Answers Needed

The most divided fanbase is unquestionably Arsenal. For once though, i’m not entirely sure why? At the beginning of the season, in the transfer window we bought exactly what the Wenger Out fans have been screaming for. A strong CDM (Xhaka) who wasn’t cheap (Wenger Out fans cry about Arsene not spending), a world class CB (Mustafi) who wasn’t cheap either and finally a Striker (Lucas Perez) who even though he hasn’t featured much, has shown every time he’s on the pitch that he was worth every penny. Now to me, Arsene answered all the critics in this respect, by ‘splashing the cash’ and buying in every position that needed strengthening. I genuinely thought we had a chance to fight for all the trophies going this season and as a fan you have to believe that, otherwise you aren’t truly supporting your team. After a disappointing first game of the season, we then went 17/18 games unbeaten (I think). We then lost back to back games. Firstly, against Ronald Koeman’s Everton, who were well organised and every manager has a bogey manager, Koeman is Wenger’s as everyone knows. We then went away to City who have according to some, the best manager in world football and we only lost 2-1, away from home. Following that we went unbeaten in UCL group stage, even against PSG who have just showed Barcelona up.

Currently we are off the pace by 10 points in the league, which yes is an issue but it’s definitely not over. Bearing in mind we beat Chelsea and they beat us cancelling each other out, so nothing was lost at Stamford bridge which I think fans are forgetting. I understand that to win the league you have to beat the big teams, I don’t believe in excuses but Bellerin was knocked out, if that goal doesn’t go in then what might have happened you never know, the complexion of the game would have been completely different. Admittedly, Chelsea are good at home and we would have been lucky to get a win but to think we couldn’t have got at least a draw is disrespectful to our players.

We are still in a winnable FA Cup. The media are trying to downplay Arsenal’s chances and angling for a giant killing, especially in the wake of the defeat at Bayern but why are people stacking up the pressure against one of the most successful managers in the FA Cup full stop? Yes Sutton have home advantage and a shitty 3G pitch, poor facilities and low ticket allocation for away fans. Yet we will put out a 80% strength squad, probably close to the team that smashed Southampton 5-0. I have noticed so much non-news recently in regards to Arsenal and Arsene, it’s almost like the media is out to get us constantly and will make a story out of nothing.

Now in regards to the question that is floating around at the moment, should Arsene go? This poses a very difficult question for me being a Wenger In fan. In short I don’t think he should leave. Not right now, I think he should go at the end of next season. There are so many different factors involved to make a snap decision like the media and Wenger Out fans want. It’s reactionary and unnecessary, especially when it all hinged on a single game. I hear and understand fans frustrations, i’m a fan too. But do you really think destabilising the club at a time like this will help in any way? If anything we need to be together at the moment with important run ins coming up, the only thing that matters at the moment is a full stadium and to get behind the players so that we get back to winning ways.

The way it needs to go is at the end of the season Arsene Wenger sits down with the board and sets out a plan of devolution. It’s not as simple to just bring in a new manager. Arsene basically runs so many different bits of the club, a new manager coming in can’t take over every single aspect of his job as he’s been there for so long, there needs to be a transition period where Arsene slowly delegates his many jobs to other people. Get the right people in place to run the club so that he can purely focus on his final season as just a manager. Then at the end of the season hand over the reigns to another manager with the club in the best possible shape so the new managers job is easier and can take the club onto the next level. As I believe the end goal is for Arsenal to become a Supergiant, it has to be the long term goal. They wouldn’t have put so much effort, time and money into creating Arsenal the brand. We have a huge stadium, the 7th highest revenue in the world, one of the biggest fanbases in the world and a team capable of getting into the UCL every year. The only place left to go is get another world class manager, buy world class players in every position and go for the Champions League, not just once but prolonged success. That is the business model I believe they will aim for.

This takes me onto the next part, who could come in and make that transition work? Me personally, don’t laugh but on a 3 year contract I think we should go for Mancini. The simple reason why is that he 1. Has Premier League experience and has won it. 2. Has some Champions League experience. 3. Knows what it takes to juggle the two (most foreign managers can’t grasp the winter period e.g Pep & Klopp) 4. Has a great win percentage and record. 5. Plays an attractive style of football (which is imperative to appease fans). Now I know no one will share my view so let’s assess the other options out there.

  1. Diego Simeone – The logical choice. Fighting off Real & Barcelona every year takes a lot, especially when they won La Liga. Sustained attacks in Europe, winning Europa League and getting to the final of UCL twice in 3 years, an amazing win percentage and also has a backbone and wouldn’t think twice about shaking the team up with some emotion. The downsides – He has no experience of the Premier League, a poor defensive style of play that i’m not sure that fans will trade attractive football for trophies (winning ugly), there’s only so many times you can shout at players to provoke a response. If we were to get him I believe it should only be on a three year contract.
  2.  Thomas Tuchel – This is a strange one for me, he’s come out as favourite pretty much and I can’t see why? Sure he’s manager of a big club like Dortmund, he’s got them scoring but if you couldn’t get Reus & Aubameyang to score then you shouldn’t be a manager! He’s not excatly setting the Bundesliga on fire and hasn’t even won half of his games. He got to the Quarters of the Europa League and is through to the Last 16 of UCL this year. He had one good season last year and has a different approach to tactics which are his only good traits.
  3. Joachim Low – He plays amazing football with the German national team, he’s got a good win percentage overall, however if you look at his domestic record it’s not amazing, he won the Austrian League the same year as our Invincibles and took Stuttgart to 4th twice in the late 90s. Yes he’s won the World Cup but it’s a different ball game (excuse the pun) in the leagues. This would be a massive gamble plus he likes smelling his own balls!
  4.  Eddie Howe – I understand this one, yet it won’t work. He gets the most out of Bournemouth because of the structure in place at the club and he runs the club with 4 or 5 ex-players as his backroom staff. He plays some attractive football and has achieved well whilst having restraints in regards to players. Yes he’s English and it would be good to see an Englishman in a top job in England! I’m all for giving opportunities but you should get in on merit and Eddie’s record doesn’t speak for itself.
  5. Max Allegri – He’s had it so easy, he inherited an AC Milan team he did well with and then took over Juventus with unlimited amounts of money, he’s won 3 league titles in his time in management but his style of football is dull running a 3-5-2 system. He’s been through to the Last 16 in UCL just as many times as Wenger, even though he reached the Final his first season with Juventus. The club would be much the same under Allegri and wouldn’t be seen as making a step forward.
  6. Leonardo Jardim – Only in his early 40s, he’s travelled around a bit, though he’s got a good point percentage overall and plays quite nice football, his European record isn’t amazing. Although saying that I reckon with the structure and resources that Arsenal will have in place, he could excel. Probably my my 2nd or 3rd choice, it wouldn’t be a bad move for Arsenal.
  7. Roger Schmidt – Finally, low down on the list with having only won an Austrian Title and Austrian Cup. Stable Top 4 finishes with Leverkusen and through to the Last 16 2 out of 3 seasons, not exactly the profile of someone a club of Arsenal’s stature should be looking at in my honest opinion, yet he’s been ‘shortlisted’ or linked with the club so I included him.

Whatever the outcome at the end of the season whether he stays or goes, no manager that comes in should be expected to create instant success and should be given time to adapt and build their own squad. We should all be patient and give anyone the time to progress. I’m in two minds as to whether Arsene should stay at the club in the background as sometimes it can be a distraction, as the new manager is always compared to the outgoing manager and doesn’t help if he’s still around (e.g Ferguson). Ideally if he does stay, i’d like  him to become director of football and oversee the youth academy as his true talent lies in developing young players and making them ready for the first team.

Thank you for reading!

Predictions

It’s that time of year again! I’ve decided to wait for the window to shut before making any predictions this year though.

Arsenal: Top 2 finish – We have actually gone and done it. The shameful side of the fanbase have been baying for Arsene’s blood through the whole window and he has given everyone what they want and what every pundit has said over the past ten years. A CB and ST, as we’re “a CB and ST away from challenging for the league” even though we have progressively been getting better year on year for the last 3 years! Having bought very shrewdly in Mustafi a regular in the German National team, which is no easy feat. And Lucas Perez who has been dubbed as the Spanish Vardy, who should share the burden of the goals with Giroud who’s been so underrated and under appreciated. Also not forgetting Rob Holding who has been pound-for-pound the best signing we’ve made, considering he’s made more clearances, won more aerial duals and made more tackles than the boss man Koscielny! Man City wasted almost £50 million on Stones and we paid £2.5 million on him. Granit Xhaka is a beauty to watch, we have finally replaced Viera in my eyes, the passing, leadership and ‘industrial’ side of the game all rolled into one, he’s also not shy of sticking the boot in, a proper enforcer in the ranks once again. All in all it looks to be an amazing season if you’re an Arsenal fan as the fanbase has to unite under the Arsenal banner as Arsene has done exactly what all his critics have been screaming for, if we can crack on and make a proper atmosphere in the Emirates again, we can win something this year. Expect some amazing European nights and a long go at the FA Cup again this year, depth in the squad is sublime.

Granit Xhaka mid-screamer. Note the former Spud player Mason turning around in pure terror as Granit unleashes his left peg.

Bournemouth:Relegation Scrap – Having made the biggest ‘coup’ of the transfer window by getting the best English Midfielder on loan (Jack Wilshere), they should have an exciting season when he starts to link up with his best mate Afobe, yet I don’t think it’ll be enough to get them into mid table spots, they’ll enjoy their scalps of some of the bigger teams along the way but with the league being so unpredictable with this disgusting amount of money being injected into it, I think things will start to even out as the rich clubs get richer (e.g Man United) and we go back to how it was with people buying the league. If they can get Wilson firing on all cylinders after he had all of last season out then they could surprise a few but the forecast still looks dim.

Bildresultat för eddie howe jack wilshere

Burnley: Relegation Scrap – Sean Dyche has done an incredible job with Burnley considering they couldn’t compete financially with the big boys, they’re now enjoying the fruits of their labour after gaining promotion back to the Premier League and get that windfall of funds. They’ll still be near the bottom come the end of the year, yet I expect some good home results this season.

Bildresultat för sean dyche 2016/17

Chelsea: 5th – Chelsea have made a good acquisition with Conte and he seems to be coming up with the goods so far. Yet they let themselves down on the last day of the window by buying David Luiz again. Kante will be tested immensely having that clown behind him, I for one am licking my lips in anticipation for Arsenal’s trip to Stamford bridge if he is playing as I feel Özil, Sanchez, Ox and Perez\Giroud will tear him a new arsehole. (This article was drafted before our prefect 3-0 display at the Emirates!) Also I feel it’s only a matter of time before Costa is sent off for being a cunt, interpret that in whatever way you want, be it spitting, eye gouging, slapping, tripping, shirt pulling, dissent, he will be getting sent off more often and hopefully it will curb that disgusting side of his ‘game’ if you can call it that. Hazard seems to be back to his best after going on holiday for the whole of last season and will drag the team to Europa League places as they have no European football to hinder them, yet I think the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal are a still a step above them in many respects.

Bildresultat för antonio conte chelsea

Crystal Palace: 7th\8th – They have addressed their main issue of not having a good enough striker for this league, say what you will of Benteke but when he gets going he’s a top goalscorer. Pardew has been around long enough and I think he’ll make a significant improvement this season and will scrape through and get a Europa league qualifying round spot, either in the league or through a cup. It’ll be good to have another London rival in the top half of the table.

Bildresultat för benteke crystal palace header

Everton: 7th\8th – I like how Everton is set up at the moment, they have the players, the resources, a good home ground and a cracking manager, I hope this is the season they prove me wrong and go for top 4, yet I still don’t see it happening. They’re a work in progress and could grow to be a major force in the next few years, however they aren’t quite there yet. This season is a building block and I don’t expect many to take points away from Goodison Park this year, also another team I think could go far in the Cups.

Bildresultat för ronald koeman everton

Hull City: Mid Table obscurity – They’ve played a blinder the first few games of the season and got robbed of a point when Man United rolled into town, if they could keep it up they’d see themselves in the top half of the table, yet it won’t happen. Mike Phelan deserved Manager of the Month in my opinion, for motivating that small squad of lads and coming up with those results in the face of almost not having a fully fit 11 to put out on the field. I also fully expect to meet Hull in the FA Cup for our customary annual fixture!

Bildresultat för mike phelan 2016/17

Leicester City: 9th – They did it, hats off and all that jazz, but another year another season and they will have to contend with a clogged up calendar with European football without their Midfield enforcer Kante to make the difference, no offence but Drinkwater is nowhere near the player he was. Mendy looked good against Arsenal and could come in handy but they will come up against some stiff opposition and take into account they won’t be able to keep that tight knit group together like last season as the tinkerman will have to tinker to keep things fresh and you’ll start to see a different team. That’s why when everyone lost their heads when they won and said it was the greatest achievement, I still believe that Nottingham Forrest and Brian Clough edged it. It all depends what Leicester do in Europe I guess!

Bildresultat för claudio ranieri

Liverpool: 3rd – Well they’ve been tearing the league up from the start and Klopp is really kicking on with instilling his style of play in the team. They’re sublime to watch and have the firepower to play any team in the league out of the park, we lost first game of the season to them in an all action encounter. They also beat Chelsea, the game to watch for will be Man City and Pep. Whilst I expect Arsenal and City to go Top 2, Liverpool will be right behind you can believe that. They don’t have European football to hold them back either. I think they’ll get 3rd and maybe even a cup!

Bildresultat för klopp glasses falling off

Man City: Top 2 – Well it’s happened, Pep is here and has hit the ground running. He has really pulled the best out of De Bruyne and is really one of the most exciting midfielders to watch in the league. Aguero is STILL the best striker in the league and will crack 25 goals this year. He could fire them all the way to winning the league depending on how Arsenal get on. It will be tight at the top and may even go down to the last game of the season. The only place I see negativity is the defence and Claudio Bravo. He’s a good keeper and all but there have been some questionable decisions made, it could impact how they play. At the moment it doesn’t matter as they seem to be able to outscore everyone anyway!

Bildresultat för pep guardiola kevin de bruyne

Man United: 4th – They’ve attempted to buy the league this season in a knee-jerk reaction to Pep going to City, they’ve got that foul human Jose in and spent ridiculous amounts of money on players for the coming season. From what i’ve seen recently, going on a 3 game losing streak I don’t expect great things this season from them. Rooney is finished, the only plus is seeing Zlatan in the League, everyone’s favourite Swede. Jose will secure a Champions League spot, you can almost guarantee it, yet they seem to struggle in the Europa League almost as if they’ve got a superiority complex where the players think they’re too good for the competition. Go out and prove us wrong by winning it! They aren’t the finished article like their Blue rivals, scousers or the mighty Arsenal so 4th is a realistic finish.

Bildresultat för zlatan manchester united

Middlesbrough: Relegation – It’s a shame to say it as I was quite happy to see an old ‘original’ premier League team return (Much like Sheffield Wednesday or Nottingham Forrest) but they look out of their depth and will be scrapping with the likes of Burnley to stay up. I don’t think Karanka can be blamed, he’s made good signings but it won’t come together in time. They’ll grab some well earned points come February but I think it will be too late.

Bildresultat för aitor karanka premier league

Southampton: Mid Table obscurity – I like Claude Puel and I think Southampton were unlucky not to get a point out of the Arsenal game if i’m honest. I expect them to do okay but with Europa League matches piling up and the managers inexperience in the league will lead to a mid table finish and maybe round of 16 in Europa. A good side that are 2 or 3 players away from challenging for 4th.

Bildresultat för claude puel

Stoke: Staying Up – There is no doubt that Stoke will stay up. They might finish 17th but they will stay up. I was really expecting them to smash teams apart this season but they’ve fallen flat on their face. I truly do love watching Bojan play. They have a good manager and the squad to compete but getting off to this start can’t help in the dressing room and the confidence isn’t there. The league is wide open from 7th downwards and some teams are still trying to find their place.

Bildresultat för bojan 2016/17

Sunderland: Relegation Scrap – Will they won’t they. Will they get going under Moyes, he’s got the experience but I don’t think he has the right team behind him. Pickford looks to be an exciting young prospect and has almost cemented his place in the starting 11. There will be some tough games ahead and if they haven’t got many points on the board by mid November then i’d start to get a bit worried for another ‘big’ team that can’t go down, much like their Tyneside rivals last year.

Bildresultat för david moyes sunderland

Swansea: Staying Up – Another club that look alright but won’t set the world alight this year. They’ll get some goals out of Fernando Llorente as he is a classy finisher but I don’t think they have enough to get mid table and aren’t bad enough to be fighting for their lives at the bottom. Expect draws, and lots of them.

Bildresultat för fernando llorente swansea

Spurs: 6th – Now I would be a bit biased but let me have a look at this realistically just for arguments sake. For a start they aren’t playing at home this season which is unsettling, even if they’re sharing Wembley for European games which is an honour for them. I expect them not to do too badly in their group, they have a good manager and I expect him to push them like last year and they will probably make last 16/round of 32 and finish just outside of top 4 as the big boys return to the fray after being absent last year. I can tell you, this stadium malarkey is no walk in the park.

Bildresultat för white hart lane new stadium

Watford: Mid Table obscurity – They’ve had an okay start to the season and Mazzarri isn’t a bad manager, they look solid and can get points on the board. They’ll be overpowered by the next level of opponents like Everton/Crystal Palace but they’ll pick off the weaker teams in the league. They have a nice style of play this year and Deeney is so underrated. However, like I say Mid table at best.

Bildresultat för mazzarri deeney

West Brom: Relegation Scrap – Now, I have respect for Tony Pulis and think he’s an exceptional manager with the resources he’s had at this club and Stoke, but I don’t think West Brom scare anyone. They can grind out the draws where needed, but that isn’t enough in this open league anymore, he has the experience to keep them up but you do wonder if these are one of the ‘big’ teams that are ripe for relegation. The league is changing.

Bildresultat för west brom tony pulis september 2016

West Ham: Mid to Bottom Table (16th) – Another team in transition, attempting a stadium move. They have the players, Payet in particular is World Class and Antonio is having a blinder at the moment, Slaven Bilic turned out to be a hit last year but this year throws up different situations and a new home. They seem to be stuttering but I feel they have just enough to beat off opposition.

Bildresultat för payet rabona

The Coming Season

After having a break from writing due to not having enough time to fit it in, I have finally got around to sitting down and putting something together!

I will start with my Premier League predictions for the new season.

I shall start alphabetically with my team Arsenal. Predicted finish: 1st

Yes I understand that I said this last season, but we looked dangerous last season and broke the ‘hoodoo’ of not being able to beat anyone in the top 5. Beating both Manchester clubs & Liverpool last season we jumped along in strides and also collected a consecutive FA Cup. This team is going places and is in a winning mindset. On top of that making a shrewd acquisition in Petr Cech, who is already making a contribution to the team with his wealth of knowledge, experience and prowess. He looked right at home in his debut against Everton and despite being beaten by a thundering shot from Ross Barkley, made a crucial save and commanded the area well. First big test will be against Chelsea in the Community shield. That being said, over the course of the season we will look safer at the back and deadlier up front. My side prediction of Alexis Sanchez getting the Golden Boot should also be mentioned. All this being said i think Chelsea will really push us for the title and think it could go down to the last game of the season. Arsenal should finish with 83 points.

Aston Villa: Predicted finish 15th

Aston Villa look to be saved under Tim Sherwood, I was impressed with what I saw of Villa after he took over. He now has a chance of getting a pre season with the team and bringing in his own players and also after just selling Benteke will be able to sign a big(ish) name to fill his boots. They have made 3 good additions so far and not to mention they battled hard to get to the FA Cup final last season, that is no easy going. I still think they will struggle to crack the Top 10 but this is a work in progress and will take a few years to get Villa back to what I remember of them up in Europa League spots.

Bournemouth: Predicted Finish 17th

This is a big gamble saying they will stay up. I have doubts they will, as the sheer number of players coming in and not having a chance to settle and integrate properly in a new league to them. That being said I think they have got some good players in with a mix of experience and fresh talent. Sylvain Distin & Artur Boruc have Premier League experience and will bring that to the back 4. Also Tyrone Mings is the next big thing and should develop well if playing next to an experienced player like Distin. They will struggle to get points but I see them as this year’s Leicester and sort themselves out near the end of the season.

Chelsea: Predicted finish 2nd

We are all aware what Chelsea are capable of. They will look to replicate what they had last year, yet I don’t believe it’s the same story. Losing Cech will of rocked them and Mourinho in a big way. Yes they have a great replacement in Courtois, yet losing such a big player can have a negative impact on a team. Look at Arsenal when the Invincibles started to melt away. We were never the same again. They will push and challenge but you know the saying, when you’re on top you’re a target to get picked off. I think if Arsenal beat them at the Emirates, which isn’t likely if we’re honest. If they do though, like when they beat City last season and get over the hoodoo, then we shall see the swing towards Arsenal and the vital point swing that will come in handy at the end of the season. Chelsea should finish with 82 points.

Crystal Palace: Predicted finish 11th

Crystal Palace have made a cracking signing with Yohan Cabaye, you see teams signing lots of players but sometimes all you need is the right signing to make the difference. I think he will shine under Pardew again. I think Bolasie will be their key player like he was at the tail end of last season, yet again I was quite impressed with what I saw of Palace last season and expect good things from them.

Everton: Predicted finish 9th

I know this sounds low and it’s nothing against Everton, I genuinely think they play attractive attacking football under Martinez, but I think it’s the teams around them that have improved more and will finish higher. Europa League spots will be hotly contested this year. I see them getting wrapped up with Man City, Stoke, Spurs & Swansea/Southampton. Leaving little room for Everton, I just think they’ll lose out to these others, whilst keeping a good home record but falling short away from home to those around them.

Leicester: Predicted finish 16th

I think Claudio Ranieri is a good choice in taking over from Pearson, he’s done well in the past in the Premier League, admittedly he had millions to spend under Chelsea and already had a good team around him at the time as it was the beginning of the Abramovich era. This is a different challenge for him and it all hinges on how they start the season. If they get off to a flyer like last year they will greatly appreciate the points at the end of the season and will keep them clear of relegation.

Liverpool: Predicted finish 4th

Another gamble considering they have pretty much bought Southampton and it didn’t work amazingly last season. Yet I think if Benteke can get firing under Rodgers then he will push the team back into the Top 4. The players and talent are there it’s just whether they can work together and I think now the shadow of Stevie G has left they can start a new clean slate under Henderson, who I don’t dislike completely and think that he’ll step up and be a good successor. Plus they don’t have that Sterling drama hanging around their neck anymore. Coutinho will be there key player, I know we only saw glimpses of his brilliance (Liverpool fans claim it was in every game) I feel he will have his breakthrough season this year and really make an impact. It will be interesting to see what Rodgers does with him and Firmino.

Man City: Predicted finish 5th

City fans won’t believe me obviously but hear me out. They are in a transition period, though they are addressing the ageing squad problem by buying young English talent, it doesn’t automatically fix the problem. The only consistent player will be Sergio Aguero, who is still the best striker in the league in my eyes. He will carry the team this year, his goals will be vital in keeping them in contention. I hope to see David Silva return to his best also. Let’s just hope they don’t forget Yaya’s birthday this time around either!

Man United: Predicted finish 3rd

Van Gaal will bring the best out of his team this year, after making proper additions of his own and starting a dynasty. Trying to replicate the whole ‘galacticos’ thing, I think Schweinstieger will be crucial if he can stay fit, which I highly doubt. He’ll have a good 8 weeks at either end of the season and that’ll be it. This being said I think that this is the year that we see the re-emergence of the Man United we used to see under Ferguson. I think they’ll finish on 80 points.

Newcastle: Predicted finish 16th

I’m not sure what to think of Steve McClaren, yes he’s got experience but i’m not sure he’ll do well this time around in the Premier League and I think Newcastle will suffer as a result and I don’t see him lasting the duration of the season. I’m not usually one to write someone off before i’ve seen what they can do but I just have a bad feeling about Newcastle. Wijnaldum is a good signing but I feel they already have good options in attacking players. Cabella should have a good season but Cisse’s inconsistency will prove to be the downfall of Newcastle this season.

Norwich: Predicted finish 20th

From what I saw in the playoffs, Norwich were a force to be reckoned with but this is a completely different kettle of fish and a massive step up. Nathan Redmond is a player i’ve always admired and I think he’ll be their key player but in the Premier League you can’t rely on just one player. I don’t think they have good enough options to compete properly in the league. They will scrap with Sunderland & Watford for survival but all 3 will go down. I think it will go down to the last day much like a few years ago when Qpr stayed even though they lost to Man City, with Norwich losing out and finishing bottom.

Southampton: Predicted finish 6th/7th

This is the toughest section, so tough that I can’t decide. I have been so impressed with Southampton, Stoke and Swansea and where they are going as clubs that it’s difficult to see who will prevail in the fight for the Europa League spots. I see Southampton coming close to Champions League football but missing out. They’ll be in the top part of the Europa League places though. I’m excited to see what Jordy Clasie is all about, not much to add as Southampton were the amazing surprise package last season.

Stoke: Predicted finish 7th/8th

Mark Hughes is working well at Stoke and I see a 5th/6th place finish next season. This season he will be just shy of that as this is a club on the up, trying to build something. I love seeing Bojan in this league and I feel if he can stay injury free he will really crack on this season and prove to be an amazing asset. Not much to add to this either.

Sunderland: Predicted finish 18th

Dick Advocaat did the unthinkable and saved Sunderland last season, now this could go either way, they could get relegated like I think or do what Southampton did and become a surprise package. I don’t think their new signings will add much to them this season. I don’t rate Sebastian Coates and obviously not fond of Kaboul. Jermain Lens is an unknown quantity and only time will tell if he’s up to the job, I can’t comment as I don’t know anything about him. I think it will be a slow finish for Sunderland, they will decline near the end of the season, get a surprise win and think they’re safe and drop back into relegation on the penultimate game of the season and have their fate sealed on the final day.

Swansea: Predicted finish 8th/9th

I can Swansea doing well this time out, they have made amazing additions to their squad so far and think that if they hit form at the right time they could achieve their highest ever finish. Yet this is unlikely and feel they will creep into Europa League with a string of top draw performances. Though I haven’t predicted Europa League spots properly as I haven’t vectored in Spurs, it really will be a massive scramble between Swansea & Stoke who both have so much to offer! Watch out for Andre Ayew.

Spurs: Predicted finish 6th-8th

Spurs will reach their customary Europa League spot and have periods of good performances and do the same thing they do every year and declare they will make Top 4, only to fail miserably. They will make a few shock wins against big opposition, maybe Man City & Arsenal (at White Hart Lane) but that will be the extent of their glory this season. Expect mediocrity from a team that should really be fighting for Top 4. They will really begin to suffer when the stadium move starts to begin.

Watford: Predicted finish 19th

Watford have made 3 strong signings in Capoue, Behrami & Vydra. Will it be enough to keep them up, probably not. Expect some spectacular performances against other lower half teams, but not reaching the grade points wise. I hope they prove me wrong but I just see them as one of those yoyo clubs that will fall back down to the Championship and keep a large chunk of TV money for their troubles.

West Brom: Predicted finish 13th

I like Tony Pulis and think he’s a good manager, very consistent and I believe he will do the job. Yet again mid table security though as I don’t think his team have the drive to push into the Top 10. Maybe a good cup run would lift them? It’s hard to tell which way they are heading. The bookies are slashing odds for them to be relegated, I don’t believe the hype on this occasion.

West Ham: Predicted finish 12th

Haven’t seen anything of Slaven Bilic so can’t judge, the club have made sound additions to an already good team. I feel they will do well this year but fear the manager might come under criticism as it’s all a big change from Big Sam and what people are used too. Nonetheless, they will finish strong yet short of what they are capable of.

As always thank you for reading! It’s just a bit of fun, don’t take it to heart.