Friday, August 9, 2013

Premier League preseason rankings 11-20

Here's the bottom half of the table.

Usually this is much harder to predict, and most likely I'll get this wrong.  But I've made it with the intention of averaging out where they could finish since one or two unpredictable games throws this out of whack.

11. Norwich City 45 points:  Adding Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper gives them more consistent striking options than Grant Holt, who joined Wigan in the Championship.  Their back 4 has some issues, so while you can expect them to attack a bit more, they're still prone to suffering big defeats so they'll probably finish below Fulham on goal difference.
12. West Bromwich Albion 45 points: Romelu Lukaku won't be around this time, so they could suffer a drop-off in goals scored but overall they defend pretty well, and will stay out of the relegation scrap. That being said the last two years they were mathematically assured of survival, they basically coasted to the end of the season.  
13. West Ham 44 points:  Sam Allardyce divides opinion. Some people can't stand his emphasis on long balls and physical play, while others are just happy that it works and keeps them up.  As with a lot of his previous teams he can get a couple decent signings to keep them in the Premier League but the impact wears off.  Signing Andy Carroll suits their style of play.
14. Cardiff City 42 points:  They stormed their way through the Championship, made some okay signings, certainly more than their competitors, and from what I've seen they play decent football. It may take a while to reach the magic 40 point mark, but I think they'll reach it.  Probably the most likely of the newly promoted sides to survive.
15. Aston Villa 41 points: Keeping Christian Benteke was a huge plus for Paul Lambert's young side. Lambert's unafraid to play young players and while they suffered some thrashings midway through the season, they played well towards the end of the season.  They may struggle for a bit, but should secure safety by early April.
16. Sunderland 40 points: While Paulo di Canio gave Sunderland the boost they needed towards the end, he seems most likely to suffer from second-season syndrome, despite the signings he's made.  Sunderland had a pretty poor disciplinary record too, Altidore may have a point to prove as he struggled in England when he played for Hull City, and Giaccherini might impress
17. Newcastle United 38 points: This club is in a huge mess, ranging from issues such as internal power struggles, a sporting director who can't pronounce his own players' names and is so deluded with his own managerial success, Papiss Cisse's refusal to wear the Wonga logo, etc.  They probably won't go down, but it's definitely not a situation you want to be in.
18. Stoke City 34 points (R): Mark Hughes may be a great interviewer considering how many jobs he's left or been sacked from, but the pressure will be on him immediately.
19. Crystal Palace 29 points (R):  Unless they get a couple players back from loan, they probably won't stay up.  Too many Championship players on their belt, not enough players reinvested in.  
20. Hull City 26 points (R): Sorry, Hull City Tigers that is.  Still have a team largely built with championship players, and Steve Bruce has yet to make any improvements.     

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