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Premier League 2016/17 Preview

Premier-LeagueBehind us is one of most wonderful Premier League seasons, given that at the end Leicester won its first ever title, while at the same time title defender Chelsea ended at mere 10th position. Besides, favoured due from Manchester had fought in the very finish for only the fourth place, the last one that leads to the Champions League, and in the end it was Manchester City that succeeded, while for example famous Liverpool ended as eight and therefore we will not see it in European competitions. Remaining two positions that lead to the Champions League were occupied by Arsenal and Tottenham, while besides Manchester United in the Europa League will also play Southampton and West Ham. Because of all this it was no wonder that during summer transfer window almost all rich English teams have undergone major changes, both in terms of players and coaches, which suggests that ahead of us could be one of most interesting and uncertain seasons in the Premiership history. The season starts on 13 August with a match between returnee in the league Hull and reigning champion Leicester.

In order to familiarise you with current situation in 20 Premiership teams we have again prepared detail analysis for each team, with special focus on what they have done during the summer transfer window that is not over yet and traditionally brings several sensational transfers in its very finish. Regardless of that we have already formed three groups of teams and divided them into those which will struggle to survive, those which are supposed to be positioned around the golden mean, and at the end into those which should fight for the title and/or positions that lead into European competitions.  

Relegation

We will start again with individual analysis of teams from the weakest group, into we have put six teams for which we believe that will struggle to survive in the Premiership till the very end of season mostly due to modest budgets compared to other competitors. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the decisive factor, which previous season confirmed in the best way when the league have left famous Newcastle and Aston Villa, while on the other hand that should be certainly warning for all teams to play maximally seriously from the very start of season and without any calculations. Regarding the six names which we have put into the most endangered group, there are expectedly three that played in the Championship last season; Burnley, Hull and Middlesbrough, while their most serious competitors in the survival battle should be, in our humble opinion, Bournemouth, Sunderland and West Bromwich.

Burnley

BurnleyBurnley is one of two teams which after just one year of absence has returned in the English elite. They were in fact champions of Football League Championship last season, having at the end four points more than Middlesbrough and Brighton. It means they have been directly promoted to the Premier League and this time their intention is to stay in it longer than two years ago, when had expressly returned to the second league. In order to do so the club management has decided to keep 45-year old coach Dyche, given that he selected players for the team in last four seasons and is quite logical to best knows all of them.

It is why no wonder that so far in the transfer window not many things happened in Burnley, which indicates that Dyche probably relies the most into coordination of his team and fact that majority of players has sufficient Premier League experience. True, in the course of this summer they lost super-experienced trio which had large minutes in previous season; stopper Duff, and midfielders Barton and Taylor. Besides them the team have left goalkeeper Gilks and midfielder Dyer. On the other hand, only two players from Charlton have arrived, goalkeeper Pope and offensive Icelandic midfielder Gudmundsson, but it is already certain that they will not be among starters at the very beginning of season.

Probable starting lineups: Heaton – Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward – Boyd, Jones, Marney, Arfield – Gray, Vokes

Forecast for the new season: Of course, being well-coordinated is the biggest Burnley’s strength in their returnee season in the Premiership but having in mind that the competition will be also very strong it is really hard to expect that a team with such modest pool of players can avoid another express return in the second league.

Relegation (bottom 3): 2.00 at Sportingbet

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Hull

HullJust like Burnley, after just one year of absence Hull is back in the elite English league, which was something that could be expected given they had last year the most expensive team in the Championship. However, not everything went according to the plan and they ended the regular season at mere fourth place. Because of that they had to go through the promotion play-off but once in it they were up to the task and they eliminated Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday without much trouble. Despite that this summer they surprisingly ended contract with experienced coach Steve Bruce. In the moment when this text is written they still haven’t brought an adequate replacement and the team is coached by Bruce’s former assistant Mike Phelan.

Many believe that most blame for Bruce departure goes on the club management which decided to cut down the budget, and for the time being no new name has appeared on Hull’s roster, regardless that is already certain that goalkeeper McGregor and defenders Odubajo and Bruce will skip the beginning of season due to injuries. Also, not many players left which indicates that the same players who played in the finish of previous season will play at the beginning of new one. However, we need to point out that experienced stopper Taylor and forward Aluko are no longer with the team, while in the meantime loans for midfielder Hayden and forwards Powell and Akpom have expired.

Probable starting lineups: Jakupovic – Maguire, Dawson, Davies, Robertson – Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Livermore, Snodgrass – Diame – Hernandez

Forecast for the new season: Given that experienced Bruce will not coach Hull’s after four years of his reigns and that his successor is not known at the moment creates uncertainly where the biggest question how all that will reflect on Hull’s performances, which is the reason why we consider them very close to new return to the Football League Championship.

Relegation (bottom 3): 1.90 at mybet

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Bournemouth

BournemouthThis is going to be the second season in the Premiership for Bournemouth, which did better than expected its debut year as they secured survival almost two months before the end of season. Right because of that it was no wonder that they eased a bit in the final period and lost six out of last eight matches, but nevertheless they ended the season at 16th place having five points more than 18th-positoined Newcastle. Of course, the most deserving for all that is young coach Eddie Howe, who in just four years took the team from fourth league to the Premiership, where it kept it afloat without much trouble.

In accordance with that it is quite clear why some much richer clubs in England have showed interest for his services but he has already announced that will lead Bournemouth for one more season, although this time he will quite certainly have more difficult task as other teams will take Bournemouth more seriously. Because of that the club management has decided to dig deep into its pocket and for the time being they brought even six new players; defenders Smith from Liverpool and Ake from Chelsea, midfielders Ibe from Liverpool, Cook from Leeds and Hyndman from Fulham, and forward Mousset from French Le Havre. On the other hand, out of standard starters only midfielder Richie has left the team, while besides him the team left defenders Elphick, Distin and Zubar, and forward Murray, while loan for winger Iturbe has expired. Let’s add that due to injuries defenders Smith and Mings will skip the first part of season.

Probable starting lineups: Boruc – Francis, Cook, Daniels, AkeIbe, Gosling, Surman, Pugh – King, Wilson

Forecast for the new season: Although they played in the best possible way their debut season in the English elite this time Bournemouth is aware that now will have more difficult task, as expectations grew bigger. Right because of that and ever bigger pressure on coach Howe who is sought by much richer English teams, we have decided to again group them among main candidates for relegation to the Championship.

Relegation (bottom 3): 4.50 at Ladbrokes

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Sunderland

SunderlandFar more was expected from Sunderland last season but they maximally stretched nerves of their fans for the third season in a row as they feared of relegation for the whole time. However, after arrival of experienced coach Allardyce and several players in the winter transfer window many things turned for better for this team which ended one place above the drop zone. We need to stress fact that they lost just three times in the second half of season. During the summer coach Allardyce took over English national team and instead of him Scott Davis Moyes become Sunderland’s coach, who led Everton several years ago and then great Manchester United.

Of course that Sunderland’s fans expect from him better results than he made with Manchester United, in fact they expected him to continue where experienced Allardyce stopped in the second part of previous season. What is not good for Sunderland is fact that they brought no new reinforcements this summer and only midfielders Bridcutt and Gomez, and wingers Buckley and Mavrias have returned from loans. On the other hand, after expiration of loans the team have left defender Yedlin and midfielder M’Vila, as well as reserve forwards N’Doye and Toivonen, while experienced goalkeeper Harper and stoppers Brown and Roberge have gotten free hands.

Probable starting lineups: Mannone – Jones, Kaboul, Kone, van Aanholt – Kirchhoff – Borini, Rodwell, Cattermole, Khazri – Defoe

Forecast for the new season: After three seasons which they spent fearing for survival it is quite logical that something similar is again expected from Sunderland, especially as they changed the coach this summer and haven’t made anything significant in the transfer window, which means that will definitely lack large enough pool of good players.

Relegation (bottom 3): 3.60 at mybet

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Middlesbrough

MiddlesbroughThis is another returnee in the English Premier League after even eight years of absence. We need to stress that they dropped out from promotion race several times in its very finish, however last season they qualified for direct promotion being the second positioned team in the Championship, so they avoided all the stress that promotion play-off carries. In accordance with that it was logical decision by the club management to continue cooperation with Spanish coach Karanka, who in last three years brought great advancement to Middlesbrough play, which crown was promotion to the English elite football rank.

In order to stay there they certainly need wider choice of good players and therefore Karanka’s bosses have dug deep into their pockets this summer and have allocated sum for even seven new players, while on top of it they definitely bought contract from Southampton for offensive midfielder Ramirez. For the time being new names at Riverside are goalkeepers Valdes from Manchester United and Guzan from Aston Villa, defenders Barragan from Valencia and currently injured Espinosa from Sporting Gijon, midfielder de Roon from Atalanta and forwards Fischer from Ajax and Negredo from Valencia. Regarding departures, those who left are mostly players whose loans have expired like it is the case with goalkeeper Agazzi, defenders Kalas and de Leat, and forward Kike Solo, while experienced defenders Woodgate, Damia and Willams have gotten free hands.

Probable starting lineups: Valdes – Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend – Leadbitter, de RoonFischer, Ramirez, Downing – Negredo

Forecast for the new season: Although they brought high number of very good players this summer who should be on roster for the starting line-up right from the beginning the team’s coordination or lack of it could be Middlesbrough’s biggest problem which is the reason why we have put them into this group, although we believe that in the end they should avoid return in the Championship.

Relegation (bottom 3): 3.25 at mybet

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West Bromwich

WestBromwichThe last team that we put in the group of most endangered teams in West Bromwich, which earlier than usual secured its survival last season and ended at for them solid 14th place having six points more than 18th-positioned Newcastle. What definitely should worry their fans and experienced coach Pulis is fact that in last nine rounds they drew four and lost even five matches. During the summer they quite certainly had enough time to figure out what they mistake were and it is up to them to try to rectify them at the beginning of season.

Coach Pulis is know from before that he doesn’t like big changes and it was quite clear that his main objective this summer is to keep the skeleton team from previous season, of course having particularly in mind very experienced and robust defence. For the time being he managed to do so as the team have left only forward Anichebe and midfielders Sessagnon, Sandro and Pritchard, but the last two were anyway just loaned. On the other hand, new name in West Bromwich is midfielder Phillips who arrived from the Queens Park Rangers and he will probably immediately replace Morrison in the starting line-up, who has been injured for a long time, while on the injured list are also defender Gamoa and midfielder Brunt.

Probable starting lineups: Foster – Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Olsson – Yacob, Fletcher – Phillips, Gardner, McClean – Rondon

Forecast for the new season: The biggest plus for West Bromwich is that the team didn’t go through too many changes this summer, but on the other hand weaker end of previous season should worry them very much, so they will certainly have to make many improvements if they want to avoid survival struggle this time.

Relegation (bottom 3): 3.50 at Betsson

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Mid-table

Unlike the previous two years, we have this time decided to include eight teams in the second group, which is logical given that the term middle of the table is really wide. In addition, based on the experience from last season, when we got new champion Leicester from this group, and on the other hand lost the famous Newcastle and Aston Villa, then it is quite clear why we have now opted for a slightly higher number of teams, because some of them may show some unexpected progress this season, but also experience a drop in the danger zone. But, realistically, the teams of Watford, Crystal Palace, Swansea, Stoke, Southampton, Leicester, Everton and West Ham would primarily need to ensure survival in the league and a place in the middle of the table much earlier, while only in the case of some major setbacks of the richest sextet, some of them could possibly break into the top.

Watford

WatfordAmong these teams we certainly do not classify the popular “Hornets” from London, because this is normally only their second comeback season in the Premiership, but they would certainly be delighted to repeat the placement from the last season, when they ended up in 13th place. However, they were much better in the autumn part of the season, because at one point they even occupied positions that lead to Europe, but later they had some problems with absences, and were also tired from their performances on several fronts, so a decline in the lower part of the table was inevitable. We should also add that they reached the FA Cup semi-finals, but were defeated by their city rival Crystal Palace, and thus lost their chance to be in the final fight for their first trophy in the history.

However, despite such a good season, coach Flores decided to leave the team of Watford and return to Spain, while they instead brought the experienced Italian expert Mazzarri, who not long ago coached Napoli and Inter. Of course, he was expected to continue Flores’ work, especially since there were not any drastic changes in the team. The team has only lost defender Ekstrand, midfielders Jurado and Abdi and strikers Berghuis and Oulare, while the loan expired for defender Ake. On the other hand, the new names in Watford are defenders Dja Djedje from Marseille and Kabasele from Genk, midfielder Zuniga from Napoli and young strikers Success from Granada and Sinclair from Liverpool, while their goalkeeper Arlauskis, midfielder Doucoure and striker Vydra are all back from loans.

Probable starting lineups: Gomes – Dja Djedje, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas – Anya, Watson, Capoue, Doucoure – Deeney, Ighalo

Forecast for the new season: Although they brought a coach from Italy, Watford’s style of play will not probably change too much, especially if they by the end of the transfer period manage to keep their great offensive duo Deeney-Ighalo. That just means that we can this time expect them somewhere between 12 and 15 place on the table, provided that in case of any major problems with injuries, they might very easily end up close to the danger zone.

Relegation (bottom 3): 3.25 at mybet

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Finish in the Top 6: 51.00 at Unibet

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Crystal Palace

CrystalThis is another London team which has had a pretty good season, especially since they came all the way to the finals in the FA Cup, but were still defeated at Wembley by the great Manchester United after extra time with 2-1. In this way, Palace has missed the chance to reach their first trophy in the history, with the proviso that their commitment to the FA Cup eventually did not cost them too much because they ended up in 15th place in the championship. However, they have not feared for survival at any point, mainly because after the first part of the season, they had a huge point advantage over the teams from the relegation zone.

And to make even a better success this season, the leaders of the club have during the summer, in cooperation with the experienced manager Pardew, decided to bring three very good players, and those are goalkeeper Mandanda from Marseille, defender Tomkins from West Ham and midfielder Townsend from Newcastle, while they further boosted the competition with returnees from loans, midfielders Boateng and Williams. As for departures, those are mostly players who have rarely been the starters last season, such as goalkeepers McCarthy and Ketting, defenders Mariappa, Hangeland and McCarthy and strikers Gayle, Adebayor and Chamakh.

Probable starting lineups: Mandanda – Ward, Dann, Tomkins, Souare – Cabaye, McArthur – Townsend, Bolasie, Zaha – Wickham

Forecast for the new season: Of course it is really hard to expect that Palace will get to the very end in the Cups, but there is always hope, especially if they this time in the championship make a noticeable difference in points in relation to the most vulnerable teams. They have also during the summer brought three very good players, which is why we have decided to classify them again in this safe group, although they should eventually end up in the lower part of the table.

Relegation (bottom 3): 7.50 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 6: 26.00 at bet365

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Swansea

SwanseaThe only Welsh team in the elite rank of English football is constantly performing well for several years, so they finished in solid 12th place in the last championship. However, there were a few ups and downs, so they in the winter transfer period changed their young coach Monk and brought the experienced Italian expert Guidolin instead, who immediately managed to do some positive things, so it is not surprising that he got the chance to lead Swansea in the next season. But he is now of course expected to bring stability to the team, which according to the quality of the players belongs in the “golden” middle of the Premier League, but it also often happens that they at home defeat some of the English giants.

As for the composition for the next season, they traditionally first make sure that their starters remain in the team, and that was the case this time, so only the players who warmed the bench last year left the team during the transitional period. Among others, coach Guidolin will no longer be able to count on defender Bartley and strikers Gomis and Palloschi, but they also brought only two new players, goalkeeper Birighitti from Australia and the young defender van der Hoorn from Ajax. In addition, they have also definitely bought midfielder Fera from QPR, while their goalkeeper Tremmel, defenders Tabanou and Roberts and midfielder Dyer are all back from loans.

Probable starting lineups: Fabianski – Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor – Cork, Fer – Routledge, Sigurdsson, Montero – Ayew

Forecast for the new season: Given that the Welsh are expected to bring at least two quality strikers by the end of the transfer period, this team would get the much-needed width, which again it ultimately means that we should expect them somewhere in the middle of the table.

Relegation (bottom 3): 5.00 at mybet

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Finish in the Top 6: 29.00 at bet365

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Stoke

StokeA similar situation is certainly with the team of Stoke, especially since they have long time ago become the best example of a stable Premiership team, with the proviso that they in the last two seasons even managed to finish in the top half of the table, namely in ninth place. But they last year also had a slightly weaker period, which they luckily very quickly managed to overcome, so it is not surprising that they on the bench managed to keep the Welsh expert Mark Hughes for three years. It should be added that the main force of Stoke lies in their great performances at home and their extremely firm defence, while they in the meantime also significantly improved their efficiency, primarily thanks to the well-affected reinforcements in the last two seasons.

That is why they this summer brought only one offensive player, the young Egyptian Sobhi, while a new big reinforcement from Liverpool is midfielder Allen. And that is really all that they in this segment changed in the team of Stoke, although there was one name that left the team, the experienced striker Odemwingie. Of course that we expect more activity in this club by the end of the transfer period, especially when it comes to some new names, since it is already certain that their goalkeeper Butland, defenders Johnson and Wilson and midfielders Adam, Ireland and Afellay will all have to miss the start of the season due to injuries.

Probable starting lineups: Haugaard – Cameron, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Pieters – Imbula, Allen – Shaqiri, Bojan Arnautovic – Mame Diouf

Forecast for the new season: Regardless of these tremendous problems with injuries at the start of the season, the team of Stoke is still expected to continue providing good performances, and that should probably be enough for their new place in the middle of the table.

Relegation (bottom 3): 11.00 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 6: 15.00 at bet365

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Southampton

SouthamptonOne of the most interesting teams in the English Premiership is definitely Southampton, given that they despite various problems manage to improve their placement on the table for the third year in a row. Thus, they ended up in sixth place last year, which brought them the second consecutive placement in Europa League, and this time directly into the group stage. Naturally, this result is even more important when we know that they for several years during the summer transfer period remain without some key players, while last year coach Koeman also had a lot of problems with absences.

However, he managed to get through all this in the best way and thus only further promote himself, which has immediately brought him to the famous Everton during this summer, while they instead of him brought the French expert Puel to Southampton, who otherwise last year with the team of Nice recorded excellent results in Ligue 1. Another major challenge is in front of him now, especially since they during the summer lost strikers Pelle, Mane and Juanmi, midfielder Wanyama and goalkeepers Gazzaniga and Davis, while the loan expired for the experienced goalkeeper Stekelenburg. It was therefore inevitable to bring several quality signings, like the goalkeeper McCarthy from Crystal Palace, midfielders Pied from Nice and Hojbjerg from Bayern Munich and winger Redmond from Norwich.

Probable starting lineups: Forster – Soares, van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand – Pied, Clasie, Davis – Redmond, Long, Tadic

Forecast for the new season: Considering that they in the last three seasons every time managed to climb one position in the table, we certainly now expect a very good game from the “Saints” from Southampton, with the proviso that the departure of coach Koeman will probably leave a certain mark on the team and therefore they could this time end up out of positions that lead to Europe, but definitely in the top of the table.

Relegation (bottom 3): 20.00 at mybet

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Finish in the Top 6: 4.50 at bet365

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Leicester

LeicesterWhat to say about the team of Leicester that we have not heard already, given that they were last season definitely the most beautiful sports story in the world of football. Although they were only in 12th place in the Premier League according to their budget, coach Claudio Ranieri’s players at the end came to their first league title in England’s history, and this was without any drama at the finish of the season. Thus they left behind even five to ten times richer teams then them, and finally returned faith in this beautiful game to all lovers of football, because they simply showed that if you have a big fighting spirit and faith, you can eventually defeat even the money.

Of course this will all be a lot more difficult to repeat in the next season, especially since their team is already slowly starting to dissipate, while they also have extremely demanding performances in the Champions League. However, for the time being they have only lost midfielder Kante from the key players from last season, while in the meantime striker Vardy signed a new contract and thus definitely confirmed that he does not want to change the team this summer. On the other hand, this cannot be said for midfielder Mahrez, who is already negotiating with Arsenal and so they a few days ago brought a talented 19-year-old Kapustka as his replacement from Cracovie. Besides him, the new names in Leicester are goalkeeper Zieler from Hannover, defender Hernandez from Sporting Gijon, midfielder Mendy from Nice and striker Musa from CSKA Moscow, while defenders Benalouane and de Laet and striker Lawrence are all back from loans. On the other hand, except Kante, they have also lost goalkeeper Schwarzer and midfielder Dyer, who was already on loan.

Probable starting lineups: Schmeichel – Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs – Mahrez (Kapustka), Mendy, Drinkwater, Albrighton – Musa, Vardy

Forecast for the new season: As we mentioned in our analysis it will be very difficult for Leicester to repeat last year’s dream season, primarily because they will be taken much more seriously from the start, and in addition they also have to perform in the Champions League. When we add the departure of Kante, and probably of Mahrez, then it is quite clear why we should not expect a new fight for the top of the Premier League, but it could also very easily happen that they stay even without the placement in Europe.

Relegation (bottom 3): 15.00 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 6: 3.25 at bet365

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Everton

EvertonUnlike Leicester who has had a dream season, we can safely say for the team of Everton that they want to forget what happened to them in the past year. However, they still managed to end up on a solid 11th place, given that they were for the most of the season just above the relegation zone, while there was no way they could qualify for Europe. This is why it is no surprise that their coach Martinez got fired at the very end of the season, while they brought the Dutch expert Koeman on the bench, who was doing a great job in Southampton in the past two seasons.

Of course that he is expected to as soon as possible return this glorious team in the top of the Premier League, with the proviso that Everton’s fans would probably be happy even if they qualify for Europa League. But what is not really going in favour of Koeman at the moment is the fact that they during the summer brought only three new players, goalkeeper Stekelenburg from Fulham, midfielder Gueyea from Aston Villa and striker Tarasha from Grasshoppers. And Everton’s roster has a much higher quality names at the moment, it really is difficult to expect that any of them will be in the starting lineup. As for departures, the team has lost goalkeeper Howard, defenders Hibbert, Stones and Mattioni and midfielders Osman and Pienaar. But their top scorer from last season Lukaku might also leave the team by the end of the transfer period, and if by chance it happens then Everton urgently needs appropriate replacements in these positions.

Probable starting lineups: Robles – Coleman, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines – McCarthy, Cleverley – Deulofeu, Barkley, Mirallas – Lukaku

Forecast for the new season: With the assumption that they by the end of the transfer period manage to keep Lukaku, and bring some quality reinforcements, the team of Everton could in the next season show a much better game than last year, and that means that they should definitely finish in the top half of the table, while they may even be able to join the fight for placement in Europe.

Relegation (bottom 3): 34.00 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 6: 5.00 at Unibet

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West Ham

WestHamFor the very end of the so-called “safe group”, we have a team of West Ham, which had a very good season, especially since they finally managed to reach the last seventh place that leads in Europe. However, they can in some way thank the teams from Manchester for all this, because they were in the finals of the English Cup better than Liverpool and Crystal Palace, so the “Hammers” were seventh, and thus for the second season in a row managed to qualify in Europa League. Here we also need to especially mention their coach Bilic, who in his first season on the bench for a team in which he once performed as a player, showed that he is a great football expert, especially because he during the championship season managed to pull off a few big scalps, mostly celebrating away.

However, this team is now expected to make that extra step, but it is a struggle for a place in the Champions League, although that was not too far last year, because at the end they were only four points behind the fourth Manchester City. As for the composition, things are still a lot unclear because the media are announcing some big boosts in West Ham, but for now they only brought midfielder Nordtveit from Borussia Monchengladbach and wingers Tore from Besiktas and Feghouli from Valencia, while they also managed to repurchase the contract for the talented midfielder Lanzini. However, he should miss the introductory part of the season because of injury, just like their defender Cresswell and therefore Bilic would soon have to look for substitutes in those positions. We should also mention that the “Hammers” during the summer lost two defenders Tomkins and O’Brien, and in addition the loans have expired for midfielder Song and strikers Moses and Emenikeu.

Probable starting lineups: Adrian – Antonio, Ogbonna, Reid, Byram – Kouyate, Noble – Torah, Payet, Sakho – Carroll

Forecast for the new season: Since the “Hammers” have already under the leadership of coach Bilic showed great progress in the game last season and eventually qualified for Europa League, we believe that things could look even better now, especially if they manage to keep their best player Payet by the end of transfer period.

Relegation (bottom 3): 34.00 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 6: 4.00 at bet365

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Top 6 and Title

The very end of this presentation of teams that will next season compete in the English Premier League, brings us the strongest group in which we have quite expectedly for the third year in a row included the six richest teams. However, last year we were all absolutely surprised by the sensational Leicester, which eventually completely surpassed the mentioned six, but they will probably this season certainly be much more cautious in this fight for the very top. Especially because the London’s Chelsea and duo from Manchester brought new coaches, who have a handful of trophies, while Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have matured in the meantime and are now definitely ready for the greatest things.

Tottenham

TottenhamHowever, the Spurs were for the most part of the last year’s season the most serious competitor to Leicester in the fight for the title, but they still faltered at the finish and eventually even lost the second place to their city rival Arsenal. But it was essential for coach Pochettino’s players that they have after a long time ensured direct placement in the Champions League, while they were eliminated from the title race three rounds before the end when they won only one point against Chelsea away. Otherwise, the Spurs have ended the season as the second highest scoring team in the league, while they in their ranks had the top scorer Kane. Apart from him, they now have another big star in the team, 20-year-old midfielder Alli, who really proved himself and was later called to be a regular member of the national team of England at EURO.

From this first setup, the Spurs also have the great Danish midfielder Eriksen and Belgian central defender-duo Alderweireld-Vertonghen, who were in the end were the most responsible why their team, together with United, received the least goals in the league. Their great performances were the main reason why the leaders of Tottenham primarily decided to retain the existing staff and so far, no one has left the White Hart Lane. On the other hand, they were further strengthened with two great players, midfielder Wanyama from Southampton and striker Janssen from the Dutch Alkmaar, while we should also add that Vertonghen will have to miss the introductory part of the season due to injury, so the Austrian Wimmer will take his place.

Probable starting lineups: Lloris – Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen (Wimmer), Rose – Dier, Wanyama – Lamela, Alli, Eriksen – Kane

Forecast for the new season:  After they were last year almost till the end in the fight for the title, the Spurs are certainly hoping that they could this season finally get to the long-desired goal, but considering that the competition will be extremely fierce they should in our opinion eventually contend with the new placement in the Champions League.

Finish in the Top 6: 1.30 at Unibet

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Finish in the Top 4: 2.20 at Ladbrokes

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League Winner: 10.00 at Ladbrokes

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Liverpool

LiverpoolLiverpool has had another unsuccessful season, especially because we will not after a long time watch them at the European championships, but on the other side this might be good for them, because they can now fully devote their attention to the Premiership. They took the eight place last year, with two points behind West Ham and three from Southampton, while they before that missed a great opportunity for placement in Europe, as well as winning the trophy, in the finals of League Cup, where Manchester City was better than them after a penalty better. In addition, at the end of the season, they were also defeated in Europa League finals by Seville, so we can safely say that this is really a perfect time to oblivion for the Reds.

After the arrival of the charismatic coach Klopp, in October last year, they have significantly raised the level of their game, but they in the end had a lot of problems with injuries, and they were exhausted due to all those performances on multiple fronts. This is why Klopp expects a much better performance from them in the championship, especially since he in the summer had the opportunity to choose new signings and he brought six new players. Among them, of course, we must mention the great midfielders Mane and Wijnaldum, who arrived from Southampton and Newcastle, while new names at Anfield are also goalkeepers Karius from Mainz and Manninger from Augsburg, defenders Matip from Schalke and Klavan from Augsburg. Apart from them, there are now five players who have returned from their loans, while on the other hand nine players have left the team, but they all generally have not had a lot of playing time last season. We should also add that newcomers Karius and Klavan and French defender Sakho will all have to miss the beginning of the season due to injuries.

Probable starting lineups: Mignolet – Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Moreno – Henderson, Emre Can – Mane, Wijnaldum, Coutinho – Sturridge

Forecast for the new season:  Although they have during this summer brought the most reinforcements of all the teams that were included in this strongest group, we think that the Reds do not have sufficient capacity to engage in the fight for the title this season, so a placement in the Champions league should actually be their maximum range.

Finish in the Top 6: 1.40 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 4: 2.50 at bwin

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League Winner: 10.00 at Ladbrokes

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Chelsea

ChelseaThe popular “Blues” from London were definitely the biggest losers last season, because they have above all other things failed to win the national title, while they ended up at the miserable 10th place in the championship, so we will not also watch them at the European championships. They certainly have not deserved to be in those competitions, which is best confirmed by the fact that they were not at any time in the Premier League in positions that lead to Europe, while they were on the other hand stopped quite early in both English Cups and the Champions League. Therefore, it is not surprising that they first in December last year fired their coach Mourinho and instead brought the Dutchman Hiddink, who admittedly was only a temporary solution, and so the new coach, Italian expert Antonio Conte, arrived during the summer at Stamford Bridge, who has quite successfully led the team of Juventus and the Italian national team.

Of course that Conte is now primarily expected to return the “Blues” at the top of English football, while they certainly have big ambitions in the Champions League. However, there was not a lot of trading in this team during the summer as expected, and they only brought two new reinforcements, midfielder Kante from Leicester and young striker Batshuayi from Marseille, while a large number of players are back from loans, but they might also during the summer change the environment. However, there are some players who have already left this team, such as goalkeeper Amelia and defender Baba, while the loans expired to borrowed strikers Falcao and Patu. All this only tells us that Chelsea is about to do the greatest things in this transfer period, especially since they are some rumours about departures of Ivanovic, Matic, Oscar and Diego Costa.

Probable starting lineups: Courtois – Ivanovic (Kennedy), Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta – Matic (Mikel), Kante – Willian, Fabregas, Hazard – Diego Costa (Batshuayi)

Forecast for the new season:  We believe that the special attention will be paid to this year‘s performances of Chelsea, especially since they now have a very interesting coach, but if his boss Abramovich does not buy some new reinforcements until the end of the transfer period, then the popular “Blues” will hardly be in the closest competition for the title.

Finish in the Top 6: 1.20 at Unibet

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Finish in the Top 4: 1.57 at Sportingbet

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League Winner: 7.00 at Interwetten

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Manchester United

Manchester_UnitedThe most successful English team, Manchester United, is certainly in a similar situation as with Chelsea, but they were until the end in the competition at least for placement in the Champions League, but they lost it because of a somewhat worse goal difference than their city rival City. Namely, the “Red Devils” have ended up in fifth place and from September they will compete only in the group stage of Europa League, while their fans could find a little consolation in winning the FA Cup, after they were in the grand finale at Wembley better than Crystal Palace after extra time with 2-1.

But all this was not enough to retain the experienced Dutch coach Van Gaal, so they brought instead another charismatic expert, Jose Mourinho, who not so long ago cost United’s fans a headache when he was leading the team of Chelsea. And to make things even more interesting, the Swedish striker Ibrahimovic became a new member of the “Red Devils”, who was in recent years a very successful member of the French PSG. Besides him, other names that arrived at Old Trafford are Midfielder Pogba, defender Bailly from Villarreal and midfielder Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund, while only the young defender Varela left the team. Otherwise, all new players are now expected in United’s starting lineup, while there are some rumours about the arrival of other great players.

Probable starting lineups: De Gea – Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw – Schneiderlin, Pogba – Mkhitaryan, Rooney Martial – Ibrahimovic

Forecast for the new season:  Whether some players will arrive at Old Trafford by the end of the transfer period or not, the current team of Manchester United, led by Mourinho and Ibrahimovic, certainly provokes awe of all the opponents, so we should therefore definitely rank them among the main candidates for the title of English champions.

Finish in the Top 6: 1.14 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 4: 1.45 at mybet

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League Winner: 4.60 at bwin

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Manchester City

Manchester_CityAnd there is also the second club from Manchester, City, which has had a very difficult and exhausting season, because they came pretty far in all competitions in which they played. However, they only made it to the very end in the League Cup, and that was after they in the grand finale defeated Liverpool after a penalty, while they in the Champions League for the first time in the history came all the way to the semi-finals, where they were stopped by the later winner of this competition, Real Madrid. On the other hand, they ended up in fourth place in the championship, only thanks to a better goal difference than their city rival United, while they failed the most in the FA Cup, where they were eliminated in the round of sixteen by Chelsea at home with even 5-1.

But in all this we should especially mention somewhat incorrect move of the administration of this club that already at the start of the second part of the season announced that coach Pellegrini will in the summer be replaced by the Spanish expert Guardiola, so this Chilean have not had the easiest time to keep things in order in the rest of the season. However, he has left a high-quality team to his successor, which was in the summer only further reinforced by midfielder Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund, defender Stones from Everton and strikers Sane from Schalke and Nolito from Aston Villa, while the young midfielder Zinchenko arrived from the Russian Ufa, but he will probably soon move to City’s B team. On the other hand, only the experienced center-back Demichelis has left the team during the summer, while defender Kompany and midfielder Gundogan are both out of action due to injuries, so their places in the starting 11 should be filled by Mangala and experienced Yaya Toure.

Probable starting lineups: Hart – Sagna, Stones, Otamendi, Clichy – Fernandinho, Gundogan (Yaya Toure) – de Bruyne, Silva, Nolito – Aguero

Forecast for the new season:  Of course that coach Guardiola is expected to immediately this season return the trophy of the English champions back into the showcases of Manchester City, especially since a few new names are expected to enter this team by the end of the transfer period, so the competition for the first team will perhaps be even the strongest of all the teams in the league.

Finish in the Top 6: 1.08 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 4: 1.20 at Ladbrokes

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League Winner: 3.60 at bwin

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Arsenal

ArsenalAnd for the very end of our presentation of the six teams that should this season fight for the top of the English Premiership, we have London’s Arsenal, which is a regular member of this group in recent years, provided that they never managed to go to the very end. Thus, last year in the finish of the championship they managed to surpass their local rival Tottenham and win the second place, but it was already several rounds before clear to everyone that they would never compromise the new champion Leicester. On the other hand, unlike the previous two years, they were this time left without a trophy in the FA Cup, while they were in the Champions League again stopped in the round of sixteen by Barcelona.

But what is perhaps the most interesting is that the leaders of Arsenal still have great confidence in the experienced French coach Wenger, so they decided to give him another chance, especially because his contract expires in the summer of next year. And it actually means that he will himself do everything in his power to bring a long time the title to the “Gunners” and thus interrupt the dominance of their city rival Chelsea and a duo from Manchester, which were last year to the surprise of many disrupted by Leicester. However, in order that Wenger finally achieves the long-desired goal, he will have to bring some more reinforcements by the end of the transitional period, because they have so far only brought the Swiss midfielder Xhaka and little-known midfielder Holding and striker Asan, especially because they will in the first part of the season be deprived of the service of the injured defender Mertesacker and striker Welbeck. We should also mention that only the experienced midfielders Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky have left the Emirates during the summer.

Probable starting lineups: Cech – Bellerin, Koscielny, Paulista, Monreal – Coquelin, Xhaka – Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez – Giroud

Forecast for the new season: Assuming that they will probably be further strengthened by the end of the transfer period, we expect that the team of Arsenal will just like in previous years, get immediately involved in the fight for the title of champion of England, and if they by any chance get lucky ad stay unharmed, they could at the very end of the season finally found themselves on the throne itself.

Finish in the Top 6: 1.17 at bet365

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Finish in the Top 4: 1.57 at Ladbrokes

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League Winner: 7.50 at Unibet

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