/British players are struggling badly. With the exception of bottom-placed Huddersfield Town and 19th-placed Fulham, 7 of the teams in the bottom half have a majority of British players in their ranks.
There are 5 British coaches in the league, none of them are in the top half of the table currently.
Last season, Burnley stunned everyone by finishing in 7th place and getting a Europa League slot. This season, the Clarets have been one of the league's whipping boys. Sean Dyche's men sit in 18th place and have won just 3 games so far.
Neil Warnock's Cardiff City have played robust, energetic typical-British style football. The result; 17th place with 4 wins in 19. Southampton has won twice in three matches since Ralph Hasenhuttal took over after Mark Hughes was sacked.
This supports the idea that England's improvements were largely down to the influence of foreign coaches at club level. Apart from Eddie Howe's Bournemouth, the situation looks bleak for these teams with a British manager/core of players