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The Premier League contenders 2016/17.

Posted on May 30, 2016 by Scraggs

The 2015/16 season was absolutely nothing like many expected and whilst some argue that it was sub standard in quality it is mainly only those obsessed by huge transfer fees and wages, the opinion of the majority was that it was probably one of the best Premier League seasons ever with the hope and belief that the monopoly that has existed for far too long might just have been broken up for ever.

Though the emergence of Leicester was not envisaged by any expert, pundit or even the most loyal of their fans, some of us at JTN like to think that we weren’t so far away with our predictions in relation to the other main players, take a read of our post dated the 4th July 2015 in which we take a punt at the needs of the top 6 clubs from the previous season, below we comment on how it all played out and give our opinions for the coming season.

Chelsea- We didn’t expect the Champions to have it so easy and whilst we were correct in that prediction the level of failure was completely unforeseen, Chelsea failed in so many areas including defensively where the elder statesmen were found out with perhaps only Willian getting through the season with his reputation intact.

The new coach has much to do once he arrives at the club, not least attempting to prevent some with the biggest ego seeking a way out without the carrot of any form of European football. With only domestic trophies to play for Chelsea can only improve this coming season but they have a long way to go to get back to challenging for a title, too far in our opinion as they will now struggle to retain a couple of their important players and add what they need at the back and up front.

Manchester City- We predicted a torrid time for Sterling after the initial flush of success and, though City managed to battle their way through to the semi-finals of the Champions League, we were about right in suggesting they were no more than challengers for the title.

Guardiola will obviously give City a pep but they are seriously short of players that will take him where he wants to go, his reputation alone and the promise of huge wages will ensure some heavy-duty arrivals in one half of Manchester, even so his reputation as the best coach in football will be sorely tested this coming season.

Arsenal- We did predict, reluctantly, that Arsenal would be the main challengers for the title and they were top at Christmas until the wheels fell off and they spluttered in all competitions, as usual they recovered when too late but did manage to retain the North London title by the skin of their teeth yet again.

It was the same old story with Arsenal and grabbing 2nd spot probably saved Wenger from a difficult summer, now the majority of their fans will fall for the same old excuses until the wheels fall off again.

With his contract expiring at the end of the coming season as always happens Wenger will spend, in fact he has started and for once addressed the defensive midfield area that he has overlooked for so long, a forward will surely follow as he aims to earn yet another contract. Top 4 again but nothing more in our opinion.

Manchester United- With the appointment of Mourinho most think that United will be back challenging for the title but we just don’t see that happening. Currently they have no better than a decent squad that, in the main, cost them a lot of money, unfortunately few of them, with the possible exception of Martial, have really proven to be successful, the players that have come through the ranks and need time before they can be considered stars, Mourinho doesn’t do patience, he will want big players now that can do the job and get him to where he wants to be.

Like City they will splash the cash but unlike them they will only be playing in the Europa on a Thursday evening and that will prevent the acquisition of some of the players he might hope to buy. A great deal to do yet before United can be considered anything more than top 4 challengers.

Tottenham Hotspur- Well we did tell you that Pochettino might be looking at Eric Dier to fill the defensive midfield void and we were spot on, similarly no superstar centre forward brought in with Harry Kane clearly the best man for the job.

After 34 games Spurs were one of only two challengers for the title and even some of the most biased of pundits were happy to talk us up as title challengers for years if, as looked likely, they failed on this occasion. Strange that in just a couple of weeks it’s back to the Sky 4 and Liverpool with Pochettino’s team little more than an afterthought.

We called it right last year and we’re calling another title challenge provided the club can add the players needed to compete at a higher level on all fronts, or at least the league and Champions League as a minimum.

We cannot see a huge number of new additions arriving over the summer and certainly no superstars with inflated egos and wage packets (you know who), we do though expect a few well chosen quality additions in vital positions.

Liverpool- yet again we were pretty accurate with our predictions with Rodgers soon out the door and most of the new additions failing to light up the league. Jurgen Klopp was the best thing to come out of the season despite a couple of cup finals and he will certainly bring the club back into contention for a Champions League place come the end of next season.

Liverpool will yet again splash the cash but on a few selected additions more like, the problem that they face, much like City and United, is getting unwanted players and their huge wages off their books.

This coming season will in our opinion be another exciting affair and it would be wrong to believe that the aforementioned 6 will be the only players in the chase for trophies, the title and the prestige of a place in the top 4, Leicester won’t be going away even though they might well lose a couple of their stars to other clubs, even if they manage to hang on to them much like Spurs they will have to deepen their squad with quality additions to compete in an extra competition, let’s not forget that they only played 42 games in all competitions last season, now they have Europe to contend with.

The other teams which should not be discounted are West Ham and Southampton, the “Hammers” with the British taxpayer as their new sugar-daddy are throwing money around like confetti and it means they will strengthen, whilst the “Saints” continue to improve and are being led by an extremely able Ronald Koeman, who might in the near future be offered one of the big jobs.

I hate seeing and hearing reference to the “big clubs” underperforming this past season as being the sole reason that Spurs and Leicester did so well, some actually blame them for the “underdogs” success, none of us at JTN actually believe that, those same wealthy clubs spent just as much, in some cases even more, as always and to suggest that all of them underestimated or underperformed in the same season is more than a little far-fetched. The truth is that times are changing, it’s a more level playing field financially and the new young coaches have new ideas and methods which bring dividends, Ranieri obviously being the exception. Pellegrini, LVG and Wenger are stuck in their ways and despite being with clubs able to spend massive sums are perhaps now behind the times, even Mourinho was massively caught out last season and might also be on that slippery slope, we shall soon see.

This transfer window is going to be truly interesting, the premiership investment record will likely be blown out of the water as some of the best coaches and biggest egos go about creating their squads.

 

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