Monday, 3 August 2015

2015-16 Season Predictions

Premier League Season Predictions
New season in English Premier League is approaching fast and it is fair to say that we are going to enjoy in a very close title race between Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester clubs. Chelsea will want to defend the title but our prediction is they’ll fail in doing it. But first, let’s take a deeper look at the EPL clubs and make some predictions of their final positions this season. 

Chelsea - Jose Mourinho has hardly touched his title-winning squad. They were far too good for their rivals last year but can they replicate that on the new campaign? We saw them losing Community Shield to Arsenal last weekend and that could be a glimmer of hope for their rivals that The Blues are lacking motivation for defending the crown. Falcao came to a season long loan from Monaco, but everyone remembers his unsuccessful spell at Old Trafford last season. Cech was sold to fierce rivals Arsenal, Filipe Luis went back to Atletico Madrid so Mourinho will not have the same squad depth as last year and that could be ma major blow. It is very hard task to defend Premier League title, especially when you have to win in all other competitions you play. No doubt Chelsea are one of best teams in England, but we just don't see them defending the title this season. Our prediction is Champions League place for Mourinho side. 

Manchester City - Raheem Sterling's pace and Fabian Delph's energy might provide missing ingredients for the blue side of Manchester. Citizens are heavily-linked with Wolfsburg’s Kevin De Bruyne and even Juventus’ Paul Pogba and if they manage to sign them they could be unstoppable. Media sources are suggesting that Guardiola is taking over the team at the end of season, so this could be a chance for Pellegrini to take his last trophy with Citizens. There is a pattern for Man City in recent seasons. Every other year, City invest heavily in new talent, score vast amounts of goals and win the title, overhauling their rivals with a late winning run. We predict 2016 to be like 2014 and 2012 therefore Manchester City is our main pick for this season winner of the Premier League. 

Arsenal - Not finished the season in the top two for decade now but after they successfully paid off loans for the new stadium they reportedly have £200 million in bank. The Gunners are on the up, there’s no questioning that. Defensively there appears to be a few frailties and although they are stacked with world class midfielders and attackers, keeping everybody happy will be a big concern for Wenger. If either Danny Welbeck or Olivier Giroud go down injured there could be major problems. Expect Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey to step up big this season to drive the Gunners on from midfield, while Francis Coquelin will have a big part to play especially in away games. If Wenger spends some part of mentioned budget on a top central defender and another striker Gunners will be battling City for the title, if not top four again for Arsenal. 

Manchester United - Last season, the goal for Manchester United was a top-four finish and berth in the Champions League. Both of those were accomplished as the Red Devils head into the 2015-16 season with their sights set on bringing silverware back to red side of Manchester. Van Gaal has spent massively to bring in top talent (Romero, Darmian, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Depay) for his side, and improvements have been made heading into his second year in charge. The Red Devils will be looking at a finish towards the top of the table. After finishing fourth last season, the fans at Old Trafford want silverware and will hope to challenge the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City for the Premier League title. There is some debate as to whether or not United is a legitimate contender this season. Our prediction is title challenge with fierce rivals Manchester City if they bring world class central defender (Otamendi, Ramos), and if not than battle for 2nd-4th place. 

Liverpool - If Liverpool did not end last season in crisis, they were not far off. Brendan Rodgers needs a trophy. James Milner might prove a great signing, but they need their other key new arrivals, Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino, to click. And they need Daniel Sturridge to rebound from his injury-hit 2014-15 campaign. The crucial could be the start. Liverpool begin by visiting Stoke, where they lost 6-1 in May. By the end of October, they will face five of last season’s top seven, plus a Merseyside derby. There is the potential for things to go very wrong. We predict Liverpool to be in around Europa League places. Winning a cup competition could be vital to calling this season a success. Predicted position: 5th-6th. Tottenham - Everyone at White Hart Lane will be thinking top-four, it looks like Tottenham will fall short once again. The side struggled to balance the Premier League with the Europa League last season, and this year there will be even more pressure to succeed in both. If Harry Kane goes down, there’s a big question as to where the goals will come from for Spurs. Without greater firepower, it is harder to see them breaking into the top four, so our prediction is 5th-6th.  

Southampton -Their season pretty much depends on how far they will go in the Europa League. If they make it to the group stages, their squad could be stretched to its limits and we’ve all seen how other PL teams have struggled to deal with that in the past. But, Koeman has replaced Clyne and Schnedierlin expertly with Soares and Clasie. Expect another top 10 finish from Saints, with top six not out of the questions. Our prediction is 7th-9th. Swansea - Andre Ayew, the Ghana star, is a great addition to Welsh squad and could provide an important influence. The Swans have the quality even for Europa League spot, especially if they manage to produce games similar to ones in which they won against Arsenal and Manchester United. Our prediction 7th-9th. Everton - The Toffes along with Newcastle were biggest underachievers last season. Martinez must change that as he definitely has a squad which is capable of top 6 finish. A Top Ten finish won’t be enough for Everton’s supporters and it’s going to be a challenge for the Toffees to achieve a much higher finish with so many teams spending so much money. Will they hold onto Stones and Coleman? If so with new signing Cleverly, expect Everton to be in the Europa League discussion and to make a healthy bid for both Cups. Our prediction 7th-9th.

Crystal Palace - Alan Pardew took Palace from the relegation zone to the top 10 with remarkable away form and scintillating counter-attacking. This year he signed experienced Yohann Cabaye and goalkeeper McCharty and with players like Puncheon and Bolasie the Eagles could be the biggest surprise of this Premiership campaign. Our prediction is top half finish, 10th-13th. Stoke - Two signings from Barcelona show that manager Mark Hughes remains intent on transforming this once long-ball, rather one-dimensional side into something slicker and more entertaining. But losing midfield Steven Nzonzi to Sevilla is a blow. Our prediction 10th-13th. West Ham - Croatian manager Slaven Bilić will have a hard task at Upton Park this year. After West Ham recorded just two wins from their last 16 games under Allardyce and as it became ever clearer he was leaving, Bilic’s first task is to prevent poor form from straddling the summer and ensure he does not struggle from the start of his reign. West Ham squad is boosted by arrivals of Payet, Ogbonna and Obiang, but nevertheless it is questionable whether the Hammers have enough depth to play Europa League without serious damage on their Premier League campaign. It is going to be another solid year for Hammers so we predict they'll finish 10th-13th. Newcastle - Things can’t go much worse than they did last season, and the signings of Wijnaldum and Mitrovic will add some much needed offense to newly appointed Steve McClaren’s side. Newcastle shouldn’t be fighting off relegation on Championship Sunday this year, and should end campaign in top half of the table if they manage to avoid injury problems from last season. Our prediction: 10th-13th.  

Leicester - After the great escape, the embarrassing mess struck The Foxes during the pre-season. Pearson was sacked after video of his son in an orgy was leaked to a media. Ranieri took over and the only thing he has to do is to maintain unity and belief Leicester players had during their 140-day stay at the foot of the Premier League, enabling them to mount their rescue bid. If he manages Foxes will avoid relegation fight for sure. Fuchs Okazaki and Huth strengthened the Foxes, and Cambiasso left. They have the spirit and knowledge to avoid direct relegation fight this season, and we expect battle for the 14th-16th place. West Bromwich Albion - The defence tends to be a strong point of any Pulis team and, even with injured goalkeeper Ben Foster missing the start of the campaign, it should be again. The Welshman has an efficient, organized midfield, too, and he seems certain to keep the highly-rated top scorer Saido Berahino. At least West Bromwich Albion may not need to score many goals, given a formula which has ensured Pulis has never been relegated in his long managerial career. We predict Welshman record will continue this season, and WBA will finish 14th-16th. Norwich - Had arguably the strongest squad in the Championship last season but will definitely be underdogs in the higher division. However a strong midfield strengthened with Robbie Brady and Youssouf Mulumbu, one of the best English goalkeepers John Ruddy, and solid attackers Jerome and Hooper will get The Canaries through this campaign. Predicted position: 14th-16th. 

Aston Villa – Tim Sherwod steered Villans out of trouble last season, leading them to the final of the FA Cup against Arsenal, but this year is going to be much harder. They lost two main players Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph. That makes them relegation contenders again. Predicted position: 17th-20th. Bournemouth – This will be a debut season in the Premier League for the Cherries which could surprise some if they manage to replicate some of their best performances from the last season. Defence is definitely a worry at this level and our prediction is Bournemouth will be in relegation fight. Predicted position: 17th-20th. Sunderland - This will be another difficult season for the Black Cats, who will struggle with the drop zone, but our prediction is that this year they won't pull an escape. The Black Cats have finished in the top half of the table just once since returning to the Premier League in 2007-08 and their luck of escaping relegation in final rounds is coming to an end. Predicted position: 17th-20th. Watford – Slavisa Jokanovic left Watford after securing them promotion so Hornets appointed Quique Flores. Ten new signings have already been unveiled, and it is questionable how quickly will they all settle for a club which has always found the Premier League too tough? The Hornets will likely be hovering around the relegation zone and eventually end their campaign facing an agony of relegation.

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