Premier League Preview: Part 4

Swansea:-

Name:- Chris Carra

Team:- Swansea City

Website:- ForzaSwansea.com

Twitter:- @ForzaSwansea

What can we expect from your club this season?

Hopefully something similar to what you saw last season. Though Brendan Rodgers has left for Liverpool, an equally talented manager has arrived in Michael Laudrup. He likes the passing philosophy that we’ve all become accustomed to, so expect the same easy-on-the-eye style as the last few seasons, but with more goals we hope!

Who is your most important player?

It’s a cliché to say ‘they all are’ but… well, they all are. However the likes of Michel Vorm in goal ensures we have a chance against the top strikers in the country. I don’t think Swansea would have ended the season in 11th if Vorm had not been in goals. Elsewhere Leon Britton and Ashley Williams are vital.

Where do you predict you will finish this season?

If all goes to plan and things don’t somehow implode under Laudrup, I predict another mid table finish. It would be nice to break into the top ten though.

Who might win the Premier League?

It looks like it will be Man City again, though Man United are equally as likely.

Who definitely won’t?

Swansea! Well there are so many who definitely won’t. I’d say the most likely to win are Man City, Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal, while the rest almost definitely will not.

What is your most anticipated fixture?

Last year it was any of the ‘big’ clubs, but this season it is easily Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers leaving was an unwelcome emotional slap for most Swansea fans, but we eventually accepted it. However, he is now trying to prise Joe Allen away when he said he wouldn’t come in for Swans players and his slimy attitude is starting to anger even the most timid of Swans fans. So to see the new Swansea City vs. Liverpool is definitely the most anticipated fixture!

What is your most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve your club?

It tends to be the bigger names at the top of the table really, as I assume most football fans in general would say. The Manchester derby is always exciting because, these days, it is probably the title deciding game!

How do you think Southampton will fare?

It’s difficult to say really – any prediction I make is usually wrong! You have quite a tough opening month, but I think you’ll stay up. There are plenty of others I see in a relegation battle before Southampton.

You find yourself stuck in Cardiff City Stadium. How do you escape unnoticed?

Firstly I’d be confused with all the colour changes going on at that stadium, but my eyes would soon adjust and I’d realise where I was. I would zip up my jacket to cover my Swans top and slap my head in a weird way (Cardiff fans celebrate in this odd fashion), before saying ‘I can’t watch this game sober… I’m going to get a pint’ and would just walk out. Simple.

Spurs:-

Name:- Dan Fitch

Team:- Spurs

Website:- TottenhamBlog

Twitter:- @TottenhamBlog

What can we expect from your club this season?

It’s hard to say. We have to adapt to a new way of playing, but I think we’ll be stronger this season for having a manager that has some tactical nous and isn’t afraid to rotate his squad. 

Who is your most important player?

I’ve a feeling that this is going to be a big season for Sandro. He suffered a few injuries last season and didn’t get enough opportunities under Redknapp. He has the potential to be an absolute beast of a player.

Where do you predict you will finish this season?

I think fourth is a fair bet again and if we bring in some decent strikers then possibly even third. 

Who might win the Premier League?

It’s hard to look past Manchester City again. If United were to strengthen in central midfield (which they seem strangely reluctant to do) then they’ll run them close.

Who definitely won’t?

Chelsea. Why are they buying so many players who play in exactly the same position and ignoring other areas of the team? They’re also putting a lot of faith in the fact that Torres will regain his form.

What is your most anticipated fixture?

Without a doubt, Arsenal. Let’s hope our next encounter doesn’t end like our last one when we lost 5-2 having lead 2-0. 

What is your most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve your club?

These days the biggest game in the Premier League is United v City. Top of the table clash with a nice side portion of needle.

How do you think Southampton will fare?

I don’t think that it will be easy for you, but I think there’s at least five or six teams that will struggle this season, so you’ve got a fighting chance. 

You find yourself stuck in The Emirates. How do you escape unnoticed?

Simple. Just make sure you adhere to the ground’s policy of silence as you make your exit.

Sandro. Hoping for a hair raising season at Spurs…

WBA:-

Name: Ashley Davies

Team: West Bromwich Albion

Twitter: Personal – @TNC_Ash Works@TransferNewsCen

Website: www.facebook,com/transfernewscentral

What can we expect from West Brom this season?

I like to think we have a team of fighters, go hard or go home, so the commitment will be there I know that is something Clarke has said to the players, even in pre season against Walsall he told the players pre match that we have brought 2,500 here show them what you can do and remember it is a local derby, so I think we will be 100%ers this season yet again. If nothing else to prove people wrong who doubt us and say we will go down.

Who is your most important player?

Now I know this sounds sad and a little cheesy, probably clique in a way as well but I can’t single out one man, last season we really were the definition of a ‘team effort’ Ben Foster in goal may have won Players’ player and Fans player of year awards and rightly so he was outstanding and won us 10-25 points last season but I can’t not credit players like McAuley, Olsson, Odemwingie (despite being the most frustrating player we have), Fortune, Morrison and others, including those on the fringes who were ready to take the place of anyone who had a bad game, we all thought Fortune would never be seen again and then he came back and was a revelation, amazing, Long was pushing Odemwingie all season for a start, Jones filling in at Right and Left back and becoming one of the signings of the season, really competition all over the park helped us. Maybe if Gera hadn’t of injured we would have seen something different and even better! But no, I can’t single out one man it is a team game and without everyone doing their jobs we would be stuffed.

Predict where West Brom will finish this season?

This is obviously argued by the fact we have lost our last head coach to England but I have faith in Clarke and I believe a good season is ahead for us. Those that question him don’t realise the coaching background he has and have no seen us throughout pre season where we have played some lovely stuff, a nice passing flowing game always looking to attack but never afraid to go square or backwards to defend, he really has impressed me on that front.  I am extremely confident so my season prediction for us will be 12th place and 49 points, so close to that 50 mark we long to hit but a decent cup run is something else we aim for, as much as I hate Wembley after the last 2 visits I do dream of going there again and actually seeing us score one! To see 50,000 boing boinging will probably reduce me to tears!

Who might win the Premier League?

For me it is staying in Manchester, I would love Arsenal to win it for Wenger as I believe in his coaching style but I can’t see it going there, a two horse race yet again this season with, dare I say it, the red side coming out on top. I like what Ferguson is doing, which is something, unlike the other side of Manchester where the manager wants the money being splashed once more. I think it would be a victory for football is Manchester City didn’t win the title as they, as I know others have, brought it, but what Man City have done is literally show no boundaries and it still took them 5 years to get on top of England! I know a lot will say Chelsea, I have experienced enough of Di Matteo to believe he will fall short, he has no defensive organisation and hasn’t improved the defence from last season, which was, their worst part of the field, attacking is great but if you don’t concede you don’t lose and I just feel with the backline they posses any ball over the top to a fast striker will be an issue. I know they have brought some great young talents and I will say it now, watch out for Oscar he is a top talent, but was the issue they had with Villas Boas on where they couldn’t attack? No it was one where they couldn’t stop an attack, they went through the Champions League playing 11 behind the ball, nothing wrong with that at all but if Barcelona showed more composure in front of goal then they would have sailed through so for me it has to stay in Manchester, a tight season with Man Utd just nicking it.

Who won’t win the title?

Wolves! Sorry, had to get that in, still they can try and win the Championship (not likely) can I say Villa for this one? Purely because of the flack I get off them saying they are a top 6 club when they didn’t finish in the top 10 last season! Let’s hope they find a sense of realism soon! In all seriousness the league is mad now, it seems we have 2-3 going for the title, 2-3 going for the top 4 a couple looking to challenge and get into Europe and the other 8-10 looking over their shoulder to fend of relegation, we finished tenth last season and we had a nervy time and then were mathematically safe with just a 3-4 to go or something like that after a 0-0 with Villa, which then, sadly meant the F.A. could announce Roy as their man.  So that shows how competitive this league has gotten with us in 10th looking behind us and worrying (We always worry anyway) I think those above Fulham ect would feel reasonably safe. Also a mention to all 3 promoted teams staying up – again showing what a tough league we operate in! The season before that 2 stopped up (West Brom and Newcastle) and Blackpool sadly went down with a decent points tally. So to answer your question, 17 teams definitely won’t win the title, although if we are being picky, 19 teams won’t!

What is my most anticipated fixture?

I will discount Liverpool, as our opener  as everyone wants that one to come after a few months away from football, any derby is wanted to have come around so the Villa is one I will look forward to be going to. I think away from the obvious I will say West Ham, yes the big clubs are this and that and I do like seeing the stars play, I have many times and it never gets boring, but West Ham is purely because of how much stick I get off them on my Twitter, so to beat them would really give me a lift against them as it does get quite heated, we have had some great battles in the past with them – ask Lee Hughes – so hopefully we can come out on top against them with 6 points closer to safety this year!

What is the most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve West Brom?

This is a tough one, we all love football and we may all branch off into clubs but at the end of the day we all share a passion for the game so I look forward to every game for every club, I will keep it to the Premier League though and I will probably have to say Norwich Vs Aston Villa or Norwich Vs Southampton, they are odd choices I know, but I am an odd person, I have sat here and thought for a good ten minutes and I don’t like to say derbies as everyone looks to pick them so I like the look of Norwich Vs Villa mainly because of Paul Lambert, he did well with a side that expected very little, no ego’s, no big names, a bunch of players with a point to prove so to go to Villa with the names of Darren Bent and shay Given and the ego’s of Steven Ireland and Charles N’Zogbia I would like to see how he matches up, I like how Hughton is carrying on Lambert’s philosophy of buy the big fish in the small pond and it works but I am eager to see how Lambert plays at Villa and more so excited to see him play his own system and belief, should be a very tactical and interesting game. I had Norwich Vs Southampton, very much as they both have gone down levels and picked up talents who have now made it to the Premier League (Notably Rickie Lambert and Grant Holt) so it should be god to see how a side like Norwich who have done it once now match up against a Southampton side who have watched them do it and are aiming to, will they follow the blueprint, will they change it a little, be interesting to see the Saints throughout the season seeing how the react to runs of results.

How will Southampton fare this season?

I don’t like to bash newly promoted clubs, I have been there and had it done to me so I try to restrain from saying too much bad against them. I like the look of Nathaniel Clyne, he has impressed me, I watched him in a friendly against Ajax and he was a real talent, a very good player going forwards and backwards which is something that I hope Adkins see’s and uses as it could be quite effective with overlapping runs. But then I saw a possible replacement for him in Frazier Richardson, he looked sluggish and overweight, very, very poor, I know Danny Fox, a player I like, is probably the number 2 but to see Richardson scared me. A good goalkeeper is in the sticks in Kelvin Davis and his back up is just as good from what I have seen, I know he is a new guy but a good back up is key (See West Brom 2 Arsenal 3 last season. Fulop) the defence I am a little unsure on but looks ok the midfield again looks good a little bit of flair in there and some good options. Attack does look slightly fruitless, Billy Sharp, again watched him against Ajax and he looked overweight although his movement still got him chances I hope he has slimmed down for the game against Manchester City, Rickie Lambert is an obvious target man and again unproven in this league and I think he will hit about 7 this season so a decent return. I hope Do Prado does well as from what I saw last season he really is a tricky customer on his day. I think last season to go up you tries to hit target men and go a little direct to gain promotion, it worked, but from what  have seen in pre season Adkins see’s they have to more than a one dimensional team and is encouraging the ball on the floor, the passing game and ultimately wants his midfield men to dictate the pace and tempo of the game, which, if it works will be fantastic and I can see points coming. As I said I don’t like to bash newly promoted sides so my prediction is, sadly, 18th place in a tight season they fall just short, which I know hurts, I have been there (4 points away under Mowbray) so I wish them all the best, I really do but I can’t see them staying up, sorry.

If I was stuck in Vile Park or the Custard Bowl how would I get out un noticed?

Well, this is all dependant on whether I am watching West Brom before their next home game, if not I stay in there until their next home game and walk around singing ‘The Black Country’s Ours’ or ‘Pride Of the Midlands’ followed by a nice loud shout of either ‘O-DEM-WING-IE’ or ‘Paul Scharner’. But if I had to get out then I suppose I would get a stewards jacket and walk to a gate, get through the gate and go, the jacket allows me in most parts of the ground and covers up my shirt, so no-one will know I have been there. 

West Ham:-

Hopefully coming soon….

Wigan Athletic:-

Name:- Andy Taylor-Lloyd

Team:- Wigan Athletic

Website:- http://thisnorthernsoul.co.uk/

Twitter:- @ATL11

What can we expect from your club this season?

Consolidation on from the end of last season!  Building on from that with retaining the core of the team that played well & strengthening in some key areas.

Who is your most important player?

Would have to say the new signing Ramis, if he gels with the other defenders, then we can strengthen and build better from the back with the 3-2-4-1 formation that worked well at the end of last season.  

Where do you predict you will finish this season?

12th.

Who might win the Premier League?

Manchester City or Chelsea.

Who definitely won’t? 

Sticking my neck out, Manchester United, they have all the characteristics of what happened to Liverpool in the early 90’s.

What is your most anticipated fixture?

Used to be Bolton at home, but they got relegated, so would have to be Reading, strange I know but that fixture is a special fixture from 2005 and also we’ve played them in all 4 divisions, so like Wigan they’ve been on a interesting football journey.

What is your most anticipated fixture that doesn’t involve your club?

Good one, usually Fulham vs Aston Villa…….only joking, I would stereotypically say The Manchester Derby now, it’s the ‘Noisy neighbours thing’ and the arrogance on the faces of the United fans for the last 20 years, slowly being wiped off.

How do you think Southampton will fare?

You play like you did last season, similar to where I hope Wigan will finish, mid table, you’ve got a decent Manager in Nigel Adkins, who knows his stuff & you did well to keep hold off in the Summer manager merry go round.

You find yourself stuck in Bolton’s Reebok Stadium. How do you escape unnoticed?

Throw my voice shouting “look theirs Jay Jay Okocha” and run for my life when they all turn around, Horwich is a strange place.

RAM-is hoping to provide good memories for Wigan fans.

Thanks to all the contributors.

To read Part 1 (Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton & Fulham) click here:- http://georgeweahscousin.com/2012/08/15/premier-league-preview-part-1/

To read Part 2 (Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Newcastle & Norwich) click here:- http://georgeweahscousin.com/2012/08/17/premier-league-preview-part-2/

To read Part 3 (QPR, Reading, Southampton, Stoke & Sunderland) click here:- http://georgeweahscousin.com/2012/08/18/premier-league-preview-part-3/

Chris

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