Dexy’s 2011-2012 Season Preview Part 2: Middle Ground.

by Dexy Longshot

Friday, August 12th, 2011
 

Part 2 of my season preview sees me look at the chances of the mid tablers. If it pans out anything like last season, these predictions could be all over the shop and separated by just 8 points come May. I’m on a hiding to nothing really ain’t I hey?

We continue….

14 Bolton

The Trotters disappointed me last season, I thought Owen Coyle really had something but the longer the season went on, the worse they got. They racked up a dismal 5 wins in the 2nd half of the season with only one win in their last 5. This was with Daniel Sturridge as well, if it wasn’t for him, they could have been playing Doncaster tomorrow. He’s gone back to Chelsea and big Jo Elmander who was one of the brighter sparks at the start of the campaign has trotted off too along with Matt Taylor. They will always have Kevin Davies to weigh in with strikes but apart from that, it doesn’t look pretty at the Reebok. Injuries have decimated the team in pre-season (Lee Chung Yong & Mears is a gutter) and if Coyle don’t get in some fresh faces, I can see another season of struggle, possibly even a relegation tussle.

Dexys Diamond

God, where do I start, surely not Kevin Davies again, oh go on then. He’ll need some help alongside him, SWP has been linked, he could play as the 2nd striker free rolling behind the big hitman, that’s if he joins.

 

13 Newcastle

I was a bit off target with my Barcode scanning last year and I apologise to all my Geordie friends. In Pardew, they performed well despite the sell-off in the New Year of Caroll and no real quality replacement. We start this season on Tyneside in turmoil. What in Shearers name is going on??? First they sell Nolan who was the fulcrum of the squad, Enriques left for the scousers and Barton is, well Barton, no one knows if he’s coming or going but something definitely smells iffy at St James Park. A few new faces have arrived but it’s hardly getting the Geordie masses in a frenzy. If Mike Ashley and the board don’t shapeup and if they do lose Joey and don’t get any real quality in sharpish, it could be Auf Wiedersain Pards and a possible relegation fight. I believe we will see another tight season points wise with just a few wins separation relegation and Europe.

Dexys Diamond

Demba Ba: With the loss of Nolan and possibly Barton, the Magpies could really do with a 15 goal a season striker. Demba Ba impressed with poor service in the Hammers frontline and could be the man to take on the goal-scoring mantel.

 

12 Aston Villa

Alex Mcleish has taken the reins at Villa Park and is about as popular as Steve McClaren who didn’t even make the interview. This could change throughout the season mind. Despite relegation with Birmingham, I’ve always thought Big Ek could be a very good manager given the funds. He takes over at Villa Park with some wedge after the loss of Young and Downing who will be gargantuan misses. He has bought in Shay Given from his Man City nightmare & he will guarantee some saved points, pure class on his day. The acquisition of N-zogbia as well was one of the summers finest bits of business. He will take on the wing duties that Downing left behind & the emerging quality of Albrighton will be on the other flank. Another plus could be Ireland, there is no doubt he has the class to be a top player, it’s if Alex can get it out of him though. Other than that, the team still look a tad lightweight for the top 10 and McCleish must address this pronto or the Villa faithful will be on him from the off. Fortunately, he has quite an easy start but if things ain’t going well by November, Big Ek could be the fall guy.

Dexys Diamond

Darren Bent. After the loss of the two wingers, Bent will have to go searching a bit more for service this year but I’m sure he is still capable of getting 20 goals in the bag.

 

11 Fulham

Hughes & Fulham did well with 8th & Europa League qualification through the Fair Play league last time out but obviously Sparky was sniffing around for bigger fish with potential moves to Villa and Chelsea at the tail end of the season (mmm that didn’t exactly work out did it Mark?). In comes Martin Jol and given time, I think he will make Fulham a permanent top 10 fixture but this maybe a season too early for the Dutchman. He inherits a decent squad who plays good football but are on the thin side depth wise (unlike Jol himself). Teams around Fulham have splashed the cash, maybe if Al Fahad spent some more nelsons on the squad rather than a bad Micheal Jackson statue, they could improve on last season but with Europa demands also coming to the Cottage this year, I think they will suffer a few of places in the league.

Dexys Diamond

Clint Dempsey: The yanks all round game is mustard and his ability to find the net as well as help around the box and midfield seems to improve year on year. Going forward alongside a fit again Z-man and a resurgent Duff, I think Clint could be the main man improving on his dozen last time out. I’m just gutted he isn’t Captain; Danny Murphy hardly works with my Captain America pun.

 

10 West Brom

West Brom had a mixed season last year with Roy picking them up mid season after his mare at Anfield and Di Matteos departure. He soon instilled the discipline and organisation for which he is famed and the Baggies went from strength to strength finishing finally in 11th spot. This season, I see them doing better now that Roys had a full pre-season. They will be hard to break down and be strong mentally. Attacking wise, I think they will do well, a front pairing of newly acquired Shane Long and Odemwingie will guarantee a strong return especially with back up from the likes of Brunt. They still need to improve further back up field, they conceded plenty of goals under Di Matteo and Roy is working on it with a strong midfield presence in Scharner and new signing Gera. If new No1 Ben Foster can plug the goals at the back, I’ll be looking forward to see how The Albion progress, maybe I’ll wait after the first 2 games though, Man Utd & Chelsea in a week, ouch.

Dexys Diamond

Peter Odemwingie: The Nigerian powerhouse pretty much saved WBA from a messy relegation battle with a 15-goal haul last season. As long as they can keep him fit for the whole season, he could be hitting the 20 plus mark.

 

9 Everton

As much as love David Moyes, I think this is the year where Everton really do suffer in the money department. We all know the miracles he performs but looking at the squad this year, I think The Toffees will be melting before Christmas. Granted, this is nothing new, their habit of slow starters/good finish is written into Premiership folklore but with persistent rumours of the Jag making a last minute switch to one of the top 5, I’m not sure if Moyles will be able to replace him. I may be wrong of course, Baines was exceptional last year and Fellaini will be back. They may have to rely heavily on the youngsters, Coleman and Rodwell will have to come to the fore and maybe we will see young Ross Barkley emerge who is thought of very highly in these parts. There is a move for Real Madrids out of favour Pedro but I’m not sure if his addition will get them anywhere near the European places next Spring.

Dexys Diamond

Tim Cahill: With a lightweight young squad and an injury to Arteta for the start of the season, Tim Cahills goals and experience will be crucial to get Everton onto a winning start.

 

8 Stoke

Stoke started to do something I have never seen them do before last season, they actually played some sexy football. The old kick and run of old was replaced with wing wizards Matty Etherington and terrorising full backs with some outstanding displays, they even reached the FA Cup final for the first time since the 70s sadly losing 1-0 to Man City.

If they carry on where they left off, Fabio may have to keep them in mind for next years Euros. Pulis is building on that form bolstering the back line with Upson and Jonathan Woodgate. If Woody remains fit (a big if), that would be a monster signing, on his day, he is world class. Along with Huth and Shawcross, that has to be the best centre half squad in the league as a whole (Cue Arsene looks grudgingly at the floor kicking a bottle).

Dexys Diamond

Jermaine Pennent: He may not be everyones cup of cha but he is undoubtedly getting back to his early career best which is good news for the Stoke front-line. If him and Ethers remain fit, I definitely believe Stoke could be the surprise of the season.

 

7 Sunderland

Player of the season Jordan Henderson has moved south to Liverpool for a massive 20m which has given Bruce lots of wonga to splurge, I bet his face was picture when that went into the bank account (a better picture than it usually is). Deep breath, are ready for this. Conner Wickham, Craig Gardner, John O Shea, Wes Brown, Ahmed Elmohamady, David Vaughn, Kieran Westwood, Sebastian Larsson, pant James McClean, Dong Wong Ji. So basically a complete makeover with some real quality, if Brucie can get them to gel quickly enough, I really think they could be going places. The first month brings some tough tests with Liverpool, Chelsea and the derby with Newcastle but after that, I think they could really be a force and nudging at Europe if Brucie plays his cards right.

Dexys Diamond

Seb Larsson: This was a fantastic bit of business picking up Larson on a free, he will putting in plenty of ammo for Gyan & Wickham, Gardner, O’shea, Brown, Segs, Vaughn etc etc etc

 

So that’s it for the mid tablers. I’ll be back with the final 6 places tomorrow.

Tatty byes x

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  • Michael Somerville

    Nice round up Dexy, enjoyed that. Stoke do look like they’re going places don’t they. I still think Sunderland are a joke… another entire new team this season. One step too far, and I reckon they will finish bottom half this year

  • dexy longshot

    Really, my mate just said that too, well not bottom but lower Than the Toffess, i think they will do well, Stoke too, surprise packages, maybe i’ve been a bit harsh on Everton??

  • Dexylongshot

    Larsson scored a outstanding bicycle style volley. Psychic

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