EPL Season Preview - Opinion Roundtable
Everyone likes to point and laugh at writers who make preseason predictions that go horribly awry. It’s only fair that the yahoos interested in all this data and modelling stuff go on the record with their own horrible predictions too, right?
If the transfer window ended today, name the Top 6 teams in order:
Ted Knutson: Chelsea, Manchester City, Spurs, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal
Ben Pugsley: Man City, Chelsea, United, Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool
Colin Trainor: Man City, Chelsea, Man U, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal
Paul Riley: Chelsea, United, City, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool
Dan Kennett: Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool
Danny Pugsley: City, United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool
Who will get relegated?
Knutson: Crystal Palace, Hull, Stoke
Ben Pugsley: 20th Palace, 19th Hull 18th ahh fuck knows……Sunderland.
Colin Trainor: Crystal Palace, Hull, Sunderland
Paul Riley: Hull, Palace, Sunderland
Dan Kennett: Crystal Palace, Hull, Could be one of 6 sides for the 3rd slot but I’ll go with Stoke because of the Mark Hughes factor
Danny Pugsley: Cardiff, Hull, Crystal Palace. Sorry promoted sides, you’re all heading back
Which club will come out and surprise people this year?
Knutson: A toss-up between Aston Villa and Southampton. I see both as having enough quality to steer clear of the relegation fights.
Ben Pugsley: Southampton – good manager, good system, improving personnel.
Colin Trainor: Southampton
Paul Riley: No one! Erm, if I had to choose then Stoke to do ok under Hughes, what the hell.
Dan Kennett: Southampton
Danny Pugsley: West Ham. Top 8 finish
Which club will unexpectedly find themselves in a relegation battle?
Knutson: West Brom. I like Vydra and Clarke knows how to organize a defense, but I don’t think last season’s performance from WBA can be replicated.
Ben Pugsley: Fulham. Haven’t strengthened, gradually worse by the shots count, could be a sticky 1st year under Khan’s ownership.
Colin Trainor: Swansea
Paul Riley: WBA and Fulham to get drawn in this year
Dan Kennett: West Brom. They may have finished 8th last season but they only won 16 points in the 2nd half of last season (only QPR and Stoke got less). And the loss of Lukaku will hit them hard.
Danny Pugsley: Norwich. They seem to be the dark horse tip for a high finish but not for me.
Player of the Year?
Knutson: Juan Mata.
Ben Pugsley: Van Persie if he stays healthy. He’ll rack up the goals and continue to buck the trend of strikers who decline in their 30’s.
Colin Trainor: RVP
Paul Riley: Really? Erm, Walcott, what the hell.
Dan Kennett: I fancy a Man City renaissance under Pellegrini and their biggest players coming up trumps in 2013/14. With no ACN this year I’ll go for Yaya Toure.
Danny Pugsley: Robin Van Persie
Which player wins the golden boot? How many goals will they get?
Knutson: Daniel Sturridge. 27
Ben Pugsley: RvP with 23 goals. It’s a lottery question. Health and player usage could embarrass us all on this question.
Colin Trainor: RVP, 25
Paul Riley: RVP, 27
Dan Kennett: It’s almost impossible to look past RVP but for the sake of being different I’ll say Sergio Aguero
Danny Pugsley: Robin Van Persie. 20 goals (at least)
What player that is new to the PL are you most interested in watching?
Knutson: I could pick ten, but Kevin De Bruyne is tops on my list.
Ben Pugsley: I have a couple: it will be interesting to see if Soldado can replicate his seemingly La Liga inflated numbers. Can Wanyama adapt to the PL pace and turn Southampton’s midfield into a +level? But I really want to see Fernandinho play. If he is as good as advertised and he clicks with Toure, it could be a frightening prospect going up against this two big (as in talented) beasts.
Colin Trainor: Wilifred Bony, to gauge how Dutch form can be transferred
Paul Riley: Negredo
Dan Kennett: Paulinho & Jovetic are too obvious so I’ll say Gerard Deulofeu and Wilfried Bony
Danny Pugsley: From a City perspective, Stevan Jovetic. Outside of City I’ve heard good things about Andre Schurrle.
What non-Suarez player will be the most annoying to opposing fans?
Knutson: Jose Mourinho. What? Just because he’s not a player, doesn’t mean the answer is wrong.
Ben Pugsley: If Rooney goes to Chelsea, he is gonna get the bird every game, if he doesn’t get that already. The PL doesn’t have any pantomime players anymore- Barton was the last. Criteria to be disliked by opposition fans: need to be talented and either dirty or perceived to be a cheaty diver. So Bale is my answer.
Colin Trainor: No idea
Paul Riley: Gareth Bale
Dan Kennett: Jose Mourinho
Danny Pugsley: It has to be Craig Bellamy on his return to the Premier League, surely?
Which one of last season’s top 5 has the biggest hole (player need) they haven’t filled?
Knutson: I feel like the options here are United CM, Chelsea DM, and Arsenal LW + CF. United’s central midfield is barren, but Arsenal lack both an exciting left forward and a world class center forward. If you read my preview, you know I’m unconvinced by Mikel, but it’s not nearly the problem that AFC and MUFC have. I’ll go with Arsenal.
Ben Pugsley: Arsenal could do with additions in many areas but it has to be United and the Jupiterian sized hole in their midfield. Imagine if Carrick got injured, just think about it…….. Phil Jones and Anderson would be their midfield pair. Fuck.
Colin Trainor: United – central midfield
Paul Riley: Man United, central midfield
Dan Kennett: Flip a coin between Manchester United in Centre Mid and Arsenal Goalkeeper
Danny Pugsley: You have to say United and their midfield. But can they mask it once again?
Which manager wins the sackrace? (First to get sacked)
Knutson: Everyone is saying Di Canio because of the crazy factor, but I am torn between Ian Holloway and Brucey Baby. Holloway has charisma, so I’ll go with Bruce.
Ben Pugsley: I am feeling pressure here as l picked the winner last season, RDM. No manager sacked is 66/1, which is tempting. Martin Jol if I had a gun to my head.
Colin Trainor: Di Canio
Paul Riley: Really? Erm, Martin Jol, what the hell.
Dan Kennett: Mark Hughes
Danny Pugsley: Steve Clarke at West Brom as they get off to a woeful start to the season.
Brendan Rodgers’ envelope applies to the entire Premier League – what player will be the biggest disappointment this year?
Knutson: Luis Suarez. Can he win the award before the season even starts?
Ben Pugsley: Lukaku could get swallowed by Chelsea’s striker-killing system, but the expectations are low for a 20 yo. Suarez. May be forced to play for Liverpool, he could be sulky and dis-interested. It could be a bloodbath with Suarez and Liverpool.
Colin Trainor: Coutinho. Not that I think he’ll be bad but the expectations of him by Liverpool’s fans are enormous
Paul Riley: Difficult because i’m a grump who expects so little…not sure about any of City’s new guys bar Negredo, Bale to regress a bit?
Dan Kennett: After the endless Summer saga’s it’s got to be one of Suarez, Rooney and Bale. As a Liverpool fan, I hope it’s not Suarez so will say Rooney.
Danny Pugsley: Gareth Bale. He may have a good season but Im predicting he doesn’t come close to last years numbers and influence.
Finally… here’s Knutson’s final season points prediction, based “70% on a model, and 30% on shit the model doesn’t know.”
|West Ham United
|West Bromwich Albion