English Premier League: The ins and outs

16 August 2012

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Major transfers and predictions. * Denotes a loan spell.

 

Arsenal

In: Santi Cazorla (Malaga CF); Olivier Giroud (Montpellier); Lukas Podolski (FC Cologne)

Out: Manuel Almunia (released); Denilson* (Sao Paulo); Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad)

Speculation regarding the future of captain Robin Van Persie continues, but aside from that Arsenal look to have strengthened their squad and could challenge for silverware this campaign.

Prediction: 3rd – 4th

 

Aston Villa

In: Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord); Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar); Matthew Lowton (Sheffield United); Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord)

Out: Emile Heskey (released)

After only just surviving relegation last season, Villa has brought in Phil Lambert as manager in a bid to regain some momentum and recapture the form of a couple of seasons ago. It will be tough.

Prediction: 16t – 20th

 

Chelsea

In: Eden Hazard (Lille); Thorgan Hazard (FC Lens); Marko Marin (Werder Bremen); Oscar (Internacional)

Out: Jose Bosingwa (released); Thibaut Courtois* (Atletico Madrid); Kevin De Bruyne* (Werder Bremen); Didier Drogba (released); Salomon Kalou (Lille); Romelu Lukaku* (West Brom)

Chelsea have made some great signings in midfield, but are still looking to sign a replacement right-back. With no more Didier Drogba, the team will look to Fernando Torres for glory. Another striker may be a requirement before the close of the market.

Prediction: 1st – 3rd

 

Everton

In: Steven Naismith (Rangers); Steven Pienaar (Tottenham Hotspur).

Out: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls); James McFadden (released); James Wallace (Tranmere); Joseph Yobo (Fenerbahce)

Everton had an outstanding campaign last season. However, some massive outs for the club will leave some significant gaps. But with David Moyes at the helm, it should be another strong run.

Prediction: 7th – 10th

 

Fulham

In:  Mladen Petric (Hamburg); Sascha Riether (Cologne); Hugo Rodallega (Wigan Athletic)

Out: Dickson Etuhu (Blackburn Rovers); Bjorn Helge Riise (released); Danny Murphy (Blackburn Rovers)

Fulham will hope that the form of Clint Dempsey continues, especially after losing captain Danny Murphy. The team will need someone to step up and fill the void.

Prediction: 8th – 12th

 

Liverpool

In: Joe Allen (Swansea City); Fabio Borini (Roma)

Out: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina); Fabio Aurelio (Gremio); Craig Bellamy (Cardiff City); Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce); Maxi Rodriguez (Newell’s Old Boys).

The Merseyside’s will be looking to push for Champions League qualification this season. After several disappointing years, the powerful European club will be hopeful of silverware. Brendan Rodgers has his work cut out for him.

Prediction: 5th – 8th

 

Manchester City

In: Jack Rodwell (Manchester City)

Out: Wayne Bridge* (Brighton & Hove Albion); Owen Hargreaves (released); Vladimir Weiss (Pescara)

The title holders have only made the one signing this offseason, but it doesn’t matter. They have the strongest squad and will look to go back to back, while challenging across all competitions.

Prediction: 1st – 3rd

 

Manchester United

In: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund); Nick Powell (Crewe)

Out: Ben Amos* (Hull City); Fabio da Silva* (Queens Park Rangers); Michael Owen (released); Park Ji-Sung (Queens Park Rangers)

As per usual the Premier League giants will challenge again and try to win the title back off cross town rivals City. They’ll be across all competitions and will most likely win some silverware.

Prediction: 1st – 3rd

 

Newcastle United

In: Romain Amalfitano (Reims); Gael Bigirimana (Coventry); Curtis Good (Melbourne Heart)

Out: Leon Best (Blackburn Rovers); Fraser Forster (Celtic); Danny Guthrie (Reading); Peter Lovenkrands (released); Alan Smith (released)

Newcastle had a superb season and were no doubt a surprise to most. They will look to continue on from their good form and try to earn a top four finish.

Prediction: 5th – 8th

 

Norwich City

In: Jacob Butterfield (Barnsley); Robert Snodgrass (Leeds United); Michael Turner (Sunderland); Steven Whittaker (Rangers)

Out: Zak Whitbread (released); Aaron Wilbraham (released)

The key for the Canaries this season will be survival. They lost manager Phil Lambert to Aston Villa but have a ready made replacement in Chris Hughton.

Prediction: 17th – 20th

 

Queens Park Rangers

In: Samba Diakite* (Nancy); Fabio da Silva* (Manchester United); Robert Green (West Ham United); Junior Hoilett (Unattached); Andrew Johnson (Fulham); Ryan Nelsen (Tottenham Hotspur); Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United).

Out: Daniel Gabbidon (released); Paddy Kenny (Leeds United).

QPR survived relegation last season by the skin of their teeth, despite losing to eventual champions Manchester City in a classic final matchday battle. Several quality, experienced players have been acquired and will be crucial in solidifying the West Londoners place in the Premier League.

Prediction: 13th – 14th

 

Reading

In: Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest); Danny Guthrie (Newcastle); Adrian Mariappa (Watford); Garath McCleary (Nottingham Forest); Pavel Pogrebnyak (Stuttgart); Nicky Shorey (West Bromwich Albion).

Out: Michail Antonio (Sheffield Wednesday)

Last season’s Npower Championship winners appear the most likely of the newly promoted sides to have an impact at the highest level. A couple of solid Premier League standard player inclusions will add to the existing team chemistry, which should keep the Royals in the top flight of English football.

Prediction: 15th – 16th

 

Southamption

In: Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace); Steven Davis (Rangers); Jay Rodriguez (Burnley); Paulo Gazzaniga (Gillingham).

Out: Dan Harding (Nottingham Forest).

The Saints are back in the Premier League for the first time since 2005. Three of the four off-season signings have come from the lower divisions of England, which raises queries regarding squad depth. Survival is the goal and it will be a dogfight to do so.

Prediction: 18th – 19th

 

Stoke City

In: Michael Kightly (Wolverhampton Wanderers); Jamie Ness (Rangers).

Out: Salif Diao (released) Ricardo Fuller (released).

Stoke has established itself as a reliable, mid-table club. Having participated in the Europa League last season, following their outstanding FA Cup final appearance in 2010/11, a sole focus on domestic fixtures should be beneficial going forward. Limited action in the transfer market is a reflection of the club’s stability, but suggests notable improvement is unlikely.

Prediction: 11th – 13th

 

Sunderland

In: Carlos Cuellar (Aston Villa)

Out: Craig Gordon (released); Asamoah Gyan (Al-Ain); George McCartney (West Ham United); Michael Turner (Norwich City).

The Black Cats recovered from a turbulent opening half of 2011/12 to finish clear of the relegation zone under new manager Martin O’Neill. They are another typical mid range club. Few squad alterations, enough quality to accumulate points but not enough to challenge at the pointy end of the ladder.

Prediction: 12th – 14th

 

Swansea City

In: Jose Manuel Flores (Genoa); Jonathan De Guzman (Villarreal); Michu (Rayo Vallecano).

Out: Joe Allen (Liverpool)

The Swans exceeded all expectations last season as the first Welsh side in the Premier League era. Having lost manager Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool, it will be interesting to track their development and playing style. One of the more inactive sides in the transfer market, Swansea made Liberty Stadium a fortress and will need to do so again.

Prediction: 16th – 17th

 

Tottenham Hotspur

In: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Hoffenheim); Jan Vertonghen (Ajax).

Out: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow); Niko Kranjcar (Dynamo Kiev); Ryan Nelsen (Queens Park Rangers); Steven Pienaar (Everton); Louis Saha (released).

Anything less than a top four finish would be considered a failure at White Hart Lane. Champions League football is the realistic and primary target. The title isn’t beyond the realm given their vast array of talent, but the Manchester giants still look to be a class above.

Prediction: 4th – 5th

 

West Bromwich Albion

In: Ben Foster (Birmingham City); Yassine El Ghanassy* (AA Gent); Markus Rosenberg (Werder Bremen); Claudio Yacob (Racing Club de Avellaneda); Romelu Lukaku* (Chelsea).

Out: Keith Andrews (released); Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest); Marton Fulop (released); Paul Scharner (released); Nicky Shorey (released); Somen Tchoyi (released).

The Baggies have lost some reliable role players, but recent recruits should largely balance out the departures. There isn’t much margin for error in the Premier League, but West Brom has the squad and structure to maintain their place.

Prediction: 15th – 16th

 

West Ham United

In: James Collins (Aston Villa); Mohamed Diame (Wigan Athletic); Alou Diarra (Olympique Marseille); Stephen Henderson (Portsmouth); Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton Wanderers); George McCartney (Sunderland); Modibo Maiga (FC Sochaux-Montbeliard); Raphael Spiegel (Grasshopper Club Zurich).

Out: Robert Green (Queens Park Rangers); Ravel Morrison* (Birmingham City); Freddie Sears (Colchester)

Returning to Premier League, the Hammers are a club with tremendous history and awareness of what it takes to be successful. Much like Newcastle in 2010/11, regaining a foothold in the top division is the main priority and it is a goal that should hit the back of the net.

Prediction: 16th – 17th

 

Wigan Athletic

In: Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen); Arouna Kone (Levante); Ryo Miyaichi* (Arsenal); Ivan Ramis (Real Mallorca).

Out: Mohamed Diame (West Ham United); Steve Gohouri (released); Chris Kirkland (released); Hugo Rodallega (released).

Wigan have performed some magic acts in recent seasons. More than once they have looked certain to be relegated and found a gear in the closing stages to keep their heads above water. Last season was a sight to behold in this regard. Having lost a couple of regular first team players, Wigan will need some tricks up their sleeve to survive again.

Prediction: 19th – 20th

Joshua Jeans is a final-year Bachelor of Media Studies student at La Trobe University and is upstart’s current sports editor.  You can follow him on Twitter: @jeansjoshua.

Paul Bastin is a third-year Bachelor of Media Studies student at La Trobe University. He is the current deputy sports editor for upstart. You can follow him on Twitter: @paulbastin10.