Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Premier League 2017/18 Preview

1. Manchester United

Well if ever there was a manager who gets it right in the second season its Jose. Now he did land United 2 cups and Champions League football which was the aim last season. The league form was pretty dire and must improve should improve and I think will improve. I pick them just to pip City as they actually have some players who will defend. It’s looking like United will be very physical and most of the squad is around 6ft tall. They will bully their way to the league title it might be glamorous all the time, but they will.

Key Man – Romelu Lukaku filling Zlatan’s big boots now, we know he can do it in the Premier League. However against the big teams does he go missing? We will see this season, the Belgian will also be tested in the Champions League. 

2. Manchester City

Pep went out and spent over £100m on full backs, yes just full backs. Going forward City are the best in the league Sterling, Sane, De Bruyne, Jesus. I mean Aguero might not even be his number 1 striker! However you do need to defend at times. So with Mendy & Walker bombing forward yes they have the pace to get back but an injury to Kompany (which will happen) there still suspect at the back and it will cost them.

Key Man- Fernandinho, like I said someone has to win the ball back and stop the opposition. His defensive mind is needed in this team.

3. Chelsea

Unexpected Champions last year, Chelsea were solid very solid. However this season could be different having sent what seems all their younger players out on loan again, the squad is light. Chelsea have European football now so they have to sign a few more squad players. You know though they will still be up there Conti was class last year on the side lines so Chelsea should slot into third.

Key Man – Eden Hazard has one of his high seasons last time when he’s in the mood simple unstoppable.

4. Liverpool

It's very tough to split the next 3. Liverpool going forward their quality, at the back it’s not as good. I like Mane they missed him when he got injured. Adding Mo Salah brings more goals. Klopp did address the left back situation and sign Andrew Robertson a centre half is needed. Klopp does need a plan B though Liverpool can’t be so good against the top sides and so rubbish against the bottom ones. Plan B is needed, the fire power will get them top 4 again but not title challengers.

Key Man - Sadio Mane like I said pace, goals and quality I’m a fan.

5. Arsenal

Arsenal landed Lacazette, but is he miles better than Giroud? At the minute Sanchez is still there and Ozil is expecting a new contract. It’s vital they keep Sanchez, if he goes you do worry for Arsenal. All bets are off if he goes. The 3 at the back Wenger stumbled across at the end of last season he will keep with. Europa League for the Arsenal is something new, Wenger needs to get the balance right and avoid the late February annual collapse.   

Key Man – Laurent Koscielny with 3 back the back they really need him to have a good season. He is their best defender and will have his work cut out. He needs to not go missing when it really counts though.

6. Tottenham

Now Spurs have opted for the ‘stick to what we have’ in the summer window not bringing in anyone as of writing. Also playing at Wembley where let’s face it they have been rubbish. The sooner they get to grips with their new surrounds the better. They do need to win something I’m not having being the best team in the league but not winning anything! Come on Spurs even a League Cup will do.

Key Man – Harry Kane 20 plus Premier League goals 3 seasons in a row. Now has emerged as a real talent for club and country.

7. Everton

Ronald Koeman has splashed the cash and is putting his own stamp on this squad. He has brought in a new spine of the team, and of course the return of Wayne Rooney to Everton. Rooney’s experience and winning trophies mentality is exactly what Everton need. Where he fits in to the starting 11 will have to be questioned. The new side will need time to gel but for me 7th is where they will land.

Key Man - Sandro Ramirez the youngster comes from Malaga after netting 14 goals in La Liga. Everton will look to share the goals around this season without Lukaku but he will be the main man.

8. Leicester City

Whether it was snakes in the squad or just really bad form, Leicester did not look like Champions. Craig Shakespeare is either a really good coach or the players just liked him. They were so off last year I think they can fair a lot better this season. No Champions League distractions now too so a top 10 finish for me. Mahrez looks like he is out the door so they do need to replace him.

Key Man – I like the look of Harry Maguire who they brought from Hull. He stood out in a poor side a good season could see him in the England set up as there’s not that much quality centre backs around. 

9. Southampton

Finished 8th last season and a League Cup final appearance pretty good yes? Well clearly not for some. The fans where bored out of their minds at St Mary’s and Puel’s gone and Maurcio Pellegrino has stepped in. He had one season at Alaves which caught the eye. They do have a Virgil van Dijk type hole to deal with.

Key Man – Charlie Austin, just keep him fit. Was Saints top scorer in all competitions even though he was out for what seemed a decade. Austin can and does score goals, but keeping him fit all year is the toughest task.

10. West Ham

Inconsistent, that’s pretty much West Ham. This year they do have a striker picking up Hernandez in the summer. They were linked to around 8 so one had to land. Their second year at the London Stadium they should do better. The Payet saga last year rocked them a more stable ship should see them finish mid table. It’s a big season for Joe Hart who has his doubters after a pretty dismal time in Italy. The owners do need to keep off the twitter though.

Key Man – Javier Hernandez have West Ham found a reliable striker now? It’s been a long while since they had one.

11. Bournemouth

All things were good on the coast last year. A top 10 finish was something not many expected; this season once again should steer clear of any real trouble. Asmir Begovic has been brought in to sure things at the back. Nathan Ake signed for a whopping £20m from Chelsea too. I predict a comfy season for them again.

Key Man - Joshua King should get into double figures for the season again. The arrival of Defoe can't be ignored too.

12. West Brom

The Baggies have tried to address the lack of goals bringing in Jay Rodriguez from Southampton for £12m. Again W.B.A will be strong a set pieces as all, their defenders all seem to be centre backs. You know what you get with a Pulis side, physical and hard working.

Key Man – Matt Phillips has grown in to an impressive Premier League winger. If he adds more goals to his game he should do well again this year.

13. Stoke City 

An under fire Mark Hughes might have a bit of a tricky season. A lack of fire power up top hampered them last season. Arnautovic has gone and only mayor signing so far is Kurt Zouma on loan. Stoke are never know for their classy football but the fans do expect a bit of excitement. Hughes shouldn’t take them down but don’t expect anything special.

Key Man – Jack Butland has a great opportunity to claim the England number 1 spot this season. Now back and fully fit will be vital for Stoke.

14. Crystal Palace

A new manager in at Selhurst Park, in the form of Frank De Boer. He needs to find a style for Palace and stick with it. A talented group but last year just stayed up under Big Sam. To be fair most sides stay up with him. De Boer racked up 4 Eredivisie in 5 seasons at Ajax so he does come with good pedigree. Will we see ‘Total Football’ in South East London? We shall wait and see.

Key Man – Wilfred Zaha had to hit the re-start button on his career, his return to Palace has made him one of the most talented wingers in the league. He will be a target for defenders this year as when Zaha is on it, Palace is on it.

15. Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez has had to wheel and deal to get bodies in at Newcastle this summer. He’s not been backed as he thought he would financially, but he does have the fans support. The Geordies know Rafa could have walked away but he lead them to a title last season. This season will see less pressure as they won’t go into every game as the favourites. Newcastle will be fine this season, Rafa may moan quite a bit though.

Key Man - Matt Ritchie raised eyebrows when he left Bournemouth to drop down a league with Newcastle. Shined last year, has Premier League quality and his goals will be key.

16. Watford

Struggled last year with a real bomb in form saw them finish 17th. The club who love a head coach change, Mazzarri came in when Watford finished 13th the drop was clear and the fans were more than happy to see him depart. Marco Silva is next in the hot seat and bringing in Nathaniel Chalonbah and Will Hughes might be a sign Watford are going down a more British player route. Silva impressed at Hull last year and should have enough to keep Watford up, just.

Key Man – Troy Deeney is their talisman and captain will be vital leading the line once again.

17. Swansea City

They flirted with relegation last season a side on the decline. Paul Clement at least stopped the bleeding and Swansea survived. This year will be touch and go once again. If Sigurdsson does stay I would have them a little higher than this. If the Iceland International does go Swansea can’t be caught short having £50m in the bank with only a few days of the transfer window to go. Tammy Abraham on loan looks like a shrewd bit of business.

Key Man - Alfie Mawson could well be the perfect long term replacement to Ashley Williams.

18. Burnley

At home Burnley were super strong and would give anyone a game, away from home they just look hopeless. The loss of Michael Keane will be a big miss at the back. They have spent big on Jack Cork, and goals could come from Jon Walters in from Stoke. Hard working midfield will see Brady, Hendrick & Artfield. However for me, I think Burnley's time in the Premier League is up.

19. Brighton

Newly promoted Brighton I think will have a tough time of it. With having a ground like The Amex it may work against them as clubs will be looking forward to playing in this new fancy stadium. Many away fans have already got Brighton away circled on the calendar. They have to try make home games uncomfortable for the opposition. I just don’t think they will have enough to stay up in the Premier League.

Key Man – Lewis Dunk one of the best ball playing defenders in the Championship last year. He should make the step up and if Brighton go down I expect another Premier League club to snap him up.

20. Huddersfield Town

A fairy-tale for the underdogs last season. David Wagner preformed miracles with Town and find themselves up with the big boys. He was best man for Jurgen Klopp at his wedding and called out a former Sky Sports pundit who tipped his side to go down. However this story won’t end so happy. They will enjoy this season however I think it will be one and done for them, just not enough quality at this level.

Key Man – Steve Mounie the record signing from Montpellier netted 14 times in France if they have any chance of staying up he will need to hit the ground running.

By Sean Simara @Sean_Footymad 

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