Middle of the Table Time!
EPL Preview – Part 2 of 3
Sit down with your afternoon tea and enjoy this middle of the table preview. These are teams that should be out of the relegation battle and really trying to make strides to push themselves into the conversation for European football in 2020.
If you missed part 1 of my 3 part EPL preview, click the link!
With these teams looking to push their way into Europe, it only makes sense to look at their ODDS to get into the Top 6.
TEAM NAME – SOUTHAMPTON
STADIUM: St Mary’s Stadium
St Mary’s Stadium has a capacity of 32,505. This is one of the newer stadiums in the Prem, having broke ground in 2000 for a cost of 32m pounds. Think about that compared to stadiums in the US….crazy!
2018 RESULTS: 16th in the Prem
- 9 W – 12 D – 17 L
- 45 Goals For
- 65 Goals Against
- 39 Points
PREF FORMATION: 4-4-2
PROJ SET PIECE TAKER: Ward-Prowse, Bertrand, Redmond
PROJ PENALTY TAKER: Ings, Ward-Prowse
Moussa Djenepo (Standard Liege) Undisclosed Details
Che Adams (Birmingham City) Undisclosed Details
Danny Ings (Liverpool) Undisclosed Details
Steven Davis (Rangers) Free Details
Matt Targett (Aston Villa) Undisclosed Details
Alfie Jones (Gillingham) Loan Details
Jack Rose (Walsall) Loan Details
Kingsley Latham (Havant and Waterlooville) Loan Details
Alex Cull (Totton) Loan Details
Harry Hamblin (Bath City) Loan Details
Manager Hasenhuttl is back for another year of the Southampton experience. We are quick to forget how bad they were before his arrival. The 4-4-2 hybrid formation they settled on late in the year fit their personnel the best. He brought with him a pressing style that was initially extremely successful but quickly uncovered the lack of depth in the squad. It will be interesting to see how they start the season from a tactical standpoint.
I do like their transfer business of bringing back Danny Ings on a permanent basis. Che Adams will also give life in the attacking third. I’m excited to see what the rangy Djenepo brings to their midfield.
VERDICT: Outside the relegation battle but in the bottom half of the table.
TEAM NAME – WEST HAM
STADIUM: London Stadium
You might be saying to yourself, that seems like a lot of stadium for West Ham. Umm, ya think! It was originally constructed for the London Olympics in 2012. They broke ground in May of 2008, and the stadium came at a cost of 486m pounds. There was an additional 274m pounds of renovation done between 2013-2016 to get it ready for football and concerts. It now has a capacity of 66,000.
2018 RESULTS: 10th in the Prem
- 15 W – 7 D – 16 L
- 52 Goals For
- 55 Goals Against
- 52 Points
PREF FORMATION: 4-1-4-1
PROJ SET PIECE TAKER: Lanzini, Anderson, Snodgrass
PROJ PENALTY TAKER: Noble
Roberto (Espanyol) Free Details
David Martin (Millwall) Free Details
Pablo Fornals (Villarreal) Undisclosed Details
Sebastien Haller (Eintracht Frankfurt) Undisclosed Details
Adrian (Released) Details
Andy Carroll (Released) Details
Samir Nasri (Released) Details
Toni Martinez (Released) Details
Moses Makasi (Released) Details
Lucas Perez (Alaves) Undisclosed Details
Noha Sylvestre (Released) Details
Vashon Neufville (Released) Details
Josh Pask (Coventry City) Free Details
Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz) Undisclosed Details
Nathan Trott (AFC Wimbledon) Loan Details
Martin Samuelsen (FK Haugesund) Loan Details
Marko Arnautovic (Shanghai SIPG) Undisclosed Details
Sam Byram (Norwich City) Undisclosed Details
Arnautovic is finally out of the door. He’s a brilliant player, but it seemed his poor attitude along with a ridiculous amount of injuries submarined their season last year. Against all odds, they did manage to sneak into the top half by finishing 10th in the league. The outgoings are long but not super notable. The Nasri experiment was a failure but a relatively cheap one. Byram showed promise but wasn’t going to play much this season. Perez never seemed to settle at WH and leaves for a decent fee. Andy Carrol and his body made of glass are out the door as well.
In? Two potential superstars in Pablo Fornals and Sebastian Heller. They will both be relied upon heavily in the final third to replace the goals left behind by Arnautovic’s departure. I’ve seen some conservative estimates of five goals for Heller. UMMM, give me the OVER on that one. This guys is a bonafide striker, and should Pellegrini get even a decent season from an injury standpoint, they’ll be pushing for a spot in Europe.
VERDICT: Top half. Just outside of Europe.
TEAM NAME – WATFORD
STADIUM: Vicarage Road
Vicarage Road is home to Watford, but up until 2012, was also home to Saracens FC, a rugby team! Watford’s been in the stadium since 1922 when they originally broke ground. The stadium seems to be in a constant state of renovation since 2017. The capacity is currently at 21,577, but there are plans to expand to 30,000 seats.
Fun fact: Sir Elton John is a monster Watford fan and even has one of the sections of seats named after him.
2018 RESULTS: 11th in the Prem
- 14 W – 8 D – 16 L
- 52 Goals For
- 59 Goals Against
- 50 Points
PREF FORMATION: 4-2-2-2
PROJ SET PIECE TAKER: Deulofeu, Pereyra, Holebas
PROJ PENALTY TAKER: Deeney
Bayli Spencer-Adams (Free) Details
Craig Dawson (West Brom) Undisclosed Details
Obbi Oulare (Standard Liege) Undisclosed Details
Miguel Britos (Released) Details
Tommie Hoban (Released) Details
Jerome Sinclair (Venlo) Loan Details
Michael Folivi (AFC Wimbledon) Loan Details
Watford had an odd end to the season with only three wins from their final 11 games. Their 11th place finish seemed a bit like fool’s gold, but in truth, that is exactly where they belonged. Just look at their results from last year. They destroyed the relegation zone teams and couldn’t pick up a point against the top 6. They were a midpack team. Surely they would make some serious moves this summer to push for Europe, right?
Nah, man. No significant ins or outs.
VERDICT: Too good to be relegated, too bad to push for Europe. A top-half finish would be progress. I just don’t see it.
TEAM NAME – CRYSTAL PALACE
STADIUM: Selhurst Park Stadium
Selhurst Park is located in the London suburb of Selhurst. With a capacity of only 26,125, the owners are looking to upgrade their current situation with renovations you can see below. Check out the YouTube video to see the proposed modern upgrade the venue desperately needs. They originally broke ground back in 1922. It has been renovated four times (most recently in 2014) and expanded twice.
2018 RESULTS: 12th in the Prem
- 14 W – 7 D – 17 L
- 51 Goals For
- 53 Goals Against
- 49 Points
PREF FORMATION: 4-4-2
PROJ SET PIECE TAKER: Milivojevic, Townsend, Meyer
PROJ PENALTY TAKER: Milivojevic
|Patrick van Aanholt||CRY||36||3|
Stephen Henderson (Free) Details
Jason Puncheon (Released) Details
Julian Speroni (Released) Details
Bakary Sako (Released) Details
Ollie O’Dwyer (Aldershot) Free Details
Joseph Hungbo (Released) Details
Tyler Brown (Released) Details
Levi Lumeka (Varzim) Undisclosed Details
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd) Undisclosed Details
Bravo to Roy Hodgson. I honestly thought there was a better chance he’d die than actually improve this squad. You can call his football old fashioned, but facts are facts. He had these boys playing when it counted. Signature wins over Man City and Arsenal on the road certainly showed they were capable. Their home form was curiously terrible, and worryingly, they haven’t had any major signings to show they can turn the corner.
In fact, they lost all world Right Back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United, and the sharks are swimming around, trying to pluck Wilf Zaha from Palace as well. They simply don’t have the talent to make a push for the top half should these two leave without comparable replacements.
Fans will cling to the second half form from last year, but I feel it could be a rough start to the season for Palace.
VERDICT: 10th-15th is realistic with this team. The summer is nowhere near done. Let’s have a look at the rest of their transfer business before truly passing judgment.
TEAM NAME – EVERTON
STADIUM: Goodison Park
Located up in Liverpool, Goodison has a capacity of nearly 40k at 39,572. The record attendance is nearly twice that, when back in 1948, they shoved 78,299 fans in for their match against hated cross-town rivals, Liverpool. They broke ground in 1892!
2018 RESULTS: 8th in the Prem
- 15 W – 9 D – 14 L
- 54 Goals For
- 46 Goals Against
- 54 Points
PREF FORMATION: 4-2-3-1
PROJ SET PIECE TAKER: Digne, Sigurdsson
PROJ PENALTY TAKER: Sigurdsson
Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town) Free Details
Andre Gomes (Barcelona) £22m Details
Fabian Delph (Man City) Undisclosed Details
Phil Jagielka (Sheffield Utd) Free Details
Ashley Williams (Released) Details
Harry Charsley (Released) Details
Boris Mathis (Released) Details
Mateusz Hewelt (Released) Details
Shayne Lavery (Released) Details
Jack Kiersey (Released) Details
Danny Bramall (Released) Details
Joe Hilton (Released) Details
Chris Renshaw (Released) Details
Jonjoe Kenny (Schalke) Loan Details
Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) Undisclosed Details
Sandro Ramirez (Real Valladolid) Loan Details
Brendan Galloway (Luton Town) Free Details
Korede Adedoyin (Hamilton Academical) Loan Details
Kieran Dowell (Derby) Loan Details
Joao Virginia (Reading) Loan Details
Luke Garbutt (Ipswich) Loan Details
Antonee Robinson (Wigan) Undisclosed Details
Josh Bowler (Hull) Loan Details
A strong start and finish to the year found Everton safely in the top half, finishing 8th last year. The big question for me is did they do enough to catch the top 6? For me, the answer is NO. Andre Gomes is back in a permanent capacity, and they’ve added Fabian Delph, who is both very good and very solid. But isn’t that what Everton kind of is at the moment? Solid?
I was hoping they’d improve in a number of areas. For me, Calvert-Lewin and Tosun is not enough firepower from the forward position to push up the table.
Even more troubling is they’re rumored to let promising youngster Adama Lookman leave for Germany and RB Leipzig. While the fee will be hefty, Everton fans can’t be excited about letting their promising talent leave while dead weight like Theo Walcott remains.
VERDICT: Another Everton season. While a bottom half finish is possible, it’s much more likely they finish 8-10.
TEAM NAME – LEICESTER CITY
STADIUM: King Power Stadium
This relatively new stadium, built in 2002, is home to your 2015-16 EPL Champions! It’s the 20th largest stadium in England with a capacity of 32,313 fans. They moved into the King Power Stadium from Filbert Street, which had been their home since 1891. There are plans to expand the capacity to 42,000 seats.
Sadly in 2018, club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter crashed in the parking lot outside the stadium after a home match. Four other people on the helicopter did not survive the crash.
2018 RESULTS: 9th in the Prem
- 15 W – 7 D – 16 L
- 51 Goals For
- 48 Goals Against
- 52 Points
PREF FORMATION: 4-1-4-1
PROJ SET PIECE TAKER: Maddison, Gray
PROJ PENALTY TAKER: Vardy, Maddison
James Justin (Luton Town) Undisclosed Details
Ayoze Perez (Newcastle United) Undisclosed Details
Vontae Daley-Campbell (Arsenal) Undisclosed Details
George Hirst (OH Leuven) Undisclosed Details
Ali Reghba (Bohemians) Undisclosed Details
Youri Tielemans (Monaco) Undisclosed Details
Shinji Okazaki (Released) Details
Danny Simpson (Released) Details
I’ve said it before, but this time, it’s for a different reason. Let’s wait to see how the rest of the top 6 finishes up the summer because I love what Leicester have done. Assuming they hold onto Maguire at CB, they’ve vastly improved their roster by bringing in Ayoze Perez. Jamie Vardy is getting older but is a proven Premier League striker. It’s the players on either side of him who always had me worried. Brendan Rodgers now has genuine options outside. They’ve hung onto Maddison while bringing back Tielemans. I’m very bullish on Leicester this year.
VERDICT: Depending on what Arsenal do and if they can hang onto Maguire, top 6 is not out of the question. Big year incoming for Leicester.
Alright, that will do it for PART 2 of my 3 PART EPL Preview. Look for Part 3 on Thursday. Do not forget, we have a FREE FPL League for EliteFantasy subscribers. There will be prizes. I am not eligible to win them, so even though I’m going to win, there is still hope for you. SIGN UP!!
League Name: Elite Fantasy
League Code: ny6oxn