Welcome to the triumphant return of the Premier League Previews, a series where a fan gives an overview of his team for your perusal, and I get an excuse to take pot-shots at other clubs. This will run until the eve of the Premier League, taking a look at each club in turn. Today we're with the most successful team in English domestic football, Manchester United. About
Last season started off with a bang as we quickly sealed the double transfers of Diogo Dalot and Fred. Unfortunately the rest of the transfer window was a shit show as we chased targets the board wouldn't sanction the funds for (Ironic now I know) and Mourinho quickly descended into his infamous 3rd season meltdown. Early signs were there as we lost 3-1 to Brighton in the second week with individual defensive errors key to the loss, followed by a comprehensive 3-0 loss to Tottenham featuring Ander Herrera as a CB. Mixed results followed culminating in a fantastic 3-2 comeback against Newcastle which many speculated save Mourinho's job with rumors circulating that he was on the edge. We then went on a run of 9 games that saw us win 3, draw 4, and lose to both City and Liverpool. For anyone who somehow didn't see the Liverpool game, it was the most lifeless performance I've seen from a United team. We conceded 36 shots, more than last place Huddersfield did over both of their games against Liverpool last season, and Mourinho was sacked the following day. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as a caretaker and went on an incredible 11 game unbeaten streak including wins against Tottenham and Arsenal. We managed a fantastic comeback against PSG in the Champion's League off the back of a controversial penalty and Ole was signed on permanently to many fan's delight. Unfortunately the season again went to shit. In our final 9 run of games we barely beat Watford and West Hame while losing 5, drawing 2, and getting knocked out of the FA cup and CL with mostly poor performances. At the end of last season most fans seemed to want Ole backed in the transfer market along side an experienced DoF appointment. Assuming those two things happened I think most fans were cautiously optimistic, especially with Chelsea's ban and Arsenal's financial situation.
As things stand the expectations for the next season are somewhat precariously balanced. We've addressed 2 huge issues in the team transfer wise with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire (deal yet to be finalised) shoring up the defense and Dan James joining as a depth option on the wing. We are currently linked heavily to Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic to a lesser extent. Bringing in Dybala would definitely improve the team and Mandzu would turn the window into a major positive. We still have a lot of issues however. Despite winning all of our preseason games there are massive questions in midfield. Pogba remains our only creative option and Scott McTominay has stepped up as his undisputed partner in a double pivot. Outside of those two our options are extremely limited. Matic has continued to regress and has looked very poor, Pereira is better farther forward and overall hasn't offered a ton, and Fred is far too inconsistent in his performances. We desperately need a midfield reinforcement which looks unlikely to arrive. RW is also a concern, however we seem determined to wait for Jadon Sancho so we will make due with a variety of options there. To turn to the positive, several of our players look much improved from last season such as Anthony Martial who's work rate has been praised in preseason. Our young stars have also shone and look ready to hopefully contribute this season. Regardless, this will be another transitional year for us, although hopefully we stick to a plan this time. The board seem prepared to back Ole long term and play the long game, however I don't think any United fan really trusts Woodward or the Glazers so who the fuck knows what will happen. For now I think most United fans would be happy with the summer assuming we bring in Dybala, with the note that we need a winger and midfielder next season. From there I think we'll have to see if our performances can improve from the end of last season and figure out what to do if they don't. The main goal is top 4 and decent cup runs with youth involved. Transfers Highlights
All incoming/outgoing transfersFull 2019-20 squad 3 players to watch out for Aaron Wan-Bissaka We've been crying out for a proper right back for a while now and in his appearances so far he's looked very impressive. He's a wall in defense and has showed good moments of quality forward, combining well with Pogba too. I know it's only preseason but he already looks to have filled a huge hole in the squad. Scott McTominay Scotty has become something of a fan favorite recently, he keeps things simple but does them very well. Since impressing in the second half of last season he has kept his upwards trajectory and in many fans opinion has earned a starting spot to start the season. Marcus Rashford Fell out of form and carried an injury to finish the season, but looks energetic and hungry this preseason. Whether he starts out wide or up top is kind of up in the air(and maybe moot as our front 3 will be flexible), but we have high hopes he'll continue developing and break his current scoring record(13) this season Honorable Mention: Mason Greenwood The 17 year old looked extremely composed in our final game of the 18/19 season and has continued that in preseason. With the RW spot open and his performances so far, he may be in line to have somewhat of a breakout season this year What the fans think Thanks to /Reddevilsfor their help.
How do you think this season will go?
We will finish top 4, but not very comfortably and we'll lose some big games (Liverpool, City) by quite a lot. In Europa League some kids who at first won't play in the Prem will shine and become first team players, whilst gradually phasing out older ones. Ole will finish the season as our manager and everyone will expect bigger things in the next one.
better than some think, not as good as others think but lots of people will be pissed off. It will be very tough breaking the top 4 but with consistency we can do it. I will say a fourth place finish and no trophies. I consider that a fantastic season for us atm.
We are all hyped and I think we have made some of the right moves in terms of transfers and our ambition in style of play, but I still think we will have some woeful performances and make it a fight to finish top 4. Pogba will drive us all mad but somehow still be statistically our best player, we wont finish the transfer window as we hope and we will still have obvious problems that just wont be addressed properly - OGS has a lot of pressure to make it work and make it work fast.
Paul Pogba. On his day, he’s the best midfielder in the league (and maybe the world). I think he’ll be playing in a double pivot with McTominay, but with less defensive responsibilities then when he was in the pivot under Mou. He’ll probs be playing box to box, his best position I think, and should score up a range of assists considering he’s easily our most creative player. I expect a 25 g+a season from Paul.
4-2-3-1 - this is assuming we sign Maguire. I would also expect to see a new signing in the no10 position, most likely Dybala, in for Mata. Lingard probably the least nailed-on out of the rest of the lineup (James and Greenwood will challenge for that spot) and Matic could fade as the season goes on with McTominay and Fred ready to come in. The rest of the team basically picks itself right now.
Either in a 4-3-1-2 with Martial and Rashford spliting out wide with an attacking midfielder pressing and playing like a false nine. Or in a 4-2-3-1 with inside forwards. Against more defensive teams you would expect Mata to start and in bigger matches Lingard would be more likely to feature somewhere. In both systems expect Martial and Rashford to be totally fluid and swap positions a lot. In the Europa League and League Cup expect a lot rotation and chances for youngsters such as Tuanzabe in defence, Chong on the wing, Gomes as a 10/winger and Greenwood as a striker.
De Gea, AWB, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, McTominay, Mata(maybe Dybala), Lingard, Rashford, Martial is how I feel we'll start the first few months but by the end I wouldn't be surprised to see Greenwood or Gomes in that team.
by NickTM The Manager: Remember how Man Utd started the season with Jose Mourinho in charge? Remember how Ole Gunnar Solskjær came in and put together such an impressive list of results? Remember how Manchester United then locked him down to a three year contract after every fan in the world plus every ex-United player in the media was so jubilantly calling him the second coming? Remember how that form immediately turned to shit, winning only two more league games from then 'til the end of the season? God, that was fun, wasn't it? The Team: Lacking talent has not been Manchester United's major issue over the past couple of seasons despite their lack of Premier League titles to show for it. Victor Lindelöf and Chris Smalling - and, one would imagine, Harry Maguire too soon - protect David de Gea, who remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world despite a down year by his lofty standards last season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has taken a step down in terms of club prestige to generously help out Manchester United at right back, allowing the Ashley Young as starting right back era to gracefully come to a close. Luke Shaw looks to have finally locked down his spot on the left of defence after first being dropped and then subsequently dropping some weight under Mourinho. Nemanja Matic still patrols the defensive midfield - albeit with less effectiveness than in the past - alongside Paul Pogba, whose ongoing angst about getting paid obscene amounts of money to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world wore thin months ago. Up front, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial support a striker, although whether that's going to be Romelu Lukaku or Marcus Rashford remains to be seen. It's a strong squad with, crucially, a lot of depth; Eric Bailly, Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo, Fred, Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay, Daniel James, Matteo Darmian and Phil Jones are just some of the squad options, offering a wealth of experience and quality. Issues still remain in areas of midfield, but there should be enough there to challenge anyone on the pitch. Why to like them: Juan Mata. Aaron Wan-Bissaka's a good South London lad. Why to dislike them: If you're not English, it's difficult to sum up the depth of feeling generated by Manchester United. The most effective way I've found is this: they're the Dallas Cowboys. They're the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Ferrari, the All Blacks, the Roger Federer if Federer was a dickhead, the Australia cricket team circa about 2007, the Floyd Mayweather, the Jon Bones Jones. That alone should get you to dislike them. Now, to hate them, I'm not certain it's possible unless you grew up in England during Manchester United's dominant years in the past two decades. At least a third of the kids in your class would be Man Utd fans, whether you lived next to the stadium or in Land's End. They were, of course, obnoxious in the extreme, flaunting their plasticity for all to see and preening themselves in the reflection of their team's dominance. Now, that's just kids being kids, sure, but the issue is it kept going when they were adults. Hundreds of them, everywhere, chatting bollocks about how Federico Macheda was going to be the next Van Nistelrooy and having their eyes glaze over when you mention you support a club not in the Premier League. These hordes of milquetoast, half-and-half scarf wearing bellends decrying how unfair it was that Chelsea were spending so much money, and no, it's fine that Man Utd do the same because weearnt it, you see. Never mind Manchester United were one of the earliest examples of getting artificial investment via John Henry Davies funding their entire 80,000 capacity stadium for free, giving them a huge competitive advantage in the nascent era of football that established the future trajectories of so many clubs. Oh, and of course it's fine for them to bash Chelsea and Man City and what have you, but the moment anyone says a word against precious Manchester United it's all "jealousy" and that most vacuous and vapid of rallying cries, "hated, adored, never ignored", a pathetic and overplayed attempt to spin other peoples' dislike into a positive like a thin-skinned, emoji-obsessed athlete on Twitter. And then there's the wailing and gnashing of teeth when the team they supported because they were good fails to win anything, oh dear lord. If you've never been in a bar filled with Manchester United fans when they fail to win a game then good grief that needs to be on your bucket list. You'd assume the walls were about to cave in and planes to drop out of the sky with the amount of angst on display. They treat it like it's their god-given right to be winning football games and any calmer or more rational voice is immediately drowned out by the chorus of "but we're MANCHESTER UNITED", as if being good ten years ago guarantees you success for the rest of eternity and being a 'big team' means losing is somehow completely unacceptable on any level. Their tiny plastic brains proceed to melt out of their ears and thousands across the country drop dead, with nothing of value lost. Summary: Think I blacked out for a moment there. Anyway, you'd assume Man Utd could capitalise on some of the issues from the sides that finished higher than them - Chelsea's transfer ban, Arsenal's failure to address a leaky defence - are having at the moment. On top of that, they also don't have to contend with Champions League football, and although they're back in the Europa League for the first time since 2015-16 (in which they won it) it's quite a different beast and you'd expect key players to be able to get more of a rest. If De Gea can find his form again, if Harry Maguire lives up to his transfer fee and doesn't end up the next in a long line of underperforming Manchester United centre-back signings, and most importantly if Ole Gunnar Solskjær can prove his worth as a manager in a season that will likely prove the litmus test then the sky's the limit. It's a team capable of challenging for the title with a bit of luck and a few wobbles from the teams above them. Whilst that isn't that likely, you definitely wouldn't bet against a top four finish, and signs are that that'd be considered a pretty successful season all considered.
Welcome to the triumphant return of the Premier League Previews, a series where a fan gives an overview of his team for your perusal, and I get an excuse to take pot-shots at other clubs. This will run until the eve of the Premier League, taking a look at each club in turn. Today we're out of London but paradoxically still on the Tube line as we visit Watford. About
It's safe to say most Watford fans were apprehensive going into the 2018/19 season. Javi Gracia becoming the first head coach since the Championship to remain in charge from the previous season was a plus, but only the permanent acquisition of loanee Deulofeu and goalkeeper Ben Foster looked to improve the first team, with fans crying out for a striker and centre back. Paul Merson and Phil McNulty each proceeded to predict Watford's relegation for the fourth successive year. However, the Hornets came flying out of the traps, winning their first four league games, including a comeback to win 2-1 against Tottenham. This led to Gracia being awarded the Manager of the Month award for August. Despite continuing to put in largely good performances, some poor finishing and defensive errors meant that Watford won just two of their next twelve games, slipping from the lofty heights of 3rd to a season low of 12th. During this time they were knocked out of the League Cup on penalties by Tottenham, in a game bizarrely played at Stadium MK due to the unavailability of Wembley or the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. December, January and February brought better fortunes, with Watford only losing three games in all competitions in this time, all to top six clubs, despite playing 9 out of their first 11 games of 2019 away in all competitions. The depth in the squad was utilised in the FA Cup, with the team reaching the quarter final without putting out a full strength side, much to the anger of Chris Sutton. A full strength team was played for this quarter final against Crystal Palace, who Watford beat 2-1 for the third time in the season to progress to Wembley. In the league, the Hornets were embroiled in the race for Europa League football, periodically reaching the hallowed 7th spot before swiftly dropping out. A 1-0 win at home against Marco Silva's Everton was a highlight as Watford continued to struggle against the top six. The FA Cup Semi Final was the match of the season for Watford. Up against a Wolves side they were also competing for 7th place with, Watford found themselves 2-0 down with 11 minutes to go, with goals from Doherty and Jimenez, the latter celebrating with a mask which drew comment from the usually reserved Troy Deeney. However, a sublime lob from Gerard Deulofeu gave Watford hope before a stoppage time Deeney penalty took the tie to extra time, where Deulofeu added a second to take Watford to their 2nd cup final in history. In the league, a 2-1 win against Huddersfield put Watford in 7th with three out of four games left at home. If they won all these they were guaranteed European football. u/TheJeck, not wanting to miss a minute of the race for Europe, ran a mile from Watford Junction station to make it to the fixture against Southampton for kick off - only for Shane Long to score the fastest goal in Premier League history. Twat. Watford drew 1-1, then lost 2-1 to Wolves to effectively end our hopes of coming second. A 3-0 loss to Chelsea confirmed that we would take just 3 points from games with the top six, and a 4-1 defeat to West Ham meant that Watford finished 11th, just the third match this season they finished outside the top ten. However, there was still hope of a first trophy in the clubs history and a Europa League spot to boot through the FA Cup final. With Jose Holebas' suspension rescinded, Watford were full strength going into their match with league champions Manchester City, who were gunning for an unprecedented domestic treble. However, it was not to be, with City running out 6-0 winners. Regardless, at 5-0 down the Watford fans all started chanting and waving fans, showing what a successful season it had been in their eyes.
It has been a quieter transfer window than usual for Watford, with just two arrivals at the time of writing. The Hornets have been crying out for a new centre back since last summer and Craig Dawson brings Premier League experience at a low price. Tom Dele-Bashiru is a promising young midfielder who didn't quite make the grade at Manchester City. Watford are also currently in negotiations for Rennes winger Ismalia Sarr for what would be a club record fee, which have been going on for several weeks, making it quite the Sarr-ga (I'm not even sorry). In January Watford will finally complete the signing of Fluminese striker Joao Pedro, widely seen to be a hugely promising talent and already being watched by several of the world's biggest clubs. The fact that Watford have already secured his signature is a testament to the scouting network in South America. In terms of departures, only Miguel Britos has been released from the first team squad, with veteran goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who was "99% sure" he would retire, signing on for another year. Some young players have been loaned out, most notably promising defender Ben Wilmot to Swansea. In terms of business to complete, Watford will want to finally get the Sarr signing over the line as well as find a loan for youngsters Cucho Hernandez and Pontus Dahlberg. With Javi Gracia having been at the helm for one and a half years and arguably the most important transfer business of keeping the likes of Doucoure and Deulofeu taken care of, expectations going into the new season are higher than they have been since the 1980s. Relegation is seen as a possibility but not a real concern, with fans believing we will finish mid table or possibly top half. Transfers Highlights
Perm (Jan 20)
All incoming/outgoing transfersFull 2019-20 squad 3 players to watch out for Gerard Deulofeu The La Masia product made his loan at Vicarage Road permanent last summer, and despite injury disrupting the start of his season and a new position at striker ended up top scorer, with some eye catching performances such as his hat trick against Cardiff and his super-sub appearance in the FA Cup Semi Final. With a full pre season and more positional familiarity, he can achieve big things this season. Etienne Capoue Last year's fan's Player of the Season is a criminally underrated player by non Watford supporters - the work he does in the defensive midfield brings the best out of players around him. Has struck up an excellent partnership with Doucoure over the past 18 months which should continue into this season. Domingos Quina Doubt he'll be starting at home to Brighton, but Quina has all the potential to be a Premier League star. Signed from West Ham on deadline day last year after turning up in the car park ten minutes before the deadline, Quina showed his creatively, comfort with the ball at his feet and ability to hit long range shots with either foot in his handful of appearances last season, and will keep the first team firmly on their toes. What the fans think Thanks to /Watford_FCfor their help.
How do you think this season will go?
I expect us to finish around mid table. Very quiet transfer window in both regards so far. We have all of the same squad that got us to the cup final and should really have got us into Europe if Deeney, Cathcart and Foster hadn't decided to shit the bed in the final few games of the season; however the other teams around us have significantly strengthened though hard to see us finishing above West Ham, Everton, Wolves, Leicester now.
I’d say we will end up roughly in the same place as last season. We added Craig Dawson, so our defense should be better, but I don’t think we’ll have as good run of form against outside of the top 6 as we did last season. I’d say we will end around 9th place, maybe have a decent cup run again as well.
Last season was fantastic, and everyone will be looking to build on 11th. Another cup run is probable, but I think we'll struggle to improve much in the league. We'll be safe from relegation but are lacking some quality and depth compared to Everton, Wolves and Leicester. In my opinion we'll be fighting for top half with West Ham, Bournemouth and whichever of the promoted clubs hits the ground running, with some strong home games against the top six (Liverpool excluded). A cup exit in the semis to a top 6 team.
Which player is going to be your star of the season and why?
I'd have to go for Deulofeu. He grew into his striker role over the Season, building up a decent partnership with Deeney later on in the Season. He is woeful in the air, isn't as positionally aware like Gray by drifting out wide at times when he needs to stay more central and has a penchant for doing too much rather than take the easier option but he's very quick, has developed a fairly good finish and becoming more consistent in his performances, slowly but surely. Still has a good amount of work to do but made leaps and bounds last Season in converting his role out wide to a central one.
Doucoure. He was usurped by Capoue last season in terms of being our best cm, or even our best player. If he wants to go to a UCL team, as he has stated, then he needs another top season, like he did on 17/18, and I think he will. Deulofeu will want to prove last seasons scoring antics weren’t a fluke. Could also be a breakout season for Domingos Quina.
Star of the season will be Gerard Deulofeu of course but I think Etienne Capoue will quietly have another season as one of the best midfielders outside the top 6 and the same for Ben Foster being one of the best keepers outside the top 6. Del boy being our top scorer. Another name to mention that I hope gets some serious game time and becomes a star of the cups is Domingos Quina, very excited whenever this lad plays.
Foster will be number one but Bachmann has been brought back to challenge. Javi typically plays 4 at the back, expect Dawson to partner Cathcart with some fullback rotation. Deeney and Deulofeu will start together up front most weeks; we rely heavily on their mentality and skill respectively. I'd expect a flat 4 midfield, but Javi does tinker from time to time. Hughes-Capoue-Doucouré-Sarr(?) most likely, with some shakeup to fit in Quina or play Hughes more centrally.
I expect the exact same 4-2-2-2 as last season, but with Dawson substituting in for Mariappa which will look something like this. If Sarr does come as has been strongly suggested, I expect he will take one of Hughes / Pereyra's positions.
by NickTM The Manager: I've got to say, Javi Gracia is probably one of the least notable coaches in the league to me. He's just... there. There's no doubting his experience, though, having had spells in Spain, Greece and Russia before plying his trade in the Prem. Last season was about as good as a generally mid-table club can hope for; never in any danger of relegation whatsoever, a highest league finish since the formation of the Premier League, a cup final run and all done with a positive net spend. The Team: Watford bring to bear a hugely multinational squad, with 17 nations represented in the first team squad alone. A well-balanced side, the hugely-experienced trio of Ben Foster, Craig Cathcart and Adrian Mariappa make up the goalkeeper and centre of defence respectively. Gracia favours something approaching a 4-2-2-2, presumably partially as a way of including all of his talented central midfielders, and so Aboulaye Doucoure, Etienne Capou, Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra can all be found on the pitch at the same time. Up front, the mercurial Gerard Deulofeu supports Troy Deeney, who is entering his tenth season at the club. It's a strong side across the board, but despite the excellence in the centre of the pitch questions might be being asked of old warhorse Deeney if he gets off to a poor start given his 9 league goal return last season. The addition of Craig Dawson is likely a good one given Mariappa has generally found most of his success at Prem level as a rotational utility player, but it's probably fair to say Cathcart and Dawson comprise a pairing that is merely OK rather than particularly good. It's lucky, then, that Ben Foster remains one of the better keepers in the Premier League behind them. Why to like them: Gerard Deulofeu is a delight to watch, and to an extent that also includes the entire team as individuals. There are a lot of players in this Watford side that can pull off moments of magic, be it a splitting pass or a tricky run. You've also absolutely got to respect a manager who casually pulls out a 4-2-2-2 like his team is a classic Brazil side. Watford also properly commit to a proper colour scheme and motif but refuse to restrict themselves to boring features like 'only stripes' or the like, which thematically I absolutely appreciate given the ongoing plague of boring strips in football. Isaac Success has a cracking name. Why to dislike them: Watford fans, lemme be honest, you lot have some problems. First on the list is probably that weird way you're trying to start rivalries with other fanbases because nobody cares about your team. I've seen some Watford fans sniping at Everton of all clubs, which, let's be honest, would result in the worst-named rivalry of all time. You just know that the press would make it the Z-cars derby. There's also the way you all seem to have 'ackshuyally I think you'll find it was only affray' bound to a macro. And then there was the reaction to the FA Cup final, in which the absolutely embarrassing capitulation the team displayed on the pitch was glossed over by that most shithouse of obfuscations: "our fans outsung theirs!". Come on now. You can do better. I believe in you, Watford fans. Also of note is the ongoing delusion by some members of the media that Watford is somehow in London, which isn't their fault but somehow still irritates. Speaking of the media, Troy Deeney's also a shit cunt who you absolutely know is lining himself up for a post-playing media career as 'the controversial one' on a panel of pundits. Summary: Watford look like they're in a great place for the foreseeable future, but there's a very definite glass ceiling on the midtable of the Premier League. Their ambition in that regard will be to make it into Europe, but that's as unlikely to manifest consistently as it is for anyone outside of the top six. If you look downwards rather than up, it also seems unlikely for Watford to really be at a risk of relegation given the strength of their side. Much more likely would be a pop at domestic silverware, and Gracia seems to be willing to commit to a deep cup run once more. Whilst cups are by nature unbalanced and risky, a team that's anchored in midtable is often one of the better bets for getting to the final given their ability to play first teamers without risk of losing too much on weekends. Expect Watford to go for it again as they bounce around somewhere between 13th and 8th.
Welcome to the triumphant return of the Premier League Previews, a series where a fan gives an overview of his team for your perusal, and I get an excuse to take pot-shots at other clubs. This will run until the eve of the Premier League, taking a look at each club in turn. Today from way down south we're going way up north, with Newcastle United. About
Pre-season began 12 months ago with a lot of Newcastle fans filled with hope after a 10th placed finish. Mikel Merino and Aleksandar Mitrovic were sold to Real Sociedad and Fulham respectively, with their replacements being Ki Sung-Yeung on a free and Salomon Rondon on loan. Chancel Mbemba was also sold to Porto, while Fabian Schär and Federico Fernandez came in at centre back. Martin Dubravka and Kenedy returned to the club after impressive loan spells, with Dubravka signing permanently. Yoshinori Muto was also signed from Mainz as the most expensive purchase for us at £9.5m. An awful start to the season saw us fail to win in our first 10 league games. In fairness, we did play 5 of the eventual top 6 in this time, but it was still a shocking run. Despite decent performances against Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City, we completely bottled games against Cardiff, Leicester and Manchester United, throwing away a 2-0 half time lead at Old Trafford. A scrappy game vs Watford in early November was our first win of the season. We beat Bournemouth and Burnley in our following two games, instilling hope into the fans that maybe we weren't terrible after all. We then won 1 game in our next 9. ¯\(ツ)/¯ 22 games into the season, we sat in 18th place on 18 points. we were 3 points away from Brighton in 15th and 7 points clear of Huddersfield at the foot of the table. Gameweek 23 saw us hosting Cardiff at home. We won 3-0 with a strong performance in a game that could have been the biggest result of our season, but 10 days later Manchester City came to St James' Park and we made headlines around the world by winning 2-1, in one of the biggest shocks of the season. Our midfield that game was Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff, who was thrust into the limelight after being praised by Pep Guardiola. The fans' mood was at an insane high, boosted again 2 days later when Miguel Almiron's arrival finally broke the club's record transfer fee. The back to back victories and Almiron's arrival revitalised the team, narrowly losing to Tottenham, drawing with Wolves and beating fellow relegation candidates Huddersfield and Burnley quite convincingly. A 2-0 defeat away to West Ham dented the team's form (we only picked up 4 points from the next 4 games) and saw Sean Longstaff ruled out for the remaining 9 games of the season with a severe knee injury. The following game saw us do what Manchester United had done to us 5 months prior. Everton led 2-0 at St James' Park at half time, but a Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez masterclass saw the game finish 3-2. This signalled the beginning of an unplayable run of form for Perez, scoring 8 goals in 9 games including a hat trick against Southampton in what might be the best performance I've ever seen from a Newcastle player. The final 3 games of the season saw us draw to Brighton, lose to Liverpool in the dying moments thanks to Origi being the biggest clutch player alive and a comprehensive 4-0 victory against Fulham. A 13th placed finish was far better than we hoped for after the winless streak at the beginning of the season. At the time we were overjoyed, but everything that has happened with the club since has made the positives from last season somewhat bittersweet.
At the time of writing, Summer has been nothing short of disastrous so far. The season ended with some optimism that Rafa Benitez was going to sign a contract extension, we would sign Salomon Rondon permanently and that a wealthy group from the Middle East were interested in buying the club and finally ending Mike Ashley's reign as the owner of the club. Rafa left has left and signed for Chinese second division Dalian Yifang, with Rondon joining him. The takeover seems to be dead in the water, with Steve Bruce being appointed as manager on a 3 year contract. As of yet, there have been no players signed to the senior team, while Ayoze Perez and Joselu have been sold. We're expecting Joelinton to be announced in the next few days for what will be another record breaking fee, but I'm not optimistic that he will be good enough to drag us up the table. The most I can currently hope for this season is a relegation battle that sees us narrowly stay up. Right now, I'm not sure I'll even care by the time we get past January. A sad reality that a good number of Newcastle fans are facing. Transfers Highlights
Jose Salomon Rondon
End of Loan
West Bromwich Albion
All incoming/outgoing transfersFull 2019-20 squad 3 players to watch out for Sean Longstaff Longstaff's recovery from injury is something I worry about a lot. Rolando Aarons' progress at Newcastle was similar; a handful of promising appearances ended by severe knee injuries. We have slapped a £50m price tag on him to ward off Manchester United this summer, which I hope we don't end up looking foolish for. Longstaff's tireless work rate, tidy passing and his threat from range (he scored numerous screamers when at Blackpool 2 years ago) will be instrumental if he returns as strong as he was last season. Florian Lejeune While Fabian Schär and Jamaal Lascelles have been the centre backs to receive the plaudits in the last 2 seasons, Florian Lejeune has gone somewhat under the radar when he has been equal to, and sometimes even better, than the pair of them. His involvement in the squad has at times been restricted by the two anterior cruciate ligament tears he has suffered, despite him returning from both of them in half the time footballers usually take to recover. Lejeune's positional awareness and composure on the ball made him a consistently effective defensive partner to Lascelles and Schär, while his passing accuracy and range on the left side of a back 3 was a great asset to the attacking movements under Rafa Benitez. With Steve Bruce likely opting for a very direct approach this season, Lejeune's distribution will be very important. Jonjo Shelvey I wanted to say Miguel Almiron, as the only player remaining from the Perez-Rondon-Almiron front 3 that was so promising last season, but I think Jonjo Shelvey could be very pivotal player. A number of Rafa's outcasts from last season like Dwight Gayle, Rolando Aarons and Jack Colback will return to the fray much to the dismay of many fans. It's Shelvey however, that catches my eye. Shelvey has talent that few players in the Premier League possess, a pinpoint accuracy with diagonal long passing that is a dream to any wide player capable of exploiting space. The downside to him is just about everything else. His poor work rate and lacking athleticism means he often can't provide adequate cover to the defence and his temper (albeit improved in recent times) means he is always a potential red card. He's a player to watch for better or worse. His performances could result in us gaining 10 points this season, or losing that many. What the fans think Thanks to /NUFCfor their help.
How do you think this season will go?
Not as well as any of us want it to, but also not as bad as many think it will go. So (optimistically) somewhere between 11-16.
I think we'll finish 13th if (and it's a big if) we make another couple of decent signings. I loved Rafa, but he would often freeze players out of the team for unknown reasons, and I think some of those coming back will have something to prove. My call for player of the season is Shelvey for that reason, I think he'll be called back in and his long Hollywood passes will work well with Almiron and another fast winger (ASM?).
We will all get increasingly annoyed as historically 'smaller' clubs than us like Wolves, Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester take an easy three points from us home and away. Their owners have actual ambition for their clubs and have proper facilities and coaching. We've got Steve Bruce in command and some wheelie bins for ice baths. The big 6 teams will beat us despite our plucky performances, we will play out grinding draws or fluky 1-0 wins against other relegation fodder teams like Brighton and Sheffield United. Meanwhile beloved ex-players like Shola Ameobi will get airtime on Sky Sports to tell everyone how great Mike Ashley is. If we don't get relegated then it will be a miracle, some fans hope that we do go down because they believe Fat Mike might be more likely to sell if we are in the Championship/League One.
Which player is going to be your star of the season and why?
Lejeuene. He's arguably our best player but his time with us has been marred with injuries. However, when he has played he has given us that boost we needed out from defence. He's a ball playing centre-back who also has great defensive capabilities. A trio of him, Schar and Lascelles will be key for us this coming season.
Isaac Hayden. He was quality at the back end of last season, and his personal problems appear to have subsided/been resolved to an extent. Hopefully, this means he will push on and make a case for a potential national team call up.
by NickTM The Manager: Well, beloved manager Rafa Benitez finally decided that enough was enough after his contract expired in the summer and went off to enjoy being filthy fucking rich in China, smuggling his boy Salomon Rondon through customs along with him. Equally beloved owner Mike Ashley decided that the logical choice to replace this Champions League-winning, multiple time La Liga-winning, two-time UEFA Manager of the Year was with... Steve Bruce. Oh boy. Look, as much as I like to use this section to poke some fun, I'm still a Palace fan, and thus I can't quite bring myself to align myself anywhere other than in line with your average Newcastle fan's reaction towards him. It was a pathetic appointment. Bruce, fresh off jumping ship from Sheffield Wednesday as soon as he saw an opportunity in the Premier League - managing to land Newcastle in hot water legally whilst he was at it, true to form - arrives with a mediocre track record in the Premier League and a spell managing bitter rivals Sunderland for one and a half incredibly average seasons. Baffling. The Team: Benitez managed to cut out quite a lot of the deadwood and refresh the squad significantly during his tenure, which left Newcastle with a team that was reasonably balanced and able to compete across the pitch. Unfortunately, his departure was followed in quick succession by the aforementioned Salomon Rondon's loan finishing and also Ayoze Perez, a flaky but talented forward, departing to Leicester City for a hefty £30m sum. In order to compensate for the shortfall up front, a huge £40m was shelled out for Hoffenheim's Joelinton, who arrives with an okay-but-not-really-that-good goal record spread across two years out on loan at Rapid Wien and one at his former parent club. Much will be expected of him between donning the coveted number 9 shirt and the so-far limited effectiveness of last year's signing Yoshinori Muto. Elsewhere, the defence will look to continue the form that saw it become the most effective unit in the bottom half, and much has been made of the admittedly limited gametime Sean Longstaff has had in the Prem so far. Ultimately, it looks like Newcastle will be relying heavily on Joelinton to hit the ground running and Miguel Almiron to really show his class tucked in behind him. Why to like them: I quite like DeAndre Yedlin as one of the United States' attempts to plonk a superlative athlete on a football pitch in hope he'll become a superstar. Miguel Almiron's a treat to watch play, and if the team loses there's always the faint hope one of their fans will go full Little Mac on an ungulate. Why to dislike them: Half their identity is based on beating a League One team that they haven’t beat in 8 years. Their fans claim to hate Mike Ashley - which, let's be honest, they get a little hysterical about given they make him out to be absolute footballing Lucifer when there's probably half a dozen owners in English football alone that you'd choose him over - and yet have had about one sort-of-effective protest in the entire time he's been an owner. They're still so mentally broken by a bedsheet some bloke had scribbled a half-baked pun on that there's genuine animosity towards Aston Villa to this day. Couple that with all the proclaimations of being a 'big club' despite not really ever having achieved that much comparatively and you can see why so many fans in England often end up a little irked by them. Also, Steve Bruce can fuck off, the pudgy northern mercenary wrister. Summary: Newcastle weren't really good last year, and you feel the strength of Benitez' management was the thing really holding them together. With Rafa gone and an already significant outlay spent on a single transfer, things look even more grim this season. You wouldn't bet on Steve Bruce to maintain their integrity defensively, their forwards have been weakened at very least in depth, and whilst the midfield is solid it's not entirely inspiring. If you can find good odds on a midseason managerial sacking, I'd be tempted.
Welcome to the triumphant return of the Premier League Previews, a series where a fan I, in this case, gives an overview of his a team for your perusal, and I get an excuse to take pot-shots at other clubs. This will run until the eve of the Premier League, taking a look at each club in turn. Today we're staying on the south coast and taking a day in Southampton. About
Southampton underwent what some politely call a 'transition year' last season out. A raft of player turnover marked the close season; Dusan Tadic, Guido Carrillo, Sofiane Boufal, Jordy Clasie, Harrison Reed, Josh Sims, Florin Gardos and Jeremy Pied all left the club on loan or permanently over the summer, with Wesley Hoedt, Cedric Soares and Steven Davis all being shipped out on loan in the winter window. Manolo Gabbiadini also returned to his home country in January after a spell in which he generally failed to catch fire in a way the Saints had hoped. To bolster the squad, Celtic's Stuart Armstrong was brought in alongside centre back Jannik Vestergaard, Norwegian forward Mohamed Elyounoussi and Manchester City's Angus Gunn, the latter introduced with expectations of being the team's goalkeeper potentially for the next decade or beyond. Finally, Danny Ings arrived on loan, seeking to revive a career that had stalled due to a succession of nasty injuries. Despite this, Southampton endured the first half of the season in something close to a full-blown crisis. A win against Crystal Palace in September proved the only one for months, and as the season wore on and the team's position slipped ever lower in the table, so the stakeholders began to feel the heat. First to go was vice-chairman Les Reed and he was followed swiftly by technical director Martin Hunter before the axe finally fell on manager Mark Hughes, who left the club after 8 months with a brutal record of 3 wins in 22 league games. His replacement was, seemingly, already lined up, and within two days Ralph Hasenhüttl had been confirmed as manager. His first game in charge was an important loss in a relegation six-pointer against Cardiff, but in their manager's first home game Danny Ings scored twice and Charle Austin netted five minutes from time to claim a 3-2 victory over Arsenal and change the entire complex of the season. From there, Southampton slowly but surely dug themselves out of trouble. A draw against Chelsea highlighted the newfound defensive competence of the team and wins over Leicester and Everton soon followed, the Saints pulling off a critical win against Fulham to drag themselves out of the relegation zone. Three more wins in the next five games consolidated them as relegation rivals faltered, and eventually a back-and-forth 3-3 against Bournemouth sealed their Premier League status for another season.
Well, the subreddit certainly seems to have bought into the cult of Ralph. They're not the only ones buying, either; Southampton moved quickly to bring in one Che Zach Everton Fred Adams, who continues his meteoric rise from non-league to finally end up in the Premier League. Other reinforcements also came in attack, with a £20m outlay enough to turn Danny Ings' loan into a permanent transfer. The final signing so far was Moussa Djenepo, a hugely talented winger from Standard Liege. Elsewhere, a fond farewell was said to the continually underrated Steven Davis, whilst Matt Targett and Jordy Clasie both departed. It's clear Hasenhüttl has a vision for how he wants his team to play, so it's likely Southampton will be trying to employ his favoured hassling, high tempo style, and the signings so far underline that. Che Adams is a particularly intriguing player, as the dominant Championship striker failing to make the grade at the Prem is a well-worn trope, but he most definitely fits Ralph's style and his time in the lower leagues has furnished him with a wealth of experience and gamesense despite his relatively tender years. Danny Ings is, of course, a known quantity, having departed Liverpool with a fair amount of love from the fans, and the insurance of having a proven Premier League quality striker cannot be overstated for a team that battled relegation last year. If everything works out and the team pushes upwards in the table, Djenepo's raw talent will become all the more enticing with more freedom to play. Saints fans will expect to be heading back towards the realms of the table they've made their own in recent years as opposed to slumming it in the bottom third, and despite their travails last season the core of the team is still very strong. It'd be a brave man to bet big against them making the top half again. Transfers Highlights
All incoming/outgoing transfersFull 2019-20 squad 3 players to watch out for Nathan Redmond Saints' reigning player of the year began to show some properly impressive form under Hasenhüttl, and expectations are accordingly raised. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg It's hard to understate Højbjerg's influence in midfield, and he's often the driving force behind much of what Southampton do well on the pitch. Moussa Djenepo Who knows how his season will pan out or even how much he'll be involved, but there's a reason young, tricky wingers always engender such excitement amongst the fans. If he settles in and hits form, Djenepo could well end up looking like a masterstroke. What the fans think Thanks to /SaintsFCfor their help.
How do you think this season will go?
The season is looking promising with Ralph having a full pre season and premier league experience. The team have made some good signings and we could come around mid-Table. I’m being optimistic and thinking 10th is doable.
A strong mid table dropping to around 13th at the lowest, a slow start to the beginning of the season but once the rhythm gets going with the newer manager and players I feel it well gel together quite quickly.
I'm quietly optimistic with how this season will go. Despite the fact we continue to ship out the deadwood and reduce the size of the squad, we have brought in some electric forwards in Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo. Hasenhuttl has given us a glimpse of what is to come, and with a full pre-season under his belt, I'm hopefully that we will find ourselves back in the top half like we were a few seasons ago.
Which player is going to be your star of the season and why?
Nathan Redmond, at the start of last season he was an unpopular figure with the Saints fans but he comes into this season as our reigning Player of the Year and for good reason. Hasenhuttl’s high-octane style suits him down to the ground, he’s gone from stuck on the wing for a side who constantly slowed down play in the final third to being a more central player in a team that aims to win the ball high up, break forward, and get shots off quickly. He’s always had bags of talent but poor decision making, playing in a team with a clear tactical plan that suits his qualities should lead to him getting at least 10 goals this season.
Ward-Prowse added a whole new side to his game last season under Hasenhuttl, adding an edge that he never showed early in his career - this means that is finally set to establish himself as a starter in the team, after showing plenty of promise but never really finding a permanent role up to now. His set piece ability is also up there with the best in the league.
Hasenhuttl is known to prefer the 4-2-2-2 but has spoken a lot about changing formations mid-game, has a history of changing formations from game to based on opposition with us (my favorite example is lining up in a 5-2-3 with wingers against Wolves to exploit the space behind their wing backs in a match we won 3-1 thanks to our wingers finding those spaces) and hasn’t been shy about making clear tactical alterations within games. We’ll likely see the 4-2-2-2 used, along with some variations of a 5-3-2/5-2-3 from time to time but we won’t be beholden to playing in one particular formation by any means. In terms of the players nailed onto the team sheet, that’s probably Gunn, Valery, Bednarek, Bertrand, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, and Redmond with Ings, Che Adams, Vestergaard, Romeu, and Djenepo also getting plenty of playing time. I reckon we’ll see a lot of Michael Obafemi off the bench as an impact sub, with room for another one or two academy players to earn themselves plenty of playing time TheRalphExpress
by NickTM The Manager: Given the amount of times Ralph Hasenhüttl's name has come up in this preview alone I'd be amazed if you need that much more of a breakdown of him, so I'll keep it short. The former RB Leipzig manager already dug Southampton out of quite a hole last season, and his penchant for an aggressive and fast style of play should make Southampton intriguing viewing. The Team: As mentioned earlier, it's surprising a team of this assembled talent managed to dance with the drop so much last season. Ryan Bertrand, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Mario Lemina, Nathan Redmond, James Ward-Prowse; these names are just a sampling of a laundry list of proper Premier League-level players that should be finding their level again this season. It remains to be see what will happen in regards to Mario Lemina and Charlie Austin appears to have had a slapfight with his manager, so expect more of both ins and outs in the coming weeks. Why to like them: James Ward-Prowse is a bit of a throwback player, a not particularly quick sort-of winger with a deadly delivery of the ilk that's just nice to still have around. Their Twitter signing announcement videos actually hit that lovely sweet spot where they're clearly putting effort in, but it resulting in a tongue-in-cheek bit of fun rather than some horribly overblown and dramatic 2 minute long biopic. Everyone loves them a bit of Danny Ings, noodle tendons and all. Shane Long's name can be shortened to Shlong. Why to dislike them: Jesus Christ how can you fuck up red and white stripes so badly?! It looks like you've got to get rid of leftover black ink. Also, it's incredibly uncharitable to dislike their existence fuelling others fans' shite banter about how they're a Liverpool B team, and yet... Summary: Not too much to say that I haven't already, I feel. It'd be surprising to see them anywhere below 14th given their array of talent, but I suspect most Southampton fans would be happy with simply going the season without getting into a proper relegation scrap. The team is young and talented and has time on its side, so a year of consolidation wouldn't be the worst thing by any means, but I expect good things nonetheless.
Welcome to the triumphant return of the Premier League Previews, a series where a fan gives an overview of his team for your perusal, and I get an excuse to take pot-shots at other clubs. This will run until the eve of the Premier League, taking a look at each club in turn. We're continuing our seaside theme today with AFC Bournemouth. About
After the first 12 games of last season and sitting pretty in 6th place, rumour has it that certain Cherries fans had started picking which destination they'd prefer for a Europa league 1st qualifying round away day. However after yet more long-term injuries and a resulting loss of form the season fizzled out to a safe 14th place. Don't let the 14th place finish fool you as in my opinion this was the season where the most progression was made since promotion to the Premier League, with the team pulling off some brilliant results (see Bournemouth 4 - 0 Chelsea) and a slight tweaking the style of play, producing scintillating football at times. The emergence of the deadly "front 4" providing goals and assists galore saw Callum Wilson finally get his deserved international call up and debut goal against the USA, resulting in him being linked to Chelsea for £40m+ in January. Ryan Fraser narrowly missed out on being the top assister in the Premier League to a certain £130m Galactico and has in result been linked with the likes of Everton and Arsenal for £30m (with a year left on his deal). David Brooks has emerged from young boy into a £50m player linked with Manchester United and Josh King continues to be one of the most criminally underrated strikers in the Premier League. With these 4 signed at a combined £13.4m, I'd say the efforts of Eddie's long term planning are coming to fruition. As has been the issue with every campaign since promotion however, the defence has been the issue. 70 goals were conceded last year, a figure beaten only by Fulham and Huddersfield, who will be playing for Championship glory next season. However a return of 56 goals scored, the most outside the top 6 make up for this. Don't ever say you don't get value for money at Dean Court. The final couple of games gave reason for optimism however. A brilliant debut against Spurs for young Irish keeper Mark Travers came as a pleasant surprise, as well as promising performances from young fringe players such as January signings Chris Mepham and Dominic Solanke as well as academy product Jack Simpson. Overall, another entertaining season of good football was left with the bitter-sweet taste of what could have been after that early season form. Injuries to Lewis Cook and record signing Jefferson Lerma were absolutely key, and came at the same time as the drop in form, which is no coincidence. It is hard to complain as a Bournemouth fan, but you get the feeling that fans are starting to get frustrated at a stale-ness within the club. No progress has been made on a new stadium and the cups still seem to be an opportunity to give fringe players some minutes. The new training ground is however under way, so the pavilion outside the ground can stop being used for training soon enough and hopefully can be used as a tool to attract better players to the South Coast. As if the beach and the prospect of a house on Sandbanks was enough!
After spending £31m (Transfermarkt) on Chris Mepham and Dominic Solanke in January of last season, I wasn't expecting too much from the business this summer. Eddie had been chasing Mepham for what seemed like an eternity, so I'm excited to see what he'll bring to the table this season and Dominic Solanke seems to be hugely rated in the England setup, however he has a job displacing King or Wilson up top. So far only 2 signings have come in, and they can now be described as very 'Bournemouth' signings. We seem to have found a niche in attracting some of the best young British talent in the Football League and offering them a chance at breaking into a team in the Premier League. Lloyd Kelly comes in for £13m as a highly rated left back who, again is highly rated in the England setup and performed well at Championship level last season for Bristol City. We've also signed right-back Jack Stacey from Luton Town who, I confess I don't know much about but he seems like a full back who loves to get forward and scored a few goals last season as well. We're rumoured to be looking for a Goalkeeper, Centre Midfielder and a StrikeWinger in the rest of the window. We've been strongly linked with Jack Butland, who could go down as one of the best signings in our history if completed as he was very close to Jordan Pickford in competing for England's #1 spot, but his stock has dropped after playing for an underperforming Stoke in the Championship. That superb shot-stopper is still in there however and could be a massive signing. We also seem to be heavily linked with Philip Billing from Huddersfield. From afar I've heard stories about him having a bad attitude when not picked which you never like to hear, but Eddie could go after Anna from Love Island for all I care, I'd still back him to make the right decision on signing a player. In terms of exits, we've managed to start being able to get good fees for our players. £20m rising to £26m for Tyrone Mings is a great deal for all parties. It's such a shame it hasn't worked out for Tyrone and I truly wish him all the best at Villa. Whoever managed to convince Sheffield United to not only target Lys Mousset, but fork out £10m for him deserves a heavy commission as a result of that sale. You can see he's got ability, but he's too friendly with Jordon Ibe and I don't think that's helped his attitude. It was a sad moment to see Marc Pugh finally leave, however it's absolutely the right time. As of the time of writing this, Harry Arter is still with us and I would love to see him charging around our midfield again. To use the old cliche however, the best business this summer has been to retain the aforementioned front 4. Wee man (Ryan Fraser) still hasn't signed a new deal as of yet. With 1 year remaining I'd be gutted to see him go on a free, but I heard someone saw he liked a tweet begging him to sign a deal. Looking forward to the official announcement in the coming days. I'd love to see us have a go in the cups, I've always said it would be a dream to see Bournemouth at Wembley and I feel we're established enough as a Premier League side to be able to afford the risk of a deep cup run. However as always, the priority has to be staying in the league. Transfers Highlights
All fees from Transfermarkt All incoming/outgoing transfersFull 2019-20 squad 3 players to watch out for David Brooks It's hard to put Brooksy in as a player to watch out for after a break-out season last year, but boy does he have talent. Dejavu occured when he got injured during the 4-0 battering of Chelsea which ruled him out for a while. I can see him progressing further this year and providing more game deciding contributions, could be one to watch out for in the Fantasy League too as he's got bags of goals and assists in him. Lewis Cook Had injuries not been a concept, Lewis would be a sure starter in England's midfield. Yet again his season was ended early with a ligament injury and he's only just come back into training. However given an extended run of games he can build a formidable partnership in midfield with yellow card machine Jefferson Lerma to put him right back in contention for another England call up. Chris Mepham As mentioned above, Eddie had chased Mepham for 18 months prior to him actually signing in January last year for £12m. Another one of those 'Bournemouth' signings who can come from the Football League and make an impact at Premier League club. Steve Cook and Nathan Ake have become the standout centre-back partnership for us over the last 2 years, however if last season's 70 goal concession is on it's way to being repeated, something will have to change and from the few performances (bar his debut away at Arsenal) he put in last season I can see him progressing to be a real leader in the team. I've seen him touted as a future Wales captain and I'd love to see him also develop the leadership qualities to be a key part of our team to come. What the fans think Thanks to /AFCBournemouthfor their help.
How do you think this season will go?
We should be capable of making the top half of the table. I wouldn't be surprised if we fall somewhat short of this ambition at the start of 2020 when we have a number of easier fixtures. With another possible league cup quarter final in the mix this would be very much on the cards in my mind. I'd hope for 52-54 points if we're playing as good as we can but 46-48 would be expected.
It's going to very much depend on us getting over our injury problems, because they seem to rear their ugly head every season, but I am quietly optimistic of challenging our high points total of 16-17. If we get the luck we can maybe do a Wolves. We have a nicely settled team and I think that will work in our favour over buying lots. I wouldn't mind two or three new ins to replace outgoings though.
We’ll finish on our highest points tally to date, but not highest table position. We’ll be plagued by injuries a couple of these will be out for long periods (Wilson, Fraser, Brooks, Lewis cook) that will result in some non-starters having to step up.
Which player is going to be your star of the season and why?
David Brooks or Lewis Cook would be the best bets. Brooks is extremely technically gifted and I fully expect him to be one of our highest contributers in combined goals and assists next season. With the Euros coming next summer he should be attracting all sorts of admirers so this might be his last season with us. Cook on the other hand is essential to how Eddie Howe wants us to play. His passing ability is unmatched in our squad and he sets the tempo of how we play. He's back from a lengthy injury so I'm hoping his presence could revitalise the squads performances. Might not contribute in goals and assists but will certainly play a decisive part in whether or not we have a successful season.
It could be any one of four or five. At Bournemouth we don't really seem to do star players, but put it down to a team effort. Saying that, Ryan Fraser is going to be a key player, simply down to the fact that we still don't know for sure that he is staying. If Fraser stays then his partnership with Callum Wilson is again going to be pivotal. I'm excited to see how our midfield shapes up this season too. Lewis Cook has the ability to really cement himself as a future England staple, and I really believe Jefferson Lerma can show how good he really is in his second season in England. Lerma is the tough man in midfield we have cried out for for years (ever since Marvin Bartley in L1 really - different standard, of course) and I can't wait to see Jeff terrorise his opponents again come August. At the back I expect Nathan Ake will be as dominant both positionally and in the air again. That man just has a sixth sense on where to be and when. On the right I hope that young David Brooks can continue to show the ability he served up in his first Premiership season last year.
Boruc, Kelly, Ake, S Cook, Smith, Lerma, L Cook, Fraser, Brooks, King, Wilson. Formation: same 4-5-1 horseshoe when off the ball and using King and Wilson's speed to counter while relying upon Brooks, Fraser and Cook to make the right decisions to keep up the counters momentum, 4-2-2-2 on the ball with Fraser and Brooks working the space on the wing while Cook controls the tempo until we facilitate an opening with Wilson and King plugging the space in front of the opposition back four.
by NickTM The Manager:Eddie Howe has been highly rated since before he even stepped foot in the Premier League, and since then his reputation has only grown. With a glowing track record of developing talent and what is clearly quite an effective recruitment team behind him, that Howe is entering his seventh full season as manager is something of an achievement for Bournemouth themselves, given the bigger clubs that were circling every time they dumped one of their managers. His commitment to decent football has won Bournemouth a fair amount of admirers in the media, and for good reason. The Team: Pace is all over this team, from the quick off the mark Nathan Aké at the back to Jefferson Lerma's charging around in midfield to the absolute array of quick forwards. Jordon Ibe, Dom Solanke, Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas, Ryan Fraser and especially Josh King all have pace to burn, and the threat of it alone is enough to keep teams off-balance. It was nice to see Callum Wilson return with a good haul of goals last year after some particularly nasty injury travails, and Bournemouth fans will be hoping Lewis Cook pulls off something similar. It's also a very English team, which will probably keep them afloat when the Faragian blackshirts march on Westminster next year and burn anyone with a particularly foreign sounding name at the stake. Why to like them: Artur Boruc is always worth keeping an eye on in case he does something utterly insane. The aforementioned pace means some quite gorgeous raking through ball counterattacks can occasionally be seen, and when in more thorough possession of the ball Bournemouth's attractive style of play is pleasing on the eye. Why to dislike them: Despite their reputation for positive football, a constantly overlooked feature of Bournemouth teams over the last few years has been their cynical fouling and approach to play that gets constantly glossed over by pundits in favour of talking about how plucky and small they are. Personally I've always had a small, nagging vendetta against them ever since a Bournemouth fan a few years ago adamantly insisted Junior Stanislas was better than Wilf Zaha. Summary: Another season in the Prem for the smallest team in the league, and it's another season where they'll be hoping to stay up with authority. Enough time has passed now that lots of people are expecting them to push on a little this year, and if injuries don't rear their ugly head they could well be on their way to the top half.
Team Preview - Sunderland AFC (Sky Bet League One 2018/19)
by u/VictorAnichebend Seeing as you're all being blessed with daily doses of Premier League and Serie A season previews, I thought I'd give you a taste of the only league that's really ever mattered; Sky Bet League One. Sunderland were a Premier League team 13 months ago. A Premier League team that stared relegation in the face for half a decade, granted, but a Premier League team nonetheless. Now, we find ourselves in the wilderness of the English third division for the first time since 1987, thanks in no small part to an American owner, a Scottish manager, and lots of players of various nationalities. It may not be your cup of tea, but I wanted to write something, so here we are. Enjoy.
Position - 24th Played - 46 Won - 7 Drawn - 16 Lost - 23 Points - 37 Wew, last season. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to call it the worst season I've ever seen watching Sunderland. When you consider that I've seen Sunderland break the lowest ever Premier League points total record not once, but twice you'll appreciate just how awful it was. Our relegation from the Prem was welcomed by some, seeing it as a chance to start afresh, rebuild the squad and start to enjoy watching us play again. Not many of our fans expected to go straight back up, but we were looking forward to seeing a Sunderland team capable of winning a few games. That went well. New manager Simon Grayson was dealt a bad hand, as he was given about a million and-a-half quid to work with in the transfer market, but he really didn't help himself by blowing most of that on (in my opinion) the worst striker ever to play for the club in James Vaughan, and (again, my opinion) the second worst ever goalkeeper to play for the club in Jason Steele. Along with that came a merry band of freebies and loans, including one-time FA Cup winner Callum McManaman, Irish Cruyff turn enthusiast Marc Wilson and the one bright-light of our early season, Lewis Grabban. I've depressed myself enough rattling on about last season so I'll wrap this bit up quickly. We lost, we lost some more, we got the Wales manager, Darron Gibson was arrested for drink driving, we lost a bit more after that, and then we went down. Bottom.
The weird thing is, after all of that, I haven't seen Sunderland fans this optimistic about the club in forever. This is thanks to Ellis Short selling up to former Eastleigh owner Stewart Donald, finally ridding ourselves of the Irish Texan's influence at long last. Stewart's transparency has been an absolute godsend to a fanbase starved of information about their club for too long, and has so far done everything right. He's appointed a young, highly-rated manager in Jack Ross, and has allowed him to reshape the squad completely. Efforts have been made to shift the mercenaries on high wages, with the likes of Didier Ndong, Papy Djilobodji and Bryan Oviedo all set for the exit. Wahbi Khazri was shifted too. And who could forget Jack Rodwell, as the club finally removed the worst signing this football club has ever made from the Stadium of Light, to scenes of jubilation from the fans. If I was Rodders, I wouldn't be planning any nights down Passion for a while. We've built a squad of young, hungry players; many with League One experience, and many that could make the step-up to Championship level. Dylan McGeouch and Jon McLaughlin on frees represent great business, and the addition of Charlie Wyke as I type this is the arrival of a target man we haven't had since Kenwyne Jones. Oh yeah, no more pink seats! The faded monstrosities Ellis Short began to replace but pulled the plug on have finally gone the journey, and our stadium is decked out in lovely red and white once again. There's 26,000 tickets sold for Saturday's opener against Charlton, and f that tells you nothing else, it shows that the optimism is back.
Ins: Alim Ozturk - Boluspor - Free Chris Maguire - Bury - Free Jon McLaughlin - Hearts - Free Tom Flanagan - Burton - Free Reece James - Wigan - Free Dylan McGeouch - Hibernian - Free Glenn Loovens - Sheffield Wednesday - Free Jerome Sinclair - Watford - Loan Jack Baldwin - Peterborough - 200K Luke O'Nien - Wycombe - 100k Charlie Wyke - Bradford - 500k Outs: Loads. If they played for us last season they're more than likely gone or are going. Praise be.
Three Players to Watch Out For
The Scotland international knocked back interest from a few Championship and SPL clubs (including Glasgow giants Rangers) to sign for Sunderland, and looking at his form in pre-season, it's easy to see why he was in such demand. He's absolutely ran the show from midfield, especially in the 6-0 rout over St. Mirren. He's going to be a huge player.
Wycombe fans have been absolutely raving about this lad and I can't wait to watch him play. He Instagrammed the journey up to Sunderland and he has this infectious enthusiasm you can't help but like. He's a grafter who can chip in with a goal, music to the ears of absolutely any Sunderland fan. Cult hero in the making.
Sinclair's had a bit of a stop-start career. He started games for Liverpool as a teenager but his career stalled somewhat and he signed for Watford last season. Now on loan here, the lad surely wants to show everyone what all the fuss was about, and try and get himself back in the conversation at The Hornets. He has clearly defined motivation and he could be lethal at this level.
Summary and Predictions:
Top Scorer: Charlie Wyke Best Player: Dylan McGeouch Why to like them: Fans who've been put through the wringer in recent years who still come out and support their team in, frankly, ridiculous numbers. Why to dislike them: Big fish in a small pond, budget vastly bigger than most other teams in the League. The PSG of League One. Where I think we'll finish: It'll be tough but automatic promotion should be within our grasp. I'm saying champions. Haway. Where I hope we'll finish: 1st, after winning every game by a considerable margin. Charlie Wyke becomes the first man to hit triple figures in a season and the FA allows us to bypass the Championship and go straight back in to the Prem. Thanks for reading. I know this isn't as polished as the ones ATouchOfIwobi and DriesMertens are making, but I've made an effort. Thanks again, and Haway The Lads
QPR vs. Aston Villa Venue: Loftus Road Kick Off: 16:00pm BST/GMT Referee: Oliver Why not join the IRC live soccer chat? With Joey Barton in fine form since joining the London club, and a Villa side who need a result this weekend after a poor midweek performance against Bolton, this match could be a corker!! So let's get the match facts. Match facts/preview TEAM NEWS QPR have no fresh injury concerns but Kieron Dyer remains out with a foot injury and Clint Hill joined Nottingham Forest on loan this week. Jamie Mackie is not yet in contention but is back in full training after a double leg break last January. Aston Villa are hoping deadline-day signing Jermaine Jenas will finally be fit after a thigh injury. But Darren Bent has been ruled out with a groin problem, while fellow striker Emile Heskey remains an absentee. MATCH PREVIEW The last time QPR beat Villa, pop star Jarvis Cocker was about to stun the world! When Kevin Gallen grabbed the only goal of that victory in December 1995, Michael Jackson was Top of the Pops with his Earth Song dirge. Cocker was so enraged at Jackson's performance at the Brits a few weeks later, he invaded the stage and waggled his bottom in Jacko's face! People who downvote Match threads have aids, let's see who actually reads this stuff. I'll go for a first Rangers top-flight win since they beat West Ham in April 1996 QPR now have someone who loves to get in the face of opponents and they hope Joey Barton continues his abrasive form. He's already driven them a long way from the naive opening hammering by Bolton and can inspire a first home Premier League victory of the season against Villa, who were poor in the midweek cup defeat by Bolton and who are fortunate to still be unbeaten in the league. I mean, I bet I can put anything, an nobody will give two shits. Injuries to Darren Bent and Emile Heskey have hit them. Gabby Agbonlahor, though, is looking sharp. He's scored half of Villa's league goals and three in his last four Premier League games. His quick movement in from wide positions will threaten QPR's new-look defence, where Luke Young will be up against his old team. I mean, who do redditors think they are, I create a thread for a Premier League match, because nobody else can be bothered, and they downvote me. Well, guess what, I give you something to downvote, not that you will notice. With Shaun Wright-Phillips in sparkling form in his opening two matches, Barton's leadership and DJ Campbell's quick feet in the box, I'll go for a first Rangers top-flight home win since they beat West Ham in April 1996. Earth Song was just an insipid memory by then. Mark Morrison was at Number One with Return of the Mack. Now he did have a bit of snap and snarl about him - just like Joey! MATCH FACTS Head-to-head QPR are unbeaten at home to Aston Villa in the Premier League (W3, D1). Villa won 4-2 in the last league meeting between the sides - that was in March 1996 when Dwight Yorke scored twice, while Kevin Gallen was on the scoresheet for QPR. Gallen also scored the winner when the teams last met in the league at Loftus Road in December 1995. Managers Neil Warnock and Alex McLeish previously met in the 2008-09 season when both were in the Championship - McLeish's Birmingham beating Warnock's Crystal Palace at St Andrew's, and the sides then drew 0-0 at Selhurst Park. QPR QPR haven't scored at Loftus Road yet this season in league or cup. Last season, Rangers won their first four home league matches without conceding a goal. Captain Joey Barton scored the opening goal for Newcastle in their 6-0 win over Aston Villa last season. Aston Villa Aston Villa are unbeaten after five games of this season's Premier League (for the first time since 2006-07) but have drawn four of their matches. Gabby Agbonlahor has scored half of Villa's league goals this season and has scored three in his last four league games. Only Newcastle have conceded fewer goals than Villa in this season's Premier League. Darren Bent has been caught offside 12 times this season, more than any other Premier League player. So where are both teams in the league at the moment, I hear you ask? 1 Man Utd 6 17 16 2 Man City 6 14 16 3 Chelsea 6 5 13 4 Newcastle 6 4 12 5 Liverpool 6 0 10 6 Tottenham 5 0 9 7 Stoke 6 -2 9 8 Aston Villa 5 2 7 9 Everton 5 0 7 10 QPR 5 -2 7 11 Wolves 6 -3 7 12 Arsenal 6 -5 7 13 Sunderland 5 2 5 14 Norwich 5 -2 5 15 Wigan 6 -4 5 16 Swansea 6 -5 5 17 Fulham 6 -3 4 18 Blackburn 6 -5 4 19 West Brom 6 -5 4 20 Bolton 6 -8 3 So both teams have had the better of performances out of 20 this season so far, with both teams resting in the top 10. So you're now interested after reading all that, where can you watch? Well, if you're a British or Irish citizen, Sky Sports is free this weekend, meaning at 3.30pm GMT, you will be able to pick up the game on Sky Sports 1, without paying the extra £5 per week. Bonus! If you can't find a TV but you're a Sky customer, why not use the SKY GO application, type that in Google and get yourself signed up. For people who neither have Sky or the option of purchasing Sky, you will be needing a stream? Streams If you have anymore I will post them up. RojaDirecta LiveTV FirstRow BBC match thread AtdheNet RealSpotz Courtesy of enabled Obviously none of these will work till 4.00pm Team Sheets Not out yet, will update when out, expecting soon. They're out QPR 01 Kenny 05 Hall 13 Traore 18 Young 35 Ferdinand 04 Derry Helgusson 07 Taarabt 11 Faurlin 17 Barton 32 Wright-Phillips 10 Bothroyd Campbell Substitutes 26 Murphy, 02 Orr, 16 Connolly, 14 Buzsaky, 09 Campbell, 21 Smith, 22 Helguson Aston Villa 01 Given 02 Hutton 03 Warnock 05 Dunne 06 Collins 07 Ireland 10 N'Zogbia 16 Delph 19 Petrov 25 Bannan Albrighton 11 Agbonlahor Substitutes 22 Guzan, 23 Beye, 34 Lowry, 12 Albrighton, 38 Gardner, 14 Delfouneso, 26 Weimann Reddit Live Match Thread Kick off! Phewww... Is that Gary Neville doing the actual commentary? Warnock : Yellow Card. HALF TIME Half time facts. Possession QPR 61% Aston Villa 39% Attempts on target QPR 5 Aston Villa 1 Attempts off target QPR 5 Aston Villa 1 Corners QPR 7 Aston Villa 4 Fouls QPR 7 Aston Villa 6 Half time snap shot "For all QPR's dominance they have only really carved out one clear chance and they will be thankful to Paddy Kenny's expert save from Barry Bannan." Sternslovechild 2nd Half Hutton: Yellow Card 57' Penalty Penalty Penalty Traore: Yellow Card 58' Bannan GOL GOL GOL QPR 0 - 1 Aston Villa 58' Chants can be heard all over London to the tune of 'You don't know what you're doing'. Collins: Yellow Card Substitution: Bothroyd off Campbell on Substitution: Bannan off Albrighton on Agbonlahour: Yellow Card Subsitution: Derry off Helgusson on Gary Neville is officially blind. That was a penalty. Shut up Gary. Traore: Red Card 90' Traore OFF OFF OFF 93' Dunne GOL GOL GOL QPR 1 - 1 Aston Villa 93' FULL TIMEQPR 1 - 1 Aston Villa QPR still looking for a first home win. Full time match facts: Possession QPR 54% Aston Villa 46% Attempts on target QPR 9 Aston Villa 4 Attempts off target QPR 8 Aston Villa 4 Corners QPR 11 Aston Villa 8 Fouls QPR 14 Aston Villa 19 Penalties given QPR 0 Aston Villa 1 Penalties that should have been given QPR 2 Aston Villa 1 Table after the result 1 Man Utd 6 17 16 2 Man City 6 14 16 3 Chelsea 6 5 13 4 Newcastle 6 4 12 5 Liverpool 6 0 10 6 Tottenham 5 0 9 7 Stoke 6 -2 9 8 Aston Villa 6 2 8 9 QPR 6 -2 8 10 Everton 5 0 7 11 Wolves 6 -3 7 12 Arsenal 6 -5 7 13 Sunderland 5 2 5 14 Norwich 5 -2 5 15 Wigan 6 -4 5 16 Swansea 6 -5 5 17 Fulham 6 -3 4 18 Blackburn 6 -5 4 19 West Brom 6 -5 4 20 Bolton 6 -8 3 The pundits are shit.
[B-A!V] Arsenal vs Liverpool Live Streaming..EPL..Week1..Date..Time..Preview
Arsenal vs Liverpool Live Streaming..EPL..Week1..Date..Time..Preview Watch Liverpool vs Arsenal Live Stream Free Online Barclays Premier League premierleague/en-gb/matchday/.../epl.../arsenal-vs-liverpool For a comprehensive Arsenal v Liverpool 2014/15 match preview, visit the official website of the Premier League. Arsenal vs Liverpool: Team news, kick-off time, probable ... dailymail/.../Arsenal-vs-Liverpool-Team-news-kick-time-proba... 1 day ago - Get the latest team news, odds and stats ahead of the Barclays Premier League clash between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal vs Liverpool: 11 things you need to know - Daily Mirror mirror › Sport › Football › Premier League 17 hours ago - The race for the top four officially enters the final stretch this weekend - and it's a big one at the Emirates. Liverpool travel to Arsenal knowing ... Arsenal vs Liverpool: Per Mertesacker - 'You need an ... independent › Sport › Football › Premier League 11 hours ago - There was a point last season, Per Mertesacker reveals, when the Arsenal dressing room was getting a bit heated. Arsenal v Liverpool - 4th Apr 2015 | Preview | Barclays Prem ... www1.skysports/football/live/match/313687/preview 48 mins ago - Sky Sports Match Preview: Arsenal v Liverpool (Barclays Premier League) at Emirates Stadium - Kick Off: 12:45pm on Saturday 4th April 2015. Arsenal v Liverpool - Match Preview - Arsenal arsenal/match/report/.../arsenal-v-liverpool-match-preview 20 hours ago - Wenger: 'We have built a level of confidence and are conscious that if we do certain things well, then we can win games' Miller: Key questions on Arsenal vs. Liverpool - ESPN FC espnfc/.../arsenal-vs-liverpool-five-burning-questions-by-nick... 1 day ago - Will Brendan Rodgers change his tactics? Will Theo Walcott get a chance? Arsenal vs. Liverpool has plenty of burning questions. BBC Sport - Arsenal v Liverpool - BBC bbc/sport/0/football/32097847 2 days ago - Preview followed by live coverage of Saturday's Premier League game between Arsenal and Liverpool. Arsenal vs. Liverpool: Tactical Preview of Premier League ... bleacherreport/.../2417663-arsenal-vs-liverpool-tactical-preview-of-... 2 days ago - It's make-or-break time for Liverpool and Arsenal. If the former win, a UEFA Champions League spot is still within grasp, and if the latter win, ...Arsenal vs Liverpool: Jamie Redknapp looks at the key ... dailymail/.../Arsenal-vs-Liverpool-Jamie-Redknapp-looks-key-... 11 hours ago - Saturday's game is absolutely huge for both teams. Win and Arsenal go second to put huge pressure on Manchester City. Lose and Liverpool ... Arsenal vs Liverpool Live Stream - 4 Apr 2015 timesoccer › video › 04 3 days ago - Watch Arsenal vs Liverpool live stream free online and highlights video Premier League match on 4 April 2015 at Emirates Stadium, London. Arsenal vs. Liverpool - preview and opposition view: Talking ... thisisanfield/.../arsenal-vs-liverpool-preview-and-opposition-v... 2 days ago - Arsenal vs. Liverpool is the Premier League's early kick off on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal v Liverpool FC: ECHO writers pick their starting line ... liverpoolecho › Sport › Football › Football News › Liverpool FC 17 hours ago - James Pearce, Ian Doyle, Joe Rimmer and Kristian Walsh pick their teams. Arsenal vs Liverpool - WhoScored whoscored/.../England-Premier-League-2014-2015-Arsenal-L... 41 mins ago - Arsenal-Liverpool match preview. ... Liverpool will be without the suspended Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard for the next 3 games as ... Arsenal v Liverpool head-to-head record - LFC Online lfconline/head_to_head/arsenal/vs/liverpool/index.shtml At Arsenal (96), At Liverpool (98). Results, Total, %, Results, Total, %. Arsenal, 43, 44.79, Liverpool, 53, 54.08. Liverpool, 21, 21.88, Arsenal, 26, 26.53. Arsenal v Liverpool Tickets 04/04/2015 | Ticketbis ticketbis › ... › Football › Competitions › Premier League › Arsenal. Arsenal v Liverpool Tickets. Buy and Sell tickets for Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal v Liverpool Winner Betting Odds - Oddschecker oddscheckefootball/english/.../arsenal-v-liverpool/winner Arsenal v Liverpool Winner Betting Odds. Get the best available Premier League odds from all online bookmakers with Oddschecker, the home of betting value. Stat Attack: Arsenal vs Liverpool | World of Sport.
[R-Q!S] Chelsea vs Stoke City Live Streaming..Premier..League..Schedule..Date..Predictions
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Winner of the 2014/15 English Championship (division under the English Premier League)
The Championship is arguably more exciting than the Premier League because every season there are 6 new teams! Last season, QPR seemed like a free money bet to win it with one of the most experienced managers in England and a ton of money to spend on successful players... Well they got promoted, but they had to win the playoff to go back up to the Prem! Derby, Cardiff, Fulham, Wigan and Norwich are the main favorites right now. My preview for these 5 is below.
[Sd-Nu] Burnley vs Swansea Live Streaming..Soccer...Premier..League..Championship..28Feb..2015
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[Rm-Ku] Burnley vs Swansea Live Streaming..Soccer...Premier..League..Championship..28Feb..2015
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