Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Team by Team Premier League Preview
Very interesting summer for Arsenal, and still a lot of unanswered questions within the squad as well, with the future of Fabregas and Nasri still undecided. This is not ideal preparation for a season to come with just days until the start. But last season a certain young player in the name of Jack Wilshire stood strong with a big season, and with the support of a fit Van Persie and the exciting new attacking talent in Alex Chamberlain, Gervinho and the now granted visa for Japanese starlet Miyaichi, it could be a new era for the club. Those defensive question marks continue to be raised and will be a key factor in Arsenal's season to come.
Prediction 4th (just)
New manager, busy summer and improvements expected for the club after a poor season last term for Villa standards. Although, replacements will be needed for Young and Downing and support at the top end of the field for Darren Bent will be essential. The signing of N'Zogbia is a positive move and Given in goal will help fill the boots of the departed Brad Friedel. The way the manager gets the team playing consistently will be key to Villa's season.
With a full season ahead, with newer owners of the club and with a new manager in Steve Kean entering the start of a season in charge of Rovers, I expect them to have a mixed season. Keeping hold of some key players, particularly Chris Samba is key to keeping the strong backbone of a tough Blackburn team. Premier league experience within the squad should be enough to ensure they are not fighting relegation this term.
This is a club with a lot of potential for the forth coming season. A strong manager in place in Owen Coyle, with some good leadership throughout the team in Kevin Davies and if they keep him, Gary Cahill too, could see the club start moving forward. Some new creative and attacking players into the club are needed for the club to push up to the top half of the table.
New manager in charge, fresh energy around the squad and exciting new signing in Romelu Lukaku should see Chelsea challenge once more. A somewhat quiet transfer window so far for the usually active West London outfit, but with a fit again Benayoun, the return of Daniel Sturridge on loan and Lukaku could bring some exciting new attacking flair to the team. If Torres can find his scoring boots and maybe their midfield strengthened a bit then I believe they can challenge very closely for the title.
A club that has always been knocking on the European door for a while now, has had a quiet summer, but importantly kept hold of key personnel so far. The young talent coming through the club is exciting and with a further years experience will be looking to have an improved season.
New manager in charge, a European campaign underway, but a strong squad of players that could lead to a good season for Fulham. They must improve their away form and turn Craven Cottage into a fortress next season (never an easy place to play anyway). The form of Bobby Zamora and some creative additions to the squad could give Fulham a good season, as long as they are not distracted by Europe.
A team that I have had much debate over during this exciting summer for the club. "King Kenny" at the realm for a full season in charge, with new players brought in, Charlie Adam, Downing and Henderson adding to the strengthening in January gives Liverpool a much needed strength in depth. A lot have predicted a champions league finish, but my view is these are good signings, but are not Champions League quality players. However, a much improved season should be had by the club.
So much to say about the "new" City team. Improved yet again with Sergio Aguero signed to provide goals at the top, and if Tevez stays at the club, it could be an incredible partnership up top. Clichy with a whole host of Premier League experience and the retaining of their top players, means it could be an even better season for City this year. The distraction of Champions League Football could be the key to their season in the premier League and if they can cope with the demands of competing in two high quality competitions.
A fantastic pre season for the champions, with early transfer window signings in Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David De Gea given time to gel with the rest of the squad. Great Charity Shield result and the emergence of loanees from last season Welbeck and Cleaverly, looking like perfect additions to last seasons squad. Valencia fit again, Nani hoping to reach all his potential and with the new additions I cannot see past United to have an even more successful year this season.
Another team starting with a first full season of a relatively new manager to the club in Alan Pardew, have an interesting season ahead after a controversial summer. Kevin Nolan sold to West Ham and the dramas surrounding Joey Barton, who were two shining stars in the team last term, leaves a some what question mark for the upcoming season. The addition of Obertan from Man Utd is a positive signing, but more is needed to come at both ends of the field, in order for Newcastle to have a better season, without this, I believe it could be a struggle for them.
New boys to the premier League Norwich, have had a busy summer strengthening their team, including the signing of James Vaughan and Steve Morison, which will hopefully breed some goals in the team. Defensively is often the key areas however for new teams, and although manager Paul lambert has done his best to bring in some good players in the shape of Ritchie De Laat and Kyle Naughton on loan, I believe it's going to be a tough season ahead and a relegation fight is almost a certainty.
Another of the premier League new boys and with a strong manager and ownership in the club, it could be an interesting year for the club. Good summer signings made from Neil Warnock includes Kieron Dyer, Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell, will give the team some strength in the attacking half of the field. Defensively they worry me slightly and hopefully the experience of Gabbidon well help the club fight for their survival.
Prediction 17th (just)
A frustrating summer for Stoke boss Tony Pullis, has lead to just the arrival of 2 free transfers in the experienced centre backs of Woodgate and Upson. This will certainly strengthen up the team defensively, but attacking wise it is looking very light. Attempted transfer of Carlton Cole broke down and now I'm sure the manager is looking at other options, with Tottenham's Peter Crouch being one name mentioned as well as Arsenal's Bendtner. If these attacking signings are made, I believe Stoke could have a good season, as well as hopefully a nice European run too.
Exciting summer for Sunderland with some much needed strength added to their team. The loss of Jordan Henderson is a blow, but some experienced signings, especially defensively in John O'Shea and Wes Brown from Man Utd will help strengthen the team. Conor Wickham, Craig Gardener and Seb Larsson will add some creativity and attacking prowess to an exciting Sunderland team for the season ahead. If Steve bruce can get the team to gel together quickly, then this could be a promising season for the Black Cats.
Exciting times for the Swans with their first season in the Premier League and I am looking forward to seeing what impact they can make, in particular at home, where the stadium atmosphere will no doubt be electric. A good manager in charge in Brendan Rodgers has brought some good players to the club in Danny Graham and Wayne Routledge in particular, adding to the spark given to them by the talented Scott Sinclair. However, the Premier League is a massive step for teams and I think they may struggle to cope with the demands of the season.
Tottenham have had a quiet summer with regards players coming in, but knowing Harry that will change as we get closer to the end of the transfer window. Keeping hold of Modric is key to them having a successful season, but with teams above them improving their squads, I believe the gap may widen between the top 4 and 5 and Tottenham. If they can keep key players fit, bring in some fresh faces and keep hold of the squad then I think Tottenham could have a good season ahead of them.
I believe Roy Hodgson was out of his depth at Liverpool, but actually is better suited at smaller clubs and I believe will do a great job at West Brom. Not a team with a lot of money, they have made some sensible summer signings including the return of Zoltan Gera and signing Ben Foster on loan for the season to replace Scott Carson, something that many feel is a positive move. I believe West Brom could have a much better season this time around, with maybe the addition of one or two more experienced names to the club.
Wigan have been struggling to survive the past few seasons in the Premier League, but they have been doing through grit determination and have a fantastic manager at the healm in Roberto Martinez. Retaining Martinez was the key this summer as well as the signing of a good goalkeeper permanently in Ali Al-Habsi from Bolton. But the sale of star player Charles N'Zogbia will be a big loss, and with very little money available for new players, I believe it's going to be a tough season for the Lactics.
Wolves have made 2 important signings this summer in the permanent move for creative midfielder Jamie O'Hara and the defensive wall of Rodger Johnson from Birmingham. This will help solidate the team for the battle to come, and I believe it's going to be a big battle for relegation like last season. They will be in the mix, but if they keep there best players injury free then I believe they could stay out of the drop zone and have a decent season.