Saturday, 18 August 2012

Premier League Preview - Full Version


It's almost impossible to predict Arsenal's season at this point.  They had made two good signings in Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski.  Their other signing, Oliver Giroud, I am not completely sold on.  I worry he may turn out to be another Marouane Chamakh and if he does then Arsenal could have a very difficult season ahead of them.  He does have a better goal scoring record than Chamakh and with Van Persie's transfer to Manchester United he will most likely feature a lot more than Chamakh did when he first arrived but until we see how he settles into English football the jury will remain out.  Rumours are also going around that midfielder, Alex Song could be on his way to Barcelona.  If Song leaves then Arsene Wenger could have a huge two weeks ahead of him to try to save Arsenal's season.

Key Man : Santi Cazorla - A very good signing and an absolute bargain at £15m.  The fact Arsenal were able to sign this guy for £15m makes a mockery of the inflated prices being paid for British players.  I expect to see him collect a load of assists and I expect to see him at the front of the queue when Arsenal have free-kicks around the edge of the box.

A Player I'd Sign : Yann M'Vila - Regardless of whether Song leaves or not, Arsenal need to bring in M'Vila.  They lack that bite in midfield.  Wilshere and Diaby are both injury prone and are unlikely to make enough appearances.  M'Vila is often compared to Patrick Vieira and that is exactly the sort of player Arsenal need.  At 22 years old he's a good age and as he's not English he could probably be bought at a respectable price.

Prediction - 5th


Aston Villa have parted company with last season’s manager, Alex McLeish and replaced him with a young manager with a great track record in Paul Lambert.  I read a statistic recently that McLeish is the worst manager in Villa's history with a win percentage of just 21.4%.  I imagine the Aston Villa board were surprised by this but I've no idea why.  McLeish after all is the only man in my living memory to guide Rangers to a league position outside the top 2 in the SPL.  He followed that up with a brief stint at Scotland before going to Birmingham where he managed to get the Blues relegated twice. 
Lambert on the other hand has got quite a positive CV.  At Wycombe he led them to the League Cup Semi-Finals while they were in League 2 and after a short stint at Colchester he moved to Norwich, where in 3 years he got promoted from League One, promoted from the Championship and then led Norwich to a mid table Premier League finish. 
The new man has brought in a few signings and to be honest I don’t know much about most of them.  I do like Ron Vlaar, previously of Feyenoord.  He will be a direct replacement at centre-back for James Collins.  Another ex-Feyenoord signing is Karim El Ahmadi who will line up in midfield in place of Stiliyan Petrov who had acute leukaemia and is now in remission.  Their other signings I know very little of, other than Brett Holman is a winger and Matthew Lowton a full-back.  However, with Lambert’s record I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned out to be decent signings.

Key Man : Darren Bent – Aston Villa don’t look like a team with a lot of goals in them so they have to keep Bent fit.  If Bent gets injured again, Villa could really struggle.  If he stays fit, he is more than capable of 15-20 Premier League goals.

A Player I’d Sign : Dimitar Berbatov – As I’ve said Villa will struggle to score goals and with Van Persie signing for Manchester United, Berbatov is going to find it even harder to get a place in the starting line up.  He’s behind Rooney, Van Persie, Welbeck and Hernandez at United, so a move to Aston Villa could be a good move to get his career back on track.

Prediction – 9th  


The European Champions have had a busy summer, with new permanent manager, Roberto Di Matteo making his mark in the transfer market.  Chelsea have bought well.  Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin are all good players.  Chelsea now have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to creative options in their midfield with the three new boys joining Frank Lampard and Juan Mata as advanced midfielders.  It should make Chelsea enjoyable to watch in the coming season.
My biggest worry for Chelsea is a player they lost.  Their best player in the last few seasons has been Ivory Coast star, Didier Drogba.  He has now left to join Shanghai Shenhua in China.  That leaves Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge as Chelsea’s only strikers.  In recent years I have said Torres will come good but I’m still waiting for it to happen.  I’ve no idea what has gone wrong but he is definitely a different player to the one who arrived at Liverpool from Atletico Madrid in 2007.  Torres should see more game time now Drogba has left but it would take a serious improvement from his current record of 7 goals in 46 games to make him look worth the £50m Chelsea spent on him.

Key Man : Oscar – I think signing this guy will turn out to be a masterstroke from Chelsea.  I have been very impressed by him in the games I have seen.  He was Brazil’s best player in the Olympics and he could well be the best player of this generation.

A Player I’d Sign – Edinson Cavani – Chelsea need a replacement for Didier Drogba and Cavani is that man.  He wouldn’t come cheap but Chelsea have never been shy to spend big if they believe they have the right man.

Prediction – 3rd


How long before David Moyes decides enough is enough and it’s time for him to move on to a new club with a bit more ambition that Everton?  Yet another transfer window has passed were Moyes has lost more than he has been allowed to bring in.  The two players he brought in are good signings.  Steven Pienaar comes back after being on loan at the club last season.  He never really got a chance at Tottenham but in both his first spell at Everton and his loan spell he was a key player.
Steven Naismith has also signed on a free transfer from Rangers.  I watch a lot of SPL games so I am very familiar with Naismith.  He was a good prospect at Kilmarnock and moved to Rangers in 2007.  He had a bit of a slow start at Rangers but he was becoming an important player.  Unfortunately for him he picked up a cruciate knee injury in October last year which finished his season.  If he makes a full recovery then Everton have a good player on their hands.
Unfortunately for Everton and Moyes, they have lost three key players.  Jack Rodwell, Tim Cahill and Joseph Yobo have all left the club.  All three were important players and it will be interesting to see how much activity there is at Goodison Park between now and the close of the transfer window.

Key Player : Nikica Jelavic – The Croatian needs to keep up his good goal scoring record if Everton are to have a good season.  He will be boosted by the arrival of Steven Naismith as they were beginning to develop a good partnership at Rangers before Naismith’s injury.  He had 9 goals in 13 games last season.  If he can keep himself fit I expect him to hit at least 20 goals.

A Player I’d Sign : Adam Johnson – Everton seem to be in the market for a wide man and there are a few rumours going around that City would be willing to let him go.  Johnson is a good player who will want to get back in the England team and a move to Everton may just help him get there.

Prediction – 8th


Fulham’s hopes for the new season will depend a lot on what happens with Clint Dempsey.  The American has been linked with a move to Liverpool and if the deal goes through Fulham will be losing their best player and have little time to replace him.  Dempsey has put in a transfer request and Jol has said he will sell him if the money’s right.  If Dempsey goes I think Fulham will find themselves right in the middle of a relegation battle.
They have brought in Mladen Petric, Hugo Rodallega, George Williams and Sascha Riether.  Petric and Rodallega should provide some much needed goals.  Williams is a young prospect, signed from MK Dons.  Riether is a full-back who has been capped by Germany.
Fulham have lost Etuhu, Johnson and Pogrebynak.  These three are all good players.  Pogrebynak, in particular had a great spell at the club last season.

Key Man : Mladen Petric – If Dempsey leaves, Fulham are going to need to find goals from another source and Petric could well be that man.  He had a decent record at Hamburg and he will be looking to make as good an impact in England as his Croatian team mate, Nikica Jelavic.

A Player I’d Sign : Joe Cole – With Dempsey leaving and Liverpool a likely destination why not try to get Cole as part of the deal.  There have already been rumours that Charlie Adam could be used as bait but Cole is a better player and with all these midfielders at Liverpool, surely a deal could be worked out.  I’d play Cole in an attacking central midfield role instead of on the wing and I have a feeling it could be the life line that may just save Fulhams season.

Prediction : 18th


Liverpool are the team I am most excited about seeing this year and I genuinely hope they do well.  I am not a Liverpool fan but I would love to see them get back to their glory days under Carnlough man, Brendan Rodgers.  I have lived in Carnlough for the last 4 years & it is amazing to think that a man from this small village is now in charge of one of the biggest football clubs in the world. 
Since taking the reigns he has made a few good signings.  Fabio Borini and Joe Allen are both players he knows very well from his Swansea days.  Borini had a great year in Italy scoring 9 goals in 24 games for Roma.  In Serie A that is a respectable record.   Especially when you consider it was his first year in the league.  In his one season in Italy he done enough to convince Italy manager, Cesare Prandelli, that he was worthy of a spot in Italy’s Euro 2012 squad which is no easy task.
Joe Allen is a player I like.  He had a great year at Swansea and every time I watched them live or the highlights he always seemed to be at the centre of everything they done.  At 22 the time was right for Allen to make the move to a bigger club.
Liverpool’s hopes this season will depend on who they sell in the coming weeks.  It appears players have to be sold to balance the books but they really don’t want to have to sell Daniel Agger.  He is a top class centre back but if Liverpool can not find takers for Andy Carroll and Charlie Adam then Agger may be the one who has to move on.
If Agger stays and the team buy into Rodgers style of football then I predict a much improved season for Liverpool.

Key Man : Luis Suarez – Suarez is an excellent footballer and is capable of unlocking any defence in the world.  His one weakness, certainly in his time at Liverpool, is his finishing.  If Suarez can start finding the back of the net instead of shooting straight at the goalkeeper or hitting the woodwork then he could even figure in the race to be top scorer in the league.

A Player I’d Sign : Nuri Sahin – It looks as though this deal could go through in the next few days and I think he would be a great signing for Liverpool.

Prediction – 4th


One thing’s for sure, City will not win the league in as exciting a manner as they did last year.  Two injury time goals to win your first league title in 44 years is the stuff Hollywood script writers couldn’t even dream up.
It has been an unusually quiet summer at the Etihad with Jack Rodwell being the only signing to date.  Rodwell is a decent player but I think he will struggle to see much game time at City.  He is another option in their midfield however and will strengthen the overall quality of the squad.
I do expect Mancini to break in at least one more player before the end of the transfer window. 
City have kept everyone from last year and I think it will take something special to stop them defending their title.  Last year they were the best team in the league but Manchester United ran them close.  I think the reason it was so close was United had a lot more experience in title races and City seemed to be effected by the pressure.  Last years title win will have given them confidence and when you have the best team/squad and a lot of confidence it will be very difficult to beat.

Key Man : Yaya Toure – This man was unbelievable in the run in last season.  He grabbed goals, created goals and pushed City all the way to the League Championship.  City’s main concern this year will be dealing with his absence during the African Cup of Nations.

A Player I’d Sign : Daniel Agger – My one concern is injuries in the centre of their defence.  If Vincent Kompany were to get injured that would leave Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Stefan Savic.  No combination of those three inspires confidence.  If Agger came in Man City would be in a very strong position for a push at the Champions League as well as the league.

Prediction – 1st


Robin Van Persie is the name on everyones lips at the moment after the Dutchman moved from Arsenal to Manchester United.  Van Persie had a great season last year.  It was by far his best in the Premier League.  He was the top scorer in the league last year with 30 goals.  There can be no doubt he is a fantastic footballer but my concerns would lie in his injury record.  Last year RVP managed to stay clear of injury but in 8 years at Arsenal that was the first time he managed that feat.  I think United have overpaid for him. £22-24m for a 29 year old, injury prone striker is a huge gamble.  Most strikers will peak round 28.  Obviously there are exceptions and because Van Persie has missed so many games in the past he might be able to extend his peak for a few years.  Sir Alex Ferguson and United's army of fans will be hoping that is the case but I suspect that a striker who's body struggled to cope with the demands of top flight football in his 20s is hardly likely to improve as he enters his 30s.
Whilst all the talk about Manchester United at the moment is focusing on RVP, my opinion is that he isn't even the best piece of business they have done this summer.  I'd reserve that honour for Shinji Kagawa.  I am very excited about seeing him in the Premier League.  He is a very tricky customer and whilst I don't think he is the man to overhaul Manchester City, I do think he is the man who can keep Manchester United ahead of the rest of the chasing pack.

Key Man : Nemanja Vidic - The Serbian will be like a new signing for United this season.  He is one of the best centre backs in the world & he is one of those players who not only is top class in his own right but he seems to inspire the players around him.

A Player I'd Sign : Daniele De Rossi - It seems United's rivals, Manchester City are trying to sign the Italian midfielder but if Fergie could find a way to bring him to Old Trafford I think that would be the signing to bring the Premier League trophy back to the red half of Manchester.

Prediction - 2nd


Newcastle had their best season last year in 8 years.  Back then Alan Shearer was banging in 25-30 goals a season and Newcastle were a regular in European competitions.  Since then there has been a lot of poor seasons for the Geordies, including a season in the Championship.  Newcastle have bounced back fantastically since then and have began to build a very good squad.  Players like Yohann Cabaye, Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba are class acts and could grace most teams in the world.  I haven't had a lot of time for Alan Pardew in the past but credit were it's due, he has done a great job at Newcastle.
This summer Newcastle have made a few more interesting signings.  Vurnon Anita and Roman Amalfitano have came in from Ajax and Stade de Reims.  Teenagers Gael Bigirimana and Curtis Good have also came in.  I don't know much about them other than Vurnon Anita who is a Dutch international Full-Back/Midfielder.  Judging by his quotes he is now very much a Centre Midfielder. 
Newcastle have managed to hold onto all their key players with just a few squad players moving on.  At the start of the summer the key players were being linked with clubs all over Europe but on the eve of the new season they are all still at St James' Park and I expect Newcastle to have another good season.

Key Man : Papiss Cisse - Cisse signed for Newcastle in January and was an instant success, scoring 13 goals in 14 games.  If he can start the new season in the same vein of form he could be in the running for top scorer.

A Player I'd Sign : Mathieu Debuchy - Newcastle have been linked with the Frenchman and I think he would be a great signing for them.  I was impressed by him in the Euros, especially his performance against England.  Hopefully the deal will go through as he is a player I would like to see in the Premier League.

Prediction - 7th


A huge season lies ahead for Norwich.  They go into it without the manager who secured back to back promotions and led them to a safe mid table finish in the Premier League last year.  Paul Lambert has moved onto Aston Villa and replacing him in the dugout is former Newcastle and Birmingham manager, Chris Hughton.  Hughton has done quite well in his brief managerial career.  He won the Championship with Newcastle in 2009/10 and had some good results in his half a season in the Premier League including a 5-1 derby win over Sunderland and a 1-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates.  At the time he was being regarded as one of the best young managers in the English leagues, after a few bad weeks, he was sacked.  He also led Birmingham to a playoff spot in his season there, eventually losing 3-2 on aggregate to Blackpool.  Norwich will be a big job but I think Hughton has enough to make it a success.
Robert Snodgrass, Michael Turner, Jacob Butterfield and Steven Whittaker have been brought in to bolster the squad.  Michael Turner has been a decent Premier League defender in his years at Hull and Sunderland and should be a good signing.  Steven Whittaker was another player to leave Rangers.  The jury is out on him to be honest.  He was quite inconsistent in his years at Rangers so I am interested to see how he does in England.  Robert Snodgrass is a player I am very sad to see at Norwich.  He has been fantastic for Leeds but I can't really blame him for moving on.  Leeds have been getting worse and haven't really threatened to get into the Premier League in the last 2 years and Snodgrass is definitely good enough to be there.  He's 24 now and deserves a chance to compete at this level.

Key Man : Grant Holt - Holt's been a superb player for Norwich in his 3 years at the club.  He has 70 goals in 129 appearances and if he can get between 15-20 goals again this year it should be enough to keep Norwich in the top flight. 

A Player I'd Sign : Michael Owen - I think Norwich could do with strengthening up front and Michael Owen is available on a free.  I'm not sure if wages would be a problem but I think Owen would be a good signing.

Prediction - 15th


Mark Hughes has had a good summer so far bringing in Park Ji-Sung, Junior Hoilett, Robert Green, Jose Bosingwa, Andy Johnson, Ryan Nelsen, Fabio Da Silva and Samba Diakite  They all have Premier League experience and I don't think QPR will be caught up in a relegation battle like last season. 
It looks as though Joey Barton is set to move on this summer with reports suggesting he will spend the year in France with Marseille.  Barton is a decent player when he puts his mind to it, which isn't as often as it needs to be for such a well paid player.

Key Man : Jamie Mackie - When on form Mackie is a very good player.  He missed the start of last year through injury but I'd expect him to be a regular this season and most likely reach double figures in goals. 

A Player I'd Sign : Ki Sung-Yueng - As a Celtic fan I know plenty about him.  He is a decent player and very good technically.  I think a continental side would suit him better but QPR appear to be leading the chase for his signature.

Prediction - 10th


Last year's Championship winners have invested wisely in the summer.  Chris Gunter, Adrian Mariappa, Garath McCleary, Danny Guthrie, Nicky Shorey and Pavel Pogrebnyak have all came in and I'd say they are six good signings. 
In recent seasons the promoted teams have done quite well and I'd expect Reading to be another team to get at least a second year in the Premier League.

Key Man : Pavel Pogrebnyak - Pogrebnyak is a fantastic signing for the Royals.  He came to England on loan at Fulham last year and got off to a flyer.  He ended up scoring 6 in his 12 games and if he can average close to 1 in 2 next year it would go a long way to keeping Reading in the Premier League.

A Player I'd Sign : Christophe Berra - Rumours are circulating that Reading are in the market for a new centre-back and after Wolves got relegated, Reading may be able to tempt Berra to the Madejski.  Berra is a solid centre back with international experience and would do a good job at this level.

Prediction : 13th


The Saints are another of the promoted clubs and like Reading they have bought well.  Another of the ex-Rangers contingent, Steve Davis has came in.  Davis is a very good player.  He was always a thorn in the side of Celtic and is a player I have a lot of respect for.  Another good signing is Jay Rodriguez from Burnley.  Rodriguez has improved a lot in the last two years.  He scored 21 goals last season and is now making the step up to the next level.  It appears Southampton are on the verge of bringing in Uruguay international winger, Gaston Ramirez.  Ramirez had two good seasons at Bologna and now moves to the Premier League hoping to make a similar impact. 

Key Man : Rickie Lambert - The 30 year old finally gets his chance to prove himself at the highest level in English football after years of goal scoring in each of English footballs divisions.  Lambert has scored 88 goals in his 3 years at Southampton and if he can keep up that level of form then he could be a man to watch.

A Player I'd Sign : Matt Phillips - Saints have been linked with the highly rated Blackpool winger.  He has already been capped by Scotland and at 21 he is a good age to make the step up. 

Prediction : 17th


Stoke have had a quiet enough summer bringing in just two players.  Jamie Ness from Rangers and Michael Kightly from Wolves are the men Tony Pulis has brought to the Brittania.  Jamie Ness I was never really a fan of.  He did famously score a great goal in a Scottish Cup tie against Celtic but other than that his Rangers career was some what forgetable.  He did suffer from some injuries but the jury is still very much out on him. 
The other signing, Michael Kightly is definitely a good talent.  Kightly is 26 now and has always been highly rated.  If he is ever going to prove himself as a Premier League performer he needs to make the most of this opportunity.

Key Man : Jonathan Walters - The Irish internationals career has taken off in a big way in the last two seasons.  He is 28 now and had been a bit of a journey man until he moved to Stoke two years ago.  He has became a first team regular and has scored in double figures in his two seasons.  15 goals is not out of reach for him.

A Player I'd SIgn : Jermaine Defoe - Stoke appear to be in the market for a new striker and Defoe may be available.  Owen is another option but if given the option of bringing in Owen or Defoe, my choice would be the Tottenham man.

Prediction : 12th


Yet another transfer window were we are going into the last few weeks and Martin O'Neill is leaving all his business until the last minute.  He always done this at Celtic and was often guilty of it at Aston Villa.  I've no idea why he does it as surely it would benefit his teams more to get time to gel in pre season but for whatever reason O'Neill disagrees with this philosophy.
So far his only signing has been Carlos Cuellar from Aston Villa.  Cuellar is a decent defender and should fit in well at Sunderland but it is difficult to judge how Sunderland will do until O'Neill finishes his transfer business. 
Sunderland have been trying to bring in Wolves striker, Steven Fletcher.  Fletcher is a decent player but not at the price Wolves are looking.  He has put in a transfer request so it will most likely be a case of Fletcher will end up at Sunderland but the price will be determined by whoever blinks first.

Key Man : James McClean - The Irish winger has been flying since his move from Derry City last year.  He scored 6 in 29 games last year and with a full preseason behind him I'd be surprised if he doesn't hit double figures this year.

A Player I'd Sign : Javier Hernandez - Following Van Persie's signing from Arsenal, Hernandez has been linked to a whole host of clubs.  He's a better striker than Fletcher and with the daft figures being quoted for the Wolves man Hernandez could end up being affordable.

Prediction - 11th


Swansea had a great season last year, finishing in mid table but they have suffered a few key losses in this transfer window.  Manager Brendan Rodgers and key midfielder, Joe Allen have both moved to Anfield and Gylfi Sigurdsson has moved to Tottenham after a successful loan spell at Swansea last season.  New manager, Michael Laudrup has made a few decent signings.  Michu from Rayo Vallecano had a great year in La Liga last year, scoring 17 goals from an attacking midfield role.  Jose Manuel Flores and Jonathan de Guzman have also come in and should fit into Swansea's footballing style.
Whilst those three should be good signings I can't help but feel the players they have lost and still might lose will have the biggest impact on their season.  Scott Sinclair and Ashley Williams are being linked with moves away and if they go then I think Swansea will have a difficult season.

Key Man - Michu - He had a fantastic season last year in La Liga and Swansea will need him to be as prolific in front of goal if they are to build on last seasons mid table finish.

A Player I'd Sign : Nicklas Bendtnar - I saw the Arsenal man linked with Swansea last week and the more I think about the more I think he could do well.  He's not Arsenal class and never will be but he's good enough to play in a mid table team.  He has a decent record at international level and if he started regularly he could do well. 

Prediction - 20th


Former Chelsea manager, Andre Villas-Boas has replaced Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane and he will have to do better than he did at Stamford Bridge if he is to build on Tottenhams successes in the last few seasons. 
Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson have come in but Spurs have lost a few too.  Ledley King has retired, Kranjcar, Corluka, Pienaar and Saha have all left.  Emmanuel Adebayor may well find his way back to White Hart Lane after his successful loan spell last year but at present he is still a Manchester City player. 
I expect Tottenham will sign a few players between now and the end of the month so it is difficult to judge how well they will do this year.  I do think they need to sign a few players if they want to keep up with the top teams in the league.

Key Man : Gareth Bale - On his day the young Welsh winger is unplayable.  He has pace, skill and is becoming a good finisher.  I would like to see him operate on the left side of a front three and expect that may well be his position in Villas-Boas' lineup. 

A Player I'd Sign : Hulk - He has played for AVB before so he will know the system and style AVB likes.  He wants to leave Porto and Spurs need a striker so it could be a good move all round.

Prediction - 6th


Another club with a new manager thisseason.  Steve Clarke has come in to replace England manager, Roy Hodgson. 
West Brom have spent most of the last decade floating between the Premier League and the Championship.  In the last 11 seasons they have been promoted four times and relegated three times.  I think it could take a big effort from them to avoid another relegation this season.
Clarke has brought in Ben Foster, Markus Rosenborg, Claudio Yacob, Yassine El Ghanassy and Romelu Lukaku.  Much will depend on how they settle into the Premier League.  The Belgian league hasn't always been at the highest level in recent years and three of those signings have been playing there recently.  Ben Foster is a good goalkeeper and I think he will need to be at his best as West Brom haven't always been particularly strong in defence, conceding over 120 goals in the last two seasons.

Key Man : Chris Brunt - Northern Ireland international Brunt has been one of West Brom's best performers in recent seasons.  He will need to be at his best if West Brom are to keep their place in the league this year. 

A Player I'd Sign : Danny Rose - A player who has been linked with West Brom in recent weeks.  Rose is a good player and can play anywhere down the left side so he would be a good addition to the squad.

Prediction - 19th


West Ham made it back to the Premier League by beating Blackpool in the Playoffs.  West Ham are a good club and it's good to see them back in the Premier League.  Big Sam has spent well in the summer and has brought in a few decent players with Premier League experience.  James Collins, George McCartney, Mohamed Diame and Jussi Jaaskelainen are all decent signings.  Midibo Maiga and Alou Diarra have both done well in France in recent years.  If the team gel quickly I can't see why they won't be in the Premier League again next season.

Key Man : Kevin Nolan - West Ham will be hoping their captain can keep up his good goal scoring form.  Nolan is averaging a goal every five games throughout his career which is a very good record for a midfielder.

A Player I'd Sign : Andy Carroll - It looks as though this deal won't go through now but I do think the Liverpool man would do well at West Ham.  He is a perfect fit to play up front in a Sam Allardyce team.  He is similar in style to Kevin Davies and he was a player who flourished under big Sam at Bolton. 

Prediction : 16th


Wigan managed to hold on to Roberto Martinez as manager despite interest from Liverpool and Aston VIlla.  Martinez has led Wigan to successive 16th placed finishes and I think this could be the year for Wigan to make a step forward.  They have a few good young players and play good football.  If they can hold onto all of the young lads, in particular Victor Moses and get off to a better start then I think they could get closer to mid table.
They have brought in Ivan Ramis and Arouna Kone who I expect to have good seasons.  They have lost Mohamed Diame and Hugo Rodallega but there are players at the club who can step into those roles.

Key Man : Victor Moses - If Wigan can keep hold of Moses he will play a key role in their fight for survival this year.  If he leaves Wigan could find themselves in big trouble.

A Player I'd Sign : Jordan Rhodes - The Huddersfield man would be a great signing for a lot of clubs but if Moses leaves he'd be a great signing to bolster their attacking options. 

Prediction : 14th

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