The Premier League starts again on Saturday with what promises to be an intriguing season after a summer of changes throughout the league. This blog takes a look at the second five teams alphabetically and my prediction of how they will do.
After Moyes’ departure, Everton may find it tough to reach the same levels this time around.
Transfers: New manager Roberto Martínez had no problem raiding his old club Wigan to obtain striker Arouna Kone. The striker joined for a fee believed to be around 6 million. Former Wigan duo Antolin Alcaraz and Joel Robles have also joined the club. The Toffees have also completed the impressive loan signing of Barcelona yongster Gerard Deulofeu. Everton have also so far managed to keep hold of star players Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini but interest is expected in the pair right until the end of the transfer window.
Manager: Roberto Martínez. Having been linked with it seems every Premier League job over the last few seasons, Roberto Martinez finally took the decision to leave Wigan after relegated last season to join Everton. Known for his fluid style of play and preference to play 3 at the back, will he be able to get his feet under the table at Everton after the departure of Moyes?
Expectations: Everton will hope to push for European qualification through the league this year. However, after the departure of long serving manager David Moyes, this may be difficult to achieve. Everton progressed a long way under Moyes and to maintain those levels may well be difficult.
Key player: Marouane Fellaini. The big afro wearing central midfielder was key to success of Everton last season and any success this season could hinge on Roberto Martinez keeping hold of the Belgium international. Fellaini provides a real goal threat from midfield and his height proves crucial in both penalty areas.
They say experience is key but Fulham’s ageing squad may find things harder in the Premier League this season.
Transfers: Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is Martin Jol’s marquee signing this summer. The goalkeeper will replace veteran Mark Schwarzer after he left the club in the summer. Explosive, yet unpredictable, Adel Taarabt has joined on loan from QPR and the club has also completed permanent deals for 30 year old pair Derek Boeteng and Sascha Riether as well as Fernando Amorebieta on a free transfer.
Manager: Martin Jol. Jol arrived at Fulham in 2011 after a spell at Ajax as has kept Fulham steady ever since. A cool customer, Jol has has previous spells at Hamburg and Spurs. Jol is normally spot on with his tactics and after a long playing and managerial career, has a great understanding of the game.
Expectations: Fulham will be hoping for a comfortable season again but in all realism, their ageing squad may struggle. Jol has tried to freshen it up with the likes of Chris Baird and Mladin Petrić leaving the club. The goals of Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz should keep their heads away from any potential relegation battle though as they slip into the bottom half of the table.
Key player: Dimitar Berbatov. The former Manchester United and Tottenham striker oozes sheer class on a football pitch and his technical ability will mean he will always score goals, the goals that should see Fulham stay away from any relegation battle.
Steve Bruce’s Hull will have to fight relegation in their first year back in the Premier League.
Transfers: Hull City Tigers, as they are to be known, have been very active in the transfer window, improving all areas on the pitch. Scottish international Alan McGregor and the experienced Steve Harper have joined in goal. Former Wigan center half Maynor Figueroa and Curtis Davies provide some experience in the Tigers back line. Wide players Ahmed Elmohamady and George Boyd have joined after loan spells as well as strikers Danny Graham and Yannick Sagbo. Most impressively, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore have joined from Spurs, the latter on a season long loan
Manager: Steve Bruce. Bruce has the one thing Hull lack the most, Premier League experience. Bruce played there throughout his career and has managed there for no less than 3 previous clubs, including his last spell at Sunderland. Bruce will have to use all of that experience if he is to guide Hull to safety.
Expectations: Hull will hope desperately that they can avoid the drop. They have made plently of signings but have they signed enough quality? In Huddlestone, Livermore, Figueroa and Graham, it would suggest yes. There is no doubt Hull could struggle in their first Premier League campaign since 2009/10 but should have enough to stay up.
Key player: Danny Graham. Graham has the experience of scoring goals at this level for Swansea, having found the net 15 times in his 18 month spell there, and will have to do so for Hull in order to give them any chance of avoiding the drop.
Luis Suárez transfer saga provides black mark on a decent summer for Liverpool.
Transfers: Liverpool’s decent summer signings will be over shadowed by the transfer saga and impending departure of star Luis Suárez, who wants to leave the Reds. In terms of transfers, Simon Mignolet has replaced Pepe Reina as number 1 and attacking players Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto have joined. Premier League winner Kolo Toure has joined on a free transfer.
Manager: Brendan Rodgers. There is no doubt that Rodgers is a talented young manager having spent a lot of time learning the trade under Mourinho at Chelsea. He left Swansea to join Liverpool in 2012 with a big reputation after his success at the Welsh club. Rodgers has a style of play compared to those of Barcelona, he encourages short passing and a lot of movement from his players.
Expectations: Liverpool will hope to progress on recent seasons and push for the top 4. The Suarez saga may make this difficult for Brendan Rodgers’ side as they look set to miss out on the Champions League again. The club have more than enough talent to finish in the top 6 however.
Key player: Steven Gerrard. Captain Steven Gerrard has been and will continue to be key to any success’ for the Anfield club. The inspirational midfielder was back to his best last season and similar performances will see him boss games against any opposition in the league.
Manchester City 2nd
City’s new manager has spent big in order to win back the Premier League title
Transfers: Manchester City have spent big to make four big name signings. Spanish international duo Jesús Navus and Alvaro Negredo. Stevan Jovetić and Fernandinho have also joined as the blue side of Manchester have spent nearly £100 million. Manager Manuel Pellrgrini has promised to spend more. Carlos Tévez heads the list of players to have left the club.
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean took over at City this summer, replacing Roberto Mancini. He has a wealth of experience in management having started in 1987. He made his name at Villarreal before spells at Real Madrid and Málaga. Having spent most of his career in South America and Spain, can he adapt his style to the English game?
Expectations: To all extents, City have spent big with one aim, to buy back the title. Second isn’t good enough for the oil rich, trophy hunting owner who will be expecting Pellegrini to win the title in his first season at the club. City are fully expected to challenge but the Mourinho effect at Chelsea could see them pipped into second.
Key player: Vincent Kompany. When the skipper plays well, City look solid as a unit. In their title winning campaign 2 years ago, Kompany was phenomenal but at times was criticised last season as City faltered. If Kompany plays well and leads by example, expect City to challenge.
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- Aston Villa
- West Ham
- West Brom
- Crystal Palace