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 Post subject: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:02 am 
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I am really looking forward to next season. There could be a lot of movement in the current top 6.

I'm setting myself up for failure with a prediction so early on, but I can see Tottenham improving with the squad they have. Klopp's teams usually get better over time he coaches them, I expect some improvement there as well.

For Chelsea and us, I think a lot depends on how the rest of the window goes. Chelsea need a striker, and we need to keep Sanchez and Özil.

I am not convinced by Man Utd yet, I think 4th place would be a good result for them. So far, City haven't really improved either.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:52 am 
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I am dead against the hype machine that now surrounds football, with every transfer link picked apart in minutiae, but this off-season has been fascinating. So much jockeying around the top clubs and, surprisingly, not Arsenal who appear to be struggling to purchase players.

(the term 'get a deal over the line' should be banned forever).

Arsenal - two very good deals. Whether Lacazette was the preferred striker or not, we now have a very sharp no.1 forward who will accentuate our style of play, who has a strong touch and is deadly. The main goal now has to be to ship out anywhere between 8-10 surplus players and free up some budget/wages to go on to perhaps make one more key acquisition. And keep Ozil/Sanchez into the season. As previous, the 3421 is not a magic bullet, but it suits the personnel we have and if Wenger sticks with it we could be looking in fine shape.

Chelsea - quite a negative pre-season to date. Two 1st team players punted, Rudiger in but seem to be struggling to bring in key targets. Hazard misses the start of the season and it remains to be seen whether they will be the same force whilst paying the 'title winner tax'. Additional games and not being able to rely on the same XI every week could be challenging. I don't think they'll retain the title.

City - 'chequebook Joseph' doing what he does best. Remains to be seen whether Guardiola can get across his ideas to his squad. Tactically, last season they were a mess. Will surely improve given the plethora of attacking talent, but their season will be defined by whether they can play in a focused team shape and cut out individual defensive errors / how their new defensive recruits integrate. And Kompany's fitness.

Liverpool - for me, it's all about Liverpool finding a striker and Klopp finding a way to mitigate his attacking style. Firmino did a good job last season and is ok as a forward in Klopp's shape, but Sturridge can't be relied on and will gone if he sits on the bench much longer, and Origi is a willing runner but limited player. They badly need either a proper striker or a very good alternative to Firmino. Also look very light in defensive options, exacerbated by nearly every CM they own being a baller/attack minded player.

Man Utd - I fancy they will be very strong. Mourinho has had a season to iron out his options. They were strong defensively last season even with ten injuries and a new lineup every week, albeit some of that came at the cost of being a potent attacking force. Lukaku will help them soak up pressure and hit on the break, but Mourinho is likely to get them playing more consistent football. Think there's a good chance Pogba could have a strong season. They look strong front to back; if Mourinho can decide on his best team and find improvements in the two/three behind Lukaku, I think they are a cert for the top four.

Spurs - I think their season will be defined by how they take to playing at Wembley. Strong in every strata, perhaps lacking in squad options but not horribly. Have demonstrated they can perform without key players. Hugely strong spine to the side. But there is plenty recent evidence (including Spurs) to show that teams really struggle to integrate to a new/loaned ground. The 'size of the Wembley pitch' is likely to be an overrated factor, but it could impact on their structure and render less effective their rabid pressing.

If I had to judge, I'd put my early money on Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea being in the top four. Inkling towards Spurs for the final spot.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:35 pm 
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LoneGunner wrote:
I am dead against the hype machine that now surrounds football, with every transfer link picked apart in minutiae, but this off-season has been fascinating. So much jockeying around the top clubs and, surprisingly, not Arsenal who appear to be struggling to purchase players.

(the term 'get a deal over the line' should be banned forever).

Arsenal - two very good deals. Whether Lacazette was the preferred striker or not, we now have a very sharp no.1 forward who will accentuate our style of play, who has a strong touch and is deadly. The main goal now has to be to ship out anywhere between 8-10 surplus players and free up some budget/wages to go on to perhaps make one more key acquisition. And keep Ozil/Sanchez into the season. As previous, the 3421 is not a magic bullet, but it suits the personnel we have and if Wenger sticks with it we could be looking in fine shape.

Chelsea - quite a negative pre-season to date. Two 1st team players punted, Rudiger in but seem to be struggling to bring in key targets. Hazard misses the start of the season and it remains to be seen whether they will be the same force whilst paying the 'title winner tax'. Additional games and not being able to rely on the same XI every week could be challenging. I don't think they'll retain the title.

City - 'chequebook Joseph' doing what he does best. Remains to be seen whether Guardiola can get across his ideas to his squad. Tactically, last season they were a mess. Will surely improve given the plethora of attacking talent, but their season will be defined by whether they can play in a focused team shape and cut out individual defensive errors / how their new defensive recruits integrate. And Kompany's fitness.

Liverpool - for me, it's all about Liverpool finding a striker and Klopp finding a way to mitigate his attacking style. Firmino did a good job last season and is ok as a forward in Klopp's shape, but Sturridge can't be relied on and will gone if he sits on the bench much longer, and Origi is a willing runner but limited player. They badly need either a proper striker or a very good alternative to Firmino. Also look very light in defensive options, exacerbated by nearly every CM they own being a baller/attack minded player.

Man Utd - I fancy they will be very strong. Mourinho has had a season to iron out his options. They were strong defensively last season even with ten injuries and a new lineup every week, albeit some of that came at the cost of being a potent attacking force. Lukaku will help them soak up pressure and hit on the break, but Mourinho is likely to get them playing more consistent football. Think there's a good chance Pogba could have a strong season. They look strong front to back; if Mourinho can decide on his best team and find improvements in the two/three behind Lukaku, I think they are a cert for the top four.

Spurs - I think their season will be defined by how they take to playing at Wembley. Strong in every strata, perhaps lacking in squad options but not horribly. Have demonstrated they can perform without key players. Hugely strong spine to the side. But there is plenty recent evidence (including Spurs) to show that teams really struggle to integrate to a new/loaned ground. The 'size of the Wembley pitch' is likely to be an overrated factor, but it could impact on their structure and render less effective their rabid pressing.

If I had to judge, I'd put my early money on Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea being in the top four. Inkling towards Spurs for the final spot.


I think bar Man United and now probably include Everton, the rest have been quite weak in their buying and selling, Man City have done their best impression of write any old figure on a piece of paper and add 20 million zeros to the end, Spurs must be laughing all the way to the bank having just pulled off the con deal of the century for Walker.

Liverpool as LG you quite rightly put still need a proper striker in order to make them true contenders and Chelsea are about to lose the pantomime villain and need someone to replace him and when they do find a replacement up comes the old manager in Boreinho and nabs them.

Man United will be a stronger outfit as long as the manager gets them playing right, Spurs have bought..................................................................... (Where is the tumbleweed smilie?)


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:58 pm 
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So Chelsea land Morata as their marquee signing. It'll be interesting to see how that pans out. Costa, for all his faults, gave them a lot. if nothing else, they have lost of a bit of character through their squad in general this summer. I do also wonder about Bakayoko. I haven't seen enough of him to judge fairly, but clubs are falling into the trap of thinking that every player at a high-performing team is automatically a gem. Lemar is, Mbappe is, Silva is very talented, I have a lot of respect for Kamil Glik; less convinced about Mendy and Bakayoko. Someone will get expensively burned this summer.

West Ham have seemingly landed Hernandez, adding to Arnautovic. Incredible how many players in the same type of positions they continue to pursue. They have acquired a raft of personnel since last summer, and to me look to be making similar mistakes. Lots of showboating in the transfer market but I'd be concerned how much balance and actual 'value' they are adding. Hernandez could do well, but he relies on service and they have a lot of individuals in the supporting cast. Feel their season looks a 40/60 - they could click and get back to a potent top 8 team, but I think they look more likely to underperform and have ousted Bilic by Christmas.

Bournemouth perhaps the most impressive business of the non top 6 clubs to-date. Quality no.1, versatile defender who did very well for Howe last season, and a veteran striker who could take a bit of the heat off Josh King and perhaps help to improve his game. Crucially, Howe (so far) has avoided his previous model of buying everything that moves and concentrated on quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:15 pm 
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Going for Europe Chelsea have replaced rather then added ((I like Morata but can he take that final step?) bar at centreback, depth is worse and Conte is fuming, if he walks Chelsea could be in trouble for CL fight but won't win league. Liverpool have added well in forward areas and added depth but have they done enough to improve their defence to push beyond 4th or 3rd? Klopp has two targets in mind and may still not get them. Man City have spent early and massively on key areas with some exciting additions but they need a centreback and DM, clearly struggling to raise money for those by moving players on and those two areas could cost them. Man U have spent big on certain areas, probably want a winger and a leftback but Jose prioritising on the winger, would expect them to push on and play with a bit more pace if Jose can avoid the hump. Spurs have the Wembley issue and the clear frustration of adding nobody yet, I suspect if it wasn't for their manager that some of the players would be pushing to move. Could well slip out of CL spots if reinforcements to freshen things up aren't forthcoming.


Midtabe: Everton have upgraded squad generally but will miss Lukaku, gap between them and CL is still too great but they have had a good summer. Bar adding Rooney who could be a problem. Bournemouth have recruited well including in attempting to tighten up their shaky backline, could do with another defender but will be fine under Howe. I do wonder how Iheanacho will fit into Leicester's style and how Shakespeare does, they have a decent squad with good potential additions so should be safe.

Southampton have changed manager which may well have to be the only thing to life the club as barely moved in transfer market and may lose their best defender, they will be fine but they need a cup run to prevent a sense of drift. Watford are Watford, new manager with Silva using them as platform, decent squad, will be fine though one or two defenders wouldn't have hurt. West Brom will be fine but their small squad could use some additions, Jay Rodriguez should give better attacking threat then Robson-Kanu at least.

Strugglers: Have Burnley upgraded? Dyche has added Walters and Bardsley, players whose legs are going, Cork who is a fine squad player and a potentially good leftback in Charlie Thomas. Could easily slip into trouble. For Palace, only one centreback and a new manager who could go either way, they will either struggle again or push on with De Boer. Stoke sees Mark Hughes trying to shake things up but Fletcher is really the answer? Departures have been the bigger news so far and though Stoke will survive, I wouldn't be surprised if Hughes is out before seasons end.

Swansea have added in one or two key areas and may be relying on Sigurddson money for rest, need to replace him and reshape a leaky defence, Clement made some bad decisions last time but expirence of last season should help him keep them out of trouble. West Ham have again an unbalanced transfer window, that porous backline has a new keeper behind it but Hart could use some help in front of him, Hernandez looks a great buy and there should be enough supplyline but Bilic being replaced and some defenders would also be a great move.

Promoted clubs: Brighton and Huddersfield have both lost their main keeper (Brighton probably getting upgrade, Huddersfield probably not) and moved quickly to strengthen and get players ready. Huddersfield may have had better window but Brighton start with stronger squad and more likely to survive. Newcastle have Benetiz and a decent squad to build on but the problem is they haven't built on it with failed transfers and clear disagreements between board and manager, this will not end well.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:39 am 
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Bored of hearing about Chelsea's squad depth now. They have about 100 players on loan and, unless the squad is being manipulated outside of Conte's control, I have had quite enough of seeing his moping face. They have brought in three expensive players, have sold only one (well, two really). He's hardly hard done by.

He did amazing things last season, but this summer is falling firmly in the Guardiola/Mourinho category of manager who can only play at an advantage. I have far more respect for both Klopp and Pocchetino who, akin to Wenger, just get on with their job whatever the circumstance and can actually manage under financial constraints. Proper managers, not walking egos.

Bottom three could be any of 10-11 teams this season. On the face of it, two of the three promoted teams have had a good summer both on the pitch and in the transfer market. I like the business Brighton are doing, although they badly need a striker - unless Izquierdo is being primed for the role. Huddersfield may still struggle to avoid the drop, but I do like Brighton's chances. Newcastle have the ability in the squad to stay up, but they haven't exactly attacked resolving weakness with vigour so far. It could be a case of Groundhog Day at St James'.

I fancy Burnley to struggle. They had a reasonable base to build from, but have lost their defensive mainstay and the only forward with an ounce of dynamism. I also fancy Stoke to be the 'surprise' struggler; never rated Hughes, not particularly enamoured by their transfer dealings and still don't have a forward worthy of the name other than the 36 year old giraffe. No real consistent output from any of the supporting cast in Arnautovic's absence. The burden on Shaqiri is going to be tremendous.

Swansea, Burnley, Huddersfield bottom three. Newcastle and Stoke to just about squeak to safety.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:18 pm 
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I don't think Chelsea have done enough in this window but I agree, Conte has partly paid for recalling Ake in January then not playing him so certain youngsters have left and loaning out lots of young players who could have provided depth. He also seems to have a history of not reacting well if transfer market doesn't go his way

However I'm not sure Chelsea last season counts as managing under an advantage. Burnley look doomed now they lost Gray and yes, I think Stoke will struggle.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:19 pm 
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Liverpool ship a 93rd minute equaliser, Gary Cahill sent off after 14mins - this is shaping up to be a good weekend so far!


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:19 pm 
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Coupled with every commentator saying that all these Conte statements are pleas to Abramovich to buy more players, none of the players on loan are obviously good enough to be even close to sitting on the subs bench let alone the first 11 in Conte's eyes, he just wants more money to spend.

I am starting to detest managers like this, would love to see how Conte or Pep would last at a club in the PL with the likes of Ashley in charge, they probably wouldn't go there in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:24 pm 
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Aaaand Burnley are 0-1 up.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:29 pm 
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Magic Hat wrote:
However I'm not sure Chelsea last season counts as managing under an advantage. Burnley look doomed now they lost Gray and yes, I think Stoke will struggle.


I'm referring only to his attitude in the transfer market.

Even last summer he had a downbeat look about him until they splashed £60m in the final days on Luiz and Alonso, and this summer has been more of the same. That club have an extraordinary amount of players, many of whom have been out in loan in the best leagues, yet none of them are ever given a chance, even at squad level. He just looks like another Mourinho in the making.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:43 pm 
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43mins, Chelsea 0 v 3 Burnley.

I'll leave it at that.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:28 am 
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swanny200 wrote:
would love to see how Conte or Pep would last at a club in the PL with the likes of Ashley in charge, they probably wouldn't go there in the first place.


Of course they wouldn't, they aren't idiots.

LoneGunner wrote:
I'm referring only to his attitude in the transfer market.

Even last summer he had a downbeat look about him until they splashed £60m in the final days on Luiz and Alonso, and this summer has been more of the same. That club have an extraordinary amount of players, many of whom have been out in loan in the best leagues, yet none of them are ever given a chance, even at squad level. He just looks like another Mourinho in the making.


I think there is a mixture of things here. The contract he got, that he won title despite being hampered by board and wanted more say but clearly hasn't got it, club has dragged out certain transfers, business has been slow. So there is reasons for his unhappiness.

However Conte does have a record of... hissy fits of transfers and going "I don't have a good enough squad" ala way he left Juve. His successor doesn't seem to have done too badly with that inadequate squad. He has mishandled things like Ake and he could be using his youth/loanees more to bring the depth he needs and it is clearly becoming an impact on the team. He is becoming a problem


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:04 pm 
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Chelsea are a complete joke of a club. They win the youth cups and leagues every year but not one of their youngsters seem to get a look in. They should never have sold Chalobah. He deserved a place in their squad following his perofrmance at the euros. Tammy Abraham was prolific last year at Bristol City and should have stayed along with Bertrand Traore. The likes of Loftus Cheek, Lewis Baker and Kurt Zouma will just stagnate if they stay there. Dominic Solanke is another youth product who has looked very good in pre season friendlies since he left for Liverpool. I agree with LG's opinion that Conte is becoming a 'Cheque Book Manager'.


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 Post subject: Re: Premier League 2017/18
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:30 pm 
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Chalobah's contract was running out and he demanded to leave and I think the loaning out of Tammy Abraham makes sense. However I have no belief that even if Tammy Abraham gets a decent amount of goals this season, he will get near Chelsea team. Or if Zouma has a strong camapign at Stoke and so on. Chelsea may loan out well but integrating those players into the squad and getting them game time has yet to be done and Conte's handling of Ake is going to fill none of them with hope.


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