Friday, 9 August 2013

Premier League 2013/14 season guide: Part 5

In our final part of our season guide we take a look at Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur West Brom and West Ham. Plus our predicted league table.

Swansea City:
After a fantastic first season in the Premier League, Swansea City followed it up with another great effort in their second season as a top flight club. Having lost Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool, Michael Laudrup was brought in as his replacement and what an impact the Dane had. Having not only finished ninth in the league, the Welsh club were crowned Capital One Cup winners beating Bradford City 5-0 at Wembley last February. The victory also saw the Swans entered into Europe and the Europa League where they are currently one round away from the group stages. The signing of Michu was an instant success with the Spanish forward netting 18 league goals in his first season in England. Laudrup has made number of signings already this summer bring in Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony, who scored 37 goals in 36 games last season. He is expected to play a key role this season linking up with Michu. As well as Bony, Jose Canas has also moved to the Liberty Stadium from Real Betis, and the midfielder has been joined by Jonjo Shelvey who moved from Liverpool.

Swansea's poor run near the end of last season saw them only win two from eleven games, which came after their Wembley triumph. This will have been a case for concern for Laudrup, whose side had been hovering around the Europa League positions up until the poor end of season run. Another mid table finish could be expected for the Swans who will be playing twice a week on a regular occasion if they are to progress in Europe. They have a tough start to the campaign as they host Manchester United on the opening day, and go on to play Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal in their opening six games.

Key Player: Michu

Predicted finish: 7th

Tottenham Hotspur:
For the second season in a row, Spurs were denied a Champions League place thanks to another team in London. Last season saw Chelsea pinch the fourth place, whilst the end of this season saw Spurs' North London rivals Arsenal take the final place. New boss AVB will still be pleased with the progress made in his first season, and will feel a lot better with his work after suffering an awful time in his short time at Chelsea. The form of Gareth Bale was simply brilliant with the Player of the Year now rumoured to be close to joining Spanish giants Real Madrid. It is absolutely key for Spurs to hold onto the Welshman as he was sole provider of goals. Jermain Defoe was the closest to Bale's 21 league goals with 11, and with Emmanuel Adebayor failing to hit the net more often, AVB has brought in Roberto Soldado from Valencia. The Spanish striker scored 24 league goals for Valencia last season and will add that much needed fire power.

As well as Soldado, Brazilian midfielder Paulinho signed at White Hart Lane for £17 million. His stand out performances at the Confederations Cup this summer, earned him a big money move, and alongside Dembele and Sandro, will make the Spurs midfield much stronger. A good start to the season will be key for Spurs if they are to break into the top four this season. They won two points from their opening three games last season. They kick of this season with an away trip to the newly promoted Palace before facing Swansea and then Arsenal in the first North London derby of the season.

Key Player: Gareth Bale

Predicted finish: 5th

West Bromwich Albion:
After a few attempts, it appears that West Brom have become an established Premier League side. Steve Clarke had an excellent first season in the Baggies' dugout finishing in eighth place. The question this season is whether they are to achieve similar success. Without Romelu Lukaku, goals will have to come from elsewhere. The answer to that could well be new boy Nicolas Anelka who joins his sixth Premier League team. (Can you name the other five?) Up front West Brom have Shane Long too, who had limited game time last season due to the form of Lukaku. Alongside Anelka, Clarke has brought in experience in defence with Uruguayan defender Diego Lugano making the move from PSG. The experienced centre back will fit into the English game perfectly with his tough tackling and good reading of the game. Another key figure for the Baggies is Youssuf Mulumbu who recently signed a new deal at the Hawthorns.

It will be hard to repeat the form of last season which saw them beat Liverpool at Anfield, as well as a home victory against Chelsea and a 5-5 draw at home to Manchester United. The first five games for West Brom are all winnable if they produce the form of last season with home games against Southampton, Sunderland and Swansea, as well as away trips to Everton and Fulham.

Key Player: Youssuf Mulumbu

Predicted finish: 11th

West Ham United:
If West Ham could have the most perfect season, then last year was certainly that. A tenth place finish in the league, excellent home form and being confirmed as tenants for the Olympic Stadium means that the Hammers are having a whale of a time. Sam Alladyce's side were beaten only four times meaning they gathered 33 points at home, a total bettered only by the top six sides. The loan signing of Andy Carroll last season was one that worked both for player and team and his seven goals were key in the Hammers excellent campaign. Carroll has since made the move permanent signing from Liverpool for £17million. His link up play with Kevin Nolan resulted in the captain's ten goals making him the club's top goal scorer. Carroll hasn't been the only signing made this summer with Real Betis keeper Adrian moving from Spain where he kept 11 clean sheets in 31 games last year. He will provide good competition with Jussi Jaaskelainen who was one of the stand out performers last year.

Alladyce will believe on their day his side can cause problems for any team in the division. The first six fixtures for his side avoid any of the top four and give the Hammers a chance for a good start to the season. They face the newly promoted Cardiff City on the opening day of the season. A fixture they played two seasons ago in the Championship, where a Kenny Miller goal was enough to give the Welsh club a 1-0 away win. West Ham will then travel to Newcastle, Southampton and Hull and also have home games against Everton and Stoke City.

Key Player: Andy Carroll

Predicted finish: 8th

Predicted League Table:

1. Chelsea
2. Manchester City
3. Manchester United
4. Arsenal
5. Tottenham Hotspur
6. Liverpool
7. Swansea City
8. West Ham United
9. Everton
10. Southampton
11. West Bromwich Albion
12. Aston Villa
13. Norwich City
14. Fulham
15. Newcastle United
16. Stoke City
17. Cardiff City
18. Sunderland
19. Hull City
20. Crystal Palace

No comments:

Post a Comment