Another day comes, and another day closer to the third most important day of the year*. Saturday begins weekly events like morning drinking, Joey Barton punching people, and Mancini’s in scarves. Don’t forget Fergie Time and watching England’s Brave Racist John Terry. It promises to be a fun season, and here is day two of FourfiveTwo’s EPL Season Preview. Remember these days in 9 months so you can make fun of us. Read on for a look at Everton, Liverpool, Newcastle, Norwich, and QPR
*Behind the 2 Merseyside Derbies of course
The Toffees have had a pretty good offseason, and optimism is high for what will inevitably turn out to be a slow start with a mad dash for a Europa League berth at the end of the season. David Moyes was linked with the open Spurs job, but thankfully he was never offered it. Jack Rodwell and Time Cahill were the two surprising departures, but for a total of 13-16 million it is good business. The addition of Steve Naismith and return of Pienaar means Everton has quality midfield and forward depth. This
promise of optimisim means we will probably lose 3 out of our first 4 matches, and then the doom and gloom will be in full show by Christmas. Maybe Donovan will be a late present?
What fun it must be to root for Eightpool in these times. Replacing King Kenny with Brendan Rodgers was an inspiried move, but I doubt even Mourinho could get Downing to make a decent cross. The big key for Liverpool will be if Rodgers has enough time to implement is style of play. The club already had enough problems, but trying to solve them as well as changing to an new style of play could make for a long season. Cleaning out some older players and bringing in 2 new guys means Rodgers is banking on the talent at the club which doesn’t bode well for him. I’d expect similar results to last season, but if the club struggles out of the gate who knows what could happen. Oh and at least the club is always good for laugh when trying to watch Carroll to score. Eigthpool FTW!
Without a doubt Newcastle were the biggest succes story from last year. Alan Pardew combined several astute signings with some fantastic defensive play to lead the club to a 5th place finish. The only departure of note is Leon Best’s, but the club has enough striker power that he should not be missed. The big concern for the club is depth in the back. Newcastle was fortunate to avoid too many costly injuries, and with an added workload from the Europa League, it is unlikely that the club will finish quite as high.
One of the true pleasures to watch last year, Paul Lambert did fantastic in the Canaries first season in the EPL in some time. unfortunately Lambert left for greener pastures at Aston Villa, but Norwich made an extremely astute hire in bringing Chris Hugton back to the EPL. Player movement has been pretty stable so far, mainly minor pieces moving in and out of the club. The real key is if forward Grant Holt will stay with the club. If he stays, expect Norwich to finish mid table. If he leaves, they will be in a relegation fight till the end.
Queens Park Rangers
If any team deserved to get relegated last year it was QPR. The newest Arab toy on the block survived a last day implosion that also gave Manchester City the title, excuse me while I go vomit again. This year QPR is back for another dose of Mark Hughes madness, the FourFiveTwo betting office is setting the over/under on draws at 16 for the season. The club should do better this season. The additions seem a little more sensible than the “buy every average player at an expensive price” policy of last year. Robert Green will bring more stability to the keeper position, games against Fulham excluded of course. Fabio on loan from United and Park Ji-Sung will help, as will adding Junior Holliet. Of course the big questions is how stupid will Joey Barton be? He will miss a few matches to start things off, and if Hughes is smart he won’t see the field very often.