Friday, August 15, 2008

The FA Barclays Premiership (Part 2)

Part 2 of the Nerd Corner, Premiership preview for the 2007/2008 season. This time, looking at the remaining 10 teams.

Manchester United

Reigning champions, won the title on the last day of the season. Relied heavily on an extraordinary season by Christiano Ronaldo, to get them to where they were. Going to need the same heroics this year from the lad. Big speculation throughout the summer over his future at the club, or whether he was going to Real Madrid. An inevitability in the long run. however, he's still there, just injured to start the year. Supporting cast is pretty much the same, should be strong defensively. Will be challenging all year, just, don't think they've got it this year.

Ladbrokes odds - 5/4 (fav)
My Prediction - 2nd


For the last two years, I've said the same thing about Middlesbrough, as I did about Bolton, questioning where the goals were going to come from. With last January's signing of Afonso Alves, this team now has a goal scorer. Thusly, they should be more comfortable. Goalkeeping situation could be interesting, with no proven Premiership keeper there, and the loss of Luke Young will hurt, but, other than this, team is pretty similar to where they were a year ago, with a striker that can score.

Ladbrokes odds - 1000/1
My Prediction - 10th

Newcastle United

Last season, it looked as though Newcastle were going to be battling against relegation until the bitter end. Then, they sacked Sam Allardyce and brought back Kevin Keegan. Took a while to get going, but eventually, they got their act together and finished reasonably safe. The summer has been pretty uneventful, but with a full year of Keegan, the team should not be in the same troubles as last season. Not going to be better than a mid-table team though.

Ladbrokes odds - 350/1
My Prediction - 11th


My personal favourite Premiership team. The last few years, Harry Redknapp has made this team into a strong, top 10 outfit. A remarkable achievement, considering that not that long ago, they were in the yo-yo between the Premiership and Championship nearly every year. New signing Peter Crouch, is going to provide a good partner for quick, free-scoring Jermaine Defoe. No other big moves over the course of the summer, should look to be in a similar position as last year.

Ladbrokes odds - 350/1
My Prediction - 7th

Sjoke City Stoke City

Full disclosure; I have a personal hatred of Stoke City that is unmatched by any other team, short of perhaps Port Vale. This is the local rival of my own team, and it pains me greatly to see them in the Premiership this year. Just like Hull, I have no idea how they did it, and it's a testament to just how poor the promoted teams from last year are. They've made three moves over the summer, bringing in a goalkeeper, midfielder and striker. Somehow, Tony Pulis believes that the above average championship side he had last year, plus a couple of extra pieces are going to make the difference. He, and clayheads everywhere are going to be in for a big shock this coming year, and I am personally going to enjoy watching every second of their attrocious season.

Ladbrokes odds - 7500/1
My Prediction - 20th (Relegated)


A solid first season in the premiership, with a reasonably poor squad. Roy Keane has managed to work wonders at the wearside club. The summer has seen a couple of modest signings, with the addition of Steve Malbranque from Tottenham the most significant. Should be relatively safe again this season, if only down to the poorer standard of competition from the lower half of the league.

Ladbrokes odds - 1500/1
My Prediction - 14th

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs massively underachieved last season, but the teams fortunes did turn around somewhat when new manager Juande Ramos came to the helm. The summer has seen the additions of midfielder David Bentley from Blackburn and Luka Modric from Dinamo Zagreb, which should strengthen an already free scoring unit, however, the loss of Robbie Keane to Liverpool is going to hurt. Dimitar Berbatov is still at the club, but, for how long remains to be seen. Scored the fifth most goals last term, but conceded the fifth most too, if they can tighten up the defence, Tottenham could be flying quite high this year.

Ladbrokes odds - 50/1
My Prediction - 5th

West Bromwich Albion

The last of the newly promoted teams, West Brom won the Championship last season, although no by much. The team was far and away the best squad in the second tier, but, still didn't run away with the league. They are the best set of the three new teams to survive, and with the additions of Scott Carson and Marek Cech, they've strengthened the defence to cope. Luke Young should also add some fire-power to the front-line. Going to be a scrap to stay up, but, with the keys in place, they can certainly do it.

Ladbrokes odds - 3000/1
My Prediction - 17th

West Ham United

Another team that has a reasonably quiet offseason. The team has lost Bobby Zamora to Fulham, though, he didn't play all that much last year. Valon Behrami could add some more quality to the midfield, but, overall it appears that they shouldn't be far off from where they were last year. What is likely to drop the team down in the league, is the improvement of various teams around the Hammers. Likely, mid table obscurity for much of the season.

Ladbrokes odds - 750/1
My Prediction - 13th

Wigan Athletic

Last season it appeared that Wigan were going to be in the relegation battle until the final day, but when they brought in Manager Steve Bruce from Birmingham, the fortunes turned around and they finished relatively safe. This term, the team has Bruce for the full year, and pretty much the same squad as a year previous. Lee Cattermole and Oliver Kapo are the only noteworthy additions to the team. Should finish well clear of the drop, though, probably won't be pushing for much more.

Ladbrokes odds - 3000/1
My Prediction - 15th

Thusly, concludes the Premiership team by team preview for 2008/2009. The season starts tomorrow, Saturday August 16th at 12:45pm BST, 7:45am ET with Arsenal vs. West Brom at the Emirates Stadium, most other teams will be kicking off at 3pm BST, 10am ET.

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