Monday, September 3, 2012

The Premiership is up and running

Three games in to the new season and the runners and riders are starting to take shape. None of the teams expected to be challenging for the title have played each other yet however meaning we're still without a clear picture of how the title battle will shape up. We can however make an assessment of the Premiership teams so far.

Chelsea
With the new array of attacking talent, Chelsea will be far too good for most teams. The problem however is with such vast quantities spent, Di Matteo's team will have to 'come out and play' in the big games and it remains to be seen how they will fare.

Chelsea were torn apart by Atletico Madird on Friday night and their record against the top teams in the league last year was poor. The jury is still out and they need to improve defensively quickly.

Swansea
Michael Laudrup has enjoyed a fantastic start but there were signs against Sunderland of a soft centre. Swansea have been a suprisingly pleasant addition to the Premiership and they should be more than good enough to stay up.

West Brom
Good number twos aren't always successful managers but Steve Clarke has enjoyed a magnificent start to his managerial career. An excellent win against in form Everton is a good indicator that this perennial yo-yo club can again stay up.

Man City
The blue machine is rumbling to life after their stutter against Liverpool. They will be there or there abouts for the title without question with quality throughout their ranks. Europe could provide a distraction however.

Man Yoo
For long periods against Southampton they were terrible with an aged and creaking midfield and central defence. Despite that they still won. Ferguson gives them an incredible edge and Van Persie looks to have slotted in without blinking.

ManYoo will be pushing City hard for the title but they should struggle in the latter stages of the Champions League where their lack of mobility in central areas will be a problem.

Everton
Quick out of the blocks for once before slipping up at the Hawthorns. Everton have good players but the squad is thread bare. Should push for a European spot for sure.

West Ham
Love him or hate him Sam Allardyce gets results. West Ham should easily be good enough to consolidate their Premiership status and Andy Carroll may prove an excellent loan signing if he stays out of the capital's nightclubs.

Arsenal
As usual they have sold their best players and seemingly replaced them with inferior ones, Carzola looks a quality purchase however. They will continue to flatter to deceive and win nothing, should make the Champions League spots.

Wigan
It will be another long hard season for Wigan and there is no reason to expect anything else. Will be a nailbiter to the end to stay up.

Newcastle
A tough season for the Geordies as expectations are higher now and it is hard to see them repeating last years' heroics. A top half finish should be guaranteed however as they have serveral fine players.

Fulham
Have lost two good players but have gained Dimitar Berbatov who remains utter class. Should be good enough for a mid table finish.

Stoke
There is a feeling that Pulis has 'taken them as far as he can' but like clubs such as Charlton before, Stoke should be careful of trying to change what has been a successful formula.

Stoke will remain hard to beat and will pick up enough points but hard to see the side progressing from previous seasons.

Sunderland
What Martin O'Neil lacks in tactical accumen, he more than makes up for in motivational powers. Sunderland have added quality in Adam Johnson and he should provide good service for Stephen Fletcher. They will be aiming for a top half finish.

Spurs
This season was always going to be tough and so it is proving. The losses of Modric and Van Der Vaart have been offset by the arrivals of Dembele and Dempsey. Dreams of the Champions League will remain just that however in what is a crunch season for AVB.

Norwich
Could be a tough season for the Canaries after last year's heroics and a season long battle with relegation looms for them.

Reading
Early days for the newly promoted side but again they would appear to have little to look forward to other than the bottom end of the table. They will have to fight hard to avoid the drop.

Aston Villa
Paul Lambert performed heroics at Norwich and remains a gifted young manager. There is a suspicion however that he may have underestimated the size of the job at Villa Park.

Villa's squad looks woefully inadequate in all departments and whilst they should be able to stay in mid table, there is a reason that many pundits are tipping them for the drop.

Liverpool
In the relegation zone after 3 matches was not what Brendan Rodgers was hoping for. Two dire perfomances against West Brom and Arsenal sandwich a fighting performance against the champions. Rodgers is attempting to change the club's philosophy from the bottom up and the Liverpool fans need to think about where they want to be in five years time, not in the next five minutes.

They should start to improve markedly after Christmas once the new ideas bed in. European football next year is not out of the question. Regardless of their change in approach, allowing Andy Carroll to go out on loan with no replacement looks incredibly short sighted however as he provides a fantastic 'Plan B'.

QPR
The Loftus Road side took an elephant gun to the transfer market but have so far come up hopelessly short. The squad looks sizeable and it is certainly not a cheap one. Something however seems to be wrong with the team and Mark Hughes need to get to grips with things quickly or it could be another tough season.

Southampton
Whilst it is good to see the South coast team back in the big time, there is a suspicion that the stay could be a short one unless they start to mature quickly. They do have some decent players and a genuine goal threat in Ricky Lambert but the Premiership is a tough place to learn as they found out yesterday againt ManYoo. Will be tough to stay up.