Every English Premier League Team's Biggest Flaw

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterOctober 29, 2012

Every English Premier League Team's Biggest Flaw

0 of 20

    Nine games under the belt for English Premier League teams, and the cracks are showing.

    Bleacher Report analyses each team's biggest flaw, be it a team's leaky defence, profligate attack or a manager's tactical inadequacies.

    Some are fixable with recruitment in the January transfer window, while others require immediate attention.

    Enjoy the slideshow!


1 of 20


    The phrase "any given Saturday" would apply direct to Arsenal were it ever used.

    The inconsistent nature of this team is maddening. It must irk Arsene Wenger that his troops can be phenomenal one week but drab the next.

    The Gunners absolutely stormed West Ham in their 3-1 victory at Upton Park but followed it up with consecutive losses to Norwich and Schalke.

    Earlier in the season, their five-game unbeaten run came to an end after surrendering a lead to Chelsea at home.

Aston Villa

2 of 20

    Lack of overall quality

    Last season, Alex McLeish constantly bemoaned his lack of options. Aston Villa had a tiny squad consisting of youth players, giving the Scot little chance of rotating his troops.

    This season, Paul Lambert sought to fix that. He recruited nine players in the summer transfer window to give himself some different possibilities, but overall the squad lacks quality.

    Clear-cut chances are at a premium right now, and the full-backs, while youthful and full of potential, need to adapt quickly to the English Premier League.


3 of 20

    Lack of rotation

    Despite winning the UEFA Champions League, a fair portion of Chelsea fans aren't too happy with their current manager.

    His reluctance to rotate his squad is a primary concern. In the English Premier League, Cesar Azpilicueta, Daniel Sturridge, Marko Marin Oriol Romeu and Victor Moses haven't mustered a single start between them.

    All five are good enough to start EPL games. Roberto Di Matteo needs to look at involving these five to keep the harmony and to make sure the players playing every game don't burn out later on.


4 of 20

    Central midfield

    Last week, I spoke of Everton's need to recruit a central midfielder in January and postulated Jordy Clasie would be the ideal purchase.

    The Merseyside derby did nothing to dissuade me from this opinion, as both Phil Neville and Leon Osman showed their good and bad sides.

    The Toffees are becoming over-reliant on Marouane Fellaini as a quick out-ball. They need someone who can dictate the tempo of the game from the middle.


5 of 20

    They're a selling club

    Fulham have been threatening to mount a challenge on the top four for several seasons but simply can't hold on to their players long enough to build a star-studded squad.

    The Cottagers have recruited so well over the past four seasons but suffer constant setbacks as their big-name players seek pastures new.

    Losing Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey was a serious blow this summer.


6 of 20

    Teething issues

    There's no doubt Brendan Rodgers has a long-term future at Liverpool and that his passing blueprint will succeed.

    It takes time to implement, so it's lucky the Reds fans are some of the most supportive in the league. Other clubs may not be so tolerant.

    Liverpool average 468 short passes per game under Rodgers as his revolution continues, but some silly mistakes and bad decisions hinder his game plan.

    Time should see these ironed out.

Manchester City

7 of 20

    Too much tinkering

    Manchester City's defence was formidable last season, with a world-class Vincent Kompany leading a stout defensive line capable of shutting out any team in Europe.

    Roberto Mancini tried to mix things up in preseason by introducing a 3-5-2 formation, which is a good move on paper—you need to stay ahead of the game and stop people working you out.

    Unfortunately, it's confused everyone at the Etihad stadium, and City have leaked goals all season. Joe Hart has just two clean sheets from 13 games in total.

Manchester United

8 of 20

    Conceding at home

    Hopefully, this is a problem that will be fixed upon return of the regular central defensive corps.

    Manchester United's defensive record at Old Trafford has gone south. The Red Devils have recorded just two home clean sheets this season against Galatasaray and Wigan, conceding 10 goals in total.

    They've been falling behind at home too, with Stoke, Braga, Tottenham and Fulham all taking the initiative against Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Newcastle United

9 of 20

    Can't kill games off

    Newcastle United can't hold onto leads this season. They're suffering under the weight of expectation following a wonderful season last year, but they're not playing badly at all.

    A big reason for their fantastic displays last year was the goalscoring prowess of Papiss Cisse, but he's been unable to replicate elite form so far.

    Demba Ba keeps scoring, Newcastle keep taking the lead and putting themselves in great positions. They just can't hold on.

Norwich City

10 of 20

    Lack of quality

    Norwich's problem is identical to the one Aston Villa face—an overall lack of quality.

    The Canaries have a large squad with plenty of options for rotation but simply weren't able to recruit quality additions during the summer window.

    Chris Hughton's side showed on Saturday against 10-man Villa that they really struggle to break teams down.

Queens Park Rangers

11 of 20


    A complete and utter lack of confidence is holding Queens Park Rangers to the foot of the table.

    Their squad, barring central defensive, is among the deepest in the English Premier League and should be carrying a mid-table position.

    Additions such as Park Ji-Sung and Junior Hoilett were wise moves, and Mark Hughes will still be in shock that his team is winless with just three points accrued.


12 of 20

    Manager's tactics

    Reading are currently overcoming their lack of genuine quality with a strong team spirit and fighting attitude.

    Unfortunately, Brian McDermott has some catching up to do with regard to English Premier League management.

    He's got the Royals playing the exact same way they won the Championship last season, and surrendering possession to play exclusively on the counterattack just doesn't work at the top level.


13 of 20


    Pretty simple, isn't it?

    Southampton have conceded a league-high 26 goals in nine matches, an average of 2.8 per game.

    Jos Hooiveld and Jose Fonte continue to prove they are not a reliable central defensive pairing at this level, while Daniel Fox is perhaps the weakest link in the back line.

    Maya Yoshida has been brought in to upgrade the defence, but he hasn't seen consistent playing time in his favoured position yet.

Stoke City

14 of 20


    Stoke just haven't changed. They're an established English Premier League club and haven't managed to alter their game at all in four years.

    It doesn't matter how many clean sheets you keep if you can't stick it in the net, and three goalless draws so far this season point to problems up front.

    Famed for a formidable defence, ridiculed for a lack of attacking prowess.


15 of 20

    Sharing the load

    Would anybody else like to score a goal for Sunderland?

    Five goals from Steven Fletcher and one Demba Ba own goal account for all of the Black Cats' league strikes this season, and while there's nothing wrong with having a certified stud up front, you need to ease the load sometimes.

    Adam Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean will be expected to chip in soon.

Swansea City

16 of 20


    Michael Laudrup has overseen some really good games and some really, really bad games as Swansea manager this season.

    Their start was fantastic, as they led the English Premier League table in the opening weeks, but a 2-0 loss at Aston Villa brought them back to earth.

    Disappointing results followed before beating Wigan and putting in a great showing away to Manchester City.

    Why are the Swans bipolar?

Tottenham Hotspur

17 of 20

    Over-reliance on certain players

    This is an understandable weakness. Who in the world can cope without their best performer(s)?

    The Chelsea match showed us just how important Moussa Dembele is to this team, but even more frightening was that no one else on the Tottenham roster can fulfill his role.

    Andre Villas-Boas plays a flexible, demanding 4-3-3 formation, and it's arguable that Tom Huddlestone isn't suited to it.

    Spurs really stutter without their Belgian playmaker.

West Brom

18 of 20

    Keeping Romelu Lukaku on the bench

    Steve Clarke is enjoying a good start to life as West Bromwich Albion boss but still has weak links in an otherwise talented side.

    When he managed to acquire the loan signing of Chelsea striker Lukaku over the summer, half the English Premier League teams probably said, "Why didn't we think of that?"

    The Belgian is, simply put, a beast. He needs games and time to develop. If WBA give him a month in the side, he'll repay them with goal after goal.

West Ham

19 of 20

    Over-reliance on Andy Carroll

    Before the Liverpool striker's loan went through, West Ham were struggling for goals through Carlton Cole.

    The England international has looked bright early on in his temporary spell at Upton Park, but already it seems Sam Allardyce has developed a penchant for pinning his hopes on the former Newcastle man.

Wigan Athletic

20 of 20


    Roberto Martinez has said his side are very close to something special, and I tend to agree with him there.

    The 3-4-3 formation Wigan play negates the importance of a world-class central midfielder, which the Latics lack, and places more importance on wide players.

    It's a smart system to use considering the financial restraints in place at the club, but it also requires a quality lone striker.

    Arouna Kone looks OK, but has missed a fair few one vs. ones. Franco Di Santo is not the one.




    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored?