The Dark Horses of Premier League

Published 08/11/2016, 5:45 AM EDT
Mane imitating Cristiano Ronaldo’s Calma Calma celebration


 

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The Premier League is about to start and there is a lot of buzz around this time about who will win, who will choke and who will end up at the wrong end of the table. The big clubs have made amends this time as the Manchester teams boast of the best squad at the moment. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will continue their rivalry in the league. We may see more of Arsene Wenger vs Mourinho as well. As usual, the top clubs Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City have caught the eyes of fans. But after watching Leciester lifting the title last year we can’t count anyone off.

The most unpredictable league will be underway in a few days. Where a team like Leceister can win the title whereas a team like Chelsea after winning the league can finish 10th next season. This unpredictability of the league leads to the fact that there are clubs who may not be title favorites but can cause a surprise without doubt.

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4. West Ham United

The Hammers finished 7th last year but spent a lot of time in the top four after losing it out in the end due to lack of quality bench players and the inability to play 3 games in a week. Dimitri Payet is one of the most sought after players in the transfer market. But the French winger has pledged his loyalty to the club. Feghoulli has also joined the club from Valencia which makes the West Ham attack even better. If Leceister can do it, West Ham can surely do it with this kind of squad. The attacking midfielder has joined the club for free and there is still a possibility of signing another quality player. Andre Ayew has joined the club as well, which makes their attack one of the best in the league as three of their players feature in top 10 of golden boot ranking.

The East London club had their best season last year thanks to the new manager Steven Bilic who replaced Sam Allardyce. Bilic instantly brought some major changes and turned an average looking squad into a well oiled machine which finished over the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool last year. The club will play in Europa league this season and will be looking to have a successful campaign in Europe as well. With players like Andy Carrol, Dimitri Payet, Feghouli, Ogbonna in their arsenal they can surely win the league. But discipline and concentration will be very important as they are not one of the top clubs who can bank on individual quality as well.

Key players : Payet , Ayew

Strength: The attack is top class with Payet, Ayew , Feghoulli, Carrol . They have a good enough team to tear any defense apart and with some discipline they can fulfill their Champions League dream.

Weakness: Lack of depth in the squad costed them UCL place last season with Manchester United and Southampton capitalizing finishing above them.

3. Leceister City

The defending champions are surprisingly not in the contenders list, thanks to some heavy recruitment by the likes of Manchester United, City , Chelsea etc. All three of them have changed their managers. That is one of the biggest factors that these teams are now again the most feared. Antonio Conte showed what he can do in Euros with Italy knocking Spain off only to lose to Germany on penalties. Claudio Ranieri has built a lovely team and has got the best out of the players he had, to get his hands on the most sought after trophy in England. Leceister had a dream season last year and they will have to live upto the expectations this year as well. They should be aiming for atleast the top 4 spot and Claudio Ranieri is well aware of that.

N’golo Kante left for Chelsea in the transfer window and the future of Riyad Mahrez is still in the air. Despite all that, Leceister has the quality to win it back to back. They have signed Ahmed Musa and he showed his quality against Barcelona in the pre season game. Kante has left a void but Leceister will cover up for that as the transfer window is still open for around 20 days atleast. Vardy and Mahrez, if the latter stay, were the most feared duo last year and they can again prove to be the nightmare for opposition. Vardy almost landed the golden boot last year and Mahrez was a treat to watch.

Key players: Riyadh Mahrez, Jamie Vardy

Strength : The defense is top class as well as midfield. Maybe the attack needs some reinforcement to cover up for Vardy.

Weakness : Apart from Musa they haven’t signed any big player that may help them. Plus the loss of Kante leaves a big void in the heart of midfield.

 

2. Liverpool

After losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool were horrible until Brendan Rodgers was fired and Jurgen Klopp joined the Merseyside club. Klopp came in mid season and helped Liverpool revive their season, helping them reach Europa final and a respectable finish in the league. Liverpool has signed Sadio Mane from Southampton bolstering the attack, as the former Saints player troubled every team with the speed and tricks he had under his bag. They play a fast attacking style of football under Klopp, thanks to the range of attacking talents they have. Liverpool though has problem in defending as they tend to leave defense exposed at the expense of attacking. Klopp really changed the face of team in little time and it would be wonderful to see how Klopp fairs in his first full season with the club.

Liverpool have made some good signings this year bringing Mane and Wijnaldum to the side. But it would be better if they give attention to their defensive woes as well. Klopp can apply the six second rule which can help improvise the defense and can allow them to create a balance between attack and defense. The range of talents Liverpool have and with Klopp as manager they can surely create some big upsets this year. They are the dark horses of the Premier League, people may not consider them as title contenders but they surely have the talent to go all the way.

Klopp during his time at Dortmund did outclass Mourinho’s Real Madrid with Borussia Dortmund causing a big upset in the semi finals of the Champions League. He does love the underdog tag and actually drills his team to shock the opponents despite all odds. Klopp has big task ahead of him. But as he has done it with Dortmund, he can surely do it with Liverpool.

key players: Sadio Mane , Roberto Firmino

strengths: The attack and midfield have a lot of quality to break any defense. Sadio Mane has shown his brilliance in preseason and if Daniel Sturridge doesn’t get injured this time Liverpool will prove to be a tough team.

Weaknesses: Manager should take care about the defense as well. They should keep a balance in between because attack wins you games while defense wins you trophies.

1. Tottenham Hotspurs

Spurs have finally qualified for Champions League. But despite the impressive last season, they still can’t be considered as tough contenders. Spurs were the only team who had Leceister in check but eventually finished third. Mauricio Pochhetino has galvanized the team well. He has helped them gel up and finally has found the best combination that can possibly win them titles. They already have the best striker of the league last season, Harry Kane. And with the man full of creativity who always has some new trick up his sleeves Christian Eriksen, Spurs have one of the best squad in the league.

They have already bought Victor Wanyama from Southampton. The Kenyan captain has been amazing with the Saints and was seeking a move away since January and finally has struck gold. The defensive midfielder will cover up for the voids left in the defense and can really prove to be one of the most important player in the team. The way Casemiro helped Real Madrid find balance, this guy can help Spurs in the same way.

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Vincent Jannsen has also joined the North London club for a undisclosed fee to play as backup for Kane. Pochhetino has been quite tactical with the signings and hasn’t clearly gone overboard with them. Maybe the squad  is not the same level as that of Manchester clubs, but is still a dream squad for many having Eric Lamela , Eriksen , Alderweireld , Lloris and many more. What gives them the advantage is that all the clubs with best squads have gone under manegorial changes and it will take time for the team to adjust to that.

key players: Harry Kane , Victor Wanyama

Strengths: Almost everything but attack is their true strength. With Harry Kane upfront and Eriksen as the playmaker, they prove to be a very deadly combination that blew many defenses apart last season.

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Weaknesses: The team will have to step in the league deciding games and the games against the big clubs. They will have to rack up points against the likes of Manchester United , Chelsea etc.

 

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Yasheel Vyas

28 articles

I am a football fan who loves to write, all those curious I am a Real Madrid and Southampton fan. Favorite players are Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Kaka.

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