Premiership Review

Posted: 16.05.07 in Blogging

At the beginning of this season, I wrote my preview of how the Premiership the shape up by the end. Now that it’s finished, I have written a review.

  1. Manchester United

    I thought they’d finish 2nd
    I said:

    Much like last season, Manchester United will have been written off before the season has started. However, even despite a lack of signings, Manchester United will prove formidable underdogs.

    And formidable they were. I highlighted Keiran Richardson as the player to look out for. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t given much of a run, largely thanks to the form of other midfield players – particularly Cristiano Ronaldo. I had hoped that Wayne Rooney would have been more threatening in front of goal, but that didn’t seem to hinder Manchester United’s progress this season.

  2. Chelsea

    I thought they’d finish 1st
    I said:

    My concern for Chelsea is that they still appear light in defence – perhaps this might be rectified with the signing of [Ashley] Cole.

    With Ashley Cole injured for much of the season, and with William Gallas off to Arsenal in return, Chelsea’s defence has been arguably their sticking point this season. With their defence overwrought with injuries, it was perhaps understandable that Chelsea struggled in the middle of the season. I tipped Salomon Kalou as the player to watch, and his performances later in the season indicate my belief that he will be “the next Henry”. However, I think few can doubt that Michael Essien shone in a team that has been let down by some below-par performances this season.

  3. Liverpool

    I thought they’d finish 3rd
    I said:

    Liverpool have made some good signings over the summer, with Bellamy and Pennant among them. They still fall short of Chelsea and Manchester United.

    Jermain Pennant, despite early promise, failed to deliver largely through a lack of chances. I suggested at the beginning of the season that Pennant would contribute some need width to the team. However, Liverpool continue to play with a narrow midfield and rely on their full backs to put in the crosses. As such, I felt John Arne Riise was their player to watch this season.

  4. Arsenal

    I thought they’d finish 4th
    I said:

    Wenger has this ability to get rid of his best players but still field a winning team. Although they could be without Ashley Cole, Arsenal’s youngsters will provide adequate cover. However, I doubt they will match last year’s European Cup run.

    Arsenal suffered from injuries early on, most notably those of Thierry Henry and Robin Van Persie. Having said that, Wenger produced as many young starlets as needed to fill the spots vacated, including Emmanuel Eboué who pleased pundits and fans this season.

  5. Tottenham Hotspur

    I thought they’d finish 6th
    I said:

    Spurs will regroup having had a largely successful season last year. Despite losing Carrick, Martin Jol has retained most of last year’s squad which made themselves difficult opposition last year.

    Despite having a decent midfield and a great strikeforce, Spurs’ defence has been lacking. Having kept only five clean sheets this season, it is clear that Spurs have missed the presence of captain Ledley King. Even after their frailties at the back, they achieved my expectations. Michael Dawson didn’t have the best of seasons in the end. Dimitar Berbatov on the other hand flourished.

  6. Everton

    I thought they’d finish 15th
    I said:

    Despite having a good forward partnership of Andrew Johnson and James Beattie, their defence will let them down this season. I also feel that their midfield needs strengthening before the transfer window closes to ensure safety.

    I got this one wrong. Everton have a knack for having a good every-other-season. And to be fair, both their defence and their midfield proved me wrong this season. Playing well as a team proved to be their forté and produced a winning combination. James Vaughan played well, but Victor Anichebe had a solid first season.

  7. Bolton Wanderers

    I thought they’d finish 9th
    I said:

    Largely unchanged from last season, Bolton will know exactly how to play before the season has begun. Having already found their “winning formula”, their biggest concern will be maintaining form.

    Bolton played in the way they were comfortable with and performed solidly throughout the season. The addition of Nicolas Anelka helped the team immensely. Ricardo Gardner had an anonymous season.

  8. Reading

    I thought they’d finish 17th
    I said:

    I think Reading will do enough this season to ensure we see them again next season. They have some quality in the side that might surprise some – perhaps myself included!

    Nuff said, really! Reading did better than most people’s expectations – at least all but the Reading supporters! Even without the goalscoring presence of Dave Kitson for most of the season, Steve Sidwell made a name for himself. Reading secured their Premiership status early on, and they will be hoping that they don’t replicate so many overachieving teams in the Premiership such as Ipswich.

  9. Portsmouth

    I thought they’d finish 7th
    I said:

    Portsmouth have made some extraordinarily shrewd signings since last season – with David James in goal and Sol Campbell in defence. Pompey will be a surprise package this season.

    Matthew Taylor contributed with spectacular and important goals this season, and David James broke the Premiership clean sheet record. As a team, Portsmouth did not surprise me with their performance. They will be looking to add to their strikeforce over the summer.

  10. Blackburn Rovers

    I thought they’d finish 13th
    I said:

    Having lost all their firepower from last season, I don’t have much hope for Blackburn Rovers making an impression on the top half of the league. And new signing and former FC Porto frontman Benni McCarthy is still a good striker.

    Few would doubt that Benni McCarthy has had a magnificent season for Rovers, and his firepower alone pushed Blacburn up the table. His partnership with Jason Roberts flourished as the season progressed. They missed Robbie Savage for most of this season.

  11. Aston Villa

    I thought they’d finish 16th
    I said:

    Despite a huge coup in securing Martin O’Neill as boss, the former Celtic boss has no time in which to construct his own squad. Only O’Neill’s astute management will keep them up this season.

    Aston Villa have had yet another distinctly average season. O’Neill will be having a clearout this summer, and will build the side he wants. I expect them to be much tougher next season. Luke Moore was one of the few notable performers, and Gareth Barry edged closer towards an England callup.

  12. Middlesbrough

    I thought they’d finish 19th
    I said:

    After culling some of the team’s biggest names, Southgate has got his work cut out this season to keep the team out of the relegation zone. It will be a poor follow-up to last year’s UEFA Cup run.

    Although Middlesbrough exceeded my expectations, they had a mediocre season. Lee Cattermole had an ok season. Mark Viduka had some good performances, but as to whether he stays for next season remains to be seen.

  13. Newcastle United

    I thought they’d finish 5th (oh what was I thinking?)
    I said:

    The promise of new faces and with a promising crop of young talent, provided that there is not a repeat of the injury crisis, this season could be promising for The Magpies. The dawn of a new era beyond Shearer might be better than anticipated.

    We had an injury crisis. James Milner (who coincidentally didn’t get injured) had a good solid season. Nicky Butt was my player of the season, and won over the fans.

  14. Manchester City

    I thought they’d finish 10th
    I said:

    Stuart Pearce has had a battle to keep the big names in his squad and to encourage new players to join. I think there is enough for Manchester City to be suspended in mid-table, but this season won’t be nice to watch.

    Goals were hard to come by this season, and this led to a struggle to win games. Stephen Ireland impressed and broke into the Republic Of Ireland squad. Joey Barton had flashes of brilliance, but seeing as not even Stuart Pearce made it to next season, don’t expect to see him there next season…

  15. West Ham United

    I thought they’d finish 8th
    I said:

    Their good team spirit is their greatest attribute and last year’s FA Cup run is testament to that. It may be that their lack of big names will be their undoing, but they should not struggle this season.

    Some might argue that the loss of a team spirit was their undoing, as was the introduction of big names. Having said that, despite their struggles this season, they showed their resolve in achieving Premiership safety this season. They missed Dean Ashton through long term injury this season, but Carlos Tevez was a more than ample replacement come the tail end of the season.

  16. Fulham

    I thought they’d finish 14th
    I said:

    With some good signings over the summer, Fulham should see a little resurgence this year. This largely depends on them finding their form, which has eluded them in the past.

    Despite making some good signings over the summer, Jimmy Bullard included, Fulham failed to build on their survival last term. Injuries hampered the side again, and this ultimately led to Chris Coleman’s sacking. Vincenzo Montella proved a canny buy over the January transfer window.

  17. Wigan Athletic

    I thought they’d finish 11th
    I said:

    Having sold Bullard to Fulham and ringing in the changes, Paul Jewell might have been better leaving his squad alone over the summer. They won’t be as good this season as last.

    Having sold the backbone of the team, Wigan were bound to struggle this year, though I did not think they would be facing relegation. Denny Landzaat was one of the replacements brought in, but was largely disappointing. Leighton Baines however has attracted interest from the Big Four. If Wigan are to stay in the Premiership next season, though, they must try to keep him.

  18. Sheffield United

    I thought they’d finish 12th
    I said:

    Neil Warnock knows how Premiership management works. Because he has such original ideas, his side will have a cutting edge over the other promoted teams. I hope that this cutting edge will make them as good as Wigan last season, but I don’t think they will break into the top half.

    Despite having an encouraging start with a draw against Liverpool, Sheffield United will feel that they could have survived if more went their way. Some good results were undone by some poor ones. Phil Jagielka chipped in with a few goals, but Chris Morgan, club captain, was their player of the season for me.

  19. Charlton Athletic

    I thought they’d finish 18th
    I said:

    Iain Dowie has made a scurry of signings. However, I feel that while some were shrewd, others have been made in haste. I will be interested to see how the new era of Charlton after Curbishley will shape up, but I fear that Charlton will struggle this season.

    Some have joked that Charlton are holding their own Manager of the Season competition this year, and having three in a term meant that Charlton were always going to struggle. Many of their pre-season signings seemed dubious, but while Darren Ambrose had a bit-part to play this season, signing Scott Carson on loan might have been their best piece of business had he had some good defenders in front of him.

  20. Watford

    I thought they’d finish 20th
    I said:

    With a desire to keep things financially sound this year in case of relegation, Watford will probably succeed only in insuring and ensuring their downfall. Some players, like Chris Powell, have been introduced to share experience with a naive squad, but this won’t be enough to keep them out of the bottom three.

    Watford’s failure to make an impact on the Premiership was sadly predictable. Having spent little this year, they should have a bit tucked away in order to challenge for promotion next season.


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