Friday, 12 August 2011

Premier League Overview

Well this is just an overview of what to expect from each team this season, I'd like to thank Tom Bendall for his contribution in making this blog. I hope you enjoy reading it, comments would be appreciated thanks.

Most people seem to write off Arsenal before a ball has been kicked, time after time they seem to prove everyone wrong and remain in the top 4. With the future of both Fabregas and Nasri seemingly decided they can now look for suitable replacements with defensive reinforcements a must. A formation change might solve some of their problems, with 3 centre backs giving them more cover at the back whilst allowing the full backs to focus more on attacking duties. Expect Vermaelen to improve the defence Ramsey and Wilshere to provide a hat-full of chances with a fit Van Persie a serious contender for the golden boot.

Aston Villa:
From a potential top 4 contender to potential relegation candidate add to that the hiring of their main rival's manager and you have a disaster waiting to happen. The loss of Downing and Young is a massive blow to them, N'Zogbia is a good singing for them but will he be a team player? I don't think so, he likes to be the main man like he was at Wigan and only seems to perform under that circumstance. They have exciting youngsters like Albrighton who should get lots of game time this season and the signing of Given could prove very astute business. An over-reliance on Bent for goals might be their downfall, as Agbonlahor has failed to deliver the goals after showing much promise.

Blackburn Rovers:
Since the change of ownership they've become a laughing stock. They've hardly strengthened and have an inexperienced manager to guide them through this turmoil. With players like Samba and Robinson in the squad which can put in man of the match performances, they always have the potential to grind out a draw, much depends on the other end of the pitch and where their goals will come from.

Bolton Wanderers:
At points last season they looked like Europa League contenders but nothing came of it. The loss of key players; Elmander (free), Sturridge (loan ended), Holden & Chung-Yong (injured) and Matty Taylor without anyone really replacing them yet. They lack a proven striker to play off Davies and might struggle when it comes down to it. The sale of Cahill would provide funds for Bolton to add more quality and depth to their squad which would enable them to push on up the table.

Chelsea struggled to gel last year which ended with Ancelotti getting the sack and Andre Villas Boas (AVB) being brought in as his replacement, early signs are suggesting that Chelsea are investing in the future as at present the team is too old and needs an injection of youth players like Sturridge. If AVB is allowed to buy and play whoever he wants it should be exciting to see if his Porto days are anything to go by. Expect them to get at least a top 3 finish with or without AVB, although Abramovich would happily sacrifice that for a champions league trophy.

Another season of few transfer dealings and yet somehow Moyes will get the most out of his small squad, if they start the season with a few wins then they should be able to push up the league and perhaps even challenge for a top 4 spot once again. Without some sort of investment i do fear for Everton in the long run and the time will come when Moyes leaves and then what? Everton will drop down the league and in amongst the relegation fodder.

The surprise departure of Hughes took everyone off guard especially after a decent campaign, Martin Jol should continue Fulhams recent success dating back to Hodgson's astounding run in Europe. With the ever reliable Schwarzer in goal and Hangeland and Hughes in defence, theres always the possibility of keeping the opposition at bay, whilst Murphy, Dempsey and Zamora will create chances at will. The expectancy at Fulham grows year on year and this season should be no different.

January saw the return of King Kenny and the departure of Torres, with his replacement Luis Suarez having a massive impact on the second half of the season. With a few big money signings such as Henderson and Downing, Liverpool finally have a squad of players with depth. If the new players gel along with the presence of such a influential figure as Dalglish they could do well this season, if they can get the right formation for them. Personally I don’t believe players like Carroll, Henderson or Downing are worth the money paid for them, but that’s not to say they can’t become successful, it’s just the teams they bought them off are laughing all the way to the bank.

Manchester City:
Ah money bags city I don’t dislike them, I just wish they could stop being so defensive. I know it’s the Italian way, but surely Mancini can play two attacking midfielders and go at teams. With the acquisition of Aguero, a player a lot of people have wanted to see in the league for a few years, City will hope to push on from their FA cup and 3rd place finish. The question is can these players perform in Europe? We will soon see and whether it has a bearing on their League form.

Manchester United:
They were utilitarian last season they just eked out results and they finally mover past Liverpool as the most successful team in British history. You could tell a lot of players there needed replacing along with the departures of Scholes and Van Dar Sar. If De Gea only had a one off in the community shield and performs better in the season, expect a typical top two finish. It will also be interesting to see how Fergie juggles his forwards this year.

They made a great return to the league most memorably with the 4-4 with Arsenal, and managed to cope in the second half of the season without Andy Carroll. If they were to spend the full amount they had for him, you would say they could easily get a top ten finish. But with the departures of Nolan along with possibly Joey Barton, I can see a harder season ahead for the Toon. I just hope for the fans, at least, they stay in the top flight as they make it more interesting.

Maybe like their chairwoman they can cook up a treat for us all, or maybe a tricky relegation battle in the fire at the bottom. At least Paul Lambert knows what it’s like at the pinnacle of football something which he can help the players adapt to. As for staying up it’s really hard to tell, 10 or so wins and a few draws and you stay in the league, the margins are so tight. If Grant Holt can replicate his form from last season which saw the canaries finish second in the championship, expect Norwich to make it interesting at the bottom.

Well what can you say about them billionaire owners, it just seems like they only bought the club to make a quick buck, as they have not spent anything substantial on players since promotion, and talks of selling their best player doesn’t give me much hope for them. At least their manager has premiership experience and knows what it’s like to taste relegation something which can help the players.

A team for a fan who appreciates the ugly side of the game, with the terror Rory Delap gives defenders with his long throw along with a team of giants. Always a hard away game and with rumours of them signing Peter Crouch a player that plays to Stokes strength, I really think they could surprise a lot of people and perform well this season. Hearing the Swansea and stoke fans singing from the same hymn sheet with Delilah could be a sight to behold.

Steve Bruce really has done brilliant business in the last two transfer windows selling two players for big money and buying 11 with plenty of cash to spare. Will Connor Wickham perform in the premiership is the big question, he showed promise in the championship and if he can replicate this form he could become a star for Sunderland. They could do with maybe another striker or two, and then it could be interesting to see where they finish.

Swansea City:
In the Championship last season they made the Liberty a fortress and if they can maintain this form and nick a few wins/draws away from home they could do well and stay in the division. The problem is they lack experience at this level and without this they could be blown away by the competition, especially with a new foreign goalkeeper which brings with it communication problems. If Scott Sinclair can perform like he did in the championship expect a few established teams to be scrambling over him in January.

I hate to admit it, but I loved watching spurs last season blowing away Italian giants in the Champions League. It was almost a shame to see them miss out on the Champions League again but if they can keep hold of players and buy a proper 20 goal a season striker, they may get back into Europe. At least they finally have a good goalkeeper in Friedel, Gomes will be missed by me and probably every arsenal fan with his ‘keeping howlers.

West Brom:
A side that was exciting last year, with players like Odemwingie staring for them. With the acquisition of Shane long, a young exciting player that proved his ability in the Championship last season, you can expect them to better their finish of last season, along with a sure defence under Roy Hodgson.

Wigan Athletic:
Time after time they manage to avoid relegation, however this season might be too much for them. Losing their best player in N'Zogbia was unavoidable but the lack of a replacement speaks wonders, also Cleverley's loan expiring means their short of another attacker. Not all is doom and gloom and the signing of Al-Habsi is a big bonus after an impressive season from him which played a massive part in keeping Wigan in the league!

I for one am a fan of Wolves and Mick McCarthy, he made me laugh with his reaction at old Trafford along with is post match comments. I think wolves do have the ability to stay up, with the arrival of Roger Johnson which should sure things up at the back and signing Jamie O’Hara on a permanent basis also stands them in good stead.

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