Pendle Premier League Preview 2014/15 – Part 2

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 | by Erika | No Comments

Welcome to Part 2 of the Pendle Sportswear Premier League Preview Blog. In this post we will be assessing the chances of Crystal Palace, Everton, Hull City & Leicester City. Let us know what you think by commenting on Facebook or Twitter

 palaceCrystal Palace

Players In – Chris Kettings (free), Fraizer Campbell (900,000), Brede Hangeland (free).

Players Out – Neil Alexander (released), Jose Campana (undisclosed), Kagisho Dikgacoi (free), Danny Gabbidon (released), Dean Moxey (released), Aaron Wilbraham (released).

After an impressive end to last season and an even more impressive 11th place finish, Crystal Palace will be hoping for more of the same at the start of the new season. Tony Pulis certainly got Palace playing in a way that caught out teams and stopped them playing their game, from the tactics that forced Chelsea to play through the middle when they were better going out wide and the unbelievable comeback against last season’s runners up, when they caught the reds on the break when Liverpool were chasing goals rather than just claiming the three points. Few could’ve predicted the turnaround in the way the team played, from losing 9 of their opening 11 games under the previous manager Ian Holloway. Holloway was sacked and Pulis was brought in, and their fortunes changed. This season we predict much of the same under Pulis, the team will be hard to break down at home and will be able to go away and grind out results. Another mid table finish is on the cards.

The signing of Fraizer Campbell is a good signing for them as they have been lacking a bit of fire power up front, but they may still need more. Palace were the third lowest scorers last season with only 33 goals scored, only Cardiff and Norwich scored less, Jason Puncheon and Dwight Gayle were the clubs top scorers last season with only 7 goals each and with just 5 coming from Marouane Chamakh, they definitely needed another striker. Despite the lack of goals the solidity of their back line was key for them under Pulis last season only conceding 48 goals in 38 games with 21 of those coming under Holloway in the opening 11 games.

This season will be tough for Palace to repeat the feat from last season but with a little bit of investment up front they could match if not beat what they achieved last season. The squad on the whole isn’t very big so a few more Premiership quality signings could see them even pushing for the top half this year, but it all depends on who Pulis can bring in to bulk up the squad.

Pendle Prediction – 13th Place.

 evertonEverton

Players In – Gareth Barry (free), Muhamed Besic (£4 mill), Brendan Galloway (undisclosed), Romelu Lukaku (£28 mill).

Players Out – Magaye Gueye (released), Apostolos Vellios (released).

Everton enjoyed a successful first season under Roberto Martinez, finishing in 5th place just outside the Champions League places but above Man Utd and Tottenham. This season it may prove more difficult for them to finish in that 5th place, Martinez has definitely got Everton playing better football than they did under David Moyes but with both Utd and Spurs employing new managers and making some solid signings I’m not sure if they can finish higher than them both again.

Everton so far have been quiet in this transfer window and they are going to need to start spending to compete with the best. The capture of Gareth Barry permanently is a good signing for them he was one of their star players in last season’s success adding solidity to their midfield, and the signing of the 21 year old Besic will add to the size of the squad they have, as they will also be competing in the Europa league this year. Gerard Deulofeu returns to Barcelona after a successful loan last season his style of play, pace and skill will be missed this season unless they can replace him, but with last season’s top scorer Romelu Lukaku signing permanently from Chelsea after his impressive loan, 15 goals in 31 games and 9 assists last season, he will definitely give Everton a chance of competing for 4th place.

With the additional games of the Europa League this season, Everton may need to bulk the squad to be able to compete with the extra games and all the travelling. They could be in for a tougher season than last time out and a finish higher than 7th would be a great achievement. The signing of Lukaku on a permanent deal is going to be vital for them, if they can get him playing the way he was last season they will be in with a shout.

Pendle Prediction – 7th Place.

 HullHull City

Players In – Tom Ince (compensation to be agreed), Jake Livermore (£8 mill), Robert Snodgrass (£7 mill), Harry Maguire (£2.5 mill), Andrew Robertson (£2.85 mill).

Players Out – Abdoulaye Faye (released), Matty Fryatt (free), Robert Koren (released), Cameron Stewart (released).

Hull City struggled in the league at the end of last season, dropping from 12th to 16th in the final 6 games, despite this drop relegation was never a worry. This drop in form at the end may have been due to the two trips to Wembley they managed, beating Sheffield United in the Semi-final guaranteed them Europe next season and another appearance at Wembley but they narrowly lost to Arsenal in the Final of the F.A. Cup.

As with Everton, Hull are likely to struggle to cope with the amount of fixtures they will have, if they manage to qualify for the Europa League group stage. The five signings that Hull have made already will help with this workload, Jake Livermore, who was on loan last season, has signed permanently and the introduction of Robert Snodgrass and Tom Ince will prove more width and more attacking threat going forward, Harry Maguire has been added as another centre back and Andrew Robertson from Dundee United joins the squad.

Hull’s season, for me, revolves around a few different things this season. Firstly, how far they get and who they get drawn against in the Europa League, Everyone wants to play in Europe, but having to travel to the far reaches of Europe isn’t worth your Premier League place. Secondly, they need to make sure the partnership of Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic continues to prosper, the two of them are great assets for a team like Hull and they will need them both to be on form this season. Thirdly, the midfield, Tom Huddlestone was again a great signing for Hull, the vision he has and his passing ability is vital for Hull to get the strikers scoring. With the addition of Snodgrass and Ince on the wings, if they can hit the ground running they could be in the top half of the table. Finally they need to dip further into the transfer market. Another centre back is needed, Michael Dawson from has been touted as a potential signing and I think Dawson for his experience, will help them cope with the extra fixtures.

Pendle Prediction – 10th Place.

 LeicesterLeicester City

Players In – Marc Albrighton (free), Matthew Upson (free), Leonardo Ulloa (£8 mill), Jack Hamer (free), Jack Barmby (free)

Players Out – Zak Whitbread (released), Sean St. Ledger (released), Neil Danns (released), Lloyd Dyer (released), Kevin Philips (retired)

Leicester City return to the Premiership after 10 years in the second and third tier of English football. Last season’s Champions stormed the league finishing up with 102 points, 9 points clear of second place Burnley, but this could prove to be a tough season for the Foxes and they will be reliant on last year’s good home form to keep their heads above water.

Leicester’s new signings have divided opinion so far in this window. £8 million for Leonardo Ulloa  seems a large sum for a striker with no Premier League experience, but if he can keep up his scoring rate of a goal every two games then it will prove to be a good buy for them, his goals could be the difference between success and failure for the Foxes. The addition of Matthew Upson to the squad will add Premier League experience, but the former England international is now 35 years of age and whether he is still able to cut at the top level remains to be seen. The signing of Marc Albrighton on a free should be a great signing for the club, it was a surprise to see that Aston Villa had released him and he could well prove be a standout player for Leicester this season.

Simlar to Burnley, this season is likely to be a struggle for Leicester. A lot of Leicester’s season will depend on how Albrighton can play and whether Ulloa, David Nugent and Luke Vardy can score the goals they need. They will probably need to bring in some more, experienced Premiership players to help them out this season, if they can do that they might have a chance of getting out of the bottom three, but as it stands survival seems unlikely.

Pendle Prediction – 19th Place.

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