Premier League preview: Swansea, Tottenham, West Ham, West Brom, Wigan
Published: 18.08.12 / Written by: David Gold
It is a huge season for Swansea and Michael Laudrup. A great team to watch, the loss of Rodgers will hit Swansea hard, as will the departure if it happens of Allen.
At least they are showing a commitment to continue to play the game the way they do best. Michu is a good signing, and with a skilful squad rehearsed in how to pass and move and control a game, they have the ability to push for mid table once again.
Andre Villas Boas returns to the capital just a few months after being fired as Chelsea manager. This time should in theory be more successful than the last. While at Chelsea, Villas Boas encountered a squad unsuited to his style of play and unwilling to accept change. Tottenham’s side is full of pace and width, and with central players of the quality of Gylfi Sigurdsson they should be able to adapt to the Portuguese’s style. But Tottenham have a battle on their hands to finish fourth, with Chelsea spending big, Arsenal investing heavily for once in experience, and Liverpool bringing in a new manager. But along with their North London rivals, Tottenham should be favourites to land a Champions League spot again.
West Ham arrive in the Premier League, but this is a different side to the one relegated. It is a side managed by Sam Allardyce, who will look to join Pulis and O’Neill in bucking the trend for promoted teams to be attacking and skilful.
Allardyce’s style of play was seen as a price worth paying for promotion but he seems intent on continuing in that manner now his team are back in the Premier League. West Ham have bought some good players, such as Mo Diame and Modibo Maiga. How long they are prepared to put up with Allardyce’s crude style could be a pertinent question, and possibly the biggest one facing the Hammers this term. They should be good enough to survive though.
This will be a tough year for West Brom after Roy Hodgson’s departure. Hodgson has a way of playing and communicating with his players that always seems to work, and Steve Clarke will have a tough job replicating that. Inexperienced as a manager, whether Clarke is up to it or not is open to question. The signing of Markus Rosenberg is a good one, but West Brom lack genuine quality across the field. Much will rely on Chris Brunt’s creativity and the skill of James Morrison. They are a good team, but in an increasingly competitive league could be a surprise candidate for the drop.
Wigan for once will start the season not as favourites for relegation. Roberto Martinez’s hard work seemed to pay off at the end of the last campaign as their 3-4-3 style brought them some exceptional results. Victories against Manchester United, Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal gave Wigan a confidence not seen before .With the intelligent signing of Ivan Ramis to shore up the defence, Martinez will hope his team’s new found ‘arrogance’, as he liked to put it, will help them enjoy a more comfortable campaign than usual. They may lose Victor Moses, but still have the quality necessary to enjoy a season clear of danger.