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

11885630314_445fc81a1f_o

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Premier League Review 2014/15: November/December

11885630314_445fc81a1f_o

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Leicester City 0 – 1 Man City

leicester 0 1 man city 2014

The most in-form team vs the most out of form…

I must admit, it’s been a pretty depressing few weeks football wise. I’ve been tempted to write a blog post about these woes but reached the conclusion that it wouldn’t be either uplifting or a particularly interesting read for you! Do let me know if you want me to breakdown into an emotional mess, I’d be happy to oblige…

Anyway, having just finished for Christmas with an assessment free holiday awaiting, I was feeling particularly happy and cheerful coming into the match. Whether the players were the feeling the same is another matter. Sitting at the bottom of the table with a growing gap from safety, this was a game nobody was expecting us to get anything out of, yet a game that would only make our situation worse if we lost again.

Without a win in the last ten games – thanks Burnley for that last-minute equalizer – Man City were the last team desired that could have arrived at the King Power to help us achieve our third win of the season. It’s a tough league sure but Burnley, West Brom and Sunderland home games aside, it’s been an unforgiving run of fixtures that haven’t helped our situation. Plus bad luck, that’s always an easy scapegoat.

Having found possession a difficulty in the last match against Aston Villa, Pearson changed the formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1. This was a move that I had been calling for and seemed logical. Keeping the wingers is an essential part of our play so I’m relieved there was no diamond of central midfielders again either. Vardy was the lone striker, Hamer came in for the injured Schmeichel and Drinkwater and King were brought in to form the midfield three with Cambiasso.

Continue reading

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

Leicester 1 -  3 Liverpool

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!

Continue reading