Pendle Premier League Preview 2014/15 – Part 4

Posted on: August 13th, 2014 | by Erika | No Comments

Welcome to part 4 of the Pendle Sportswear Premier League preview blog. In this post we will be looking at the prospects for Queens Park Rangers, Southampton, Stoke City and Sunderland. Let us know what you think by commenting on twitter and facebook.

 qpr Queens Park Rangers

Players In – Rio Ferdinand (free), Steven Caulker (undisclosed), Jordan Mutch (undisclosed), Mauricio Isla (loan).

Players Out – Yossi Benayoun (free), Hogan Ephraim (free), Aaron Hughes (free), Andrew Johnson (released), Stephane Mbia (free), Luke Young (free), Esteban Granero (undisclosed), Samba Diakite (loan).

After being favourites to come straight back up, it wasn’t that easy for QPR, finishing in 4th place and having to win the Play-off to return. After overcoming Wigan Athletic in the Semi-Final, they beat Derby County in the Final with a 90th minute winner to return to the top flight. This season will be very different for QPR, they have made a few signings so far this window and I’m sure you can expect plenty more and the obvious sight of Harry Redknapp from his car window on deadline day.

Young England defender Steven Caulker has been brought in to strengthen their defence and should prove an excellent signing for the club, despite going down with Cardiff last season he was one of the standout players in that side, and some believe he did enough to earn a place on the plane to Brazil for the World Cup. Rio Ferdinand has also been brought in, his experience will be vital for both the progression of Caulkers career and also the R’s first season back in the Premiership. The return of Julio Cesar, Loic Remy and Adel Taarabt  from their loan deals will also help adding much needed depth to the squad.

QPR will likely be fighting against the drop for the majority of the season but in the end they should stay up due to the experience in the squad. Like Burnley they will be relying on their home form throughout the season and that could prove vital. If they can bring in a couple more quality players they might even manage to climb into mid table.

Pendle Prediction – 15th Place.

 soton Southampton

Players In – Dusan Tadic (undisclosed), Graziano Pelle (undisclosed), Ryan Bertrand (loan), Fraser Forster (undisclosed), Saphir Taider (loan).

Players Out – Guly do Prado (released), Jonathan Forte (released), Lee Barnard (free), Rickie Lambert (£4 mill), Luke Shaw (£27 mill), Adam Lallana (£25 mill), Dejan Lovren (£20 mill), Calum Chambers (£16 mill).

Southampton were one of the stand out teams in last season’s Premier League, finishing in 8th place, this was largely due to their players out performing their expectations. The front three of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez were their star players from last term, Lallana scored 9 and assisted 6 goals, Rodriguez scored 15 and assisted 3, and Lambert scored 13 assisted 10, which shows how strong their front line was.

Southampton have one of the best youth systems in the country, in recent years producing such talented players as Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the most expensive player in the world Gareth Bale, and last seasons side was no different. Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Adam Lallana and James Ward-Prowse becoming established Premiership players after coming through the youth ranks at Southampton.

Southampton’s great form last season has resulted in some of their top players leaving the club, Lallana, Lambert and Dejan Lovren have all joined Liverpool for a combined £49 million, while Luke Shaw has joined Man Utd for £27 million and Calum Chambers left the club to join Arsenal. Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez have also been rumoured to be leaving with Tottenham leading the chase for the pair.

This has left The Saints with a squad that may have to set their targets lower than last season . Graziano Pelle has been added as a replacement for Rickie Lambert, Dusan Tadic has been brought in to replace Lallana, and Southampton have brought in Ryan Bertrand on loan to replace Luke Shaw, but they are going to have to spend a lot of the money they have received to replace these players and get a team that can compete in the Premiership.

This could prove to be a long, hard season for Southampton, losing so many first team players will be hard, replacing these players is going to be key for them to stay in the Premiership and they will need to make sure they buy the right players to do the job. Ron Vlaar has been rumoured to be coming in as a replacement for Lovren which would be good but not a great signing. They have brought in Pelle, who comes with an impressive record from Feyenoord, 50 goals in 57 league games, they will need him to continue that goal scoring record if they are to finish in the top half this season. It will be interesting to see who they do sign in the window but with the start of the season fast approaching they need to do something fast.

Pendle Prediction – 14th Place.

 stoke Stoke City

Players In – Phil Bardsley (free), Mame Biram Diouf (free), Bojan Kikic (undisclosed), Steve Sidwell (free), Dionatan Teixeira (undisclosed)

Players Out – Matthew Etherington (released), Michael Kightly (undisclosed).

A 9th place finish in last season’s Premiership was definitely a surprise to most people, but with only 10 points between them and 13th place they could’ve finished anywhere in between. A similar season could well be on the cards for The Potters, and their final position could be affected by what the teams around them are doing in the transfer window.

Stoke have made a few free transfers in this window so far with Phil Bardsley, Steve Sidwell joining the squad with plenty of experience battling against the drop and the signing of Mame Biram Diouf will add to their front line, but the signing of Bojan Krkic from Barcelona has to be the surprise transfer of the season. The 23 year old Spaniard joins up with the squad with a reputation that, unfortunately for him, he has never really lived up to. Only time will tell if he can start fulfilling his early potential but for now Stoke can only hope that they have managed to bag themselves a potential star.

With the side Stoke have currently, another mid-table finish seems most likely but maybe a few places lower than last season. If Bojan can be the player he was touted to be then they could rise up the table and even challenge for the Europa League places but that may be a big ask.

Pendle Prediction – 12th Place.

 sunderlandSunderland

Players In – Jordi Gomez (free), Billy Jones (free), Patrick van Aanholt (undisclosed), Costel Pantilimon (free), Jack Rodwell (undisclosed).

Players Out – Phil Bardsley (free), Jack Colback (free), Carlos Cuellar (released), Andrea Dossena (released), Craig Gardner (free), Billy Knott (free), Louis Laing (free), Oscar Ustari (released), David Vaughan (released), Kieran Westwood (released), Ignacio Scocco (undisclosed).

Sunderland struggled in last season’s Premiership and if it wasn’t for the late rally of 4 wins and 1 draw in their last 6 games they would’ve gone down. Bringing in Gus Poyet as manager definitely changed the clubs fortunes as under Paulo di Canio they were certain for the drop.

All in all last season was one that many Sunderland fans will want to forget, but allowing players like Phil Bardsley, Jack Colback and Craig Gardner to all leave the club may prove to be a mistake and, with the exception of the hugely talented Jack Rodwell, the signings they have made aren’t the most exciting. Billy Jones has signed from West Brom to replace the exiting Bardsley, and it will be interesting to see if Jordi Gomez will be able to make a bigger impact than he did when he was with Wigan, Patrick van Aanholt, the former Chelsea player has been a regular for Vitesse on loan over the past two seasons, like Gomez he also has previous Premier League experience. The signing of Costel Pantilimon should be a good signing for the club, he will certainly be the first choice keeper for the club next year, but the question remains whether they can score enough goals to keep their place in the Premier League?

The Sunderland squad seems solid if unremarkable and their overall fortunes will rely greatly around the unrivalled team spirit that guided them to safety so dramatically at the end of last season.

If they can replicate that never say die attitude and maybe add another goal scoring threat to their squad The Black Cats could push further up the table, if not it could be another tense relegation battle for the Sunderland fans.

Pendle Prediction – 17th Place.

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