The Premier League is within touching distance and in just over a week, the greatest show on earth returns. Here is the fourth and final instalment of our Premier League Preview.
Swansea had a dreadful 2016/17 season finishing in 15th place and narrowly avoiding the drop. Paul Clement deserves huge credit for keeping The Swans in the top flight. Swansea won just one of their opening 12 games leading to Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley losing their jobs. Bradley lasted just 11 games at The Liberty Stadium, winning just two.
Then it was Clement’s turn, a seemingly impossible escape was the goal for him and it started slowly, but 4 wins and a draw from their last five games helped The Swans escape. However they have yet to strengthen this summer and rumours persist about Gylfi Sigurdsson’s future. If he leaves, Swansea will definitely go down; if he stays they may still be doomed.
Predicted finish: 18th
I’m a big fan of Spurs. They have some brilliant players who seem loyal to the club and understand what they can achieve. I fully expect Tottenham to win the league in the future once they move into their new state of the art stadium and players like Kane, Alli and Eriksen, if patient, will get the success they deserve without having to turn their backs on the club that’s given them their chance in the Premier League, unlike many other talented players.
Tottenham were absolutely brilliant last season, ending Man City’s 10 game winning run and defeating eventual champions Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Their football was a joy to behold as they fittingly went unbeaten at White Hart Lane in its swansong season.
My issue with Tottenham this year is Wembley. They completely flopped in Europe whilst playing there last season and the home comforts that helped them go unbeaten last season will not be there to help them this season. The massive pitch will suit away sides looking to sit deep and frustrate, then quickly counter. I predict a season of disappointment for Tottenham, however I believe it will only be a minor speed bump for what is a side destined for glory in the future.
Predicted finish: 6th
Watford endured a poor 2016/17 season. The players and manager Walter Mazzarri never really gelled and the language barrier was a big issue. Marco Silva is one of the most exciting young managers on the European scene. His appointment at Hull last season was heavily criticised, but those critics quickly ate their words as he lifted a seemingly doomed Hull City right back into the mix for survival.
Ultimately The Tigers went down but that was mostly down to the poor quality of players due to the owner’s lack of transfer activity. Silva is focused and clever and will get the best out of a talented group of individuals and have them playing as one solid unit.
Nathaniel Chalobah is a terrific young talent and a real coup for the club and Will Hughes from Derby is highly rated and ready for his chance in the Premier League. I expect Marco Silva to continue his impressive rise and silence his critics this season. With a full pre-season under his belt to instil his philosophy and style on the squad and with more signings expected, I believe Watford will have a good solid season under Marco Silva and he could be the man to break the Vicarage Road managers curse.
Predicted finish: 9th
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom enjoyed a good season under the safe stewardship of Tony Pulis last season. They sat in 8th place for a while but no wins in their final ten games saw them drop down to 10th place, still a very good finish for The Baggies.
Pulis will want to build on last season but an improvement on 10th place will be difficult for club with West Brom’s resources. Jay Rodriguez is a brilliant signing if they can keep him fit, which is a big if. West Brom are a solid side and I see another safe mid-table finish for them this season.
Predicted finish: 12th
West Ham United
West ham had a pretty innocuous 16/17 campaign. Their form was up and down and injury to key players blighted them throughout the campaign.
Goals were a concern with Michail Antonio finishing as their top scorer with nine goals. I think The Irons were always going to struggle in their first season at The London Stadium and after one season getting accustomed to their surroundings plus the key signings of Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic and Joe Hart I think West ham will be a much improved side this season.
They’ve strengthened in key areas and if they can keep their already established players fit they will certainly be battling at the right end of the table.
Predicted finish: 8th
Written by @CalDumbell follow him on twitter.
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