Premier League new boys – Staying up or going down?

by Mystical Mike

Friday, August 29th, 2008

At the beginning of the season people around the country were saying West Brom would survive back in the Premiership reasonably comfortably, and that Stoke and Hull would struggle and no doubt “do one” straight back into the Fizzy Pop League. After all, West Brom had brought in Scott Carson, an England International (not that that says a lot these days) and had the likes of Jonathon Greening, Ishmael Miller, Roman Bednar and Neil Clement in their ranks, people who had well and truly proven themselves in the Championship, and Stoke and Hull, having never had Premiership experience in their history would no doubt struggle to realise what had hit them against the likes of the big 4.

So who’s started the better and what are their prospects…..lets take a closer look.


West Bromwich Albion

With all the aforementioned players you would think that West Brom would finish in a kind of Sunderland position this year but they have kicked off to a dreadful start. Not the easiest start to a new Premier League season you would argue, away to the Arse and home to Everton, and not many would have them come away from those 2 games with any more than a sneaky point. And those fears would prove founded as 2 defeats ensued, albeit very close 1-0 and 2-1 defeats respectively, but you would think Tony Mowbray would have said to his players “Our season starts now, forget those 2 games, lets knock out a lower league club from the Carling Cup and then do a number on our next 2 league opponents, Bolton and West Ham” Surely you’d think 4 points from those 2 games would be achievable ??

Of course a couple of defeats, no matter who their against can knock the confidence a little and this showed as the Albion crashed out of the Carling Cup last night to a team 2 leagues below them, Hartlepool, losing 3-1. Not what the doctor ordered. So away to Bolton on Saturday doesn’t look too promising for them now. I think if West Brom can sort themselves out and start picking up points against the likes of West Ham, Bolton, Boro, Stoke and Hull then they should be ok, but its not looking as rosy for them now as it did 3 games ago.


Stoke City

Unfortunately for Stoke, their game against Bolton came a few games too early for them as they were bound to be nervous and full of trepidation going into their first ever game in English footballs top flight. As such, a 3-1 away defeat followed. Had this been their 3rd or 4th game of the season then i think they might have picked up the points, a claim highlighted by the fact that they then went on to beat a very fancied Villa side 3-2 in their next game. I think Stokes problem this season is going to be consistency. I do envisage a couple of 6-0 thumping’s when they face one of the big 4 at just the wrong time, but as long as they discount those games and battle hard then i think Stoke could pull off a shock and survive. Ive liked what ive seen of their 2 games so far, they play nice football and are no kick and run merchants by any means. They have brought in Abdoulaye Faye and Dave Kitson, proven Premiership quality and Richard Cresswell, Liam Lawrence and Ricardo Fuller are all very good players. My worry is their defence, no real experience or quality in there and i think once the novelty of the Premiership has worn off, they will start leaking goals and stop picking up points. They need to treat every game likes its their first ever Premiership game, and maybe then, they might just survive.


Hull City

Hands up who amongst you thought that after 2 games of the season Hull would be unbeaten and 4th in the Premiership above Manchester United and Arsenal ? Not many id wager, but that is indeed the case and i think that their next game is very very important for them. There at home to Wigan on Saturday and if they can pick up 3 points there then that will put them in a very good mood for their tough trip to St James Park the following week. Their only blip so far was last nights 2-1 Carling Cup defeat away to Swansea. I dont think this will bother them too much as they were never going to win it and it allows them to “concentrate on the league”

Ok they beat Fulham on the opening day of the season, a team who miraculously avoided the drop last season but then a very very credible 1-1 draw away to Blackburn earnt them a few admiring glances for their ability to stick in there and not fall to pieces after going a goal down. This could bode well for the rest of the season as i suspect it wont be the last time they go a goal down.

Hull are very much in the same catagory as Stoke and exactly the same applies to them about treating every game as their first and not getting complaicent or they will soon be shipping in many a soft goal. You do fear for the defence as there is no experience there but they did grab Giovanni from Man City who has already proven his goal scoring ability provided he starts, and they have brought in Marlon King and Caleb Folan who arnt shy of a goal or too. Unforetunately, their only other experience comes in the shape of Dean Windass and Nicky Barmby who have about 120 years between them now, most of them belonging to Windass who i believe was born in 1921.

I do fear for Hull, as much of a good start that theyve had, i do think they will start shipping in bucketloads and as resiliant and tough as they may seem now, i think there about to teeter on the edge of the aquazoom back to the Championship.

Despite my views above, you do have to look at the other 17 teams in the Premiership and ask yourself….who’s worse ?

Not many, Bolton, Fulham and Wigan are probably the only other 3 names in contention so the games amongst these 6 teams i think will prove vital to survival for all involved.

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  • Stevie

    did anyone see Ricardo Fullers superb goal against Villa? It was Bergkampesq, but what really annoyed me was no said said anything about it, Wayne Rooney hit a shot wide and that Scottish lump almost piss his pants, I’m talking about Andy Grey of course, he really is beginning to get my nerves with bias Man United commentary!

    Stoke do play some lovely football they, out of the 3 though I actually think they have the best chance of staying up, they are very hard to play against, like the old Crazy Gang.

    Hull have started well and making sure they do a Derby and Reading, they’ve spent well but will still go down I’m afraid.

    As for West Brom, well we admire you approach for playing football, but boyz, as Arsenal showed last season you get nowt fr playing attractive football. So get real and start winning some games!

  • Martin Tibbetts

    I am going to stick my neck out and say I think Hull will do a Reading and stay up relatively comfortably in their first season. A good manager and heaps of team spirit count for a lot here and I can see them continuing to shock people. Its going to be a long haul for Tony Mowbray and I can see them going first, with Stoke not far behind. I think we might get a shock though this season for the third place. Yes Wigan and Bolton will be in the mix, but I expect a bigger name to get dragged in and maybe fail to get out in time – the money is going on Manchester City! Lets see, but internally they are screwed and its already causing them to suffer on the pitch…..

  • Stevie

    I wouldn’t say Man City, especially with SWP back in their side. My money is on West Ham, although you did say big club didn’t you.

    Hull will cave in, and will be gone by Christmas

    One thing is for sure, Spurs will be rock bottom this week, that will be well funny, although it’s nothing new! Ramos has a worse win ratio that Martin Jol, I think he has lost more than he has won.
    Looking at their side, especially in midfield, it looks very, very lightweight.

  • Darren

    Steve knows his stuff! SWP scores twice on his Man City debut2. And Hull get thrashed at home by Wigan!!

    Good to the Spuds at the bottom of the league where they belong.

    Martin Bergy. lets make that bet £1000!

  • Martin Tibbetts

    Maybe I will wait until Sunday before making my predictions in future! Still think City will struggle though, and that Hull will be ok!! The mighty Foxes top of League One, now thats what really matters…

  • Darren

    Exactly, City are looking good, the off field antics have obviously united the squad. SWP is a quality little player as we all know, he’ll play week in week out too. Great bit of business by City, sold him for 23 m, buy him back for 8 m. He’s a better player now too!

    I think City will surprise a lot of people this season.

    Did anyone watch the Liverpool Villa game? Jezz, was that the worst game of all time? Why does Benitez buy players then play them out of position? The balance was wrong, Robbie on one wing, Kuyt on the other. Without Gerrard & now Torres, or Toores as Hoddle kept annoyingly saying Liverpool are average at best.

  • Martin Tibbetts

    Especially as they have now flogged their one decent right back to Espanyol…..

  • Stevie

    i don’t get Benitez, is he a player collector? Ryan Babe is quality yet he chooses to play a French under 21 player instead. Why buy a player if you are not going to play him? Players need a run in the side to gain momentum, this is something Benitez doesn’t understand!

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