Premier League Mid-Season Review: Who Will Win?

The 2022-23 Premier League season was sure to be full of surprises. Between a record summer transfer window bill of nearly £1.9 billion, a number of clubs hiring new managers and the interruption caused by the first-ever winter World Cup, it was difficult to forecast how the season would unfold.

Manchester City, the winner of four of the last five editions, were heavy favorites coming in (listed at -150 odds per NBC Sports). Twenty-five games in, they sit just two points behind the leading Arsenal. However, for the three next favorites – Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea, respectively – this season has been anything but up to their lofty standards. Elsewhere, shock performances from less historically successful clubs like Brighton, Brentford and Fulham, alongside giants Manchester United and Arsenal’s return to prominence, have been big storylines thus far. Overall, this year’s edition of the Premier League has certainly been up to par. As clubs shift their focus to the second half of the season, it is certain to be a wild finish. 

Separated by just eight points, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have distanced themselves from the rest of the league at the top of the rankings. While Manchester City was expected to be in this position, Arsenal and United had much lower predicted achievements coming into the season. 

Led by manager Mikel Arteta, a former club legend whom many fans wanted to be fired prior to the season, Arsenal has only suffered three defeats for the entire year, the second lowest in the league. With a combination of young stars such as winger Bukayo Saka and midfielder Martin Odegaard, Arsenal is in a prime position to win their first Premier League title in nearly 20 years. Once considered one of the best teams in all of Europe, Arsenal has been through a period of turmoil over the last few years. However, the Gunners have completely broken out of their recent slump this year and have returned to their once-prominent position.

Following back-to-back losses to start the year, Manchester United has undergone a shocking turnaround led by English winger Marcus Rashford, who sits third in the league with 14 goals. Summer additions improved United’s depth in all areas. After a ten-year drought without a league title, they have an outside chance to break that spell this year. Overall, these three clubs have certainly been the best throughout the season, and while they are all nearly guaranteed a top-four position, they are sure to have their sights set on bigger goals.

Below the top three, there are a number of clubs bunched together. For Brighton and Fulham, two clubs with pessimistic expectations coming into the year, it is certain that this season has already been a massive success. Newcastle could also be added to that group, with just two losses on the year (though they have recorded 11 draws). While they finished a respectable 11th last season, the club was purchased by a Saudi consortium and thus were given an incredible amount of new financial flexibility to buy new players, such as midfield maestro Bruno Guimaraes, who has been the key to Newcastle’s success this year. As the money continues to come in, Newcastle is a sure bet to be competing for titles in future seasons as well. 

Two of the biggest disappointments in the league this year are Chelsea and Liverpool. Chelsea fired their manager Thomas Tuchel just a few weeks into the year due to poor results, and his replacement, Graham Potter, has been unable to right the ship. Liverpool was perhaps the club most affected by the compacted schedule due to the World Cup, as many of their players represented their country and their squad depth was significantly diminished.

On an individual level, perhaps the two biggest stories in the league this year have been two polarizing Manchester strikers, Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo. Haaland, a Norwegian striker for Manchester City, has recorded an incredible 27 goals so far this year and is on pace to completely rewrite the Premier League goal-scoring record books. He became the fastest player in league history to score 20 goals and also became the first player to ever score a hat trick in three successive home games

Ronaldo, on the other hand, has made headlines for very different reasons. One of the greatest players of all time, the 38-year-old became frustrated with United’s new manager, Erik ten Hag, when he was benched early in the season. Tensions continued to rise, and Ronaldo scheduled an interview with Piers Morgan where he bashed the club, ten Hag and some of his own teammates. Following the interview, his contract was terminated by mutual consent, and he made a high-profile move to Saudi club Al-Nassr. Despite Ronaldo’s legend status in the club, not to mention his legend status in soccer as a whole, United’s incredible run since he left has made many fans believe that they are better off without him and happy that he left the club. 

While Haaland is certainly the odds-on favorite to win PFA Player of the Year (awarded to the best player in the league), Odegaard and Rashford certainly have arguments as well, and it may ultimately come down to which club wins the league. With about 14 match days left in the season, we are certain to have an electric finish to the race for the title, relegation and clubs in between who look to build for next season.