Manchester City

No doubt the Champion’s levels have dropped this term.

Injury to Aymeric Laporte and the failure to add replace Vincent Kompany have come back to haunt Pep Guardiola, resulting in 24 league goals conceded.

City have dropped more points already this term than the whole of last season and with Liverpool being so good, something had to give.

Raheem Sterling’s brilliant form will count for nothing as far as the title is concerned and the club’s only salvation will be lifting the Champions League.

Verdict: B-

Strengthen

A central defender would allow Fernandinho to revert back to central midfield allowing more protection to a dodgy defence.

Leicester City’s Jonny Evans at 4/1 is back on City’s radar alongside Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake who is 10/1 to move to the Etihad.

 

Manchester United

Beating the top teams and losing to the lesser sides has been a huge frustration for United fans.

The inconsistency and failure to kill off opponents after going ahead could prove costly in the chase for Champions League spots.

None of this has been helped by the absence of Paul Pogba, despite some of the fuss around him, the Frenchman is head and shoulders above the rest of a squad that badly lacks quality.

Verdict: C

Strengthen

United are crying out for a quality midfield operator to supply service to the strikers.

Juventus star Emre Can is under consideration while Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff is 4/1 to join Manchester United. 

 

Newcastle United

Despite not being a Rafa Benitez clone, Steve Bruce has done a decent job.

He’s had to put up with Joelinton who has been a dreadful addition after losing Saloman Rondon who followed Benitez to China.

Jonjo Shelvey tops the league goal charts with five, that tells its own story of how poor the Toon have been in attack, and that needs addressing this month.

Verdict: C+

Strengthen

The Toon are crying out for a mobile forward who can score goals.

So step forward Jarrod Bowen, the Hull attacker is one of the hottest properties outside the top flight and is 6/1 to move to St James’ Park this window.

 

Norwich

The home win against Manchester City will be the standout result of the Canaries season.

But Sheffield United have so far set the standard for this season’s promoted teams.

Daniel Farke’s side have won just three games and have thrown away points from winning positions against Arsenal, Leicester City, Spurs, Palace and Wolves.

The football has been pleasing on the eye, but the willingness to entertain has been their downfall with far too many costly mistakes made with an immediate return to the Championship looking a certainty.

Verdict: C-

Strengthen

Any additions this month could be made with an instant return to the Premier League in mind.

Genk striker Mbwama Samatta is a target but the cub are braced for bids exciting full-back Max Aarons with Spurs hot on his trail.

 

Sheffield United

It could not have gone any better for the Blades.

You have to feel for last summer’s recruits, apart from Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie, the rest have been kept out the side by the players who got the Blades promoted.

Chris Wilder’s side have no the big boys no respect with their exciting on the front foot brand of football.

They have also passed teams off the park which is a huge compliment to Wilder’s approach to games.

Verdict: A

Strengthen

No better time to bring in new recruits, players will be kicking down the door to get on the Brammall Lane bandwagon.

Wilder may want more goals from his forwards – Mousset and McBurnie have eight league goals between them.

The Blades have been linked with QPR’s exciting Eberechi Eze while Jarrod Bowen is 12/1 to sign from Hull.

 

Southampton

No wins in seven games including the embarrassment that was Leicester City at home, the Saints board could have easily hit the panic button and sacked Ralph Hasenhuttl.

But they held their nerve and have been rewarded with five wins out of eight including three points against Chelsea and Tottenham.

The Saints are much better shape and while new boy Che Adams has flopped, the return to fitness and form of Danny Ings has been a welcome boost.

Ings has hit 13 league goals as his side have climbed the table the table and sit two points outside the top ten.

Verdict: C+

Strengthen

A central defender is a must, Hasenhuttl is tracking Real Valladolid Ghanaian defender Mohammed Salisu.

 

Tottenham

This was supposed to be the season where Spurs kick on and repeat what Liverpool did after losing a Champions League final.

But Pochettino saw the signs months before the loss to Liverpool.

He  warned that the squad needed freshening up yet only added two signings in the summer.

Spurs have looked off the pace and could do with a couple of new faces.

Verdict: C

Strengthen

Same old story, what decent striker wants to be understudy to Harry Kane?

The Paulo Dybala rumour mill has started once again and he is 9/1 to join Spurs this winter.

 

Watford

You know it’s been a shocking season when you are onto your third manager of the season in December.

So up steps Nigel Pearson in his Harry Houdini outfit and all of a sudden Watford look like a decent side after wins over Manchester United, Aston Villa and Wolves.

The Hornets like organised, full of purpose and with a fit and firing Troy Deeney, anything within reason is possible.

Verdict: D

Strengthen

Brazilian kid Joao Pedro has officially joined from Fluminense.

After missing out on Danny Rose in the summer, the Hornets still want a left-back and have been linked with AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez.

 

West Ham

Never let a convincing win against Manchester United fool anyone.

That was the mistake Manuel Pellegrini made in September, three wins and 10 defeats later he was gone.

David Moyes is back in East London and it didn’t take long for the Moyesiah to work his magic with a 4-0 thumping of Bournemouth.

The Scot did a good job under difficult circumstances first time around and should be given the time, latitude and respect to take the club forward on his terms.

Verdict: C-

Strengthen

The Hammers have failed to replace the pace and goals of Marko Arnautovic .

Sebastian Haller and Pablo Fornals have scored seven league gaols between them for a combined fee of £69million.

Olivier Giroud who has been frozen out at Chelsea is on Moyes’ radar.

The French World Cup winner is 8/1 to make the move across London this month.

 

Wolves

Some may have thought Wolves were a one season wonder after a slow start to the current campaign.

But Nuno Espirito Santo has skilfully steered his troops through the choppy waters of the domestic calendar and Europa League to sit seventh with the top four in sight.

They haven’t missed Willy Boly at the back, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho have been excellent again and the Wolves boss can brag about being the man to turn Adama Traore into a serious operator.

Verdict: B-

Strengthen

Wolves are in good shape all over the pitch, but they are tracking young Ecuadorian prospect Leonardo Camapana who is earmarked as one for the future.