Saturday, August 13, 2005

Premiership preview part 3.

And onto the third and final instalmment of Bitter and Blue's season predictions, focusing on the relegation scrap and the mad scramble to avoid the drop into footballing (and financial) oblivion.

Mark Hughes has begun to build an extremely solid side, very much in the mould of his playing style but lacked a cutting edge up front, scoring only thirty-goals last season. Has added the troublesome Craig Bellamy who was bombed out of Newcastle and must hope he can add some goals which should lead to mid table safety.

A team that this years promoted sides will look at as one to copy, in that they survived their first season in the Premiership and have been able to build on that ever since. Manager Alain Perrin came in at the end of last season and although he has lost Yakubu to Middlesbrough, have managed to add a couple of players which should help keep them up.

West Brom:
Ridiculed when he took over from Gary Megson, and bottom of the league at Christmas, Bryan Robson achieved the unbelievable and kept West Brom up on the final day. As a squad they have tinkered more than added quality over the summer, bringing in Chris Kirkland on loan but failed to add a goal threat. Should still have enough due to the lack of real quality in the three promoted sides.

West Ham:
Finished sixth in the Championship, but were promoted in the play-offs and probably saved Alan Pardew in the process. Have added the promising Danny Gabbidon and James Collins and Teddy Sheringham's experience up from will be vital. Look to be a little light on experience but I think they have the potential to put enough wins together.

Had a good first season under Chris Coleman in 2003/04 but slid dramatically last season and did not ensure their safety until late in the season. Have lost Edwin van der Saar and Andy Cole, and doubts remain over the future of Malbranque and Boa Morte. Do not have the quality or depth to be able to survive this season.

Head into their first ever season in the top flight with everyone writing them off. Well, I'm no different. Despite being able to spend Dave Whelan's cash, Paul Jewell has been unable to attract the quality needed to make an impact. Are also set to lose striker Nathan Ellington to West Brom as well. Simply, will not have the quality required to stay up.

Won the Championship last season a couple of years after being relegated. The Championship squad did not look strong enough and they appear to have aimed to low in their summer acquisitions, as although they brought players in early they do not have either the Premiership experience or quality to sustain any threat in the Premiership.

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