Calling Hot or Not on All 20 Premier League Clubs

Stan Collymore@@StanCollymoreFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2013

Calling Hot or Not on All 20 Premier League Clubs

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    This is a key time of the year for all 20 Premier League clubs. It's a season within a season, and what happens during this period can have a big impact on how the rest of the campaign pans out.

    Games come thick and fast. If you get good results, the momentum can pick you up and carry through all the way to May. If you don't, the opposite can happen.

    So who's hot and who's not? Here's my take on every club and where they stand right now. Some are white hot and on the right course; others are in danger of freezing up and losing their Premier League status altogether.


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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Verdict: Luke warm

    The Gunners went three league games without a win before beating West Ham, but those were against tough opposition in Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea.

    The big question I had about Arsenal was whether they could cope if Olivier Giroud wasn't scoring. I think they answered that at West Ham, with Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski delivering the goals.

    Having Podolski back is huge for Arsenal.

Aston Villa

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    Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    Verdict: Ice cold

    I'm desperately worried for Villa. Four back-to-back losses put them in the ice cold category, and they have the worst home record in all four divisions of English football.

    I was there against Crystal Palace and heard the boos ring out for Paul Lambert's team. They've hit the skids and are in real trouble.

    Christian Benteke's absence has hurt them. You wonder if he's injured, or whether he has the kind of "transfer" injury that will culminate in his departure come January.

Cardiff City

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Verdict: Cold

    The shambles at Cardiff have been brought on entirely by their owner Vincent Tan. He's an absolute disgrace who shouldn't be allowed to own a football club. His sacking of Malky Mackay proves it further.

    Don't blame Malky. Uncertainty off the pitch brings uncertainty on it.

    Southampton had one win in six going to Cardiff but won there and kept a clean sheet. That's a worrying sign for the rest of Cardiff's season and their hopes of staying afloat.


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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Verdict: Luke warm

    Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool are all playing sexy football, while Jose Mourinho is threatening to bore his way to the title with Chelsea.

    Mourinho, the arch-pragmatist, knows only one way. Chelsea were my pick for the title at the start of the season, but they're not winning anybody over with the way they're playing.

Crystal Palace

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    Verdict: Hot

    Palace needed a new philosophy to survive, and they've been given one by Tony Pulis. He's made them hard to beat and taken nine points from the last 15 on offer—with three wins from five.

    His players will be aching for the next match now. They can set the tone for the rest of their season in the coming days and weeks.


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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Verdict: Hot

    Everton's loss against Sunderland was their first defeat in 11 matches. They were down to 10 men, and we shouldn't write too much into it. Things are good at Goodison.

    I thought it would take Roberto Martinez much longer to instil his approach at the club, but he's achieved remarkable success in a short period. I think they'll finish fifth this season, and that will represent a very good first season for Martinez.


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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Verdict: Bubbling up

    Rene Meulensteen arrived at Fulham and put an arm around Dimitar Berbatov. He's got him playing well and others too—including veteran midfielders Scott Parker and Giorgos Karagounis.

    There are signs Fulham are moving in the right direction and becoming harder to play against. I predict a midtable finish for them.


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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Verdict: Going off the boil

    I understand Steve Bruce wants to make his team hard to beat, but they need to be more proactive and aggressive against the teams around them—especially at home.

    Bruce plays five in midfield, but the wing-backs don't get forward enough. They've not won in five games, and if he doesn't start taking some risks going forward, they're in danger of getting relegated.


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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Verdict: Red hot

    Brendan Rodgers' team are peaking at precisely the right time. They have the best player in the world right now in Luis Suarez, and the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling are stepping up in support.

    Even in defeat, Liverpool put up a very encouraging performance against Manchester City. This is the best side they've had in seven or eight years.

Manchester City

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    Verdict: White hot

    City are THE team in form right now. Crucially, Joe Hart is back in the side and playing well, while Vincent Kompany is delivering the kind of stability we've come to expect from him in defence.

    Meanwhile, Alvaro Negredo is scoring goals. Manuel Pellegrini's team are top in every category apart from the Premier League table itself. Like Liverpool, they're peaking at precisely the right time.

Manchester United

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Verdict: Hot

    I was one of only a few pundits who didn't write United off during their bad spell. I maintain they'll achieve a top-four finish in David Moyes' first season, and there are signs that things are clicking at Old Trafford.

    Wayne Rooney has been good to his word. He said he'd let his football do the talking, and he's done exactly that.

    I still think United are vulnerable defensively. They need a world-class central defender, along with a world-class central midfielder, to get back to where they once were.

Newcastle United

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Verdict: Hot

    Bar Man City, no team has been better at home than Newcastle of late. They demolished Stoke at the weekend and there's a swagger back that Toon Army fans will be revelling in.

    They're not quite back to the Kevin Keegan days, but there is plenty to be optimistic about in their attractive football. I think Newcastle will maintain their form to achieve a Europa League spot.

    They still need another striker in my opinion. Loic Remy has been scoring goals, but they can't afford to rely solely on the Frenchman in that area.

Norwich City

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Verdict: Luke warm

    I like Chris Hughton a lot, but Norwich have only taken eight points from the last 18 on offer and won once in their last five games. That, despite Gary Hooper having scored in four consecutive home games.

    They were a goalscoring team under Paul Lambert, but Hughton has tried to make them tighter defensively. He's not quite getting the results, and Norwich will be there or thereabouts when it comes to the relegation fight this season.


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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Verdict: Hot

    Southampton's win at Cardiff was vital. Before that, all of the good work they did early in the season was coming undone—in a run of four defeats in six games. But there are signs they are coming good again.

    I'm a great believer in how one result can change your season. They played well in their 3-2 home loss to Spurs, and the 3-0 win at Cardiff can reignite what they had going before. Expect Saints to resume their challenge for a top-six finish.

Stoke City

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Verdict: Luke warm

    I am a bit worried for Stoke. They've had a couple of decent results lately—against Chelsea and Villa—but they are not going to score enough goals to be comfortable this season.

    When you look at their squad I just don't think they have enough to go on a three-game winning streak. Any team that can't do that will be in the mire come the end of the campaign.


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    Paul Thomas/Getty Images

    Verdict: Warming up

    As a player in the dressing room, going somewhere like Everton and winning is magical. It can make frightened players into lions and set a new course for your team.

    Sunderland have some tough games coming up against Cardiff and Villa—two teams who are desperate for results. I expect Gus Poyet's team to go on a run now, however, and I think they might have enough to pull themselves up and survive this season.


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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Verdict: Cold

    The Europa League has killed Swansea this season. They've missed Michu and have won just once in their last six Premier League matches.

    For me, they've gone cold.


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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    Verdict: Luke warm

    Tim Sherwood went 4-4-2 in the first game in charge at Southampton and won the game, but then failed to deliver at home against West Brom.

    They need to do much, much better with creativity and score more goals. I don't think they'll be in the top four come May, and I think they need to bring in an experienced manager with a philosophy to take them forward.

West Brom

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Verdict: Cold

    West Brom have hit the buffers at the wrong time. Keith Downing is a man I know well from my playing days. He understands the game and is a good, honest guy, but they need a manager who can steady the ship.

    Bringing in somebody just as an adrenaline injection won't work.

West Ham

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    Verdict: Luke warm

    I think Sam Allardyce is the right man to keep West Ham up this season. Their biggest problem is having put all their eggs in the Andy Carroll basket.

    One win in their last five home games is worrying, but Big Sam knows what to do to keep the Hammers in the top flight.