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Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Ultimate English Premier League Guide

Today is the big kick off so I thought it's best that I give my analysis of every team in the Premier League.

Arsenal: They lost Thierry Henry which is a big, big blow to them. Henry is such a brilliant player and he has scored a lot of goals during his time with Arsenal. Without him, a lot will rest on the shoulders of van Persie whom I rate very highly. He may not be as quick as Henry but he has the same shooting abilities and skills as the great man.

Arsenal has bought striker Eduardo Da Silva to replace Henry. The jury is still out on how good he really is. It will be interesting to see who Arsene Wenger playes upfront. Don't forget. They still have Adebayor and not forgetting young Walcott and Brendtner.

The main problem I see with Arsenal is that they will play the best football but they can't seem to finish off their fine moves with a goal. I think they do need a 20 goal a season striker if they want to win the League. Unfortunately I don't think the strikers they have now can accomplished that.

They were 4th in the league last year but I fear this time, their place among the top four will end. There will be too much pressure on the young lads to keep delivering so I predict they will only end the season in 5th position. I feat they will also lose Wenger at the end of the season.

Aston Villa: I like Martin O' Neill. I've always regarded him very highly as a manager. He has won titles in Scotland but unfortunately I don't think Aston Villa is the right club for him if he wants to be a winner in England.

He has bought the two West Ham boys, Nigel Reo-Coker and Marlon Harewood. Harewood will hopefully provide them with more ammo up front. Villa has been lacking goals last season and they drew too many times instead of winning games. I really like Ashley Young and Gabby Agbonlahor. Both of them have really got lighting pace. I don't think John Carew is the man for them to fire in the goals though. He looked a little out of sorts last season.

My prediction for Aston Villa is a mid table position.

Birmingham: It is one of the newly promoted clubs - second in the Championship last year. Manager Steve Bruce will have a tough time. He doesn't have a quality squad to fight in the Premier League. A lot will depend on the performances of the other weaker teams if they are to survive.

Will they? I'm afraid not. A bottom three position and relegation to the Championship where they came from.

Blackburn Rovers: They were impressive at times last year. Solid at the back, good in midfield and they got some good strikers. Roque Santa Cruz, their new addition, is a great signing. I like him a lot and I think he will score a fair share of the Blackburn goals this season. If they can hold on to wingers Pederson and Bentley, they will do much better this year.

I expect Blackburn to be challenging for the UEFA slot.

Bolton Wanderers: Big Sam left last year and Bolton is never the same again. Sammy Lee is a very good coach but I don't think he is a good manager. They bought quite a number of new players this season but none really stood out for me. More importantly they lost Tal Ban Haim who was an important asset for them at the back. If Bolton were to repeat their 7th position, they will need to be really tight at the back and play with the same steel and determination like they played when Big Sam was there. Unfortunately I don't think they can do it again without him. Anelka will score goals for them but it will only be enough for them to achieve a mid table position.

Chelsea: Chelsea wants to win the league this year desperately after losing it to Man Utd. They are a hard team to beat but I think the key for them is to score goals. If they can keep Drogba injury free this year, he will continue to bang in the goals for them like he did last year. New signing Malouda looks natural at left wing. I expect Chelsea to play with a 4-3-3 with two wingers supporting a lone striker upfront. Lampard is also key for them but I think he will struggle this year to get into the scoresheet. They are losing Terry due to injury during the early parts of this season and I think that's a big blow. New signing Alex should play ok with Carvalho at the back but without Terry, Chelsea loses its heart and soul. Then there is the African international tournament in which they will lose Drogba and Essien. That's a big factor too.

A Premiership win is beyond Chelsea this year. I think they will remain 2nd and Mourinho to be sacked at the end of the season.

Derby: Hmmmm. Should I just say they will be relegated this season? Seriously, they are not good enough. Their best player in my opinion is young Giles Barnes - and I'm not even sure if he will remain with the club. Key man for them will be striker Earnshaw but I don't think he is of Premiership class.

They may need to buy more players if they are to remain in the Premiership. My prediction is a bottom three position for them. Relegation!

Everton: It's hard for one to be an Everton fan. You look across and see your closest rival Liverpool spending all that cash to bring so many star players. David Moyes knows that he has a long way to go to match Liverpool and he has had problems bringing in new players. They did get Leighton Baines who will do well in the left back slot. They will depend on Arteta a lot in midfield to create the goals for their lone striker Johnson.

I think Everton will challenge for one of the UEFA slots this season.

Fulham: I pick Fulham as the last team for the drop this year. I think they are really weak. They have bought a number of decent players but I doubt they will do much difference to the side. Their defence will leak in lots of goals and upfront, they will have problems scoring them. Manager Lawrie Sanchez is not Premiership quality manager. I think the club will struggle this year.

My prediction is that they will narrowly avoid relegation.

Liverpool: They bought big. Torres has arrived. He will hopefully be the 20 goals a season man that they've been craving for. But I don't know if he can do that. A lot will again rest on the performances of Stevie Gerrard. If he is playing in central midfield, and if Liverpool can get their new players to gel quickly and have a good start to the Premiership, I think they can get closer to the likes of Chelsea and Man U come the end of the season.

Last season, they were third and this season, I think it will be another 3rd position for them.

Manchester City: I don't really like Eriksson as a manager. I thought he was very negative and ran out of ideas during his time managing England. I still think that he will struggle this year in a Manchester City side that has more doubts than quality. They have too many new foreign signings which will be a problem for unity at the club. But the real problem is behind the scenes. Thaksin's take over of the club is to me a very very big gamble. If he was to be convicted for corruption back in Thailand, the club will be in disarray.

I think Eriksson's reign at the club will be a short one. Maybe just one year. I see them struggling this year but will do enough to avoid relegation.

Manchester United: Sir Alex has bought very good players this season. I think Nani will complement Ronaldo on the wings. Teves will be a great signing and Hargreaves will provide them with the much needed steel in midfield. It's a pity they do no sign a quality player at the back and an out and out striker. They need to get Saha fit because I think Man U play their best football with one out an out striker partnered by a creative Cantona or Sheringham-like forward. Partnering Rooney and Teves up front will not be a wise thing as both of them are similar players. If Ronaldo can play as brilliantly as he did last season, Man U will be unstoppable this season.

They have too much firepower upfront for any teams. Will convincingly win the Premiership this season.

Middlesbrough: They lost Viduka but they bought Tuncay and Aliadare to beef up their attack. Luke Young will be a good addition to their defence and having Johnny Woodgate signing for them permanently is a big boost. Their problem will be scoring goals. I have a feeling that Yakubu will leave the club. He is their main man upfront. Stewie Downing will also be an important asset for them. He is a very good crosser of the ball from the left hand side.

A mid table position for Boro this season.

Newcastle: Big Sam will be trying to make Newcastle stronger and harder to beat this year after taking over the reigns as manager. I think selling Scott Parker is a big mistake although Big Sam may think that he has a ready made replacement in new signing Joey Barton. Mark Viduka and Alan Smith have been brought in to bolster the attack. If Newcastle can get Michael Owen fit (which I doubt it), then they will do much much better this season.

I think they will be top half in the table come the end of the season.

Portsmouth: Harry Redknapp did very well last season to finish 9th in the league. I think they will do alright. A lot of players have been bought. Striker Nugent is the most famous one. Can he do it in the Premiership? I think he will struggle to get the goals but Portsmouth has quite plenty of strikers to fill in for him if he does.

I don't think the club will do as well as they did last season but a mid table finish is possible.

Reading: Fairy tale first season but it will be different this time around for Steve Copell and his men. I like Reading and they showed last season they can play with the best teams in the Premiership. I wished they had bought more quality players in. Don't forget. They lost Steve Sidwell to Chelsea. He is a big lost of them as he is their main midfield man. And upfront, they do not have a good enough striker to partner Kevin Doyle.

I think Reading will finish in the lower half of the table.

Sunderland: A lot of eyes will be on Sunderland and their manager Roy Keane. They were Championship winners last season. Can Keane do it at the Premiership as a manager? We all know what a great player he was with Man Utd. I think Keane has the makings of a great manager and I wldnt be surprised if he end up managing Man Utd one day. But managing Sunderland in the Premiership is not an easy task. The club lacks quality players. Chopra upfront is not Premiership class and Kieran Richardson has a lot to do to convince many that he is the Premiership's best left winger. Problem for Keane is that he has a tough time recruiting the good players to his team.

I do think Sunderland will survive the Premiership - just narrowly missing relegation.

Tottenham Hotspur: Two 5th place positions over the last two seasons. Is this the year that Spurs break into the top 4? I do think so. They kept Berbatov who is their key man. They bought Bent who will make Spurs' forward line a threat to anyone in the Premiership. They lost King to injury but I think Kaboul looks like a great defender. He and Dawson will do fine. Bale is a good addition to the side. He will be the best left back in the Premiership this season.

My prediction for Spurs is 4th position.

West Ham: They will do well to stay out of the relegation zone this season. No Tevez but the returning Dean Ashton will do well for them. They bought a lot of players thanks to the millions of their new owner.

Alan Curbishley is a good manager. I think West Ham is a perfect club for him with the financial support that he gets from his chairman. He has a lot of firepower upfront too. Bellamy will provide them with the pace and unpredictability and Scott Parker in midfield looks like a great signing.

I think they will be fine this season, probably in the lower half of the table.

Wigan: The problem with Wigan is the loss of their former manager Paul Jewell. I don't think their new boss Hutchings has got what it takes to manage a Premiership side. Signing defender Titus Bramble is as good as committing suicide. That boy can't defend to safe his life.

They managed to survive last year but this year, they will unfortunately go down.

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