Premier League Preview – Part I

With less than 2 weeks until kickoff, the buzz about the upcoming Premier League season is reaching a fevered pitch across the globe. Pre-season tournaments are under wraps, and fans have gotten somewhat of a glance at the way their clubs’ squads are shaping up. Though the transfer window doesn’t end for another month, most teams seem content with their personnel, and are preparing to kick off the season with what they’ve got in tow. Thus, it is time for Whitsport to take a look at those teams poised for a glorious campaign, and those who will have fans wiping tears from their eyes in May.

Let’s first take a look at the bottom portion of the table, and examine which teams might be poised to make a run into the top half this season…

Norwich GK John Ruddy is sure to see plenty of action this year

New Kids on the Block:

no not Donny Joey, and Jordan… just Swansea, QPR, and Norwich City. So which one of these heartthrobs will be best suited to stay afloat? If history has shown us anything, it looks like Queens Park Rangers. Why? you ask… The simple notion of Defense has shown to be valuable commodity when teams are promoted to the Premier League. For newly promoted clubs over the last 4 seasons, teams that conceded the most goals in the Championship the prior year struggled mightily in the more competitive PL, and saw the drop the very next season. This does not bode well for the Canaries.

Rising Sun
Several teams showed good promise last year and got out to a fast start in their PL campaign. Hull City famously rolled to 4th place three seasons ago, before falling apart and finishing a point above relegation. Bolton rose well into the top half last year, but couldnt keep things rolling and plummetted to 14th by season’s end. Others show dramatic improvement and beat the late season blues, like Fulham who went from 17th in 2008 to 7th in 2009, qualifying for Europa League play in the process.

Hodgson went from tears to cheers a season ago... Toil with L'pool and joy with WBA

So who should we expect to make a charge at the top 10 this year? My money is on West Brom. Sure they finished 11th last year, but Roy Hodgson seems to have a magic touch, and with largely the same team as last year, they should be able to continue the trend of upward mobility. Another team to look out for may be Wigan. Despite losing N’Zogbia, and tempting relegation the last few years, Roberto Martinez’s men seem determined to make it in the PL. With a slightly easier schedule in Aug/Sept, they could be a surprise team to start the season.

 

Falling Stock

Wolves: still look like favorites for the drop

“Taking the plunge” is something that only interests sky divers and SCUBA enthusiasts; Premier League clubs would like to go the entire season without having to hear that term. With more than a handful of teams treading water each season, the battle at the table’s bottom is always interesting to watch. Despite a dramatic end to the season, Wolverhampton continues to hang out near the drop zone. Players like  Kevin Doyle and Matt Jarvis are fun to watch, but Wolves’ failure to bolster their defense suggests their struggles will continue.

Blackburn is another team in danger of taking the drop, as the loss of Phil Jones, and possibly Christopher Samba, could really hurt an already troublesome back-line. With a scoring squadron that features mainly unproven players, Rovers’ fans may want a box of tissues served with their Venky’s chicken this spring.

Write your own caption

Check back later this week for an analysis of the top half of the table. Cheers!

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