Saturday, 6 August 2011

TSBV Feature: Premier League preview (Part 2)

After previewing the seasons ahead for Arsenal, Villa, Blackburn, Bolton and Chelsea, here is Part 2 of TSBVs Premier League Review. In this part, we will discuss how we feel Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United will do in the 2011-12 season.

Everton have yet again been very quiet over the summer, and up to now have made no signings. Winning only 3 of there pre season matches doesn't help causes, and although this might be a worry to the Everton faithful, they know themselves that they have performed well enough in previous seasons with a lack of capital to strengthen the squad, but it is just a question of whether they can maintain that. With other teams around them strengthening now, you have to worry for them. Of course, players like Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and Leighton Baines are all key players who could do well in any of the top sides in the league, which proves that they are more than able to deal with the challenges of the Premier League. The one problem for them in the last few seasons has been the lack of goals from their front men, who have always seemed to struggle to score goals. Injury, inexperience and lack of form mean that their strikers have rarely passed the 10 goal landmark and this is a position you'd expect David Moyes to be looking at in depth. With the lack of funds though, it will be difficult to find the right striker they need. 

In previous seasons, many of Everton's best players have been linked away from Goodison, and this season has been no different. Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka are two of those that have been rumoured to be leaving, but David Moyes is no pushover and will not let them go unless an irresistible offer comes in. To be honest though, these two need to be kept as they were Everton's stand out performers last year, especially Leighton Baines. The left back was consistently encouraged to go forward and paid back his manager with 5 goals and 11 assists in his 38 games.

We think that the Toffee’s will achieve a reasonable mid-table position this year, and won’t have any trouble avoiding the drop. They will have to get ready for a difficult start to the season though, with a trip to White Hart Lane to play Tottenham next weekend. 

TSBV predicts: 10th

Fulham have had a successful pre-season, as well successfully winning 3 Europa League ties to get to the 4th qualifying round. However, it could be argued that the Europa League will pose a problem to Fulham due to their lack of squad depth, meaning fatigue could pose a greater a problem than usual and in effect, have a result on their Premier League performances, which is of greater importance to any side. They are still a strong side though, and one which we think will easily avoid the drop from the Premier League. Players like Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy are vital to Fulham's progress, and their fitness will be paramount to a good season. Perhaps another striker is needed, as both Zamora and Andrew Johnson (their two main strikers) are very injury prone players, meaning Dembele could prove to be their only fit striker at times.

There has been a lot of in-goings and out-goings during the summer for Fulham. Mark Hughes left as manager, with rumours saying he expected to get the job at Villa, but never ended up getting offered the job. He was replaced by Martin Jol, who Fulham owner Mohammed al-Fayed expects a lot from, due to his previous Premier League experience with Tottenham. Perhaps the most exciting signing of the summer is the capture of John Arne Riise from Roma for an undisclosed fee. We at TSBV even believe that he could prove to be one of the signing's of the summer. He will bring a lot of width to the side, and even some pace which was lacking at times last season. 

TSBV predicts: 13th

These 4 cost a lot of money... can they deliver on the
pitch this season?
It has been a busy few months at Anfield, with Kenny Daglish bringing in four players for a combined sum of around £45 million. Alexander Doni, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing have all decided to wear the famous red shirts next season. After finishing last season so well under Daglish, Liverpool will hope to build upon that and hopefully get back into a Champions League position, which they've been out of for 2 years now. The signings are promising, but it could be argued that they have paid far too much for these players, and this could be a worry if they don't hit the ground running immediately. They have got rid of some 'dead wood' and it leaves them with a squad that should be capable of finishing in a Champions League place. Kenny Daglish's influence on the Liverpool dressing room cannot be underestimated and you have to feel that his presence certainly help matters. They looked revitalised as soon as he entered the fray, and the motivation amongst the players was there to be seen. With the players that have come in, there is a worry that they will start playing to Andy Carroll's style, in other words; 'route one football'. Hopefully they can prove us wrong, as this will not benefit their star player in Luis Suarez. Suarez comes back after winning the Copa America with his country, which will add even more confidence to the talented Uruguayan striker. For Liverpool to do well, Suarez will need to produce consistently top performances and when Gerrard returns from injury, you'd have a feeling he will have a big impact on the team's chances, as per usual. 

TSBV predicts: 4th

Manchester City
Aguero is tipped to be one of the signings of the
Where do we start? Last season was an absolutely brilliant season for all connected with the club. We achieved our objectives by winning the FA Cup and getting Champions League qualification, pipping Arsenal on the final day to third spot as well. We have to look to build on this next season, and the new additions will certainly help matters. Stefan Savic, Gael Clichy and Sergio Aguero have all entered the club, with Aguero in particular producing lots of excitement among fans who believe he will be an absolutely great signing in years to come. In terms of outgoings, it seems like the club are trying to get rid of unwanted players, even if it means at a loss. Although Jerome Boateng has left the club, no other players (such as Bellamy, Adebayor and Bridge) all are adamant to stay at the club. Unfortunately, we have a feeling this is because of the wage packets they receive, rather than the drive to continue playing for the club. Patrick Vieira also departed as he retired from football, but rejoined us a few days later in a new role as a Football Development Executive. After a long and illustrious career, we wish Patrick all the best in his new role at the club and we are sure he will excel at the job. 

Mancini guided the team to success brilliantly last season, and he is man to keep if Manchester City want to continue going forward. Sergio Aguero is one example why Mancini needs to be kept at the club. The 23 year old Argentinian has a considerable amount of talent, and due to his age, can only improve. His ability to play in a number of positions means he provides Mancini with a lot of selection headaches ahead of the big kick off. Of course, if we are to succeed the defence needs to continue being as solid as it was last season, and with the likes of Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards at the heart of that defence, you can't help but feel that the defence will be even better next year. City are also host to a fantastic midfield, and De Jong will be vital this year to hold that together. One thing we need to ensure is that we consistently produce in all competitions we enter, and due to the quality that is in the squad, we at TSBV have the confidence that we can play well in all competitions we enter.

TSBV predicts: 1st

Manchester United
United have added a few players to their squad this season, and there are strong rumours that Wesley Sneijder might also be arriving at Old Trafford as a replacement for retired Paul Scholes. United will feel they can win the league this year, however Manchester City will say different, and they will have to concede that they will have serious competition for the title this year, much more than any other year to be honest. New signings Ashley Young, De Gea and Phil Jones are player's who have quality, but like with Liverpool's signings, you have to question to transfer fee's spent to acquire these players. However, Ashley Young will be explosive down the wings, and this will really help Manchester United due to Rooney's ability to head a ball. In terms of de Gea, he looks like a promising signing for United, but perhaps it will take him a while to bed in at the club due to his age and experience, and United fans will have to give him time to settle in. Phil Jones is also young and to be honest he has a long way to go before he can show his true potential. This season will probably see him on the bench for the majority of the season, but he looks a promising player and is definitely one for the future.  We here at TSBV genuinely believe that due to the quality of City's squad, United will find it difficult in maintaining the title for the 20th time, and with the ever increasing team chemistry at the Etihad Stadium, some believe United will have to be the best they have for a long time if they want to win the league

TSBV predicts: 2nd

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