Friday, 31 May 2013

Drama Mama EPL 12/13 (Part 2)

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In  the previous post, we have looked at the top 7 teams, which are serious contenders. Today, we will look at the next few teams who had finished in the mid-table.

Man Utd3828554389
Man City3823963278
West Brom3814717-449
West Ham38121016-846
Aston Villa38101117-2241

8) West Bromwich Albion - West Brom had started their season strong, with the guidiance of former Liverpool number 2 man, Steve Clarke. So what did Clarke did to keep WBA up the table?

Looking at the team lineup, they doesnt seem to have an outstanding player. Maybe Lukaku? Odemwingie was the star of the team last season, but had faded away when his transfer request was turned down. So up step the fallen Chelsea player, Lukaku. Lukaku contributed 17 goals this season, 1 of the top few strikers in EPL this season. Besides him, there really isnt any big signings made from Clarke.

So it is down to great team spirit and belief from the players. I used to think WBA is always lurking outside the relegation zone, they loved to linger between EPL 1 season, Championship the next. So another former Liverpool flop manager, Roy Hodgson had managed to keep them up in the EPL. With Hodgson gone to manage England national team, many thought WBA will go down once again, until the appointment of Clarke.

The scottish wasted no time in his introduction, with his WBA defeating Liverpool in the opening day of the season. Clarke did not celebrate the victory as a respect to his former employers. The club he used to work with, Kenny Dalgish.

However, i dont think their form will sustain in the following season. 1 man will not bring the team far in the EPL.

9) Swansea City - 2 seasons ago, i would have no idea who is Swansea City. The name itself gave me the impression that they are some League 2 team. So even after their former influential manager, Brendon Rodgers had left them for Liverpool, they have gotten another great manager. This time, it was the great former Dutch captain, Michael Laudrup. Similiar playing style as Rodgers, Laudrup's Swansea continue to play great passing and great possession football. However, they are quite goal shy this season, with only Michu firing in most of the team goals.

Besides Michu, the goalkeeping compartment is also worth mentioning, with Vorm and his understudy, Tremmel keeping many clean sheets along the way. Teams had found it difficult to win against the highly organised team. Swansea will continue to be a mid-table team for the next coming season.

Oh before i forgot. They won the League cup! Something their former manager could not do. Congrats to them.

10) West Ham United - The hammers' finished at number 10 seemed like a good result for them. Big Sam should be happy with his team's effort this season. He had reunited with his Bolton Captain, Kelvin Nolan, who happened to be the team's top scorer. With him, another former team mate of Nolan, Carroll was loan in to them from Liverpool. The 35m signing from Newcastle was hit with injuries that had limited his chances at West Ham. However, he had still bagged in 7 goals this season.

With the loan coming to an end, Carroll had voiced out his intention to return to Liverpool, hinting he will stay to fight for his place. However, with Suarez and Sturridge on form, his chances will begin on the bench.

Looking at West Ham's teamsheet, you must say they have quite a few great talents in Matt Jarvis, returned player Joe Cole, Diame etc.. So not too bad for them, to finish number 10.

But they have a tendacy to drop into the lower half of the table. But probably wont relegate.

11) Norwich City - The return to the EPL after awhile had been a joyful for the Carrow Road faithfuls. Just like WBA, Norwich do not have any stand out player to comment on. They are judged based on team efforts. After losing their manager to Aston Villa, another player wants to follow suit, Grant Holt. The once powerful striker from SAFFC (Singapore), had made his presence in the EPL. Scoring goals freely. He was the reason for Norwich safety last season. However, since his transfer request was not successful, the team also lost faith in him thereafter.

If the manager were to remain for another season, Norwich will find themselves battling against relegation.

12) Fulham - The aging Fulham needs new blood. King Berbatov is good, but he is in his 30s, Schwarzer was awesome, but maybe that was 15 years ago. Riise's freekick is always great.. at Liverpool, not Fulham where he is aging.  And there is Duff, the once superb winger, now no longer runs as fast as other wingers such as Bale or Coutinho.

The last we heard, Fulham had plans to sign younger players. Which is very encouraging to hear, but whether the young players who came in can fill the big shoes by the once awesome players is something we would not know.

Fulham had always produced some great players for others, such as Saha and Van Der Sar. However, i dont quite see it in them in the recent season. When the older players start retiring, they will have a problem. Berbartov is great, but super lazy. I have not seen anyone else walking on the pitch more often than him. However, his walking tactic still enable him 15 league goals. Much more than fast n hardworking QPR strikers.

I feel the burden will be lifted up from Berbartov sooner or later, but lets hope that wont make them be a relegation candidate.

13) Stoke City - Stroke Stoke City finished their season without a cup, without medal, without europe and without their manager. Tony Pulis is no doubt a legend for Stoke. He had lifted stoke from a relegation threatened club to a mid table team. On some occasion, qualifying for europe.

But the Board is still not impressed?? The last we heard, Mark Hughes the destroyer will be taking over. I am sure he wont lead Stoke to a greater position. He had caused QPR their relegation. The future i wont know.

Looking at the team, I must say they have a very strong defense. All of their 3 gks are quite famous keepers. 1st choice, Begovic: Wanted by Liverpool, did superb this season, steady as a rock. What more can you expect. 2nd choice, Sorensen, aging slowly, but still has what it takes. 3rd choice, tough luck Carlo Nash. He used to be Number 2 for Man C before they got famous. Oh ya there is also the promising Butland, who might just replace Begovic in case he goes.

Defense wise, they have Ryan Shawcross, awesome future england player. Huth the cheater bug. He is famous for doing the dirty work. This German would do whatever that can stop his opponent.

Midfield wise, they have former Liverpool duo Pennant and Adam. Both had lost their special touch for the ball since leaving Pool. On a side note, it seemed like there are plenty of ex-Liverpool players playing for mid table teams now.

Striker wise, Peter Crouch is leading the attack, with Injury prone Owen completes their line up. (another 2 ex pool players)

Not bad ah, this team should be challenging at the top half i would say, maybe thats why Tony Pulis head got chopped off! He got an amazing team working for him.

Thats all for now, will wrap things up by talking about the final 7, the long suffering teams of the EPL.

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