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EPL Table 2013 Week 7: Clubs in Position Make a Push After International Break

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28:  Gylfi Sigurdsson of Tottenham Hotspur (22) celebrates in front of fans with Roberto Soldado (L) and Christian Eriksen (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on September 28, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2013

International breaks are the scourge of football.

Just when the European leagues start getting good, World Cup or European Championship qualifiers come along and give you almost nothing to watch on the weekend. It's the worst.

When it comes to the clubs themselves, international breaks can sometimes be a very good thing. It's a chance to regroup and figure out what has and hasn't been working over the last few weeks.

With the Premier League as open as it is, you could see a lot of movement in the next month. The better teams will right the ship, while those near the bottom of the table may claw their way back up the standings.

Here's the EPL table after Saturday's action, followed by three clubs that should see their places improve in the coming weeks.

 

Swansea City

SWANSEA, WALES - OCTOBER 03:  Swansea player Wilfried Bony reacts after a near miss during the UEFA Europa League match between Swansea City and FC St Gallen at Liberty Stadium on October 3, 2013 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Swansea City still have an opportunity to move up to 12th, should they beat Southampton on Sunday. While it's an improvement, it's not where you would have expected the Swans to be at this point in the season.

However, they've had a brutal start to the campaign, playing Tottenham away and Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal at home.

Things will get a little easier for Michael Laudrup. Here are his next five matches after Sunday: vs. Sunderland, vs. West Ham, at Cardiff City, vs. Stoke City and at Fulham. That's about as easy as any five-match stretch will get for Swansea.

The Swans should be able to get in the top half by the end of November. By that time, Wilfried Bony and Michu will have hopefully formed a solid partnership up top. They're both very talented, but you haven't really seen them gelling together on the pitch, much to the detriment of Bony, especially.

 

Tottenham Hotspur

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 22: Paulinho of Tottenham celebrates with team mate Roberto Soldado after scoring the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur at Cardiff City Stadium on September 22, 2013
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

With so many new players coming into the club during the summer, Tottenham were always going to take a little bit of time to get going. Fortunately for them, they've stayed close to the top of the table while their big signings continue bedding into the club.

Although some of his best players will be away on international duty, the break is just more time for Andre Villas-Boas to figure out his best lineup and get his team to play like a more cohesive unit.

Christian Eriksen and Gylfi Sigurdsson could form that link at the top of the attack with Roberto Soldado. We're seeing Soldado get better and better service over the last few weeks.

Spurs' fixture list after the break is a bit kind, as well. Their first match back is away to Aston Villa. Christian Benteke has been battling a groin injury, so there's no telling how healthy he'll be when Villa take the pitch. Fixtures against Hull City and Everton could be tricky, but you'd expect Spurs to walk away with six points.

 

Manchester United

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05:  David Moyes, manager of Manchester United reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at the Stadium of Light on October 5, 2013 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Michael Reg
Michael Regan/Getty Images

David Moyes should be kissing the ground Adnan Januzaj walks on. In his first Premier League start, the 18-year-old midfielder got a brace, almost single-handedly pulling Manchester United through to a 2-1 over Sunderland.

It earned Januzaj Man of the Match honors from his club, via United's Twitter account.

Moyes has had a less than optimal start to the season after taking over for Sir Alex Ferguson. What he needs right now is the international break. That way, United's supporters can complain about Roy Hodgson and England, rather than their beloved club.

Manchester United are obviously much better than their ninth-place standing would have you believe.

They get Southampton and Stoke City at home before traveling to Fulham after the break. Those matches won't be easy, but the Red Devils should be able to get enough points to move up the table and get some of the critics off Moyes' back.

The one problem the manager must figure out is the defense. It looked shambolic again at times against Sunderland, and something has to be done with Rio Ferdinand.

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