Premier League 2016/17 season preview

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2016-07-29-1469783580-6937014-newpremierleaguelogo2016177The new Barclays Premier League season is upon us once again and with 7 new managers, it is set up to be a cracker! Leicester’s meteoric rise to champions last season proves that anything can happen and the league is undoubtedly the most exciting in the world. Here are my predictions on how each team will fair this campaign:

ARSENAL

In

Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach, £34m), Takuma Asano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima, undisclosed), Rob Holding  (Bolton, £2m)

Out

Isaac Hayden – (Newcastle, undisclosed), Mikel Arteta (retired), Tomas Rosicky (released), Mathieu Flamini  (released), Dan Crowley (Oxford United, loan), Wellington Silva (Fluminense, undisclosed), Jon Toral (Granada, loan), Wojciech Szczesny (Roma, loan)

Arsenal need a world class striker, a defensive midfielder and a partner for Koscielny at the back. It really is that simple for Arsenal to be real contenders this season, yet the Arsenal hierarchy has again failed to act in the transfer market. Fans have been calling for a world-class striker for years but it seems to be another summer of almost signing world-class players. Wenger unfortunately will be put under huge amounts of pressure, this being the last year of his contract, if results slip. However, Arsenal still has more than enough quality to maintain their Champions League spot.

Predicted finish: 3rd

Liverpool_FC_warm-up_before_the_game_vs_Roma_2014_(3,_cropped)BOURNEMOUTH

In

Jordon Ibe (Liverpool, £15m), Lys Mousset (Le Havre, £5.4m), Emerson Hyndman  (Fulham, £0.75m), Nathan Ake (Chelsea, loan), Lewis Cook (Leeds, £10m), Brad Smith (Liverpool, £6m)

Out

Jayden Stockley (Aberdeen, free), Sylvain Distin (released), Tommy Elphick (Aston Villa, £3.6m), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle, £12m), Lee Tomlin  (Bristol City, £3m), Glenn Murray (Brighton, Loan), Jon Muleba (released), Mason Walsh (released), Stephane Zubar (released)

Eddie Howe’s men have the capability to play some of the best football in the League. However, there seems to be a certain naivety about this Bournemouth side and they need to toughen up. A successful debut campaign in the top flight was tarnished by an end of season slump. New singings Ibe and Ake will be desperate to prove themselves in the Premier League.

Predicted finish: 15th

BURNLEY

In

Jamie Thomas (Bolton, free), Robbie Leitch (Motherwell, free), Nick Pope (Charlton, £1.1m), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Charlton, undisclosed)

Out

Joey Barton (Rangers, free), Luke Conlan (Morecambe, free), Matt Gilks (Rangers, free), Lloyd Dyer (Burton, free), Danijel Nizic (released), Matt Taylor (released)

Seun Dyche led a brilliant campaign in Burnley’s championship success last season. However, limited resources will lead to another difficult campaign for the Clarets. Losing Barton will be a huge loss, a player who still has more than enough quality for the Premier League and the leadership qualities to drive the team forward. Lack of Premier league quality means they will struggle.

Predicted finish: 19th

CHELSEA

In

Michy Batshuayi (Marseille, £33.2m), N’Golo Kante (Leicester, £32m)

Out

Mohamed Salah (Roma, £12m), Stipe Perica (Udinese, £3.2m) Charly Musonda (Real Betis, loan), Nathan (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Nathan Ake  (Bournemouth, loan), Baba Rahman (Schalke, loan)

Chelsea will bounce back after their failings last campaign. Conte will bring stability and a new confidence to this Chelsea team. Conte’s side always have a rigorous defensive structure and Terry has just enough in his legs to survive one more season. Chelsea still have fundamentally the same team that cruised to the Premier League title of 2015 and they will be contenders again this season. Is Lukaku on his way back to Chelsea? If not, potentially a lack of goals will mean they will fall just short.

Predicted finish: 2nd

CRYSTAL PALACE

In

Andros Townsend (Newcastle United, £13m), Steve Mandanda (Marseille, free), James Tomkins ( West Ham, £10m)

Out

Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United, £10m), Alex McCarthy  (Southampton, £4m,), Emmanuel Adebayor (released), Marouane Chamakh (released,) Brede Hangeland (released)

Pardew seemed almost untouchable for the first half of last season. A dismal 2016 means he now has a lot to prove from the outset. Palace have the quality to win 5 games on the bounce but the fragility to lose 5 games immediately after. A very interesting transfer season with Townsend, Mandanda and Tomkins will provide the quality that will hopefully iron out the unpredictability of this Palace side.

Predicted finish: 12th

EVERTON

In

Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham, undisclosed), Bassala Sambou (Coventry, compensation), Chris Renshaw (Oldham, undisclosed), Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa, £7.1m)

Out

John Stones (Manchester City, £47.5m), Leon Osman (released), Tony Hibbert (released), Tim Howard – (Colorado Rapids, free), Steven Pienaar (released), Jordan Thorniley (Sheffield Wednesday, undisclosed)

Everton were a team of so much promise last season that ultimately disappointed. Everton seemed to have an unrivalled ability to self implode, gifting goals to opponents from simple defensive errors. Stones’ departure is an expected blow but Koeman will need to sort out Everton’s defensive problems fast. If Lukaku returns to Stamford Bridge, a reliable goal scorer is required. A year of transition for the Toffees.

Predicted finish: 9th

HULL

In

Jonathan Edwards (Peterborough, free), Will Mannion (AFC Wimbledon, compensation)

Out

Mohamed Diame – (Newcastle, £4.5m), Max Clark (Cambridge, loan), Ben Clappison (York, free)

Hull City’s summer has been farcical. Steve Bruce’s dramatic departure highlighted the tensions at the club. Selling their best player, with no quality replacements is a recipe for relegation. Still looking for a new manager with a week to go is embarrassing.

Predicted finish: 20th

Jamie_Vardy_08_sierpnia_2015LEICESTER CITY

In

Nampalys Mendy (Nice, £13m), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96, £2.6m), Luis Hernandez (Sporting Gijon, free), Raul Uche Rubio (Rayo Vallecano, undisclosed), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, undisclosed), Bartosz Kapustka (Cracovia, £7.5m)

Out

N’Golo Kante (Chelsea, £32m), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim, £7.6m), Joe Dodoo (Rangers, undisclosed), Jonny Maddison (Yeovil, free), Paul Konchesky (released), Mark Schwarzer (released)

Champions League football will mean an exiting yet difficult challenge for Leicester. Success this season relies on two factors – Mahrez not following Kante out the door and another season of avoiding significant injuries. Lightning surely can’t strike twice! Or can it…

Predicted finish: 8th

LIVERPOOL

In

Sadio Mane (Southampton, £36m), Loris Karius (Mainz, £4.7m), Joel Matip (Schalke, free), Ragnar Klavan (Augsburg, undisclosed), Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle, £25m), Alex Manninger (free)

Out

Jordon Ibe (Bournemouth, £15m), Martin Skrtel (Fenerbahce, £5m), Joe Allen (Stoke, £13m), Jordan Rossiter (Rangers, £0.25m), Jerome Sinclair (Watford, £4m), Joao Teixeira (Porto, £0.25m), Danny Ward (Huddersfield, loan), Kolo Toure (Celtic, free), Brad Smith  (Bournemouth, £6m)

Klopp was given slack for Liverpool’s poor results last season. He will not receive such lenience from now on, with his model firmly in place for this Liverpool team. No European Football, whilst disappointing, will be a huge help to their League prospects. Mane looks a quality signing and will hopefully end Liverpool’s reliance on the ever frustratingly fragile Sturridge. Still lacking quality to displace the top 5.

Predicted finish: 6th

Josep_Guardiola_0525MANCHESTER CITY

In

Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund, £21m), Nolito (Celta Vigo, £13.8m), Oleksandr Zinchenko (FK Ufa, undisclosed), Leroy Sane (Schalke, £37m), Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras, £27m), Marlos Moreno (Atletico Nacional, £4.75m),

Out

Seko Fofana (Udinese, £3.8m), Florian Lejeune (Eibar, £1.2m), Martin Demichelis (released), Marlos Moreno (Deportivo, loan)

This will be City’s season. The best squad on paper and an exciting new manager who has had time to plan the season ahead. City have always struggled when Aguero and Kompany get injured, but the incoming duo of Stones and Nolito will finally provide the cover that City require. Pep’s track record against Jose speaks for itself-expect the same to follow.

Predicted finish: 1st

Jose MourinhoMANCHESTER UNITED

In

Paul Pogba (Juventus, £89m), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (free), Eric Bailly (Villarreal, £30m), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Borussia Dortmund, £26.3m)

Out

Victor Valdes (Middlesbrough, free), Nick Powell (Wigan, free), Ashley Fletcher (West Ham, free), Guillermo Varela (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan)

United have adopted a policy of spending their way back to success with high profile players and a big name manager. This team will be built around egos.  Mourinho alienating Schweinsteiger is a sign of things to come. Summer signings merely paved over serious cracks in the United framework. Thursday night football will also bring a whole host of challenges.

Predicted finish: 5th

MIDDLESBROUGH

In

Marten de Roon (Atalanta, £12m), Viktor Fischer (Ajax, £3.8m), Bernardo Espinosa (Sporting Gijon, free), Jordan McGhee (Hearts, loan), Victor Valdes (Free), Alvaro Negredo (Valencia, loan), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, free)

Out

Jonathan Woodgate (released), Damia Abella (released)

The Boro faithful have had a lot to be encouraged by in this summer window. Marten de Roon was brilliant in Serie A last season making more tackles then any other player. The permanent signing of Gaston Ramirez will hopefully provide the spark that will get Alvaro Negredo scoring goals again. Karanka, often dubbed Mourinho’s prodigy after their time spent at Madrid, has a lot to prove after the embarrassing walk out during the pivotal point of last season. A lack of diplomacy is certainly something he has picked up from Mourinho!

Predicted finish: 14th

SOUTHAMPTON

In

Nathan Redmond (Norwich, £11m), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich, undisclosed), Kieran Freeman (Dundee Utd, compensation), Alex McCarthy (Crystal Palace, £4m)

Out

Sadio Mane (Liverpool, £36m), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur, £11m), Juanmi –(Real Sociedad, £5m), Paulo Gazzaniga (Rayo Vallecano, loan), Gaston Ramirez (released), Graziano Pelle (Shandong Luneng, £12m)

Puel will continue the clubs trend in investing in youth, with the Saints hierarchy insisting that a change in manager will not affect the club’s philosophy. Puel had a successful time with Nice last season, with the youngest average age of any team in France. Another top half finish beckons.

Predicted finish: 10th

STOKE CITY

In

Joe Allen (Liverpool, £13m), Ramadan Sobhi (Al Ahly, £5m)

Out

Peter Odemwingie (released), Steve Sidwell (Brighton, free)

Mark Hughes has broken the trend of Stoke City being the last game on Match of the Day and it has brought with them great results. Joe Allen is a coup. The ‘Welsh Xavi’ had a brilliant Euro’s and has always been massively underrated by the Anfield faithful. Another mid table finish for the Potters!

Predicted finish: 11th

SUNDERLAND

In

Papy Djilobodji (Chelsea, £8m)

Out

Emmanuel Giaccherini (Napoli, undisclosed), Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Steve Harper (released), Wes Brown (released), Danny Graham (Blackburn, free)

David Moyes has a challenge on his hands. No new signings brought in to a team lacking quality. Lucky to stay up last season and at some point this luck will run out. A poor choice of club for Moyes, another sack is looming.

Predicted finish: 18th

SWANSEA CITY

In

Leroy Fer (QPR, £4.75m), Mike van der Hoorn (Ajax, undisclosed), Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets, free), Fernando Llorente (Sevilla, Undisclosed), Borja Baston (Atletico Madrid, £15m)

Out

Andre Ayew (West Ham, £20.5m,) Eder (Lille, £3.4m), Alberto Paloschi (Atalanta, £6m), Bafetimbi Gomis (Marseille, loan)

Swansea City’s tactic of offloading every recognizable centre forward was intriguing. A search for a new proven goal scorer was required. Fernando Llorente certainly ticks that box. A complete forward who has scored goals in both Serie A and La Liga, it is surprising that more clubs weren’t interested. An absolutely steal for Swansea. Keeping Sigurdsson is also a massive coup.

Predicted finish: 13th

Harry_Kane_(24685589756)TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

In

Vincent Janssen (AZ Alkmaar, £18.6m), Victor Wanyama (Southampton, £11m)

Out

Federico Fazio (Roma, Loan) Grant Ward (Ipswich, £0.7m), Christopher Paul (QPR, free), Filip Lesniak (Slovan Liberec, loan), Alex Pritchard (Norwich, £9m)

Tottenham have an exciting young squad that showed real promise last season and proved that they are real title contenders. The English core have a lot to prove though after an unsuccessful summer in France. Quiet transfer window but a side that will keep improving. However, as always, North London will remain red.

Predicted finish: 4th

WATFORD

In

Isaac Success (Granada, £12.5m), Christian Kabasele (Genk, £5.8m), Jerome Sinclair (Liverpool, free), Juan Camilo Zuniga (Napoli, loan), Brice Dja Djedje (Marseille, £3m)

Out

Jose Manuel Jurado (Espanyol, £2.1m), Almen Abdi (Sheffield Wednesday, £4m), Daniel Pudil (Sheffield Wednesday, undisclosed), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord, loan), Gabriele Angella (Udinese, undisclosed), Miguel Layun (Porto, undisclosed)

Issac Success is a record signing for Watford. An interesting buy considering the dynamic partnership of Deeney and Ighalo that will be difficult to separate. Mazzarri will bring his familiar 3-5-2 tactic to the Premier League. A lack of quality makes Watford look destined for a relegation battle from the outset.

Predicted finish: 16th

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

In

Matt Phillips (QPR, £5.5m)

Out

Stephane Sessegnon (released), Victor Anichebe, (released), Anders Lindegaard (Preston, free)

Pulis has a phenomenal record of playing uninspiring football, lacking a creative spark but keeping teams up. A quiet summer in the transfer market for a team lacking form at the end of last season. New owners present a turbulent time for the Baggies. Just enough to survive.

Predicted finish: 17th

Dimitri_Payet_-_France_v_ArmeniaWEST HAM UNITED

In

Andre Ayew  (Swansea, £20.5m), Manuel Lanzini (Al Jazira Club, £9.4m), Arthur Masuaku  (Olympiakos, £6m), Toni Martinez (Valencia, £2.25m), Havard Nordtveit (Borussia Monchengladbach, free), Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia, free), Gokhan Tore (Besiktas, loan)

Out

James Tomkins (Crystal Palace, £10m), Stephen Hendrie  (Blackburn, loan), Elliott Lee (Barnsley, free), Jordan Brown (Hannover, free), George Dobson (Walsall, loan)

A very promising team in a new home. Lack of summer spending but Bilic has promised at least 5 more signings which will be required for their Europa League Campaign. Payet looks like he will stay – he is a massive talent and has a huge season ahead to prove he really is world class.

Predicted finish: 7th

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