Premier League Review 2014/15: January/February/March

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Apologies for the delay in writing this, we’ve just past the 3/4 mark in this Premier League season but hopefully it’s not too late to write my third review of it.

I’ll be looking how my pre-season predictions compare with the current table at this stage, with just eight games remaining for the majority of the clubs, and consider if each clubs league position matches their expectations.

You can find the pre-season predictions here

August, September and October review here

November and December review here

I realise it may look a bit confusing if you haven’t seen my earlier reviews, but basically the number in brackets is the difference between the current league position and my pre-season predictions. An example would be I predicted Manchester United to finish 6th, they’re currently 4th, so that’d be (+2).

Hopefully you’ll find it interesting to look back at how the Premier League teams have progressed throughout the season, I can happily say that despite a couple of exceptions (thanks Southampton!) I wasn’t as far off with my predictions as I had feared!

Who do you think will finish in the top 4?

Premier League

1st (+0): Chelsea – The top 2 has almost perfectly matched my predictions throughout the season but I don’t think there were many doubts this year would be a joint battle between Chelsea and Man City. Chelsea’s position doesn’t look as secure as it did a couple of months ago but it would have to take something special for anyone to reach them at this stage.

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Premier League New Signings Round-up: Winter 2015

Well I think it’s safe to say it wasn’t the deadline day that everyone was hoping for but there were still several key signings this window in the hope of improving the team for the second half of the season.

In this post I’ll be doing a club-by-club round-up for every major signing or exit made this winter transfer window as well as offering my thoughts as to who is the best and worst piece of business for each football club.

I tried this out last summer and was met with good feedback so I thought I’d do it again, plus for some reason I always enjoy making lists! You can visit my Summer 2014 Transfer Round-up here.

Finally it’s worth noting that you should take the transfer fees with a pinch of salt. While the secrecy of ‘undisclosed’ is annoying, it means some reported figures may be less accurate. I have however looked across several sources to try to get a good feel for any undisclosed fees.

Arsenal

Total spending: £13.7m, Total sales: £0, Winter net spend: £13.7m

Summer net spend: £56.3m, Total net spend: £70m

Ins 

21 January 2015 Krystian Bielik, signed from Legia Warsaw for £2.4m
28 January 2015 Gabriel Paulista, signed from Villarreal for £11.3m

Outs

5 January 2015 Lukas Podolski, moved to Internazionale on loan
13 January 2015  Yaya Sanogo, moved to Crystal Palace on loan
27 January 2015 Joel Campbell, moved to Villarreal on loan

Starting with Arsenal, the Gunners certainly came into the transfer window filled with optimism being one of the most in-form teams combined with improving performances. It’s perhaps therefore understandable to see Arsene Wenger choose to keep faith in his squad with the exception of the young defensive midfielder Krystian Bielik who is tipped to be something special in the future, and Gabriel Paulista, a 24 year old Brazilian centre back from Villarreal.

Paulista seems a logical signing in a position only previously occupied by Mertesacker and Koscielny. I imagine fans will be sad to see Podolski leave as he has always struck me as a fantastic player to have in your squad, but with so many attacking players now available after recovering from injury, I doubt he’d have much game time.

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Premier League Review 2014/15: November/December

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Happy New Year everyone! Sorry for a pause in my posting, I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas! The Premier League has just past the half way point and I thought I’d continue my season ‘review’ after the positive reception last time.

I’ll be looking how my pre-season predictions compare with the current table at this mid-point, and consider if each clubs league position matches the expectations.

You can find the pre-season predictions here

August, September and October review here

Hopefully the layout isn’t too confusing! Basically the number in brackets is the difference between the current position and my pre-season predictions. For example I predicted Leicester City to finish 13th, they’re currently sitting bottom at 20th (that’ll soon change!) so there is a difference of -7.

Let me know what your thoughts on the Premier League are so far!

Premier League

1st (+0): Chelsea – Well Chelsea are still top but their position is no longer as secure as it was back in October. Man City are now level on points but I still believe the squad that Mourinho has is the strongest of the two. I highly doubt we’ll see another ‘Liverpool’, a club which dramatically rises up this second half. They’re almost in a league of their own.

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Defending Brendan Rodgers

I’ve grown sick of the criticism Rodgers has been receiving at the minute. From watching the United game today I thought that Liverpool were the better team, with more shots on target and were up against De Gea who was incredible. There were so many opportunities that Liverpool had to score, however the match ended 3-0 to the home team and those who didn’t follow the game will look at that scoreline and draw conclusions that I feel are unfair.

There are a huge number of factors that can be blamed for Liverpool’s poor start to the season. The biggest in my opinion are the lack of impact from the new signings, and the absence of a goal threat. How much of this can be blamed on Rodgers? He selects the team each week, has an influence over who arrives and leaves the club, and is tasked with motivating and preparing the players for each match, but can he be really be blamed for a lack of goals?

In the game today if De Gea wasn’t so world-class it could easily have been a Liverpool victory. He changed the team around once again, notably benching Mignolet for his poor form, yet I can’t fault his tactics throughout the match. The scoreline hugely flattered United but it appears to have not stopped the media or the fans from trying their hardest to force Rodgers out.

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Leicester City 1 – 3 Liverpool: The Issue of Supporting Two Football Teams

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I’m facing a real dilemma tonight as I go to watch Leicester City play Liverpool FC for the first time this season. With the last meeting being back in March 2004, it has been a fixture I’ve been both dreading and looking forward to for the past ten years.

As a massive fan of both teams it’s going to feel so strange seeing the two play each other – hopefully it’s an issue that I’ll have to face next season too! Having had such a large gap between the last encounter, it has previously felt perfectly acceptable to support the two teams, even better, very often they’d play on separate days, and it has also meant I’ve had a great bit of knowledge of different leagues they’re in.

An amusing thought occurred to me today that it will almost be like watching the game as a neutral, despite my huge support for both clubs. However in the unlikely circumstance that Leicester do score, although Liverpool’s defence is as weak as Leicester’s attacking threat at the moment, I can’t exactly not celebrate, that’s just going against instinct, plus I’ll be sitting in the home end!

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Premier League Review 2014/15: August/September/October

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It’s approximately a quarter of the way through the season (already!?) and I thought I’d look at how everyone in the Premier League has started. There have been plenty of surprises, just nine games in, and I thought it would be interesting to compare my pre-season predictions with reality. I wasn’t sure when I made them whether I’d want to revisit them in the future but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find I wasn’t as far off (overall!) as I’d feared.

In this post I’ll be running through the current league standings and provide my thoughts on the performances of the clubs at this early stage. There is a lot of football still to be played but that doesn’t take anything away from the outstanding starts Southampton and West Ham have made, two sides I expected to struggle this season.

I’ve included the difference in brackets between current position (30/10/2014) and my predictions (15/08/2014) just to provide an easy indication as to who I feel has over or underachieved. For instance Southampton are currently 2nd, I predicted them to finish 14th so there is a difference of +12 league places. Hopefully it isn’t too confusing! I’ve also added links to several season previews for extra laughs.

You can find my pre-season predictions here

Premier League

1st (+0): Chelsea – I don’t think it has come as a surprise to anyone that Chelsea are the early pacesetters, with summer signings Fabregas and Diego Costa showing their qualities consistently every match, providing the finishing touches to a Chelsea team whose only weakness was scoring enough goals last season.

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The Real ‘Cost’ of Losing Star Footballers

I’d argue that most footballers have a price-tag, a fee that’s reasonable compensation for their exit, but talismanic, key players, that really stand out and lift a team, are just priceless. In this post I’ll be looking in detail at Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham who have each lost such players in recent seasons.

Usually it takes a huge amount of money to persuade a club to part with their prized possession, or the meeting of a release clause leaving little choice but to let them leave. The majority of this money is sometimes almost immediately reinvested on new players in order to fill the gap and appease the fans or spread across a number of areas to strengthen the team as a whole. However, when you’ve got a player that just fits perfectly in the managers system, with great chemistry and understanding with their fellow teammates, it’s always a risk whether or not the replacement can deliver with such responsibility and pressure. I think it’s extremely rare that they do.

I’m just focusing on key players so I haven’t included the arrivals and departures of squad players which I’ve left blank with an “N/A”. I’m blessed with hindsight for previous seasons, so have included all of the big signings for the 2014 summer window. If you’re interested in the transfer business of all the Premier League clubs this summer, you should find this post useful!

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