Britwatch’s football panel give their predictions for the upcoming season
This time it’s Newcastle through to West Ham
With just days left before the start of the new season, Britwatch’s panel of football experts are back to give you their predictions from Newcastle through to West Ham.
Niall Clarke, Stephen Gilles and Ryan Moran have already given you their thoughts in the First part, from Arsenal through to Manchester United. And now they will go through the remaining teams in Britwatch Sports’ Premier League preview.
Significant Outs: Jonas Gutierrez (Unassigned), Ryan Taylor (Free- Hull City)
Niall: It is the dawn of a new era at St James’ Park (or the Sports Direct Arena), with Steve McLaren at the helm. The Toon had some success under Alan Pardew when they contested for a Champions League place three years a go, but since it has been a little hit and mostly miss from the Magpies. This season, Newcastle should not find themselves amongst the relegation battle, but they will not set the League on fire, thus a mid table finish.
Stephen: Unpredictable. Nobody knows what to expect with the Toon this season but positive additions have taken place. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Georginio Wijnaldum have arrived for big fees and will be under pressure to succeed but more importantly, settle in quickly. New boss Steve McClaren will have to use all his coaching skills to turn things around here.
Ryan: Steve Mclaren becomes the next manager to try his luck at the doom and gloom of St James’ Park. Inheriting a talented squad who majorly underachieved last season, the ex- Derby manager will be hoping he can get the best out of the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Remy Cabella. Hoping to bring some excitement and long awaited success to the Magpies are new signings Georginio Wijnaldum, Alexsandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba coming in off the back of successful campaigns at their old clubs.
Ins: Robbie Brady, Graham Dorrans, Jake Kean, Youssouf Mulumbu, Andre Wisdom (Loan).
Significant Outs: Mark Bunn (Free- Aston Villa), Carlos Cuellar (Unassigned).
Niall: The Canaries are back in the top flight after a season down in the Championship. This time Alex Neil will try his hand at the Premier League In hope of keeping Norwich in the division. They will certainly give it a go but the quality will not be there. Norwich will struggle to keep up with the better teams in the league, meaning only one thing- Relegation.
Stephen: Goal scoring will be the thorny issue should the Canaries wish to survive in the top-flght. A quiet summer thuis far for Alex Neil indicates a return to the Championship at first time of asking.
Ryan: After one season away, Alex Neil was the man to take the Canaries back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Having experienced the drop only a year ago, many of the squad will be hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice. To compare with the other two promoted sides, Norwich seem best equipped to avoid the drop by managing to keep the majority of the squad together and adding Premier League experience in Youssouf Mulumbu and Graham Dorrans.
Ins: Steven Caulker (On loan from QPR), Jordy Clasie, Cuco Martina, Maarten Stekelenburg (On loan from Fulham), Cedric Soares, Juanmi.
Significant Outs: Artur Boruc (Free- Bournemouth), Nathaniel Clyne (£12.5 Million- Liverpool), Pablo Osvaldo (Free- FC Porto), Morgan Schneiderlin (£25 Million- Manchester United).
Niall: It was an excellent season for Southampton last time out, finishing in the European places. They were on course for a top four finish at one stage, but ultimately fell away as the season wore on. The Saints have lost some key players in Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne without really replacing them with any known quality. Add that to the Europa League, and it will be a much more difficult season this time around.
Stephen: The vultures descended on the Saints best talent during the summer. Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin have since moved on to pastures new but boss Ronald Koeman has since dipped into the Dutch market once again to bolster his squad. If the Saints can retain their defensive doggedness that was so impressive last season – anything is possible.
Ryan: Southampton have been at the centre of another raid for their key players and finally Morgan Schneiderlin got the move he wanted to Manchester United. Ronald Koeman once again has had money to spend and gone back to his native Holland and bought Jordy Clasie in the hope that the midfielder will produce the same quality Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic brought from the Eredivisie. Now these players have had time to settle, they should only get better. Times will be tougher without Clyne and Schneiderlin, but like last year; the Saints will march on.
Ins: Ibrahim Afellay, Marco Van Ginkel (Loan from Chelsea), Shay Given, Moha El Ouriachi, Jakob Haugaard, Glen Johnson, Joselu, Sergio Molina, Philipp Wollscheid.
Significant Outs: Asmir Begovic (£8 Million- Chelsea), Robert Huth (£3 Million- Leicester City), Steven N’Zonzi (£7 Million- Sevilla).
Niall: Stoke City have transformed under Mark Hughes. Gone is the defensive style we got accustomed to seeing from the Potters, and in comes the more expansive and attractive football. It worked a charm last season as they recorded their best season to date, not it is time to go one better. There is no reason Stoke should not be fighting for a place in Europe, and with other teams around them having Europa League distractions, they may just sneak in there.
Stephen: Stoke’s stature as a club under Mark Hughes has risen ten-fold in recent years. Four signings from Barcelona in the past 12 months underlies the change. Ibrahim Affelay is the latest recruit – for him to prosper, he needs a prolonged run in the side to bring out his obvious potential. Another good season for the Potters.
Ryan: After achieving their highest finish in the Premier League, the Potters will be hoping to build and push for Europe this season. With the improvement in form of Bojan, Mark Hughes delved into the ranks of Barcelona and Real Madrid to find some more diamonds in the rough in Moha El Ouriachi and Sergio Molina as well as bringing in top flight experience in Glen Johnson. If the transfers can follow in Bojan’s footstep, Stoke could be the ones to watch in the fight for Europa League places.
Ins: Sebastian Coates, Younes Kaboul, Jeremaine Lens, Adam Matthews.
Significant Outs: Santiago Vergini (Loan- Getafe), Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace).
Niall: The Black Cats barely avoided the drop last season. Can things be more comfortable this time for the North East Club? Dick Advocaat will be hoping that relegation is not a factor this season, though it is difficult to see how they don’t end up in the scrap. This time Sunderland will not be able to fight their way out of trouble, and thus relegation finally happens.
Stephen: You could argue that Sunderland’s signing of the summer has been Coach Dick Advocaat. After saving them from relegation last season and forming a close-knit relationship with the Macam fans, he’ll have to do it all again. New signings Youness Kaboul will add steel at the back – one would hope – and Jermaine Lens is a good buy but you have to ask – who will score the goals apart from Jermaine Defoe?
Ryan: After successive years of avoiding relegation under different managers Dick Advocaat will be hoping he can turn the tide on Wearside. Avoiding a relegation dog fight is still on the cards, but with Jermaine Defoe having a full season at the Stadium of Light; fans will be hoping he can deliver the goals to keep them away from the drop. Sebastian Coates joins permanently, joined by Younes Kaboul, Jeremaine Lens and Adam Matthews, are these players key to the Black Cats survival?
Ins: Andre Ayew, Eder, Oliver Mcburnie, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Franck Tabanou
Significant Outs: Jazz Richards (Loan- Fulham)
Niall: Swansea have stablished themselves as a solid mid table side who will battle for the European places over recent seasons. Gary Monk has done a good job since taking over, and led the Welsh side to an 8th place finish. Andrew Ayew will add some quality to the front line, and the Swans will have another good season.
Stephen: Andre Ayew has arrived to try and lead the line. Since taking over the reins, Garry Monk has done very little wrong. Gylfi Sigurdsson could be a revelation working off Ayew and with the Swans a force on either flank, they’ll have a brilliant season but they won’t surpass 8th place where they finished last season. A tight mid-table scramble will see them finish 12th.
Ryan: After an unbelievable first full season in management for Garry Monk, the Englishman will be hoping to build on last season’s success. Second season shipwreck is common for teams who avoid the drop in their first season; Monk will be hoping this doesn’t apply to his Swans in his second season in charge. With Gomis and Ayew leading the line, it is hard to see.
Niall: Unless Daniel Levy looks to the transfer market and splashes some cash, Spurs will likely find themselves in a similar position to recent seasons- Good enough for top six, but not top four. The White Hart Lane faithful will look to Harry Kane to repeat his goal-scoring form from last season. But the Englishman could end up being a one season wonder. I predict more of the same from Tottenham this season.
Stephen: With Emmanuel Adebayor on his way out and Roberto Soldado heading back to his homeland, all the pressure seems to be on Harry Kane to replicate last season. Will he suffer from second-season syndrome as often is the case? Chairman Daniel Levy ideally needs to get his chequebook out for Spurs to break into the top 5. If Kane can continue his golden streak, Spurs will end the season in Europe and can possibly win some silverware.
Ryan: After not spending the Bale transfer money wisely, a lot of players brought in have departed and not much has happened at what has been a revolving door at White Hart Lane. Fans will be hoping Harry Kane can build on his goal scoring form and the likes of Christian Eriksen will show their true class we have seen in snippets since their arrival. Champions League would still be dreaming with the players bought in not at the same level as those brought in by their rivals.
Ins: Giedrius Arlauskis, Valon Behrami, Steven Berghuis, Miguel Britos, Etienne Capoue, Jose Holebas, Jose Manuel Gurado, Marco Motta, Allen Nyom, Sebastian Prodl.
Significant outs: Jonathan Bond (Reading- Undisclosed), Lewis McGugan (Sheff Wed- Undisclosed), Juanfran (Deportivo La Coruna- Loan), Uche Ikpeazu (Port Vale- Loan)
Niall: Quique Sanchez Flores has been given the difficult task of keeping Watford in the Premier League. He has been given some backing from the Watford board to bring in a whole some fresh faces such as Etienne Capoue from Spurs and Valon Behrami from Hamburg. However the amount of change will be difficult to balance making Watford relegation candidates.
Stephen: I fancy Troy Deeney to surprise a few this season. When there’s a chance – invariably he will take it. I expect him to be a revelation. As for the Hornets, a new manager in Enrique Sanchez Flores has being backed by the chairman, new and experienced players have signed. Can’t see them surviving though.
Ryan: A change of manager after one seals promotion is rare but it is the situation the Hornets find themselves in. Slavisa Jokanovic out and Quique Sanchez Flores in the hot seat with the job of guiding Watford to safety. Troy Deeney had offers to play in the Premier League last season but waited for the chance with the side from Vicarage Road. The top scorer now has the chance to follow in the footsteps of Danny Ings and Charlie Austin and make a name for himself. Unfortunately compared to the other teams in the league, there just isn’t enough in strength let alone depth to give them a chance of staying up on paper. Leicester city proved critics wrong; Watford will hope to do the same.
Niall: Under the guidance of Tony Pullis, West Brom could find themselves clear of the main fight for relegation. A lack of quality will mean that they won’t progress much further than just below mid table, but with Pulli’s record they will be hard to beat especially at the Hawthornes.
Stephen: Tony Pulis keeps teams in the Premier League. It really is that simple. He has bought James Chester in while James McLean will provide the width, which was at times last season – lacking. Rickie Lambert has just signed and will be the perfect foil for Saido Berahino. They’ll stay up, but it’ll be a long slog.
Ryan: Under the guidance of a man never to be relegated, West Brom fans will be hoping Tony Pulis can take them away from the doom and gloom of last season. The signings of Rickie Lambert and James Mcclean show that the Welshman wants more firepower this season alongside keeping Saido Berahino at the Hawthorns. If they can keep hold of the England under 21 international they should be in for a much more comfortable ride in comparison to last season.
Ins: Pedro Obiang, Dimitri Payet, Darren Randolph, Angelo Ogbonna, Carl Jenkinson
Significant Outs: Carlton Cole (Unassigned), Guy Demel (Unassigned), Stewart Downing (£5.5 Million- Middlesborough), Jussi Jaaskelainen (Unassigned)
Niall: The Allardyce era is over, and now Slaven Bilic will take the reins as West Ham manager. The Hammers have added Juventus defender Angelo Ogbonna and highly rated France international Dimitri Payet to their ranks, but Bilic remains an enigma at this stage. Also it is a wonder how they will deal with the Europa League and Premier League.
Stephen: This is the last season they play at the Boleyn Ground before their move to the Olympic Stadium. Exciting times are afoot for the Hammers, on and off the field. With the likes of Valencia, Kouyate and Sakho plying their trade for the boys in claret & blue and new recruit Angelo Ogbonna signing this summer, it points towards a very impressive season for Slavan Bilic’s Happy Hammers.
Ryan: Many will disagree due to the strength of the squad however under new management, success may take longer. Slaven Bilic follows on from the departed Sam Allardyce and although possession has been high in the Europa League qualifying, goals haven’t come easy. A lack of Premier League managerial experience influences the positioning of the hammers but the Premier League always throws up surprises. The Upton Park outfit will hope Dimitri Payet will show the qualities he showed while at Lille and Marseille along with fellow signings Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang and Darren Randolph.
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The Premier League kicks off on 8th August. You can follow the action via our live scoring service: Live Scores
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