Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Chief's Projected 13/14 Premier League Table (11th-20th)

11th Everton (-5):

People often say that Martinez is a decent manager based on his achievements at Wigan with a shoestring budget.  Fair enough.  After all, other Premier League clubs were also linked with him last summer.  Aside from the shock FA Cup victory and avoiding the drop for a few seasons, he hasn't really done much else.  Yes, his style of play is interesting and can only improve with Everton's stronger defence.  But can you really see the likes of Baines and Fellaini staying or being inspired by him for that matter?  I doubt Martinez will plunge the Toffees into the relegation zone, but he won't be doing as well as Moyes did last season.  Expect transition and experimentation.

12th Norwich (-1):

Some may be surprised of my projection that Norwich will regress this year, despite signing Hooper and v. Wolfswinkel.  They are decent players and will most likely score at least 10+ PL goals each.  I regard Norwich to be the atypical mid-table team, i.e. satisfactory home record but so-so on the road.  Perhaps they should have bolstered their defence too.  I expect Snodgrass to shine again and the Canaries may have a decent start.  But they lack in depth and could yo-yo from 6th to 16th through out the season before settling in at 12th.

13th West Brom (-5):

Steve Clarke proved me wrong last season, when I slated WBA for relegation.  They exceeded expectation and punched above their weight to finish 8th.  But that was with loanee Lukaku leading the attack.  They now have an unsettled Odemwingie, over-the-hill Anelka and PL novice Vydra to fill the void.  West Brom aren't bad enough to be relegated, far from it.  But I can't see them finishing 8th again.  Then again, never say never with them...

14th Aston Villa (+3):

Put simply, if Villa didn't have Benteke last season they would be relegated.  He picked up his team from the scruff of the neck and dragged them to safety.  Lambert's young squad had a massive learning experience last season, which helped them to mature.  I still don't fancy them to break into the Top 10.  But new midfield muscle and Benteke's goals will keep them safe in the mid-table doldrums.  Moreover, if Benteke repeats his goal glut, expect suitors pursing him in the January transfer window.

15th Cardiff (n/a):

Caulker. Medel. Cornelius.  What a spine for a team!  Most of you may not have heard of the latter 2.  But if things click in place, Cardiff could be the Southampton of the previous season.  They aren't in the PL just to make up the numbers, as is evident with the new signings.  At home they will be a force to be reckoned with.  I doubt relegation will be an issue for them, provided they shift into gear 5 from GW 1.

16th Newcastle (+0):

What a damp squib last season was after the success of the 11/12 French Revolution?  Even the January transfer window signings failed to boost the fortunes.  It was sad to think that Newcastle could have been relegated as late as mid-April.  Europa League distractions didn't help admittedly.  However, post 12/13, the "Kinnear factor" has simply made things worst in my opinion.  His appointment as director of football is simply outrageous.  Provided the likes of Cabaye, Sissoko and Cisse stay, I can't see Newcastle being relegated.  But they won't do any better than last season either.

17th Sunderland (+0):

I don't rate Di Canio as a top class Premier League manager.  He almost got Sunderland relegated last season and, had he not made some interesting signings over the summer, could have put them in trouble come GW1.  Expect "Kevin Keegan" style football, i.e. passionate but lacking the relevant tactical know-how.  I think Sunderland may start well but may dither as the business end of the season commences.  Just enough quality to avoid the drop, but not enough managerial might to progress up the table.

18th Stoke (-5):

Stoke to be relegated? Yes.  Weren't they FA cup finalists and playing in the Europa League with continental middleweights not so long ago? Yes.  But the fact of the matter is that you can only park the bus for so long.  I think Pulis realised this when he departed the club over the summer.  Whether Hughes will stick to the same formula is another topic of discussion.  However, his managerial record hasn't been decent post-City.  In his last two club appointments, he failed to win more than 7 out of 10 competitive matches.  The summer signings lack proven pedigree and I can't see any of their strikers scoring 15+ in the league.  You can't stay up with a half-decent keeper, mediocre outfield (at best) and a manager lacking in form.

19th Crystal Palace (n/a):

I am a fan of 'Ollie from his Blackpool days (his outlandish quotes are second to none!).  I think he was unlucky to get them relegated in the 10/11 season, despite the initial promising start.  Fast forward to this summer... Holloway's summer signing have the touch of "Football Manager 2005" to them!  Chamakh and Phillips can no longer cut it in the Premier League.  As for Gayle, he is unproven.  For star striker Murray to be out for a while is already a kick in the shins for them pre-GW1.  Expect attacking football and goals, but Palace's joy will be short-lived with a squad lacking in top tier talent.

20th Hull (n/a):

I think Hull have some interesting players in their midst with the likes of Boyd and Koren.  But I just don't fancy them to stay up.  Sure, Bruce has Premier League experience at hand.  But failure to invest on par with Cardiff is indicative of Hull's limitations.  The defence contains a player that was involved with a relegated team last season (Figueroa) and, aside from the name checks provided, their midfield does look a bit sparse.  I can see Hull causing the odd shock here and there, but if you crunch the numbers you will find it difficult to ascribe 40 points to them.  Wooden spoon... but I hope they have fun!