Premier League

A Look At The 2010/2011 Premier League Season

Previewing 2010/2011 Premier League Season

With Tom’s European preview in the books and the English Premier League just over a week away from kicking-off, it’s time to preview the season and throw some early predictions out there.

You can find @TomDobbyne’s Premier League predictions throughout the article as well, enjoy the read!

Transfers To Watch – This year’s transfer window has been quiet, but there were a few moves that should impact teams battling at the top:

–          David Silva, Man City (From Valencia, £24m) – Adds more creativity and experience

–          Joe Cole, Liverpool (From Chelsea, Free Transfer) – Will add a lot of pace to the midfield, and will be re-invigorated after being put back into a first team selection

–          Pablo Barrera, West Ham Utd (From UNAM Pumas, £4m) – The Mexican International played well in the World Cup and will be an influx of creativity for the mid-table side

–          Ramires, Chelsea (From Benfica, £18m) – The only key signing for Chelsea this summer and should balance the departure of J. Cole, Ballack and Deco earlier this summer.

Barrera Looks To Keep West Ham Up

Mangers In The Hot seatFinally, Benitez is out of England and wreaking havoc upon another league, but now we need another couple of managers to pick on:

Martin O'Neill Faces big pressure this season

–          Martin O’Neill, Aston Villa – The Villa manager has led his team to back-to-back sixth place finishes, however he increased their point total by just two last seasons. The pressure is on to get his team into the Promised Land of Champions League football.

–          Roberto Mancini, Man City – After the quick dismissal of Mark Hughes, Mancini was able to lead his team to a fifth place finish but the pressure is always on when your owners have unrealistic expectations

–          Chris Hughton, Newcastle – Now that Magpies are back into the Premier League, there will be no allowance for going back down, that being said look for Hughton to be the first to go if the team embarks  on a steady descent towards relegation.

The Relegation Battle – Last season saw Burnley, Hull City and in tatters Portsmouth drop down to the championship and saw Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool pop into the top flight, here’s who is pegged to go down:

–          Blackpool – The Tangerines were an outside bet to gain promotion and managed to shock pundits by sneaking in through the playoffs, but look to see them drop back down and there won’t be much Ian Holloway will be able to do to keep them up.

–          West Bromwich Albion – WBA is famous for coming up, only to drop back down and for every season since 2000, except 2004/2005 and 2006/2007, they have either been promoted or relegated from the top flight. It would be a pleasant surprise to see them stay up, but I’d expect to see them continue their usual trend.

–          Wigan Athletic – The Lactics had a goal difference of -42  at the end of last season, which was worse than all three teams relegated and without any additions in firepower the team looks destined for the drop.

Tom’s Predictions: Blackpool, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion

The Title Battle – A two horse race for much of the season, the final weekend saw Chelsea pip Manchester United by one point to win the English Premier League title on 87 points, while Arsenal finished third with 75 and Tottenham a distant fourth with 70 points.

–          1st, Chelsea Football Club – The defending champions are my favourites to repeat, ignoring the fact I am a diehard supporter, and should see off any challenge from Manchester United. A fit Didier Drogba will look to build on his Golden Boot season and rebound from a disappointing World Cup, look for him to break all his previous goal scoring marks.

–          2nd, Manchester United – The 2009/2010 runner-up has a lot to prove after injuries hurt them midseason and were unable to win the Champions League. They have yet to bolster their first-team, but signings of Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez are purchases for the future.

–          3rd, Manchester City – The newest member of the millionaires club, City added Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jerome Boeteng and Aleksandar Kolarov to their team and look to push for the title. It would be foolish to look past the talent of this team, but it will be up to Mancini to make the players fit together and play a fluid game.

Tom’s Predictions: Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City

Can anyone stop Drogba from Scoring?

Top Scorer – Last season Didier Drogba finished three goals ahead of Wayne Rooney with 29 goals, while Sunderland’s Darren Bent finished with the third highest goal total at 24, closely followed by Carlos Tevez on 23 and midfielder Frank Lampard rounding out the top five with 22.

–          1st, Didier Drogba, Chelsea – Drogba missed a month of the season for the African Cup and still managed to score 29 goals. This season he’ll have a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing World Cup, and I see him scoring 30+ goals this season

–          2nd, Wayne Rooney, Manchester United – Rooney was hit with injuries last season, but I don’t see him scoring more than Drogba. However, look for it to be close all season much like last.

–          3rd, Carlos Tevez, Manchester City – The Man City striker will build off of a strong season and will be key to the final position for City.

–          Honourable Mentions – Jermaine Defoe, Fernando Torres and Gabriel Agbonlahor

Tom’s Prediction: Wayne Rooney

The English Premier League kicks off August 14th and make sure you come back each week our Weekly Premier League Roundup and our Fantasy League Roundup, where we will breakdown the top players each week.

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Henry Whitfield covers all things sports and can be found on Twitter @HenryWhitfield, where he live-tweets Mooseheads, Bluejays and much more!

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EPL Final Weekend Preview!

After thirty-seven weeks, more than 66,600 minutes and 1,011 goals scored it is time for the English Premier League season to come to a close.

This season has been full of ups and downs, heroes and heartbreak and week thirty-eight promises to continue this trend.

As we enter the final weekend of football the Title has yet to be decided and even third place is up for grabs. Below I break down the major storylines of the final week in the English Football season from Champions to relegation and everything in between:

Fight For Third PlaceTottenham pulled off a big win over Manchester City on Wednesday, a match that clinched them a place in the top four and guaranteed Champions League action next year.  Harry Redknapp refused to discuss taking third place from Arsenal but they do sit just 2 points back of the Gunners heading into this weekend. Arsenal holds their fate in their hands, where just one point against Fulham will wrap up third place, while Tottenham take on relegated Burnley who need to win there and hope for a Fulham win to snatch third place. Arsenal will be missing super Captain Cesc Fabregas but have Robin Van Persie back who was the hero last time these two met.

Champions To Be Named – The pressure is all on Chelsea as they take on Wigan Athletic, where a win will see them be named Champions for the first time since they fired the Special One three seasons ago. It must be noted that Wigan beat Chelsea 3-1 when they met earlier this season, and the London team must remain focused to take a trophy that has become a resident in Manchester.  Manchester United takes on Stoke City, which should be a guaranteed win, as the Potters have not scored against the Champions since they were promoted two seasons ago. However, even if Manchester United score they must hope that Chelsea does not win to be named Champions.

Relegation Battle – The relegation battle is all but technically over, with Portsmouth dropped weeks ago and Burnley dropped last week. Hull City sits in 18th, but will want to win for the cash bonus involved as Burnley can overtake them if they win on Sunday.

Who has the Golden Boot – England striker Wayne Rooney and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba sit tied on 26 goals scored a piece, and Sunderland striker Darren Bent sits on 24 goals.  Drogba has just one goal in his last four games, where as Rooney has played a full ninety minutes in his last six matches and has not scored a goal since March 21st.  Bent has scored a number of goals in recent weeks and faces a Wolves squad that has little to play for; the advantage may be his if he can hit a rich vein of form. However, I’m going to give the edge to Drogba who will explode this weekend with three goals.

Injuries Stay Away – With all this action taking place there is one man in England who is more nervous than any other, Fabio Capello saw midfielder Gareth Barry go down with an ankle injury that will have him out for a month and the Italian will be crossing his fingers and praying that no other international goes down with an injury this weekend. With the World Cup just a month away any injury could knock a player out of contention and seriously hurt England’s chances in South Africa

Check back next week for my Premier League wrap up and my Season Ending awards.

Henry Whitfield is an avid sports fan who covers everything and anything in the sports world, while focusing on hockey and football. Follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield.