The 4th and final part of John Newsome‘s 2018/2019 Premier League preview begins with a Hampshire club that needs to rediscover its mojo.
Southampton just avoided relegation last season and enter the new term under Mark Hughes after the ex-Manchester United, Chelsea and Southampton star penned a new contract following survival. Mark has spent £55 Million on 4 new players, as the new boss tries to ensure that the Saints are not in the relegation zone next season. Mark has managed to get highly rated Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong for a snip at £7 Million, Norwegian forward Mohamed Elyounoussi from Basel for £16 Million, giant Danish defender Jannik Vestergaard from Borussia Monchengladbach for £18 Million and goalkeeper Angus Gunn from Man City for £3 Million. Angus is the son of former Norwich ‘keeper Bryan Gunn and may have been brought in as replacement to Fraser Forster who the Saints will listen to offers for. Guido Carrillo, Dusan Tadic and Stuart Taylor have all left St Mary’s. Southampton host Burnley on the opening weekend of the Premier League and Bet 365 have them at 500/1 to win the title. Bet 365 are offering 50/1 to win the FA Cup and 40/1 to win the League Cup. To be relegated, Bet 365 offer 7/1, which considering Mr Hughes managed Stoke in their relegation season last year, is not a bad bet to look at.
Predicted Finish 13th.
Tottenham haven’t done any business up to now so not much to report. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderwiereld, Mousa Dembele and of course World Cup winning goalkeeper and Captain Hugo Lloris all went late into the competition in Russia and will look to come back fit and strong after the break. The big new signing for Tottenham is the new stadium at White Hart Lane, which should be ready to host Liverpool on the 15th September. Daniel Levy is notorious in the transfer market and usually waits until the final minutes to do any dealings. Tottenham are open to offers for Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld and his fellow countryman midfielder Mousa Dembele and England left-back Danny Rose. Spurs are keeping an eye on Aston Villa youngster Jack Grealish who would be an ideal acquisition for Mauricio Pochettino. Villa would probably want in excess of £20 Million for Jack and it’s just whether Mr Levy will pay that. One player to look out for is youngster Luke Amos who has starred in the pre-season friendlies. Luke was out at Stevenage last term and has earned rave reviews in the lower league. Due to the new stadium not being fully 100% finished, Tottenham will play their 1st game away from home and kick-off the new season up at St James Park against Newcastle. Their 2nd game is classed as a home game but this will be played at Wembley and the 3rd and 4th have been scheduled as away games so the Liverpool game on the 15th of September is the one for the new stadium. The big thing now for Spurs fans is what will this new stadium be called. Bet 365 are offering 16/1 for Spurs to win the Premier League and 8/1 for them to win either the FA Cup or League Cup. Bet 365 offer 11/8 for Tottenham to be the Top London Club which is 2nd favourite after Chelsea. Harry Kane is 5/2 with Bet 365 to be the leading Premier League goalscorer.
Predicted Finish 5th.
Javi Gracia has been pretty active in the Transfer market and has brought in 5 players to counter the loss of Brazillian forward Richarlison to Everton. Experienced Goalkeeper Ben Foster has been drafted in from relegated West Brom, Spanish right-back Marc Navarro Ceciliano, defender Adam Masina from Bologne, young defender Ben Wilmot from Stevenage and midfielder Ken Sema from Ostersunds. Maybe the biggest plus for the Hornet faithful is Watford have no interest in selling star striker Troy Deeney. Troy is a big player for Watford and is vital to their Premier League survival. Gracia is after his fellow countryman from Barcelona, Paco Alcacer. The 24-year-old isn’t a regular at the Nou Camp and could be tempted into a move to Vicarage Rd. Paco plays up front and could be a great foil for Big Troy. Watford host Brighton on the opening day of the season and are 1000/1 (Remember Leicester) to win the Premier League with Bet 365 and are a 50/1 to win either the FA Cup or League Cup, which realistically is their only hope of silverware. The Hornets should be safe from relegation but Bet 365 offer just 2/1 for them to go down. Big Troy is 80/1 to outscore everyone else in the Premier League.
Predicted Finish 14th.
21 years ago almost to the day, Barnsley FC played their first ever game in the Premier League against the Hammers, August 9th 1997. In the West Ham team that day were Rio Ferdinand, Big John Hartson and Frank Lampard. Frank was only a substitute that day and came on in the 76th minute making an instant impact for the Hammers, scoring the winner for West Ham within seconds. Neil Redfearn had scored Barnsley’s maiden Premier League goal to give the Reds a 1-0 lead at half-time. Just after the break, Big John Hartson equalised for the Hammers and then Chelsea legend and new Derby County boss Frank Lampard came on and scored the winner. Even though this was a loss for the Barnsley faithful, they still had the best season ever in their one and only ever appearance in the Premier League. One of Barnsley FC’s biggest fans who was only 27 at the time, had a baby girl 5 days after this opener against West Ham. What a week for the Reds super fan. That little bundle of joy, Charlotte North is 21 on the 14th of August. She is literally the life of the Reds Fan who is not only proud to have her as his daughter but also as his best friend. Like her mother says, she has enriched his life. 21 years gone in a flash and Barnsley FC are now in Division 3 or League 1(same thing!) No one can ever take away that brilliant week in August 1997 and that brilliant season. You Reds!
West Ham have been very active this summer, firstly in getting rid of David Moyes from the manager’s hot seat and replacing him with Chilean Manuel Pellegrini. Manuel was managing out in China but felt compelled to return to the Premier League and the West Ham owners made a beeline for the ex-Man City manager. Manuel has a distinct advantage that no previous Hammers managers have enjoyed and that is he has won the Premier League, guiding City to the title in the 2013/14 season. Big spending West Ham have made highly rated Portugal forward Xande Silva their 8th summer signing adding the 21-year-old to the signings of defender Ryan Fredericks from Fulham, Paraguayan defender Fabian Balbuena from Corinthians, French defender Issa Diop from Toulouse, Brazillian midfielder Felipe Anderson from Lazio, ex-Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, Ukrainian forward Andriy Yarmolenko from Borussia Dortmund and Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski from relegated Swansea. Andy Carroll is still at the London Stadium and if the big Geordie can stay fit, is still an asset to any team. Manuel Lanzini is out for the foreseeable future due to his knee injury sustained on International duty for Argentina just prior to World Cup in Russia. The hammers kick-off their campaign away at Liverpool and this will be a real test for Pellegrini and the West Ham new boys. Bet 365 have the new-look West Ham at 300/1 to win the Premier League and 33/1 to win either the FA Cup or League Cup. A good bet might be the 11/8 Bet 365 are offering for the Hammers to finish in the Top Half of the table. With Manuel Pellegrini’s vast experience and the recruitment West Ham have invested in, surely a Top 10 finish is the least the Hammers faithful can hope for.
Predicted Finish 7th.
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Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo has spent £40 Million on bringing 8 new players to Molineux since guiding the club back to the Premier League last season. Goalkeeper Rui Patricio comes in from Sporting Lisbon, Forward João Moutinho from Monaco, Benik Afobe who spent a large part of last season on loan at Wolves, signs permanently from Bournemouth then surprisingly goes out on loan again to Stoke, defender Willy Boly, again on loan last term signs permanently from Porto, forward Raul Jimenez on loan from Benfica, midfielder Diogo Jota again on loan last term signs permanently from Atletico Madrid, forward Leo Bonatini again on loan last term signs permanently from Al Hilal, (there’s a pattern developing) and left wing-back Ruben Vinagre on loan, yes you have guessed it signs permanently from Monaco. These players were good enough to win the Championship and gain promotion to the Premier League but will they actually be good enough to perform in that elite league. Wolverhampton Wanderers or Wolves for short are set to make Middlesbrough attacker Adama Traore their next signing nicking the tricky winger from under the nose of Premier League rivals Huddersfield who thought they had the ex-Barcelona youngster. The manager, Nuno Espírito Santo wears his heart on his sleeve and should be good fun in the Technical Area this season, especially with the introduction of iPad’s and phones able to be used by the coaches while the game is in progress. How long will it take a Manager or Coach to make the imaginary TV screen for Video Assistant Referee? Bearing in mind that the Premier League has decided not to use VAR this season, no doubt the over emotional Premier League managers will get carried away and invent another way to show their immaturity. Wolves start their return to the Premier League at home to Everton and Bet 365 have them at 250/1 to win the title. Bet 365 offer 33/1 for Nuno’s men to win either the FA Cup or League Cup. They are odds-on favourites at 3/10 to be the highest of the 3 clubs who have come up and 7/1 with Bet 365 to be relegated.
Predicted Finish 10th.
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