Finally the new Premier League season is upon us; it seems a lifetime ago that the previous season was concluded with Manchester City claiming their 2nd Premier League title on the final day of the season. Players and managers will no doubt be recharged and refocused for the season ahead. Some big players have left the Premier League, but some big stars have been drafted into the biggest league in the world this summer. This blog will preview all the teams and a prediction of where they will finish my apologies in advance if I offend anyone with the predictions.
Arsenal- Predicted 4th
Arsene Wenger has managed to bring in yet another star signing in this summer’s transfer window. Alexis Sanchez is a world class talent who will improve their side significantly. Some fans would like to see a world class striker be brought in to be classed as serious title challengers, but after winning the FA Cup last season and breaking their trophy hoodoo, the winning mentality is back and was shown in their confident display against Manchester City in the Community Shield. I still believe they are a little light defensively and can be exposed against the top sides. However the wealth of talent they have in offensive positions is enough to cause any side nightmares. This season has the potential to be a very exciting one for Arsenal on all fronts.
Star men: Ramsey, Mertesacker and Sanchez
Aston Villa-Predicted 17th
For Paul Lambert and the newly appointed Roy Keane the job now is to try and kick on, in recent years they have started off well, fallen off, but never really got dragged into a significant dog fight. There is a young crop of players at Villa Park and yet again they haven’t really strengthened the squad this summer a lot depends on how Benteke comes back from his Achilles injury. Rumours are constantly suggesting that Ron Vlaar could well move on and I think it’s integral to Villa’s survival chances that they keep his leadership and experience. One shining light from last year was Fabian Delph’s performances; he and fans alike will hope that he continues to improve. However it has the potential to be painful viewing for Villa fans this season.
Star Men: Vlaar, Benteke and Delph
Burnley- Predicted 20th
I think Burnley have a very talented young manager in Sean Dyche, but my worry for them is that the majority of their side have no Premier League experience. Yes it could work to their advantage and they play with no fear, however there is going to come a time when they get walloped. How do they react? Who are the leaders that the team can look to? They do however have Danny Ings who is a young striker that is capable of scoring goals, whether or not he gets the service is a different problem. I certainly see Burnley being competitive but the size of their squad and the recruitment they have done this summer is not quite up to the Premier League standard.
Star Men: Trippier, Matt Taylor and Ings
I think Chelsea have had a very good summer in terms of incomings and outgoings. They got their transfer business done very early and have replaced club legends Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole with genuine class. Filipe Luis was one of the best left backs in Europe last summer and Fabregas is one of the very few players that can live with the tag of being Lampard’s replacement. I think the money they generated for David Luiz was fantastic business. Mourinho knows that he is building a side that could emulate his first Chelsea side. With the likes of Fabregas, Hazard and Oscar in the same side and with proven goal scorers like Drogba and Diego Costa, there may be no more classic Parking the Bus required!!!
Star Men: Hazard, Fabregas and Diego Costa
Crystal Palace-Predicted 14th
The job that Tony Pulis did last year was incredible; he totally changed the fortunes of the Palace side. The question is can he produce the same magic again; there have been mumblings that Pulis hasn’t been happy with the allocated budget he received this summer. However Pulis would have used his first pre-season with the club to his advantage focusing on shape and discipline, his team will still be difficult to break down. Plus with the likes of Martin Kelly and Frazier Campbell joining the club I don’t see Palace getting drawn into a dogfight. However if Pulis were to leave Palace then they could get engaged in a survival battle.
Star Men: Speroni, Bolasie and Campbell
Roberto Martinez did a fantastic job at Everton last year, the brand of football they play and the youngsters they have at their disposal means that they will challenge for a top 4 place once again. Tying down the likes of Stones, Coleman and Barkley to long term deals shows that Everton mean business, I just feel that other top clubs have strengthened significantly in this window. A top four place isn’t beyond them and if they keep everyone fit then they have a fantastic chance of gate-crashing the top four party. Lukaku has to get off to a good start after signing for such a hefty fee.
Star Men: Baines, Barkley and Lukaku
Hull City-Predicted 16th
Hull had a solid season last year on their return to the Premiership, signing the likes of Ince and Livermore shows that they have funds and the ability to attract quality players. My worry for them is the Europa League as it showed last year with Swansea playing in Europe is fantastic for the club however it may have an impact on league form. I think they will survive and will relish the Europa League experience. Losing Shane Long to Southampton was a loss, but at the same time good business. I expect the money they generated from that transfer to be spent on a striker and other faces to improve the depth of the squad.
Star Men: Davies, Livermore and Ince
Leicester City-Predicted 18th
Leicester have finally made their return to the big time and it’s a challenge that all concerned will relish. Pearson’s side eased to the Championship title last year and there is a general belief that they can have a real go at staying up this year. They have the financial backing to recruit players it’s just a question of luring players of the necessary quality that could be the issue. I firmly believe that it will be touch and go to whether Leicester survives or not, possibly even going to the final day. Ulloa their £7m signing from Brighton will have to hit the ground running and spearhead their attack.
Star Men: Schmeichel, Knockaert and Ulloa
A lot of people have said that due to the money generated by the Luis Suarez departure and then spent, Liverpool have a better squad ahead of the new season. On the other hand is there an argument that their starting eleven has weakened due to Suarez’s departure. Suarez has been the star man for Liverpool in previous seasons and carried the mantle of star man. They have brought in quality players like Lallana, Lovren, Markovic and Lambert but none are in the bracket of Suarez. Scoring goals wasn’t Liverpool’s problem last year it was conceding them. With Lovren, Manquilo and the anticipated arrival of Moreno improving their defence then Liverpool may feel their squad has improved. And with the likes of Coutinho, Sterling, Gerrard and Sturridge at their disposal they will always feel they have a chance.
Star Men: Lovren, Sterling and Coutinho
Manchester City- Predicted 2nd
City have improved their side and I feel they have finally filled a void which has plagued them for years. Their only real weakness was Kompany’s CB partner, now Mangala who has signed from Porto for a hefty sum seems ready to take the mantle. If Mangala does settle straight away and City keep their stars fit i.e. Kompany, Yaya Toure and Aguero then they have an outstanding chance of reclaiming the Premier League title. With Yaya committing his future to the club and the likes of Aguero, Silva and Kompany all signing new contracts it’s a very happy time for City fans.
Star Men: Kompany, Yaya Toure and Aguero
Manchester United- Predicted 3rd
It’s all change at Manchester United for the 2nd year running, after David Moyes brief time in charge the man to now take the reins is Louis Van Gaal. After a successful pre-season United fans will be hopeful that Van Gaal can get them back to where they believe they belong. With only Luke Shaw and Herrera being brought in United fans will be hoping that the next two weeks will see more acquisitions being brought to Old Trafford. There is a sense with Van Gaal in charge that United have a philosophy of how to play the game which was never found under Moyes. For United fans I am sure a return to the top four and the Champions League will be integral.
Star Men: Jones, Herrera and Rooney
Newcastle United-Predicted 8th
Last season was one that won’t live long in the memory of Toon fans, performances on the pitch were not up to standard and unprofessional behaviour was at the thick of the headlines off the pitch. Mike Ashley has finally decided to splash some cash this summer and brought in some players of genuine quality the likes of Janmaat, Cabella, Siem De Jong and Riviere have all come in and improved the squad. Geordie fans will be hopeful of a more exciting brand of football and a much improved season. If the likes of Coloccini and Krul stay fit and lead by example then Newcastle could upset the European jigsaw puzzle.
Star Men: Krul, Coloccini and Siem De Jong
Queens Park Rangers- Predicted 10th
Harry Redknapp would have learnt a lot from his last time in the Premier League with QPR, he now has a solid centre back partnership to use as a platform. Rio Ferdinand will provide experience and a perfect mentor to probable defensive partner Caulker. World Cup star Isla will also improve the side, if Redknapp manages to keep players like Taarabt and Remy then they will have genuine attacking threat and a solid base to build from. I think Redknapp will want to prove the doubters wrong and I can see QPR being the surprise package this season.
Star Men: Ferdinand, Isla and Remy
Southampton- Predicted 9th
It’s been a tough summer for Saints fans seeing many of their stars move on and there was a time when it was a question of how many were going to go through the exit door. In recent weeks though Koeman has managed to steady the tide and brought in some players of his own. Southampton is a club that is always going to produce top class talent and with Koeman in charge he will be able to stabilise the club. I can’t see Southampton struggling this year, a top half finish will be a good start for the Dutch man.
Star Men: Forster, Ward-Prowse and Tadic
Stoke City-Predicted 11th
Many thought that when Tony Pulis ended his reign at Stoke City that Stoke would struggle to retain their Premier League status. When Mark Hughes took over many predicted they might struggle however Hughes did quite the opposite, mid table finish and a sign that they were starting to adapt their style of play. The signing of Bojan this summer has caught many people off guard and shows how Hughes is trying to revolutionise the Stoke style of play. Stoke will be fine and will look to continue improving. Be interesting to see how Bojan adapts to the English game.
Star Men: Begovic, Shawcross and Bojan
Sunderland- Predicted 12th
Poyet pulled off the great escape with Sunderland last year and got them to a Carling Cup final. I think they will be a lot more stable this year and I can’t see them being dragged into another dog fight. Jack Rodwell could prove to be a shrewd piece of business if he is able to stay fit and if they manage to add Borini to their ranks then I don’t see any reason why they can’t try and climb the table and challenge Newcastle as the best team in Tyneside.
Star Men: Rodwell, O’Shea and Johnson
Swansea City-Predicted 13th
Gary Monk did very well to keep Swansea safe last year as well as challenging in the Europa League. Swansea are a great team to watch on the eye and I think they have enough about them to be safe again this year. Wilfred Bony is pivotal to Swansea take away his goals last year and they may of struggled, there will plenty of admirers who many consider taking him. It will be a nervy few weeks for them before the window slams shut and after losing Vorm, Davies and Michu they will do everything they can to keep this crop afloat.
Star Men: Fabianski, Williams and Bony
Tottenham never really got going last year after losing Gareth Bale. The batch of players they brought in was very much mixed. I felt AVB was unlucky to lose his job and Sherwood was only seen as a short term option whilst the likes of Levy identified their man. Pochettino is the man given the task to take the club forward. I think it’s a very good appointment and will result in Tottenham playing good attacking football. If Pochettino gets off to a good start and manages to get the best out of his flair players i.e. Eriksen, Lamela and Townsend, then there could be a case for them to break into the top four. The key for Tottenham is stability, Pochettino needs to be given time by the hierarchy.
Star Men: Lloris, Vertonghen and Lamela
West Brom-Predicted 19th
I think Alan Irvine has got one hell of a job on his hands at the Hawthorns. You look at the squad that Irvine has at his disposal and there are no real stars, the acquisition of Lescott is a positive one which will improve the defence. I just don’t see where the attacking threat and goals are going to come from to ensure that they will be safe. Ideye has been brought in for a club record £10m which presents a huge gamble. If Irvine manages to keep West Brom up then he has defied the critics but I just can’t see it unfortunately.
Star Men: Foster, Lescott and Ideye
West Ham- Predicted 15th
For West Ham fan’s this year they want to see a change in style, I feel Allardyce will be under pressure from the get go to produce a more dazzling style. Whether or not that is within Allardyce’s capabilities remains to be seen. The signing of Ecuador striker Valencia is one which will bolster their attacking options especially with Andy Carroll due to have another period on the side-lines. West Ham should have enough to stay afloat but I see this as a defining season for Sam Allardyce.
Star Men: Winston Reid, Nolan and Valencia