Liverpool West Bromwich Albion
“If you spend a hundred odd million, you’d expect to be challenging for the league.” That was Brendan Rodgers talking about Tottenham and their post-Bale spending, which amounted to £96m and resulted in them finishing sixth. Last summer, Liverpool spent just over £110m post-Suarez and also finished sixth. Whoops. Still with his future far from certain, there is no more room for error at Liverpool for Rodgers and he will know that. Read More >
West Bromwich Albion used to be the archetypal yo-yo club, but they’ve stabilised of late and this will be their sixth straight season in the Premier League. Granted, there have been a few scares along the way but they won’t have to worry about relegation now drop-proof manager Tony Pulis is calling the shots. Or will they? It’s clear that their squad needs strengthening, but nothing has been happening this summer because of talks over a possible takeover. Those talks have now broken down, so it’s time to start shopping. Read More >
Norwich are a club yo-yoing backwards and forwards through England’s divisions without any real hint of stability. In the last 10 years alone, they have been down to the Championship, down again to League 1, then back up to the Championship, then up to the Premier League, back down to the Championship and now here we are again. The Premier League. The promised land. Read More >
Under Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace are a completely different proposition in the Premier League. They are not the Championship team of old, constantly flirting with the top flight and failing miserably to maintain their status in it. They are now a financially secure outfit with a crop of talented players, looking to break into those elusive Europa League places. Read More >
They came with their millions and snatched them up, one by one. Luke Shaw? Sold. Adam Lallana? Sold. Rickie Lambert? Yep. Calum Chambers? Outta there. Dejan Lovren? Well, they probably owe Liverpool a thank you card for that one. After their excellent 2013/14 campaign, Southampton were picked apart like a corpse in vulture territory. In fact, many tipped them for relegation after this dramatic summer exodus. It’s fair to say that it didn’t quite work out like that. Quite the opposite, in fact. Read More >
Where next for Swansea then? They have escaped financial oblivion, they have scrambled out of the basement, they have climbed up the divisions, they have established themselves in the Premier League, they have won silverware and they have played in Europe. Last season brought their best Premier League finish, but it also brought a maturity of style. The Swans might once have been tippy-tappy idealists, but they’re much more balanced now. They can keep it tight, they can attack in numbers. They did not finish in eighth by accident. Read More >
Steve McClaren hasn’t always made the best career decisions, but his move to Newcastle United is an inspired one. This team simply cannot be any worse than it was in the second half of last season. Whatever he does in the opening weeks of the campaign, it’s going to look like an improvement.
A haul of just a single point in ten games dragged the Magpies to the very brink of relegation before a last day victory over West Ham United saved their skin. The fans waited a matter of seconds after the final whistle to chant for the owner’s departure, the manager waited a matter of days to tell the goalscoring hero that his services were no longer required and then the owner delivered much the same message to the manager. This is one of the biggest clubs in English football and it’s an absolute bloody shambles. Read More >
There were times last year when you wondered if Sunderland and Newcastle were having their own private regional competition, a sort of Premier League Chicken where the loser was the first team to blink and pull out of a relegation nosedive. This is something that Sunderland’s supporters have had to put up with for some time. Last season was their eighth consecutive campaign in the Premier League and the fifth in which they have failed to break the 40 point barrier. But will they improve under Dick Advocaat? Read More >
A club who take the term ‘managerial merry-go-round’ to a whole new level. Even when they were promoted, they still changed their manager. On October 7, 2014, Slavisa Jokanovic would be their fourth appointment in five weeks after Giuseppe Sannino, Oscar Garcia Junyent and Billy McKay all headed for the exit door. And he’s already gone. But despite the club’s boardroom resembling an episode of The Apprentice
, Watford and Jokanovic got the job done and gained promotion to the Premier League. Read More >
Oh, Bournemouth. You saucy devils. Stylish and adventurous in their football, they completed a late charge against the odds to win the Championship title. Playing their football in England’s third tier just five years ago, their rise to the Premier League is a story for the football romantics.
The most important thing for any promoted team is to keep the nucleus of last season’s squad together, and so far there are no hints of anybody jumping ship. Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Harry Arter, Matt Ritchie and Callum Wilson made 220 appearances between them last season in the league, and were all key figures in their success. The fact that they have held on to their manager, the highly rated Eddie Howe, is another huge bonus as they look to make their transition into the Premier League as smooth as possible. Read More >