Are Premier League Teams Making Good Progress or Do They Have Room for Improvement?

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

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

    Here, the Penn News Agency compiles a report card at the end of the semester with one-third of the season completed.

    Good progress

    Aston Villa lead the class in terms of progress made since the same stage last season. If Unai Emery’s side continue their impressive home form, they may have no problem finishing in the top four.

    Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou has made the best start to a season under a new manager in Premier League history after 10 games with his side five points clear at the top. Despite successive defeats since then, the start under the Australian has been impressive.

    Liverpool were 13 points behind ninth-placed City last season but Jurgen Klopp got the Reds firing again. They currently sit in second place, one point behind, and are once again genuine title contenders.

    Nottingham Forest were at the same level last season but have not looked like relegation candidates so far this season, while West Ham are also moving up the table after their Europa Conference League triumph last season.

    Not all

    Pep Guardiola’s City put back successive league defeats in October behind them and, despite their less consistent dominance this season, they remain favorites to claim an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title.

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

    Fulham finished seventh after 12 games last season and were in the top 10, but have picked up just one point from their last four matches.

    Brentford appear to have turned the corner after a slow start: a recent three-game winning streak has seen them firmly in mid-table, while Crystal Palace are yet to make it back-to-back wins but are still closer to the top six than the bottom three in points.

    Looks promising

    Arsenal, who led by two points after 12 games last season, recovered from their first defeat of the season at Newcastle to remain one point behind City. Mikel Arteta’s side are well positioned for another title challenge.

    Wolves produced their best performance of the season at the weekend with a win over Tottenham. They were second at this stage last season, but their fourth win of the campaign lifts them nine points above relegation trouble.

    Brighton continue to shine under Roberto De Zerbi, battling on two fronts, while Sean Dyche’s Everton have made great strides after a poor start to move eight points clear of the bottom three.

    Work to be done

    Manchester United’s struggles continue as Erik ten Hag looks to turn his team into a cohesive unit and close the gap between himself and the title contenders.

    With Newcastle’s progress stalled by a long list of injuries and the added burden of Champions League football, Eddie Howe faces a daunting task in keeping his team in touch with the top four.

    Chelsea are perhaps the unluckiest side this season, having won just four of their first 12 matches under Mauricio Pochettino, but have finally shown signs in their last two matches – against Tottenham and Manchester City their potential.

    All of the teams promoted last season found the gap between Premier League and Championship football difficult to bridge. Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton have won just one of their opening 12 games each and face a daunting task to retain their top-flight status.

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