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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Premier League Table Predictions 2013/2014 Season

Now, for my first non-music-related post, my predictions for how the EPL table will look at the end of the season. With teams kicking off for the first time this Saturday, it's time to take a stab at how the year will play.

1. Chelsea
Even if they don't get Rooney, which it seems they will, they still have the firepower and the manager to pull this off. A loaded midfield and stellar squad depth will help Jose Mourinho work his magic during the 2013/2014 Premier League season. Player to watch: Romelu Lukaku

2. Manchester City
The loss of Carlos Tevez was essentially cancelled out by the additions of Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo and former Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic. New manager Manuel Pelligrini will have an arsenal of players at his disposal and will provide more stability than ex-skipper Roberto Mancini, so expect City to retain their table position from last year. Fernandinho may end up an expensive mistake, but that won't stop City from having another great season. Player to watch: Jesus Navas

3. Manchester United
RVP probably won't score as much as last season, Rooney is on his way out, a new manager already feeling the pressure and a lack of summer additions will end with United sliding down the table after last year's landslide league victory. If the team manages to pilfer Everton pair Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, they may have a shot at repeating as champions. But so far Everton has remained resilient their efforts to hold on to the duo, so expect a squad very similar to last year's. Player to watch: David de Gea

4. Tottenham/Everton (Spurs if Bale stays, Everton if he leaves)
5. Tottenham/Everton (Everton if Bale stays, Spurs if he leaves)
This is where it gets tricky, with the transfer window still open at time of posting. If Everton lose Baines & Fellaini to United then it would be a moot point, but expect them to stay as Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has so far been adamant he won't sell. The transfer saga surrounding Gareth Bale is exhausting at this point, but if he leaves I doubt Spurs will have the scoring ability needed to qualify for Champions League football next season. Still, they've added great physicality in midfielder by purchasing Brazil's Paulinho, and other new additions Robert Soldado and Nacer Chadli will look to impress. Everton managed to finish 6th last year despite not having a striker who could score consistently, and have now gone out and gotten one in Arouna Kone. Having lost no starts from last season, and seeing the return of Magaye Gueye from loan in Ligue 1, the future looks bright for the Merseyside team. Players to watch: Nacer Chadli, Kevin Mirallas

6. Arsenal
Unless by some miraculous break of character Arsene Wenger snags pricey and controversial Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez from Liverpool, expect Arsenal to disappoint this campaign. It appears they'll soon be signing Luis Gustavo, but other than that the squad remains relatively unchanged, with  Yana Sonogo the only other player to be brought in this summer. It's doubtful Theo Walcott will score at the same year this year as last, and unless Suarez joins, Arsenal won't reach the Champions league this year. Player to watch: Carl Jenkinson

7. Liverpool
Regardless of whether Suarez stays or goes, Liverpool's inconsistencies will prevent them from progressing up the table. January transfers Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge started their Liverpool careers brightly, and Stephen Gerrard is unbendable in midfield. But a lack of midfielder depth and shaky defense will inhibit the squad this turn around. Player to watch: Simon Mignolet

8. Swansea City
Similarly to Everton, Swansea can only improve after adding a proven poacher to a maintained starting 11. Vitesse's Wilfried Bony could run rampant this year, and while Michu will most likely regress slightly this year, as seen by his performances near the end of last season, the st of the squad is balanced enough to help Swansea compete for European football in the Europa League. Jprdi Amat and Jonjo Shelvey can't hurt, either. Player to watch: Wilfried Bony

9. West Brom
The loss of Chelsea loaned Romelu Lukaku hurts, but the addition of veteran defender Diego Lugano will help solidify a previously weak defense. Player to watch: Shane Long

10. Norwich City
Chris Hughton is, in my opinion, the most underrated manager in the league, and a bevy of solid additions will help his squad reach new heights this upcoming campaign. Dutch box-to-box midfielder Leroy Fer, English starlet winger Nathan Redmond, and striking duo Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel, both with European football experience, will bolster a squad after the departure of Grant Holt. This team could easily finish up to 7th if they win a few important matches and play consistently. Player to watch: Leroy Fer

11. Sunderland
I think Paolo Di Canio will excel in his first full year as Sunderland skipper, and, like Norwich, the team has added a small army of players this summer. Juventus midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini, American striker Jozy Altidore, and Lazio defender Modibo Diakite will all help improve the team that was nearly relegated in 2012-2013. Outgoing keeper Simon Mignolet was replaced with Vito Mannone from Arsenal, a downgrade, but not much of one. Player to watch: Jozy Altidore

12. Southampton
Two big additions in Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama will fortify the Saints during their second year back in the BPL. Young fullbacks Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw could blossom this season and hold their own as some of England's most promising youngsters.  Player to watch: Adam Lallana

13. Aston Villa
Danish center-back Jores Okore could be the most underrated transfer of this summer. A strong, quick defender who is fantastic on the ball, Okore can do everything and can singlehandedly control the tempo of a match. Other new players, such as Nicklas Helenius, as well as the growing experience of a young squad, will help Villa improve upon last season's near-bottom finish. Plus, Christian Benteke isn't going anywhere. Player to watch: Jores Okore

14. Fulham
Playmaker Adel Taarabt, Dutch keeper Martin Stekelenburg, and Spanish defender Fernando Amorebieta will help make one the league's most boring sides a little more exciting, but expect more of the same from a Fulham team that lacks an identity. Player to watch: Dimitar Berbatov

15. West Ham
A team that overachieved last year, the Hammers are still a solid team with players like Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble defining the word "consistency." If Andy Carroll can stay off the injured list then maybe West Ham will make strides, but their EPL honeymoon looks set to end with the upcoming year.

16. Cardiff City
The Bluebirds ran away with the nPower Championship last year, and have made several solid transfers by bringing in the likes of Steven Caulker, a proven BPL defender, and Andreas Cornelius, one of Europe's greatest diamonds-in-the-rough. Player to watch: Andreas Cornelius

17. Newcastle
A team full of injury-prone question marks and an accused rapist does not make for a solid Premier League team. Loic Remy is the only new addition worth noting, and he may not even get the chance to play this season. Yohan Cabaye could be on his way out, and unless my prediction is wrong, so too could Alan Pardew.

18. Hull City
They've been able to bring in some solid players, such as Danny Graham and Yannick Sagbo, but I see Hull just falling short of avoiding relegation this year. Player to watch: Yannick Sagbo

19. Stoke City
Strike one: No obvious scoring threats
Strike two: A weak midfield unimproved after the team only brought in defenders, by far their strongest position already.
Strike three: Mark Hughes is your manager.
Player to watch: Brek Shea

20. Crystal Palace
It's Crystal Palace. Seriously, though, they lost their best player by far to Manchester United in Wilfired Zaha, and have failed to sign him back on loan. The loss of Andre Moritz doesn't help, nor does the lack of impact player additions. Player* to watch: Ian Holloway (I know he's a manager, but possibly the most entertaining one in the world.)

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