Friday, 16 August 2013

Premier League Preview : 2013-2014

After what seems a very long time the new Premier League season is upon us. Fans up and down the country and gearing up for what maybe 'their year'. But what has the league got in store for us this year? Who will be the success story? Who is facing the trapdoor of relegation? And who will take the top honour?

I've had a look at what I think might happen. As any who read my Tour de France blog will know, sometimes I'm bang on the money. On other occasions, well let's not mention them too much eh!

Club by club guide:


It has been a frustrating summer for Arsenal fans. The likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez have all been the subject of bids but have chosen to head to Napoli and stay at Liverpool respectively. On the plus side Oliver Giroud has shown flashes of form in preseason and Jack Wilshire will start this year but the locals will still be hoping Arsene Wenger can pull off at least one big name before the window closes. If not it may be another long, hard, and trophyless season for the Gunners.

Prediction: 5th
Keyman: Oliver Giroud

Aston Villa

Paul Lambert has again relied on young, fairly unknown players to bolster his squad. Villa will be hoping that the experience gained last year, couple with this influx of enthusiasm, will be enough to get them comfortably into mid table. And keeping Christian Benteke may prove to be one of the signings of the summer.

Prediction: 15th
Keyman: Christian Benteke


The name of the game is survival for last years Championship winners. In Steven Caulker they have signed a very good centre half who they can build their defence around. In Craig Bellamy they have somebody with Premier League experience and who can create chances. And the crowd in Wales will be raucous and intimidating. Whether that is enough for them to stay up remains to be seen.

Prediction: 18th
Keyman: Craig Bellamy


There are a lot of big personalities at Chelsea but none are bigger than the new Manager. Jose is back and ready to launch Chelsea towards another title but they can't just rely on the 'Mourinho effect'. A lot will depend on how Fernando Torres plays this year and whether Eden Hazard and Oscar can improve on last year. Hopes are high but it may not be enough to propel the Blues back to the top.

Prediction: 2nd
Keyman: Fernando Torres

Crystal Palace

Play off winners can be swept along by the excitement generated by their special day. Ian Holloway will certainly be hoping so and he does have the experience of coming up via that route with Blackpool. Dwight Gayle became the club record signing but it will be a big step up for the former Peterborough man. Marouane Chamakh brings top flight experience but despite this it should be a fairly quick return to the Championship.

Prediction: 20th
Keyman: Dwight Gayle


After many speculated what he would be like at a bigger club than Wigan, Roberto Martinez has finally been given the chance. Everton have for the most part been solidly top half of the table under David Moyes and will hope the Spanish influence of Martinez can push them on. Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcaraz are good if unspectacular signings from Wigan but the capture of Gerard Deulofeu has raised a few eyebrows. Expect a season of bedding in but another top half finish.

Prediction: 7th
Keyman: Arouna Kone


Fulham are one of those teams that never seem to be doing much but often make the top 10. They have lost Mark Schwarzer but in Maarten Stekelenburg they have a more than able replacement. Adel Taarabt has arrived on loan from QPR and on his day he can be a match winner. Darren Bent is close as is Scott Parker. However that has been about it for the Martin Jol's summer dealings. Survival should achieved without too much problems. But I fear another season of mediocrity beckons.

Prediction: 14th
Keyman: Dimitar Berbatov


Of all the three promoted teams Hull seem to have invested wisely. Danny Graham, despite his poor spell at Sunderland, can score goals at this level and in Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore they have two solid English Premier League players. It will be close but Steve Bruce may be doing his own version of Phil Brown's Karaoke by the year end.

Prediction: 17th
Keyman: Tom Huddlestone


The future of Luis Suarez has prompted many column inches in the national press but it looks like the volatile Uruguayan will be staying at Anfield for the time being. He will be suspended for the opening few games of the season but if he can avoid trouble he can single handled push Liverpool towards the top half of the table. Simon Mignolet is a decent goalkeeper and while Jamie Carragher will be a miss, Steven Gerrard remains. However they are still too far behind the rest to make that elusive top 4 spot again.

Prediction: 6th
Keyman: Luis Suarez

Man City

After a poor season last year and relinquishing their title rather meekly, and to their arch rivals of all people, city have used their financial clout over the summer to land Fernandinho, Steven Jovetic, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negrado, for a combined price of £105m. A lot will depend on how they bed in but with the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero already used to the Premier League it should be enough to bring the title back to Eastlands.

Prediction: 1st
Keyman: Sergio Aguero

Man Utd

One of the big questions of the season is how will Manchester United fare without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm. It is a massive role that David Moyes has taken on and despite his credentials it may be a step too far. The Rooney saga hasn't been what he needed and the lack of signings is a worry. People point towards the players winning mentality but it will need the senior pros like Ryan Giggs to make it work for United this year. I don't think it will and it may even see Moyes out of a job come May.

Prediction: 4th
Keyman: Robin Van Persie


Yet another summer dominated by off field issues. Joe Kinnear arrived as Director of Football to the disbelief of most fans and the appointment hasn't yielded a plethora of incomings. Loic Remy will finally don the black and white stripes after agreeing a loan move but the lack of a striker is worrying. However with the new signings that arrived in January now bedded in it should be enough for the Magpies to avoid a repeat of last years struggles.

Prediction: 9th
Keyman: Papiss Demba Cisse


Chris Hughton is starting to mould this Norwich team in the manner he wishes. Out has gone Grant Holt and in comes record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel and long term target Gary Hooper. This will improve Norwich's goal ratio but it may not be enough to help the Canaries improve on last year's 11th place. Same again I think.

Prediction: 11th
Keyman: Gary Hooper


A lot was made about Mauricio Pochettino's arrival at St Mary's but performances were on the whole impressive. With a season behind them the likes of Rickie Lambert, Gaston Ramirez and Adam Lallana should improve and with the signings of Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren the Saints have a very good chance of making the top 10. It would certainly be a surprise to see them involved in the relegation battle.

Prediction: 10th
Keyman: Gaston Ramirez


After a poor campaign last time out Stoke have moved to appoint Mark Hughes as the new manager ahead of Tony Pulis. Hughes' last appointment was his ill-fated tenure at QPR and he will be hoping for better luck in The Potteries. However the goalscoring problems that plagued Pulis remain and for Stoke to avoid the drop this year they need to address this quickly.

Prediction: 19th
Keyman: Peter Crouch


It's all change at Sunderland as Paulo Di Canio shapes the team in his vision. No less than 12 new players have arrived at the Stadium of Light with Italian Emanuele Giaccherini, arriving from Juventus the most high profile. With any changes of this magnitude it will take time for his team to gel but the return from injury of Wes Brown may be vital. Expect them to fare better than last year.

Prediction: 13th
Keyman: Emanuele Giaccherini


Very impressive upto and including their League Cup Final win yet went off the boil after that. With Europe to contend with this season they may find their sqaud size stretched to capacity. However new signings Wilfried Bony and Jonathan de Guzman are an improvement on what was available last year so expect another top 10 finish this time around.

Prediction: 8th
Keyman: Wilfried Bony


Like Liverpool with Suarez and Man Utd and Rooney, Gareth Bale has never been far from the headlines this summer. Yet with days to go he remains a Spurs player and if they manage to retain his services for another year, he will line up against some impressive new signings. Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado and Etienne Capoue have all joined the North Londoners and the spending spree doesn't appear to be over. It is an array of talent which may finally see Tottenham break into the top four for good.

Prediction: 3rd
Keyman: Roberto Soldado

West Brom

West Brom had an excellent 2012 finally finishing 8th. However their form after Christmas wasn't the best and will be cause for concern. Romelu Lukaku has gone back to parent club Chelsea so the Baggies have to turned to experience in the form of Nicolas Anelka. They have also snapped up Matej Vydra on loan from Udinese after the Slovakian impressed on loan at Watford last year. It may not be enough to avoid a relegation scrap but they will ultimately retain their Premier League status.

Prediction: 16th
Keyman: Nicolas Anelka

West Ham

West Ham had a decent first season back in the top flight and have added more players with Premier League experience this summer. Andy Carroll has made his move from Liverpool permanent while former team-mate Stewart Downing has also moved from Merseyside. The defence stills looks a little thin however so while they will be pushing for another top 10 finish, they may fall just short.

Prediction: 12th
Keyman: Andy Carroll

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