By Thinh ‘Thomas’ Vo ’25 and Hezekiah Benson ’26
We are officially halfway through the 2022/2023 Premier League Season! With the February into March grind approaching, here is our take on how things will play out, as we consider which teams have the best chance of making the top four and earning a chance to fight for the Champions League next season.
Arsenal is our pick to win the league. They have a sturdily built, deep squad, including young players with great potential and veterans yearning to taste glory at least once before they leave the club. Bukayo Saka has been an inspirational young player at Arsenal, scoring 6 goals and producing 6 assists with only 17 matches played. He will continue to play a key role in this Arsenal side, as will his teammates and friends Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli. This attacking trio, complimented by Jésus at center forward, is the best in the league when in top form. Additionally, Arsenal’s veteran players, like Granit Xhaka, are bringing experience to the side. Xhaka is relishing his new role as a more offensive midfielder, and although he is approaching the latter part of his career, he still brings determination and hunger. Xhaka has been leading and inspiring his teammates like a captain of a ship out at sea, a ship soon to find land. Arsenal very well could land smoothly, and who knows, maybe they’ll discover a new home full of promises.
2- Manchester City
Manchester City have won the league 3 of the last 4 years, however this year may prove to be different.
At the start of the season, things were running fairly smoothly. Manchester City started near the top of the league and their new signing, Erling Haaland, was surely the best City player: Haaland is a powerful Norwegian striker who is an expert goal scorer. The young talent proved his worth at the Etihad, becoming the fastest individual to score three hat-tricks. He is also the first player in the league’s history to score three successive hat-tricks in home games and after just 18 games, he’s already scored 21 goals. Perhaps City’s most notable game was against none other than Manchester United this past October. The game seemed to perfectly define the state of the club: the team looked unstoppable, scoring mountains of goals, holding off their opponents, moving up the field so rapidly with pin point passes, DeBruyne delivering, Haaland scoring…. and then winning not so convincingly. Despite obliterating United 5-0 after 45 minutes, they conceded three goals in the second half and scored just one more, more of a meek second half than anything else. That’s not to mention Man City just to lost to United last Matchweek, by a score of 2-1. Yet again they led, and yet again they dropped off.
Take their loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League Semi Finals last year: they won the first leg in a bizarrely entertaining game, 4-3, a match that could’ve been won by a margin of three or four goals. City then continued to outplay Real Madrid in Leg 2, away at the Bernabeu. With Real’s fans’ apprehension growing as the minutes ticked by, it seemed their side would have to continue the fight for title number 14 in the next season. The belief in Real wavered so greatly, that the fans of arguably the most successful side in club football history began to leave.
Then Rodrygo scored.
And then just a minute later, he scored again.
All of a sudden, Manchester City were vulnerable. They held Real off, but only for so long. Incomprehensibly, Real Madrid won.
City’s depth may be the best in the world, with practically their second tier team (save for a pass maestro by the name of Rodri, and arguably a few others) thrashing Chelsea 4-0, yet they are still behind Arsenal. Can they catch them? It’s certainly debatable, but right now Arsenal look stronger.
3- Manchester United
Prior to the World Cup break, Manchester United were falling apart. Cristiano Ronaldo was either solemnly watching his team from the sidelines or simply out of the picture, Anthony Martial wasn’t scoring as much as he should, and promising victories were soon followed by disastrous losses, including that 6-3 defeat to their archrivals Man City. All this time the man at the helm has been Eric Ten Hag, appointed in April 2022. Ten Hag has brought new signings to the team including Antony, Casemiro, Lisandro Martínez, and Christian Eriksen. All of these new players have contributed greatly to the squad depth. This has been proven as Man United improve each matchweek, and are getting closer and closer to the top of the table. Man United have had a successful post World Cup run, including a great match against Man City in which Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scored and United’s committed philosophy culminated in a comeback win. You can count on them to book their spot for season 2023/24, and who knows? With Ronaldo at his new Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr, we may have some contenders for next year’s title on our hands if Casemiro and Rashford stay sharp. With all that has happened, it seems logical to conclude that their best possible finish is at number 3 in the league, but in the words of one of the team’s defenders, Raphael Varane, “Everything is possible.”
4- Newcastle United
In their 6th consecutive season in the Premier League, Eddie Howe and his roster have had a solid run of wins at the start of the season, propelling them ahead of Liverpool, Tottenham, and Chelsea, and very well positioned in the top 4 race. They are also ahead of Manchester United at the moment, however, as mentioned, we think United will catch them. That’s not to say Newcastle’s squad doesn’t have a lot of potential. With Allan Saint-Maximin, a powerful winger, and the team’s new signing, Alexander Isak, Newcastle’s attacking force is looking dangerous. Their midfielders Joe Willock and Miguel Almiron are worth noting and in their defensive third, Newcastle’s Sven Botman, Matt Targett, and others have created a near invisible wall complimenting Nick Pope’s job in goal. But perhaps most notable is Kieran Trippier, one of the best players statistically in the Premier League at the moment, the captain of this Newcastle side. Trippier is better known from his days at Tottenham, but is performing much more consistently for his new club. Trippier plays as a right back, but can be seen in front of the goal supporting the center halves as well as racing up and down the right flank, counting on the five pairs of lungs he seems to have. If Trippier continues to play like this, then Newcastle will stay in the top 4. Newcastle are a good team and though they’re giving the big boys a good run for their money, our best bet is they’ll finish fourth, already a very strong achievement for a ‘modest’ side currently playing with great inspiration. Newcastle have brought about the revelation once again that in this game, you don’t need a star on your team: it’s all about how you play.