As the Premier League hurtles towards us and excitement grows daily we will continue are season preview, examining the hopes, expectations and transfer business from Crystal Palace down to Liverpool (6-10).
When Big Sam took the reins at Palace midway through last season the message to him was clear “Keep us up”. Well naturally Big Sam succeeded and Palace will begin their fifth consecutive season in the top flight, their longest stay during the Premier League era.
They will, however, begin the season without Big Sam at the helm, with the veteran Premier League gaffer deciding to call it a day at Selhurst Park, just five months after taking the hot seat. Frank De Boer will take his place and will have a difficult challenge in his first season of Premier League football.
Palace were extremely poor at times last season, the 0-4 home loss to Sunderland particularly stands out. They have added good young talent in Ruben Loftus-Cheek from Chelsea and the classy defender Jairo Riedewald from Ajax, a player the new manager helped to mould in his time coaching at the Dutch giants.
De Boer was highly respected as a player which should help him to gain the respect and trust of his players but it’s a results business and it will take a massive effort from De Boer and his playing staff to ensure Palace are preparing for the Premier League and not The Championship this time next year.
Predicted finish: 13th
Everton have been by far the busiest side in the transfer window so far with no less 7 players signed so far. Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford, Sandro Ramirez, Davy Klaassen, Henry Onyekuru, Wayne Rooney and Cuco Martina comes to a total bill just shy of £90M and The Blues are heavily tipped to again smash their transfer record on Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Ronald Koeman stated last week they were looking to bring in three more bodies before deadline day so they don’t look to be finished just yet. They have lost their main firepower in Romelu Lukaku, albeit for a gargantuan £90M fee from Manchester United and Ross Barkley also looks set to move on.
Everton were the best of the rest last season finishing 7th but their away form was a big concern with just 4 wins away from Goodison Park all season. Add a Europa league campaign to the mix this season and The Toffees may struggle to better last season’s finish, despite their big spending.
Predicted finish: 7th
I expect Huddersfield fans are still pinching themselves that they are preparing to take on the likes of Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea this season. After narrowly avoiding relegation into League 1 in the 2015/16 season, Huddersfield decided to appoint the young, charismatic German David Wagner.
They couldn’t in their wildest dreams have predicted what he would go onto achieve for their club. Promotion to the Premier League via a heart in mouth play-off victory and a chance for little old Huddersfield Town to test themselves against some of the world’s elite players.
This season is their first in the top flight since 1972. Which represents 45 years away from the big time and Wagner and his players will likely have the toughest job of all 20 teams to avoid the drop. They have been busy already in the transfer window which is encouraging to see. So far they have signed 10 players, however only one of them, Tom Ince, has Premier League experience with a measly 15 appearances for Crystal Palace and Hull and a solitary goal to his name. Ince, Aaron Mooy and Danny Williams certainly have the ability to step up in the Premier League and they’ll need to if The Terriers are to have any chance of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship.
Predicted finish: 20th
Leicester have had a whirlwind couple of seasons but I fancy this one to bring them back down to earth. Champions two seasons ago and a magical Champions League journey last season had the Leicester supporters on cloud nine. But they were very poor for large portions of last season and it took the sacking of perhaps now Leicester’s most famous manager in Claudio Ranieri to see their fortunes turn.
Craig Shakespeare deserves credit for how he handled the pressure of a relegation fight and steered The Foxes to 12th place, 10 points clear of the drop. He has certainly earned his shot at managing in the Premier League and I fancy him to handle it well due to his terrific man management and simple yet effective tactics. Don’t get me wrong, I expect Leicester to be involved in the relegation dog fight but signings such as Harry Maguire and the technically gifted Vicente Iborra should see them over the line and keep them in the Premier League.
Predicted finish: 15th
Liverpool are back in the Champions League this season and will look to balance a good run in Europe with a title challenge. The main concern for Liverpool at present is the rumours of Philippe Coutinho heading for Barcelona. Nothing has been confirmed as of yet, but as they say in football ‘There is no smoke without fire’.
Losing Coutinho would be a huge blow but you’d fancy Liverpool to immediately reinvest the money on quality players. They have added Mohamed Salah from Roma, whose speed and technical ability should see him seamlessly slot into the dynamic Reds attack.
Dominic Solanke is a talented prospect and Andy Robertson has the potential to nail down the troublesome Left Back berth. However I think Liverpool still need more before the window slams shut. Chelsea, United and City have all spent big and could threaten to leave Liverpool behind and if The Reds want to mount a serious title challenge this season they must do all they can to keep Coutinho and continue to add quality to their ranks.
Predicted finish: 4th
Written by @CalDumbell follow him on twitter.
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