Premier League Preview – Part Four

Posted: August 7, 2015 in Football
Tags: , , , , ,
Mauricio Pochettino

What would constitute succes for Pochettino at Spurs this season?

The football season is back! Rejoice! The tedium that is the close season and the rubbish that fills our newspapers and websites desperate to fill column inches is finally at an end, and we can focus on the football itself. Well, nearly. I’m looking at you Daily Mail.

The Premier League has opted to kick-off at the same time as the other divisions in England this season due to a major tournament appearing next summer and it looks set to be potentially the most interesting season in a while, with a number of teams well equipped to mount a title challenge and nobody looking quite weak enough to be dead certs for the drop. 

Thus I have compiled a quick preview of every side in the division, rated and/or slated their summer transfer activity and attempted the fools’ game of predicting where they will end up. Enjoy and feel free to add your own comments at the bottom! 

We conclude our season preview with part four, taking us from Swansea City to West Ham, via Tottenham:

Garry Monk

Can Monk replicate last season’s success at Swansea?

Swansea City

Last Season: 8th

Transfers In: Andre Ayew (Marseille), Franck Tabanou (St Etienne), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Heerenveen), Eder (Braga), Ollie McBurnie (Bradford)

Transfers Out: Jazz Richards (Fulham), Gerhard Tremmel (Released)

I’ve already apologised for writing off Garry Monk as a manager last season and i will not be making that mistake again, despite the Swans form tailing off slightly after losing Wilfried Bony up front.

They have now brought in two players to fill that void and provide support for Bafetembi Gomis up front and the free transfer signing of Andre Ayew stands out as something that could be one of the finest pieces of business done in the Premier League this summer after snatching him from the clutches of Marseille.

However, I just don’t feel it is enough to realistically improve on last season’s performance and there are other clubs who have strengthened even further to potentially knock them back a place or two. Mid-table and a cup run will suit Swansea fans for now and we’ll see how they look in a year.

Prediction: 10th

 

Harry Kane

All eyes are on Harry Kane to prove his credentials all over again

Tottenham Hotspur

Last Season: 5th

Transfers In: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Kevin Wimmer (Koln), Kieran Trippier (Burnley)

Transfers Out: Lewis Holtby (Hamburg), Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (St Etienne), Etienne Capoue (Watford), Benjamin Stambouli (PSG), Younes Kaboul (Sunderland), Brad Friedel (Retired), Vlad Chiriches (Napoli)

Another summer of upheaval at White Hart Lane, with three of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ of two years ago being shipped out and Roberto Soldado looking set to follow them into the scrapheap after unimpressing since arriving in North London.

Aside from Christian Eriksen and belatedly Nacer Chadli, most of Spurs recent promise has come directly from their youth system, with Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason forming their midfield partnership of late to join Harry Kane as stand-out graduates from the academy.

Defence was without a doubt a major problem for Spurs last season as they shipped more goals than relegated Hull, but work has been done to amend that, with deadwood flogged to make room for some impressive signings, with Toby Alderweireld able to bring his international understanding with Jan Vertonghen to the domestic game.

The worry is with so many attacking players already removed and the likes of Soldado, Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor all deemed surplus to requirements, Spurs are very light up top, with little to no support for Kane; a man people are all waiting to see whether he will turn out to be a one-season wonder.

People are essentially unsure as to what would count as success for Mauricio Pochettino this season. He can’t be expected to break the top four with what he has currently, but Spurs can’t afford to lose too much ground either. Tough season awaits with some of the mid-table getting stronger again.

Prediction: 6th

Quique Sanchez Flores

Sanchez Flores joins in what has been a topsy-turvy summer for the newcomers

Watford

Last Season: 2nd (Championship)

Transfers In: Etienne Capoue (Tottenham), Sebastian Prodl (Werder Bremen), Giedrius Arlauskis (Steaua Bucharest), Matej Vydra, Allan Nyom (Udinese), Jose Holebas (Roma), Valon Behrami (Hamburg), Miguel Britos (Napoli), Jose Jurado (Spartak Moscow), Steven Berghuis (AZ Alkmaar)

Transfers Out: Juanfran (Deportivo La Coruna, Loan), Lewis McGugan (Sheffield Wednesday), Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough, Loan)

The last of our new additions to the league and quite frankly the toughest of the lot to predict what might happen, given their ownership structure. Their being one of three sides owned by the Pozzo family (Udinese & Granada the others) has seen them benefit heavily in the Championship, but Premier League restrictions over loanees makes things a touch more difficult.

That being said, Watford have still managed to recruit heavily from around Europe to bolster their squad and it is an approach that can backfire heavily. A short trip to QPR will tell you how that scattergun approach to the transfer market can go wrong.

The Likes of Holebas and Behrami appear to be good signings, with the latter having impressed in the Premier League before with West Ham, while maybe Capoue can come good without the weight of expectation that is Tottenham hanging round his neck.

It will be interesting as to whether Troy Deeney can make the step up in the manner that Charlie Austin and Danny Ings managed last season, but Watford as a whole could just as easily finish comfortable mid-table as they could suffer relegation.

Prediction: 17th

 

James Chester

They paid how much for James Chester??

West Bromwich Albion

Last Season: 13th

Transfers In: James McClean (Wigan), James Chester (Hull), Rickie Lambert (Liverpool)

Transfers Out: Graham Dorrans, Youssef Mulumbu (Norwich), Chris Baird (Derby), Jason Davidson (Huddersfield), Sebastian Blanco (San Lorenzo, Loan), Gareth McAuley, Giorgios Samaras (Released)

West Brom are in a period of their existence where they are simply forgettable in the grand scheme of things. Too good to go down, not good enough to muster a top half finish and with Tony Pulis at the helm, they sure as hell aren’t going to play any pretty football either.

Their summer signings say exactly that about them too, though they at least manage an eyebrow raise for paying £8m for James Chester. All decent enough players that will help keep things ship-shape, but hardly the sort of acquisitions that promise any threat to the likes of Swansea, Stoke and Southampton.

If they can perhaps add another player or two with a bit more dynamism to their play, they could improve on last season’s final position, but the likelihood is that that they will muddle around in the middle of the bottom half without realistically being in too much trouble.

Prediction: 15th

Slaven Bilic

Slaven Bilic is back at Upton Park with a big job on his hands

West Ham United

Last Season: 12th

Transfers In: Darren Randolph (Birmingham), Pedro Obiang (Sampdoria), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal, Loan), Manuel Lazini (Al Jazira, Loan)

Transfers Out: Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Carlton Cole, Guy Demel, Jussi Jaaskelainen (Released)

A new direction for West Ham this season, with Sam Allardyce ditched after a very poor second half of the season, with Slaven Bilic recruited to improve results and the style of football on show at the Boleyn Ground.

These things will not happen overnight, but at least they won’t have the distraction of the Europa League. And they have made some impressive signings that could influence things positively, with Dimitri Payet coming with a reputation of being a very talented player, if he can find any consistency.

The arrival of Angelo Ogbonna will aid their defence as well, so it merely remains to be seen whether thay can find the attacking talent to turn those narrow defeats into draws and those draws into victories. The Hammers can’t afford to lose their Premier League status just before their move to the Olympic Park, but, like Watford, they could potentially finish anywhere within the bottom half of the table currently.

Prediction: 12th

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