Premier League review 2016-2017
The Conquest of the championship last year from Leicester showed that a Premier League review 2016-2017 remains very important. According to many people, Premier League is the most exciting one.
We will try to give you a Premier League review 2016 fully detailed.
This year, in fact, the league can be called as the one with the great coaches. Pep Guardiola, José Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Jürgen Klopp, Arsene Wenger and of course Claudio Ranieri, create a top-level puzzle of coaches that is not easy to be found even in Primera Division, Bundesliga or the Campionato.
For this reason, it is very difficult to guess where the title will end up and which teams will get the European positions. The battle to avoid relegation is expected to be hard. Thus, we divide the English championship to categories, trying to classify teams in groups via power.
Having new coaches, Chelsea, Man.City, Manchester Utd., along with Arsenal and Liverpool, are the dominant teams to win the title, based on their roster and their financial standing. These teams make up the so-called first gear championship. Therefore there are five contenders for the positions of the so-called top 4.
In the second group, we would place Tottenham, Everton, West Ham, Southampton and last season’s champion, Leicester. These teams usually fight for European positions, while they look for something better. Besides, Spurs finished third last year (and for a long time they were second, chasing Leicester), while West Ham almost sneaks in the first the four. Everton has changed management, coach and wants to leave the two previous failed seasons behind. Although Southampton each year is displayed altered, remains considerable. As for Leicester, miracles are rare and even more rarely they are repeated. This year Leicester has to manage Champions League along with the increased domestic competition. Some people say that Leicester may even be under the threat of relegation, but it’s a mistake to underestimate the champion.
Here comes the group of those teams who will try for a better year than last year. Their main priority is to stay away from adventures that have to do with their future in the division. We talk about Crystal Palace, Stoke, Swansea, and Watford. In the latter speed, we find these teams that clearly struggle from the beginning of the season to avoid relegation. These are Sunderland, Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and the three newcomers: Burnley, Middlesbrough, and Hull City.
It should be noted that the boundaries between the third and fourth group are even more blurred. Swansea threatened last year and may be in danger this year. Bournemouth has one year of experience in the Premier League, something that might help. Newcomer, Hull City, having many problems, should make a great effort to avoid relegation. Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion have learned the “survival exercises”. This, of course, does not mean that they will be lucky every season.
Long term bets
We hasten to clarify that in a league that looks like a marathon, it is very difficult to balance the various factors affecting teams at a depth of months. For this, it might not have value to go with the favorites of the bookmakers, but to bet on teams they have underestimated.
Concerning the title winner, we suggest Manchester Utd. Bookmakers offer them as the second favorite, behind their rivals Man.City. We must take into consideration the greater experience of Jose Mourinho in the Premier League compared to that of the rookie in “the Island” Pep Guardiola.
About relegation, Hull and Burnley are carried by bookmakers as the main candidates to say … goodbye. Especially for Hull, the year starts with very bad omens. Perhaps, however, it’s time for Sunderland to relegate. Without Sam Allardyce (determining factor last year, is now on the bench of the national team of England) and the “controversial” David Moyes in the technical leadership, perhaps the “Black Cats” will have problems.
Moreover, for those who believe that Liverpool will be better this year, under the direction of Jürgen Klopp, they can put the team into the top 4.
Championship System – European tickets
League has 20 teams. Thus, there are two rounds of 19 matches. Teams will face their opponents twice, once in each seat. In case of a tie, the ranking of the teams is decided by the following criteria:
The team that wins the championship, the second and third in rankings earn the direct ticket to the Champions League groups. The fourth is represented in the playoffs of the Champions League (in other words, in the last qualifying round). The fifth team in ranking will qualify for the Europa League groups.
Teams also involved in the Europa League, are the team who win the League Cup and the one that will win the FA Cup. In case these teams have already won their representation in the Champions League, (or finish in the top five), the sixth and seventh in the standings become “European”. That is what happened last year (Manchester C. won the Cup and Manchester City in League Cup), so the winning ticket was taken by sixth Southampton and seventh West Ham.
Regarding relegation, the last three teams of final classification are directly relegated to the Championship.
Premier League review 2017
Premier League clubs
What did last year: For many people, the “Foxes” made the biggest surprise at a collective level. A team that started the season in order not to relegate won the Premier League. They left teams with much stronger roster and multiple budgets behind. They impressed with their stability and effectiveness. The league was celebrated distracted by their own fans, after all nobody knows whether and when they would relive something similar.
Coach: Claudio Ranieri (65). The sophisticated Italian had heard a lot: That his career was in … downhill, that he chose employers to quickly release and hefty compensation and many more. The Conquest of the title with Leicester, beyond a great moment for him, was a resounding response to his critics. In competitive level, he maintained the 4-4-2 system Leicester also played before him, emphasizing the pressure high on counterattacks game.
Stadium: King Power (32.500)
Team transfers: Striker Musa came from CSKA M. and adds another option in attack, next to Vardy. Midfielder Mendy came from Nice as a replacement for Kante, who left for Chelsea and is the only loss of key players from last year’s team. Midfielder Kapustka (from Cracovia) left good impressions with Poland in Euro. Goalkeeper Zieler (from Hannover), is intended for Schmeichel’s substitution.
Friendlies: The important matches were those under the International Champions Cup. They drawn 1-1 against Celtic (win 6-5 penalties) and lost 4-0 to Paris Saint Germain and 4-2 by Barcelona. Of course, they have already given an official match, a defeat against Manchester United on Community Shield (2-1).
Rating: Evidently it belongs in the realm of science fiction … to argue that Leicester will get the title again. This year the challenges are more, there is also the Champions League. Ranieri is not a fool. He knows that his team is not used to such situations. His first concern is to keep Leicester away from trouble. Beyond that, if something good comes, it will be profit. Besides, no one will ask him for explanations … after the last year’s miracle.
What did last year: They were the absolute mediocrity. They had the golden opportunity to take the title since all of the traditional great clubs of the championship table seemed in poor condition. They did not succeed and ended the season without a trophy. They simply preserved the impressions, finishing in the second position, but this cannot be called successful. They did nothing special in Europe too. They were fastidious to pass from a theoretically easy group in the Champions League. As usually, they were excluded in the knockout games, playing against Barcelona.
Coach: Arsene Wenger (67). For the first time, after many years being on the bench of Arsenal, he felt so strong controversy for him. He may maintain the trust of the chairman however that does not apply for the fans. Portion of them demanded his dismissal, which caused disunity in the grandstand. Wenger was accused that he did not strengthen the team, although there were money available and that cost the loss of the title. Besides all this, however, he has established himself among the elite of the best coaches in the world.
Stadium: Emirates (60.361)
Team transfers: The cubit was low this year too, as if Wenger has vowed to exhaust the limits of patience of the fans. International Swiss midfielder Xhaka came from Borussia Monchengladbach. Two promising players were acquired, striker Asano from Hiroshima and defender Holding from Bolton. Players that hardly helped last year were left free, midfielder Rosicky, Flamini, Arteta (retired). They are searching for a striker, they like Lyon’s Lacazette but they also need a stopper.
Friendlies: Results were 4 wins and 1 draw. They draw against Lens 1-1, defeated All Stars of MLS 2-1, Guadalajara 3-1, Viking 8-0 and Manchester City 3-2.
Rating: Arsenal starts every year in order to claim all titles. The feeling is that they need additional support since this year’s competition has increased. Wenger has huge experience however he will also have pressure this year since doubters multiply. Definitely Londoners are aiming the foursome.
What did last year: Excellent season for Londoners, they were essentially the only team that chased Leicester in the championship. If they were slightly more cautious in some games, perhaps even luckier, they were more likely to come first in the standings. They combined positive results with beautiful football and the most of people believe that they were the most spectacular team of last year’s Premier League. They ranked third and took the direct ticket to the Champions League groups.
Coach: Mauricio Pochettino (44). Those who doubted his skills were forced to reconsider after the last course of Tottenham, who bore the stamp of Argentine coach. Pochettino trusted English players (not accidentally Tottenham was the basis of the national football team of England in the recent Euro) and presented a fast and spectacular team. The reward from the management came up with a contract extension for cooperation until 2021. In this way, scenarios that wanted Pochettino testing his future somewhere else came to an end.
Stadium: White Hart Lane (36.310)
Team transfers: With fullness in all positions, it was certain that Spurs did not need many additions. Janssen came from Alkmaar to provide another solution in the attack, while midfielder Wanyama had great presence in Southampton. Midfielder Pritchard was given to Norwich but he was not a player who belonged to the core of the team.
Friendlies: They gave strong tests at International Champions Cup. They lost 2-1 to Juventus, 1-0 to Atletico Madrid while they were imposed to Inter with an impressive 6-1.
Rating: The last course … opened the appetite of Tottenham and the fans. Team is good, Pochettino has passed what he wants to the team and there are all the preconditions for the club to do well. The aim is foursome. However it will be more difficult than last year, since competition has increased significantly. There is also the factor of Champions League for the “Spurs”.
What did last year: They may have gone further than ever in the Champions League and were excluded from the subsequent European champion Real Madrid, but the sign of the season was negative. They seemed unable to claim the championship while winning the League Cup does not change the overall picture. It was not a wise move to announce the end of the cooperation with Manuel Pellegrini in the midst of the season and the agreement with Pep Guardiola, as it appeared to affect the team adversely.
Coach: Pep Guardiola (45). There is no need for introduction for the Catalan. He created one of the best teams of the last decades in Barcelona, before left for Bayern. He failed to win the Champions League with the Bavarian club and his next ambition is to make Manchester City dominant in England and Europe. His coming provoked enthusiasm among the fans, who dream of successes. Guardiola is not afraid to dare and experiment in shapes and tactics. His teams are characterized by aggressive spirit and major ball possession rates.
Stadium: Etihad (47.726)
Team transfers: The main interest was shown in midfield and the attack. Striker Jesus (Palmeiras, available from January 2017), the lateral aggressive Nolito (Celta), Sane (Schalke), midfielders Gundogan (Dortmund) and Zinchenko (Ufa) came. John Stones was also acquired for the defense from Everton. It is obvious that City has been strengthened in all lines, since they did not lose any of last year’s key players. Of those who left, defender Demichelis stands out. However, it is expected that some key players who are not in the foreground will leave, such as midfielder Nasri and striker Bony.
Friendlies: They chose powerful opponents. They drawn 1-1 against Dortmund (winning 6-5 on penalties), while they were defeated 1-0 by Bayern and 3-2 by Arsenal. In the only easy match against St. Johnstone, they defeated 3-0.
Rating: Having Pep Guardiola at the bench and considering the transcriptional amplification, City has justifiably high expectations. Of course, even in Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the Catalan technician needed time to see his job results. In any case, City is among the strong favorites to win the championship.
What did last year: There were expectations with Louis Van Gaal at the bench but they quickly proved to have no basis. Van Gaal played conservatively. Fans did not like that and when good results stopped at some point the Dutch technician faced the spectrum of dismissal. He was finally able to stay until the end of the season as Manchester United won the Cup, but this was not enough to keep Van Gaal at the club.
Coach: Jose Mourinho (53). A lot of books have been written about the coaching value of the Portuguese, as well as about his behavior. There is no doubt that he is one of the best technicians worldwide. However, the ways he uses to reach success, as well as his egocentric character, make him unloved to many people. He, of course, is not interested in that. He took over United with two aims: The first one is to give answers to any direction after the last unsuccessful presence in Chelsea, which led him to leave in the middle of the season. The second and clearly most important one is to become the first coach who will restore the glory days of Manchester United, after Sir Alex Ferguson’s era.
Stadium: Old Trafford (76.212)
Team transfers: There is no need for any special introduction about striker Ibrahimovic (PSG), midfielder Pogba (Juventus) and midfielder Mkhitaryan (Dortmund). All of them add quality and experience to United. Defender Bailly from Villarreal is another remarkable addition. No key players left, although midfielder Schweinsteiger is possible to leave as he is not considered from the coach.
Friendlies: They won Wigan Athletic 2-0 and Galatasaray 5-2. They defeated 4-1 against Dortmund and drawn 0-0 against Everton. They have already played an official match, in which they won against Leicester (2-1) for the Community Shield.
Rating: When you bring Mourinho as head coach and players like Ibrahimovic, it is like doing a declaration of intent to assert the title. This applies to United that aspires to return to the top of English football. They have the safeguards, especially if they strengthened more both in defense and midfield.
What did last year: There were many transitions in the season, but eventually it became positive, as the team managed to get the European ticket through the sixth position. Good football again from Southampton, who could aim higher if it had more stability. They did nothing special in the other two domestic competitions too (Cup, League Cup). Its European presence was negative too. They were unable to get to the Europa League groups as they were eliminated in the playoffs from Midtjylland.
Coach: Claude Puel (55). The Frenchman is experienced, but he tries for the first time his luck in England, succeeding Ronald Koeman at the bench. He has gone through the technical leadership of Monaco (French championship in 2000), Lille, Lyon, and Nice. Obviously, the choice of Southampton administration involves risk, however, Puel is renowned for working hard and he is determined to succeed in the “Saints”.
Stadium: St. Mary’s (32.689)
Team transfers: There were very important withdrawals: striker Pelle (Luneng), striker Mane (Liverpool) and midfielder Wanyama (Tottenham). Striker Juanmi also left to Real Sociedad. They acquired midfielder Hojbjerg from Bayern, striker Redmond from Norwich and goalkeeper McCarthy from Crystal Palace. Right midfielder Pied also came for free from Nice. They seek for a forward as well as for a stopper in case Fonte leaves.
Friendlies: They remained unbeaten with five wins and one draw. Won Washington (under 23) 2-0, Zwolle 4-0, Twente 2-1, Groningen 1-0 and Bilbao 1-0 while they drawn against Espanyol 1-1.
Rating: New coach, withdrawal of key players, it seems difficult to Southampton to be as competitive this year. However, many players play together for years. Since Puel quickly passes his philosophy, the year may go well. The aim of the club is to end in a … European position again while the team participates in the Europa League and need to have a good presence too.
West Ham United
What did last year: They finished seventh in the standings and certainly they could be found higher. They had a very good presence against the big teams of the league. They appeared to have a problem when they had to deal with groups that were theoretically like them. For some time they appeared capable of claiming a position even in the top four, unfortunately they failed, but that does not diminish their successful year.
Coach: Slaven Bilic (48). The Croatian is considered a little bit crazy but his first season at West Ham was highly successful. He presented a team capable of defeating any opponent, especially when he found spaces. He won the appreciation of friends and opponents. Ambitious nature, he wants to establish the “Hammers” as one considerable force in Premier League.
Stadium: Olympic Stadium (60.000)
Team transfers: The most significant moves were the acquisition of midfielders Gokhan (Besiktas), Feghouli (Valencia), Ayew (Swansea) and left-back defender Masuaku (Olympiacos). They also acquired midfielder Lanzini on a permanent basis (Al Jazira, on loan last year to West Ham United). Attacker Fletcher came from the academies of Manchester United while defensive midfielder Nordtveit also came for free from Gladbach. From those who left, defender Tomkins can only be considered a loss as he was given to Crystal Palace. Two players on loan left. Striker Emenike (Fenerbahce) and midfielder Song (Rubin Kazan). They look for a striker.
Friendlies: Games were richly in goals. They defeated Karlsruhe 3-0, drawn 2-2 against Carolina Railhawks and Slovacko, while they lost against Seattle, Rubin Kazan and Juventus. They have already played two official games for the qualifiers of UEFA Europa League, where they lost 2-1 away from home by Domzale, but disqualified them by 3-0 victory after the rematch in London.
Rating: The last course raises expectations at West Ham, along with the enthusiasm that came after the move to the new and ultramodern Olympic Stadium. Bilic has good stuff in his hands and it remains to be seen if they will meet the increased requirements. His hidden and difficult desire is the quartet. A better position than last year’s will be a success. There is also the aim of a good presence in the Europa League.
What did last year: The season started with high ambitions, but the “landing” came quickly and was … abnormal. Manager Brendan Rodgers was removed. The arrival of the Jurgen Klopp somehow scraped together the team, but was not able to save the season. Liverpool finished eighth, staying far from European positions. They reached the final of League Cup, lost on penalties by Manchester City. The “Reds” had been present in the Europa League until the final, but lost 3-1 to Sevilla.
Coach: Jurgen Klopp (49). The German impressed with his work in Dortmund and his arrival in Liverpool excited the fans of the club. Klopp managed to put in order … the chaos that was left behind by Brendan Rodgers although he worked with players who had not been selected by himself. He tried to pass his principles to the team and this year, that he is responsible for club from the beginning of the season, he is looking forward for something better.
Stadium: Anfield (45.362)
Team transfers: The most important additions were midfielder Wijnaldum from Newcastle and winger Mane from Southampton. Klopp improved the roster via the German market, which is well known to him, by bringing Karius (goalkeeper, Mainz), Klavan (defender, Augsburg), Matip (defender, Schalke) and the veteran goalkeeper Manninger (Augsburg). Notable withdrawals were those of Ibe (midfielder, Bournemouth), Skrtel (stopper, Fenerbahce) K.Toure (stopper, Celtic), Allen (midfielder, Stoke City).
Friendlies: The most important games were those in the International Champions Cup. They were defeated 1-0 by Chelsea, won AC Milan 2-0 and impressed with the impressive victory 4-0 against Barcelona.
Rating: Liverpool fans expect to win the championship since 1990. They hope that the very capable Klopp will finally lead them to … heaven. The German is proven a good coach, but not … illusionist. He improved Liverpool last year and he wants to go further this year. There is something that can be proved important: Liverpool is dedicated to the championship since they are not participating in a European competition. The aim is the quartet, although it is difficult, the “Reds” have chances.
What did last year: Another positive season for the “Potters”, as the goal was to stay away from adventures and go as high as possible in the standings. They did it. Finished in the ninth place of the ranking (for a third consecutive year) and although some fans wanted a European ticket, nobody can say a word about Mark Hughes and his players.
Coach: Mark Hughes (53). The Welshman has found his calmness in Stoke and Stoke has found in him a man who keeps them away from … trouble. He has created a team with specific playing profile, notably combative and very good in counterattacks. Although he made a career (a great one) as a striker, his success in Stoke is based on the good defensive operation.
Stadium: Bet365 Stadium (30.000)
Team transfers: Stoke is based in last year’s backbone, having added medium Allen (Liverpool) and winger Sobhi (Al Ahly) to the roster. No key player left while striker Odemwingie was released. There is an attempt made for West Bromwich Albion’s striker Berahino.
Friendlies: No outcome comes from their performance. They won Orlando 2-1 (and also the second team of the same club 5-0), drawn against Preston1-1, lost 3-0 against Burton and also lost 1-0 against Hamburg.
Rating: The biggest achievement is that Hughes has built a … neat team, demonstrating remarkable stability in a very competitive environment. We do not expect anything different this year from Stoke. Although there are some fans screaming for a European ticket, if the team finishes in the first half of the Premier League 2016 table again this year, it will be a success.
What did last year: They fairly won the golden blackberry of the championship, finishing tenth. Not only failed to defend the title of the champion, but were left early back in the standings and their aims, within and across borders, began to disappear one after another. Jose Mourinho left the technical leadership, although many fans did not want this. Guus Hiddink was asked to manage the team until the end of the season. After some time, everybody at the club was waiting for the championship to end.
Coach: Antonio Conte (47). Once it became known that Chelsea made an agreement with the Italian, Chelsea’s fans left all of their hopes on him. Conte, formerly Head Coach of Italy, famous for the iron discipline that imposes on his teams, is rumored put pressure on the players during the training. He is also used to marshal his team with three central defenders.
Stadium: Stamford Bridge (42.055)
Team transfers: The acquisition of Kante from Leicester and Batshuayi from Marseille significantly boost midfield and attacking lines respectively. No key players left, while on loan strikers Falcao (Monaco) and Pato (Corinthians) left, without helping the team last year. However, rumors want Diego Costa (striker) ready to leave too.
Friendlies: The most important matches were those in the International Champions Cup. They won Liverpool 1-0 and AC Milan 3-1 while they lost against Real Madrid 3-2.
Rating: Even if they try, it is not possible to have a worst year than last one. In the face of Conte, people see the team reformer, who will bring them back among the top of Premier League. The Italian is asked to put in order the locker room. Beyond that, he also has the knowledge and players to succeed.
What did last year: They were disappointing in every respect, despite any secret desires to conquest a position in the top four. They did not convince that this was in their capabilities, but also failed to assert even a European ticket, finishing eleventh. The discomfort of the fans was obvious in the last games of the championship and this was paid by the coach Roberto Martinez, who was forced to leave.
Coach: Ronald Koeman (53). The Dutchman has been at many clubs and the last two years did a good job in Southampton. Rumors say that he sniffed money with the pre-month change of ownership at Everton and rushed to take the place of the outgoing Martinez. At any rate, the beautiful football that Southampton played while he was the coach convinced the owners of Everton to trust him. He wants his teams to play fast and offensively.
Stadium: Goodison Park (39.752)
Team transfers: Midfielder Gueye from Aston Villa and goalkeeper Stekelenburg from Fulham are the two major additions. Stopper Stones, who went to Manchester City, is a significant loss though the gap partially was replenished by acquiring Williams (Swansea City). Goalkeeper Howard, midfielder Osman, winger Pienaar and defender Hibbert were released as had essentially been out off the plans last year. They search for an attacker, a stopper, defenders and a goalkeeper. They are interested in Bolasie (midfielder) of Crystal Palace and Kone (defender) Sunderland, while conceding pressing to cede their valuable striker Lukaku.
Friendlies: Their results were mixed. They won Jablonec 1-0, Barnsley 3-0 and MK Dons 3-1. They drawn (1-1) against Betis (4-3 win on penalties) and 0-0 against Manchester United. Finally they lost 2-1 to Dynamo Dresden and Espanyol 1-0.
Rating: After two consecutive poor seasons, the change of trainer was done in order Everton to return in the first half of the table. Realistic aim is to ensure a European ticket. The stuff of the team is good. Provided that Koeman will manage to quickly pass his ideas to players, there are the prerequisites for a good year for the club.
What did last year: Swansea’s City season that started with enthusiasm, almost completed by just avoiding relegation. Crucial was the decision of the administration to remove Garry Monk and trust the skilled Italian Francesco Guidolin for the technical leadership. Guidolin scraped together the defense, got the results needed and eventually saved the team comfortably, finishing twelfth.
Coach: Francesco Guidolin (61). He was credited the eve of the team in the category, and although it was not certain that he will continue on the bench, eventually the administration decided that working with the Italian was the safest option. He has vast experience, having gone through many teams (in Italy), places emphasis on defense and he does not care so much about playing good football but taking the result.
Stadium: The Liberty (20.827)
Team transfers: The Welsh acquired midfielder Fer from QPR, strikers Llorente from Sevilla, Borja from Atletico Madrid and defender Van der Hoorn from Ajax. Of those who left, defender Williams (Everton), strikers Paloschi (Atalanta), Eder (Lille), Gomis (Olympique Marseille) and Ayew (West Ham) stand out.
Friendlies: The result was 5 wins and 1 loss. They won Charlotte 4-0, Bristol Rovers 5-1, Swindon 3-0, Wolves 4-0 and Rennes 1-0, while they defeated 2-0 by the Richmond Kickers.
Rating: What they want in Swansea City is to avoid last year’s problems. The team has the quality to stay away from trouble. The presence of Guidolin at the bench, coach who knows how to get results, augurs well. Of course, they expect from the main trump to make a good season and actually pull the team, something that did not happen last year.
What did last year: They were newly promoted in the category, but did an excellent first half in the championship, escaping early the stress of relegation. In the second half just when fans began to dream of a European ticket, they were not that good and lost some ground in the standings, but at no point, they felt seriously threatened about staying in the category. They finished in the thirteenth position.
Coach: Walter Mazzarri (55). The Italian owners of Watford are not known for their patience with the coaches they hire and transitioned into one of their compatriots to continue after the outgoing Spaniard Quique Flores. Mazzarri has not worked since November 2014, when he left Inter. Those who have worked with him do not doubt about his skills in coaching but argue that he is not the nicest man in the world, something that frequently creates tensions.
Stadium: Vicarage Road (19.920)
Team transfers: Striker Sinclair (Liverpool under 23), defenders Kabasele (Genk), Djedje (Marseille) and midfielder Zuniga (on loan from Napoli) were the most important additions. Layun (left back) was transferred permanently to Porto. Abdi (midfielder, Sheffield Wednesday), Jurado (winger Espanyol), Pudil (left back, Sheffield Wednesday) and Angella (stopper, Udinese) also left. It is noted that Udinese, Granada and Watford are in the same ownership.
Friendlies: The results were balanced, 2 wins, 3 draws, 1 defeat. They won Stevenage 2-0 and Union Berlin 3-1. They had drawn against Woking 1-1, Angers 0-0 and Lorient 2-2 while they lost 2-0 to QPR.
Rating: The experiment with Mazzarri at the bench was interesting and we wait to see how he will continue since the Italian has not worked in England before. The roster is multinational, although there are not significant differences compared to last year, both in persons and in the possibilities. The goal is to ensure avoiding relegation.
West Bromwich Albion
What did last year: The aim was to stay in the category and since succeeded, the season was successful. Their games were often very bad but the “job” was done. Based on the roster there were no more demands. They finished in the fourteenth position.
Coach: Tony Pulis (58). He brags for one thing: Almost always he works in clubs that aim to avoid relegation and none of his teams were ever relegated. He is the epitome of realism. He has learned to work with low-quality roster and without the support of large budgets. Anyone who wants spectacular football, plenty of goals and attack, can watch Barcelona instead! The coaching philosophy of Pulis is in the “other side.”
Stadium: The Hawthorns (26.850)
Team transfers: Few things. They acquired midfielder Phillips from Queens Park Rangers while they released strikers Sessegnon, Anichebe and Chester (defender) who was given to Aston Villa. Striker Berahino left. In case he leaves the team will need to fill the gap.
Friendlies: 2-1 (correct score) became … a habit, since they won Kidderminster and Vitesse and lost to PSG and Torquay by this score. Additionally, they brought a draw 0-0 to Plymouth.
Rating: For West Bromwich we expect the same as previous years. Although the club is about to pass into Chinese hands and likely a lot of money may come, the aim is to avoid relegation. The way this will be achieved is not a matter of discussion. The roster is essentially the same. Pulis knows what to do in order to collect the points. The team is used to live in difficulties and with these weapons they enter the battle, hoping next year, not to be back here by this time!
What did last year: Team – Ianos, in the first half of the season they appeared capable even for a European ticket. The precipitating from the New Year onwards was unexplained as they came to be in danger of relegation. Finally, they got the points needed to settle down, while they reached the Cup final, where they lost 2-1 to Manchester United. They finished the sky bet championship table in the fifteenth position.
Coach: Alan Pardew (55). Undoubtedly he has done a good job in Palace, keeping the team away from adventures, while the Londoners played good football last year until December. Bad progress thereafter brought some controversy clouds, however, the presence of Palace in the FA Cup final was credited to the experienced coach. He will walk in last year’s footsteps, aiming the longest duration.
Stadium: Selhurst Park (26.255)
Team transfers: The additions of Mandanda (goalkeeper, Marseille), Tomkins (defender, West Ham) and Townsend (midfielder, Newcastle) are considered remarkable. Gayle (striker) was given to Newcastle along with McCarthy (goalkeeper) who was transferred to Southampton. Strikers Adebayor and Chamakh were released. It is possible for midfielder Bolasie to leave.
Friendlies: Results of 8 games were 5 wins -2 draws -1 loss. They won Cincinnati 2-0, Colchester 1-0, Wimbledon 3-2, Bromley 2-1 and Valencia 3-1. They brought 0-0 against Philadelphia Utd and 2-2 against Vancouver, while they were defeated 3-1 by Fulham.
Rating: The roster of Londoners is remarkable and Pardew is an experienced technician. The point is that the last view of the team confused everyone. Palace of the first half of the championship is a team that will not have any problem to remain in the category. Palace of the second half will be at risk of relegation. This is the biggest problem that has to be solved by Pardew.
What did last year: For the first time in team’s history, they played in Premier League. It took some time to adjust and understand that the attacking style they were playing in the smaller categories had to be replaced by realism. They finally found their balance, picked up points needed and achieved their target, which was to stay in the category.
Coach: Eddie Howe (39). He has been described as one of the most talented and promising coaches in English football. He has linked his upward course with Bournemouth as he took the team a step before exit the professional categories and brought them, after consecutive promotions, in Premier League. Last year he had to mitigate somehow the offensive style to fit the demands of Premier, without this meaning that he betrayed his principles.
Stadium: Dean Court (11.700)
Team transfers: Cook (midfielder, Leeds), Ibe (midfielder, Liverpool), Mousset (striker, Le Havre), Smith (left back, Liverpool), Hyndman (midfielder, Fulham) were added to the roster. Of those who left, defender Elphick (Aston Villa) and midfielder Ritchie (Newcastle United) stand out.
Friendlies: They remained unbeaten with 2 wins and 3 draws. They dominated Minnesota Utd 4-0 and won Cardiff 1-0. They got 3 draws against Portsmouth 3-3, Reading 1-1 and Valencia 1-1.
Rating: Having a year of experience on their back in Premier League, a remarkable roster and a capable coach, Bournemouth can hope to succeed again and remain in the category. They will face stiff competition. Offensively they have solutions. Their aim is the improvement of their defensive play.
What did last year: They did the same as they have done in the previous years. They were one of the favorites for relegation, but again they found a way to avoid that. The change of the coaching staff was crucial, with the advent to the bench of the experienced Sam Allardyce. The team acquired identity and defense were improved. The avoidance of relegation was celebrated like championship since their neighbor and “hated” Newcastle United relegated! The ‘Black Cats’ finished in seventeenth position.
Coach: David Moyes (53). He made a good reputation on the benches of Preston and Everton, but subsequently, he failed both at Manchester United and Real Sociedad. The administration of Sunderland picked him as the successor to Sam Allardyce (took over the National team of England). There are many questions about whether Moyes was suitable for this position, as Sunderland needs a coach who knows how to handle difficult situations. He shows determined to make a new start in his career. Sunderland is one of the big question marks of this year’s Premier. It remains to be seen the way they will procced.
Stadium: Stadium of Light (49.000).
Team transfers: The only significant addition to the roster is defender Djilobodji from Chelsea while youngsters McNair (defender), Love (defender) and Januzaj (midfielder) came from Manchester Utd. Midfielder Giaccherini was transferred to Napoli while three loaned players, midfielder M’Vila, strikers Toivonen and N’Doye, left. It is obvious that the team needs more players, especially in attack, where choices are few.
Friendlies: They remained unbeaten. They won Hartlepool 3-0, Rotherham 2-1, Nyonnais 2-0 and Dijon 3-2. They drew against Montpellier 1-1 and Dortmund with the same score.
Rating: Another tough season starts for Sunderland. Allardyce, who was used to difficulties, now he is not in the bench. Moyes must manage a roster without great quality and collect the points that will keep the team in the category. Sunderland has learned to survive and this is good for their psychology, but it will need a great effort to make it.
What did last year: They started the season having relegated from the Premier. They were not the most impressive team in the Championship, but they were by far the most stable and the most effective. They finished first entirely fair and celebrated their immediate return to Premier League. They were based on their strong play at home and their excellent defensive function.
Coach: Sean Dyche (45). He prepares to guide Burnley for the second time to Premier League, with the hope that this time, he will keep the team in Premiership. He is the architect of this team as he is at the technical leadership since 2012. Fans recognize that he gave Burnley identity and confidence.
Stadium: Turf Moor (22.546)
Team transfers: They acquired midfielder Gudmundsson and goalkeeper Pope from Charlton, while Flanagan came on loan from Liverpool. No key player left who would be difficult to be replaced. From those that were released, midfielders Dyer (Burton) and Barton (Rangers) stand out.
Friendlies: They remained undefeated with 4 wins and 1 draw. They won Stade Nyonnais 4-1, Bradford 4-1, Bolton 2-1 and Rangers3-1 while they brought a draw against Morecambe 1-1.
Rating: Burnley came to Premier League, relegated, now they have a second chance to be consolidated in the major category. Essentially, it is the same team, with the homogeneity and the good work of Dyche to be its big trump. They will be based again in defense and in their good home play to collect the points that will ensure the avoidance of relegation.
What he did last year: Having thrown plenty of money on transfers and having an exceptional roster for the category standards, they started the season as one of the big favorites for promotion. Generally, they have vindicated the expectations, although at some points they showed bending by the pressure that existed for success. They secured the second straight ticket to Premier League, finishing behind the champion Burnley.
Coach: Aitor Karanka (43). The Basque, with great football career at Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, dealt with coaching in 2008, with the national teams of Spain. Essentially, his mentor at a high level is Jose Mourinho, as Karanka was the Portuguese’s assistant at Real Madrid (2010-2013). He left along with Mourinho from the Spanish club and started his own career, taking on Middlesbrough. He credited the success of the return of Boro in Premier League after seven years of absence.
Stadium: Riverside (35.100)
Team transfers: There are many new players in the team. De Roon (midfielder, Atalanta), Fischer (midfielder, Ajax), Barragan (right back, Valencia), Gaston Ramirez (midfielder, Southampton), Espinosa (stopper, Gijon), Valdes (goalkeeper, Manchester Utd), Guzan (goalkeeper, Aston Villa) and Negredo (striker, on loan from Valencia) were acquired. The losses were Inconsiderable. Among those who left are defenders Williams and Woodgate and striker Kike.
Friendlies: They played several games and the total review was 4 wins -3 draws -1loss. They won York 6-0, Doncaster 2-0, Al Ahly 2-0 and Aston Villa 3-1. They brought a draw 2-2 against Alkokorn, 0-0 against Udinese and 0-0 against Real Sociedad while they lost 2-1 to Betis.
Rating: Middlesbrough had, either way, the best roster of the three teams that were promoted to Premier League and reinforced it with a known value players. Karanka has many options at his disposal, in all positions. If he wants extra players, the team has the money to buy them. Obviously, the aim is to avoid jeopardizing the team. If everything goes well he can look higher.
What did last year: Having been relegated from Premier League, the target was the immediate return. They seemed able to claim the promotion via the first position, but a series of negative results forced them to look for a second chance via the playoffs. In this process, they passed Derby County and won the final against Sheffield Wednesday.
Coach: Mike Phelan (54). (Caretaker)
Stadium: KCom (25.404)
Team transfers: What transfers? The roster has been weakened by the exodus of Diame (midfielder Newcastle), Aluko (striker, Fulham), injuries have hit the team early but nevertheless, there has been no aid. Fans are furious with their owners and they prepare protests.
Friendlies: The total report is 5 wins – 2 draws – 1 loss, but the majority of them were against theoretically inferior opponents. They won North Ferriby Utd 2-0, Mansfield 1-0, Scunthorpe 2-0, Nottingham Forest 2-1 and Rizespor 3-1. They brought a draw against Grimsby 0-0 and Barnsley while they were defeated by Torino 2-1.
Rating: Situation in Hull City is difficult. The season was undermined even before the start! No matter how much combativeness the players will show they will need a miracle to avoid relegation.
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