The fourth and final bunch of mid-season reports and grades features Sunderland, Spurs, West Ham, Wigan and Wolves:
SUNDERLAND (11th, 23 points from 20 games)
Made a storming start to the campaign but an injury to key midfielder Lee Cattermole in October took the wind completely out of their sails. Since then their form has been patchy at best, but with Cattermole now back in action alongside the excellent Lorik Cana, and Darren Bent still pushing hard to catch the eye of Fabio Capello, things are looking up again and I expect them to finish in the top ten.
Gold star: In his first season in England, Lorik Cana has looked to the manor born. His physical style is made for the Prem and it’s no wonder that Steve Bruce gave him the skipper’s armband. Darren Bent must also be mentioned for bouncing back so well from his Spurs nightmare.
In detention: Fraizer Campbell has struggled to make any sort of impact in the league.
TOTTENHAM (4th, 37 points from 20 games)
Wildly, gloriously inconsistent. Home defeats to Stoke and Wolves were low points but there have been huge highs, such as the 9-1 thrashing of Wigan – a freak result, admittedly – and the opening-day win over Liverpool. I’m not quite sure how Spurs find themselves in a top-four spot, especially as they have lost exactly a quarter of their games, but it’s been a fun ride all the same. A lack of draws (none at home) and the indifferent form of their title rivals – joke: Spurs can’t win the title – have helped keep Arry’s lads in the hunt.
Gold star: Aaron Lennon is beginning to fulfil his immense promise, while Wilson Palacios has shored up Spurs’ wimpish midfield. Jermain Defoe is shooting his way into England’s World Cup squad.
In detention: Robbie Keane: party planner off the pitch, party pooper on it.
WEST HAM (17th, 18 points from 20 games)
Never let Franco Zola walk your dog – he can’t hang on to a lead. If Zola wasn’t such a lovely little chap, he’d