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Premier League status report on all 20 teams: Title race, European places, relegation battle

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Could De Bruyne injury derail Man City's title challenge? (1:10)

Julien Laurens feels losing Kevin De Bruyne could seriously hinder Manchester City's title hopes. (1:10)

The midweek round of fixtures sees the majority of Premier League clubs enter the home stretch of the 2020-21 season, with 12 of 20 teams passing the halfway stage of the campaign.

It has been one of the most unpredictable seasons in Premier League history, with a combination of the late start in September, a congested fixture list and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic leading to several surprise results and a title race so tight that just 11 points separate leaders Manchester United from Southampton in 10th position.

So what can we expect from the second half of the season? ESPN has assessed the prospects of all 20 Premier League clubs, running from the top to the bottom ahead of the midweek games, as they prepare to chase their targets between now and the end of the season on May 23.

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1. MAN UNITED
(40 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team ended the first half of the season as surprise Premier League leaders after taking just one point from their first four home games. United are unbeaten away from home in the league since they lost 2-0 at Liverpool on Jan. 19 last year, and they will set a club record of 18 away league games without defeat if they emerge with a win or draw from Saturday's trip to Arsenal. It could have been better, but United are title challengers for the first time since their last success in 2013.

What needs to change?

United's home form must improve if they are to win the title. Maintaining their incredible form on the road will be a challenge, so if they begin to falter away from home, it is crucial that they begin to win regularly at Old Trafford. Solskjaer's team must also start to win against their title rivals, having failed to beat any of the top five so far this season.

Any ins or outs this week?

No arrivals, although Amad Diallo arrived earlier this month following his October signing from Atalanta. Jesse Lingard will leave, but fitness issues are likely to prevent a move for Phil Jones.

Where will they finish? 2nd

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2. MAN CITY
(38 points, 18 games)

Season so far

City made their worst start to a season since 2009 and dropped to 11th after losing to Spurs on Nov. 21, but they are unbeaten since that defeat and were due to travel to West Brom on Tuesday with top spot up for grabs with a win. Saturday's FA Cup win at Cheltenham saw City record their 10th successive victory in all competitions.

What needs to change?

Pep Guardiola's team have ironed out their early-season defensive flaws and are now scoring freely again, but Sergio Aguero's fitness problems have left them without a reliable striker. At some point, they will need to resolve that issue, either by getting Aguero fit or finding a way to get more from Gabriel Jesus.

Any ins or outs this week?

Nothing on the agenda, although City could turn Scott Carson's loan from Derby County into a permanent deal for the third-choice keeper.

Where will they finish? 1st

3. LEICESTER CITY
(38 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Having missed out on Champions League qualification on the final day of last season, Leicester have bounced back impressively, with Brendan Rodgers' team briefly climbing to the top with a 2-0 win at home to Chelsea last week. Leicester are once again in the mix with the division's "Big Six."

What needs to change?

Leicester are unbeaten in eight games in all competitions and looking strong, but last season's form nosedived in the second half of the campaign due to injuries to key players. This time around, they simply have to hope that the likes of James Maddison, Wesley Fofana and Wilfred Ndidi stay fit, especially now that Jamie Vardy is facing a spell on the sidelines following a hernia surgery.

Any ins or outs this week?

Demarai Gray could move to Crystal Palace, but new arrivals are unlikely.

Where will they finish? 4th

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4. LIVERPOOL
(34 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Jurgen Klopp's team claimed top spot in mid-December with a 2-1 win at home to Spurs and seemed set to race clear of the pack once again, but the wheels have come off spectacularly since that victory, with both wins and goals drying up. Liverpool could drop to as low as seventh this week if they lose at Spurs on Thursday.

What needs to change?

Liverpool need to get the goals flowing again: Klopp's team has gone 438 minutes without a Premier League goal. A new centre-half to cover for the loss to injury of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez has become a necessity, but there's no obvious solution to that problem.

Any ins or outs this week?

Klopp wants a centre-half to ease the defensive problems, but a loan signing is the only likely option and Liverpool have yet to identify the right man.

Where will they finish? 3rd

5. TOTTENHAM
(33 points, 18 games)

Season so far

Spurs have been consistently inconsistent and their form has been particularly patchy since the December defeat at Liverpool, when Jose Mourinho's team missed the chance to go clear at the top following Roberto Firmino's late winner. The attacking partnership of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, who have scored 24 of Tottenham's 33 Premier League goals this season between them, has kept Mourinho's team in touch with the leaders.

What needs to change?

Spurs need to find goals from elsewhere in the team to avoid their prospects being at the mercy of Kane's and Son's fitness. Defensively, Spurs are impressive, but a lack of flair threatens to hold them back, Mourinho really needs Gareth Bale to find fitness and form to help Spurs push for the title.

Any ins or outs this week?

Paris Saint-Germain could make a move for Dele Alli, while Mourinho is keen to rival West Ham for Manchester United's Jesse Lingard.

Where will they finish? 5th

6. EVERTON
(32 points, 17 games)

Season so far

Everton are enjoying their best season since David Moyes guided them to fourth spot in 2004-05, and there is a belief within Goodison Park that Carlo Ancelotti can emulate Moyes by securing Champions League football.

What needs to change?

Everton have lost three of their last five home games in the league and need to rediscover their early season Goodison Park form to maintain hopes of a top-four finish. Dominic Calvert-Lewin needs to hit the goal trail again, too, having failed to score in the league since netting his 11th of the season against Burnley on Dec. 5.

Any ins or outs this week?

Striker Cenk Tosun could be on the way out to CSKA Moscow.

Where will they finish? 7th

7. WEST HAM
(32 points, 19 games)

Season so far

West Ham reached the halfway stage just two points adrift of the top four, with David Moyes' team seven games unbeaten in all competitions. Five players have appeared in every league game so far, and that consistency of selection has enabled Moyes to build from a solid base at the London Stadium.

What needs to change?

If West Ham are to challenge for European qualification, they have to find a way to beat the top teams. Out of the top 10 at the midway point, West Ham have only managed to beat Leicester and Aston Villa, but they face out-of-form Liverpool at home on Sunday, which would be a perfect opportunity to land a blow on the heavyweights.

Any ins or outs this week?

Moyes wants to make at least two new signings, with Manchester United's Jesse Lingard at the top of his list.

Where will they finish? 10th

8. ASTON VILLA
(29 points, 17 games)

Season so far

Having avoided relegation in the final week of last season, Villa have been one of the surprise teams of this campaign, with October's 7-2 home win against Liverpool a particular highlight. Jack Grealish's performances in midfield have been a catalyst for Villa.

What needs to change?

Villa's priority this season was to avoid another relegation battle, so they have already exceeded expectations. But Villa, European champions in 1982, are a huge club with big ambitions and will want to qualify for Europe. For that to happen, they need Grealish to stay fit and Ollie Watkins to hit at least 20 league goals.

Any ins or outs this week?

Villa are close to sealing a £14 million deal for Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson, who will replace Conor Hourihane following his loan move to Swansea.

Where will they finish? 9th

9. CHELSEA
(29 points, 19 games)

Season so far

The sacking of manager Frank Lampard this week tells you all you need to know about Chelsea's season so far: not good enough, in terms of results or performances by star players, including expensive summer signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.

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What needs to change?

Thomas Tuchel is the man lined up to replace Lampard, and he will inherit a strong squad, blended with youthful promise and experience, but the German needs to inspire Werner and Havertz to find their form as well as bring some organisation to their defence.

Any ins or outs this week?

Tuchel is likely to be the only new face.

Where will they finish? 6th

10. SOUTHAMPTON
(29 points, 18 games)

Season so far

Ralph Hasenhuttl has made Southampton a dangerous team whose capabilities were highlighted when beating Liverpool at St. Mary's earlier this month. But their inconsistency is why they're in mid-table.

What needs to change?

Southampton's best run this season was a sequence of three successive league wins in October/November, but the Saints have been unable to sustain any consistency. Resolving that, and finding more goals from the team to share the load with striker Danny Ings, are crucial to hopes of a top-10 finish.

Any ins or outs this week?

Any transfer business at St. Mary's is unlikely.

Where will they finish? 11th

11. ARSENAL
(27 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Arsenal have endured their worst start to a season since 1974 and remain in the bottom half, proof of what has been a dismal campaign so far. Despite their poor form, Arsenal still remain within touching distance of the top four.

What needs to change?

Every area needs to improve, but four wins from their last five league games have hinted at Arsenal turning a corner. Mikel Arteta's team need more from star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but a win against Manchester United on Saturday could be a catalyst for a surge into the European qualification spots.

Any ins or outs this week?

Martin Odegaard is set to sign on loan from Real Madrid, joining Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan as an arrival at the Emirates until the end of the season. Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have left this month, becoming free agents and joining Fenerbahce and Olympiakos respectively.

Where will they finish? 8th

12. LEEDS UNITED
(23 points, 18 games)

Season so far

Leeds have brought excitement and entertainment to the Premier League in their first campaign at the top level since 2003-04, but Marcelo Bielsa's team have also given us some of the worst defending of the season.

What needs to change?

Leeds need to defend much better and learn how to make a game safe, but that's simply not the Bielsa way and there is little chance of the enigmatic Argentine coach changing his philosophy. Leeds should have enough points in the bank to avoid a relegation battle, but expect more extreme highs and lows.

Any ins or outs this week?

No plans to change the squad.

Where will they finish? 14th

13. CRYSTAL PALACE
(23 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Having ended last season with seven defeats and a draw from their final eight games, Palace looked doomed to a relegation battle this time around, but Roy Hodgson's team have avoided that fate and are comfortably hovering in mid-table.

What needs to change?

Palace have picked up their wins against teams they would regard as fellow strugglers, with the exception of an early-season win at Manchester United, so they will stay out of trouble if they maintain that trend. But some wins against the top 10 would give Palace hope of a top-half finish.

Any ins or outs this week?

Incomings are unlikely, but striker Christian Benteke could be sold to West Brom

Where will they finish? 13th

14. WOLVES
(22 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Wolves have been one of the big disappointments of this season, with Nuno Espirito Santo's team failing to challenge for the European spots. The summer sales of Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty, plus the long-term injury suffered by striker Raul Jimenez, have hit Wolves hard.

What needs to change?

With just one win in their last nine league games, a spell that included six defeats, Wolves simply have to steady the ship and start winning again. They have just 10 goals during that run, which has coincided with Jimenez's absence with a fractured skull; finding a new goal scorer is crucial.

Any ins or outs this week?

Brazilian striker Willian Jose has arrived on loan from Real Sociedad to cover for Jimenez.

Where will they finish? 12th

15. BURNLEY
(19 points, 18 games)

Season so far

Burnley collected just two points from their first seven league games and looked doomed to relegation, but history has shown that Sean Dyche's team always prove the doubters wrong and, once again, the Clarets have bounced back and are now seven points clear of the drop zone, fresh off ending Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten home run last week.

What needs to change?

Burnley always need more goals, but they still manage to get the job done with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood shouldering the burden. New ownership may unlock funds for squad additions, but the Burnley ethos is unlikely to change too much in the months ahead.

Any ins or outs this week?

No plans for changes.

Where will they finish? 15th

16. NEWCASTLE UNITED
(19 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Steve Bruce's team are dropping towards the relegation zone and have scored just two goals in their last seven league games. Calls for the manager to go are getting louder with every defeat.

What needs to change?

Owner Mike Ashley is unprepared to commit further sums to strengthen Bruce's squad, so the manager must revive his team with the players he has and too many are not good enough for the Premier League. Callum Wilson has Newcastle afloat with eight league goals so far, but he hasn't scored since mid-December.

Any ins or outs this week?

Newcastle were interested in PSV Eindhoven defender and United States youth international Chris Gloster, though the club were advised that he wouldn't qualify for a UK work permit at present, meaning any pursuit might have to wait.

Where will they finish? 18th

17. BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
(17 points, 19 games)

Season so far

The Seagulls are still waiting for their first win of the season at home, with all three of their victories coming away from the AmEx Stadium. Graham Potter's side remain outside the bottom three, but Wednesday's home game against third-bottom Fulham could be crucial.

What needs to change?

It's pretty simple, really: Brighton need to start winning at home! If they collect all three points against Fulham on Wednesday, they will open an eight-point gap between themselves and Scott Parker's team, so it is arguably the biggest game of the season for both teams.

Any ins or outs this week?

Manager Graham Potter wants to reduce his 28-man squad, but no new signings likely.

Where will they finish? 16th

18. FULHAM
(12 points, 18 games)

Season so far

Promoted via the Championship playoffs last season, Fulham have struggled to acclimatise to the top flight and have won just twice. Scott Parker's team have been stuck in the bottom three all season.

What needs to change?

Without a win since November, Fulham at least managed to stem the tide with five successive draws in December and January, but they need wins and goals. A win at Brighton on Wednesday would give Fulham hope of survival.

Any ins or outs this week?

Parker said this week that Fulham are "not remotely close" to any signings.

Where will they finish? 17th

19. WEST BROM
(11 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Slaven Bilic was sacked as manager in December after winning just one league game following promotion last season. Sam Allardyce has since come in and earned just four points from six games, so the survival specialist seems on course to suffer his first relegation as a manager.

What needs to change?

Six points adrift of safety and with the worst defensive record in the division (43 goals conceded), West Brom need Allardyce to repeat the miraculous escapes he has achieved in the past with Bolton and Sunderland.

Any ins or outs this week?

Expect a busy few days of ins and outs with Allardyce in charge.

Where will they finish? 19th

20. SHEFFIELD UNITED
(5 points, 19 games)

Season so far

Disastrous is the only word for it. The Blades recorded the worst start to a top-flight season in English football history, dating back to 1888, and are 12 points adrift of safety having collected just five points and one win so far.

What needs to change?

With just 10 goals, Chris Wilder's team have, by some distance, the weakest attack in the league, so they simply have to find a way to score more goals and offer a greater threat. Rhian Brewster, a £23.5m summer signing from Liverpool, has yet to score in 15 league games.

Any ins or outs this week?

Wigan striker Kyle Joseph is the top target, with Wilder also trying to persuade Jesse Lingard to leave Manchester United for Bramall Lane.

Where will they finish? 20th