Additions: Andy Todd (Blackburn), Robert Earnshaw (
Losses: Arturo Lupoli (loan from Arsenal), Seth Johnson (released), Paul Peschisolido (
As great as a story it was for them to win promotion with a victory in the finals of the Championship playoffs, their happiness will be short-lived. It’s hard to see this team staying in the Premier League for more than one year. They simply do not have the talent to compete with the big boys. Headed by Steve Howard, their striking team is sub par as they lost their second leader scorer, Arturo Lupoli, in the offseason. It’s probably a bad sign when your club’s record signing, striker Robert Earnshaw, was bought for only 3.5 million pounds. Their midfield is lead by the young and talented Giles Barnes, who seems destined for a bigger club. Their defense has a chance to be decent. Todd is a wiry veteran full back who should help, and Mears seems to be a promising young player, but there is no reason to think that the squad will be in the top division come next May.
Additions: Antoine Sibierski (Newcastle), Titus Bramble (Newcastle), Mario Melchiot (Rennes), Andreas Granqvist (Helsingborg), Carlo Nash (Preston), Jason Koumas (West Brom)
Losses: Lee McCulloch (Rangers), Matt Jackson (
Additions: Tuncay Sanli (Fenerbahce), Jeremie Aliadiere (Arsenal), Jonathan Woodgate (Real
Losses: Mark Viduka (
This one was actually hard to choose. The teams in between about 12 to 18 are pretty much interchangeable. However someone has to go down, and it will be
So there it is. As I see it right now
Losses: Kenny Cunningham (released), Tommy Miller (
Call me crazy, but there is something about
Additions: Garry O'Connor (Lokomotiv Moscow), Stuart Parnaby (Middlesbrough), Fabrice Muamba (Arsenal), Olivier Kapo (Juventus), Daniel de Ridder (Celta Vigo), Richard Kingston (Antalyaspor), Rafael Schmitz (Lille, season-long loan)
Losses: Bruno N'Gotty (Leicester), Stephen Clemence (Leicester), DJ Campbell (
This is another squad I have a really good feeling about. Once again the roster is filled with young talent. Teams with great midfielders are able to control the pace of the game, and often the outcome.
Additions: Aaron Hughes (Aston Villa), Steven Davis (Aston Villa), Diomansy Kamara (West Brom), Chris Baird (Southampton), Paul Konchesky (West Ham), David Healy (
Losses: Claus Jensen (released), Mark Pembridge (released), Tomasz Radzinski (released), Mark Crossley (released, now at
Fulham is another team with a very good manager and could climb up the league table in years to come. That said, it is hard to see them finishing much higher than here this season. Lawrie Sanchez is a good young manager that saved Fulham from relegation last year. The defense has solid contributors in Carlos Bocanegra, Paul Konchesky and new additions Chris Baird and Aaron Hughes. Liam Rosenior is a talented younger player that has a bright future. Niemi in goal is solid as well. The midfield will be led by newly acquired Steven Davis, U.S. international Clint Dempsey, Welsh international Simon Davies, and my personal favorite, Papa Bouba Diop (How can you not love that name?). While nothing special, this group will be able to hold its own in Premier League play. Joining his American compatriot across the pond is striker Brian McBride, who will be joined by former WBA hitman Diomansy Kamara up front. Collins John is a young forward who was Fulham’s top scorer in the 2005/06 season, but lost his spot last year. If he can regain his form, he will provide some depth to a sparse Fulham strike force. Last year, Fulham’s problem was goalscoring (only 12 games with 2 or more goals and 12 games where they were shut out) and that trend doesn’t seem to be going up anytime soon.
Additions: Geovanni (Cruzeiro), Rolando Bianchi (Reggina), Gelson Fernandes (FC Sion), Martin Petrov (Atletico
Losses: Sylvain Distin (
Don’t buy the hype. That should be the motto for this club. Sure it looks good on paper. A new manager, owner, and some publicized new signings. Have people really forgotten that Sven-Goran Eriksson was run out of his
Additions: Kalifa Cisse (Boavista)
Losses: Steve Sidwell (
12. Aston Villa
Additions: Nigel Reo-Coker (West Ham), Harry Forrester (
Losses: Gavin McCann (Bolton), Jlloyd Samuel (Bolton), Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls), Stephen Henderson (Bristol City), Aaron Hughes (Fulham), Lee Hendrie (Sheffield United, released), Steven Davis (Fulham), Chris Sutton (retired).
Additions: Gunnar Nielsen (BK Frem
Losses: Andy Todd (
Coming Sunday: Clubs 10-1 and Pre-Season Superlatives