GCR’s 2016/17 Premier League Staff Predictions
We at the Gold Coast Report are brimming with excitement at the thought of the new season beginning this weekend. Our sport writers could not wait for the games to get going so they got together and this is what they came up with.
Which clubs will get relegated this season?
Cyril : Going to go with Hull and Middlesbrough for sure. Promoted teams usually find the Premier League a hard nut to crack and I don’t see these two lasting the distance. I am undecided for my last pick — it is gotta be between Burnley and Swansea. Burnley’s squad was arguably much better the last time they got promoted and Ginger Mourinho or not, I can’t see them staying up.
Swansea is in the mix because I am concerned by them selling Ayew and Williams. A lot rides on their new boys hitting the ground running. I’ll hedge my bets and go with all four as my picks.
Reginald : I have got Swansea and Burnley as my picks as well. With Swansea, I agree they have sold major pieces without properly replacing them or upgrading the remaining squad with quality reinforcements. Don’t forget their manager is new to the league as well — the Premier League doesn’t roll out welcome mats for first-timers/newbies. I picked The Clarets because I don’t think their squad has enough quality to amass the minimum 40pts needed to survive the drop.
The Black Cats are my last pick — Moysie, Moysie, Moysie…Need I say more?
Donald : I am rolling in with different picks — Hull, Watford, Burnley or Boro. Hull are overwhelming favorites with the bookies and rightfully so. The squad is already decimated by injuries and the frightening thing is there’s no news of new signings. The lack of needed investment in the squad has ultimately seen their manager leave which has no doubt played a significant part in their inadequate preseason preparation. For teams coming into the Premier League from the Championship — and hoping to survive, getting points on the board early is the main objective. A good start is vital and you could easily find yourself left behind, trying to play catch up for the rest of the season.
Watford played the Premier League survival game perfectly last season, their blistering start to the season, fueled by Ighalo & Deeney saw them escape relegation despite their poor 2nd half of the season performance. This season looks to be different as you can feel the normal order being restored. It is going to be tougher all round to win games, especially for returning Premier League sides like Watford who have failed to strengthen their squad significantly. If they add another striker and acquire experienced Premier League midfielders and defenders then they might survive, otherwise, the 2016/17 season will be their last.
Like both you guys, I couldn’t come up with a perfect 3-team list. The final spot on that list is between Burnley and Boro for me. Sean Dyche’s men gave a good account of themselves the last time they were in the Premier League and were at times, a delight to watch. Credit to the club for holding on to most of their players and securing promotion immediately. My frank assessment is that the overall quality of the Premier League has moved up a notch or two since Burnley participated and given their impressive approach wasn’t good enough last time round, it could still yet, not be enough once again.
As for Boro, my memories of them when they were in the Premier League are of great scorers like Yakubu and Mark Viduka. Whether Negredo, who has a reliable striker during his time at City, Jordan Rhodes, their prolific Championship scorer, Stewart Downing and Valdez posses enough Premier League experience and the ability to produce magnificent performances, I am not as convinced. If I had to pick between Burnley and Boro, I would go with the latter to ultimately go down.
Who will be the manager to be sacked?
Donald : Francesco Guidolin. Swansea have strengthened in the main area that troubled them last season. The signing of former Spanish international, Llorente and Borja Bastion have brought an end to their search of Bony’s replacement after his departure However they are simultaneously losing their joint-top scorer in Andre Ayew and captain, Ashley Williams. These two are major losses and with the transfer window shutting soon, it is highly unlikely they will find replacements in time. Swansea may struggle initially and if his team does not have a good start, he may be the first managerial casualty.
Reginald : I agree with above ⤴. Guidolin isn’t coming into the league as a foreign manager with a pedigree of succeeding with poor squads. The Swans are arguably, a team set for a relegation fight this season and I can’t see him doing much to change their course. He’ll be the first to go.
Second choice might be Jose….. That was easy huh?
Cyril : 😂😂 — Watch the United fans come after you.
It is a toss up between Aitor Karanka and Walter Mazzari, both of managers of Middlesbrough and Watford football clubs respectively. Boro’s transfer activity reminds me of QPR summer before they got relegated. I suspect the club owners have high expectations and being early season relegation candidates is not part of the plan.
Their high profile summer acquisition of Valdez and Negredo is certain to see Karanka giving his marching orders should the wheels come of early.
Watford have trigger happy owners who have found relative success by learning to cut their losses early. Not just with managers but players as well. They famously started last season with a new manager and a new raft of signings. It all worked out well last season, this season, it won’t. Expectations are higher and the owners as well as fans will be hoping to not just secure but play like a mid-table team. I suspect their sluggish form towards the end of last season will carry over and the man paid to make the big decisions will answer for that with his job.
Who will be the 2016/17 Golden boot winner?
Reginald : Agüero by a mile. Pep sets his team up for goals and this could very well prove to be a record-setting season for the Argentine striker in terms of goals. Look at Lewandowski’s performances throughout last season for Bayern under Pep. Only injuries can stop Agüero.
Donald : I think it is going to be a straight shootout between Agüero and Kane. But ultimately I am going to go with Agüero because I can see this Manchester City team creating lots more chances under Pep and Agüero scores even when they are limited.
Cyril: This might be our first unanimous response because I also can’t pick anyone ahead of Agüero ending this season as the top scorer. Pep worked wonders for Messi in terms of injury when he was at Barcelona. Messi suffered 7 injuries in his three years under Rijkaard, only suffered one during Pep’s four years tenure and had five injuries in the next two years under Tito/Tata. Granted Pep was unable to work his magic for Robben and Ribery whilst at Bayern but I for one will be hedging my bets picking Kun.
Which clubs will qualify for Europe?
Cyril : This list includes the two Europa League spots right? In no particular order; I have got Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs making it. If Everton manage to keep a hold of Lukaku, I fancy the Toffees over their merseyside neighbours. Otherwise, the Hammers take up my last slot.
Donald : Going to go with Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool. Rather straightforward this.
Reginald : Here is my list, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool.
Which clubs will make the top 4 and who will end the season as the eventual title winner?
Donald : Manchester City to win it all with their neighbours, Arsenal and Spurs rounding up the list. I do think Chelsea could replace any of the United, Arsenal and Spurs depending on how well their season goes.
Cyril : I have got Chelsea or Manchester United to win the title. I strongly believe defences win you titles and there are few better at organising a team than José or Conte. Manchester City and Spurs complete the list.
Reginald : My list is a bit tricky so bear with me. I am picking City to win the league this season. With Manchester United second, Arsenal third with Chelsea taking the final spot. However, if Martial is indeed the second coming of Thierry Henry, United will win the league. Should Wenger finally decide to sign a striker better than Giroud, they jump ahead to be my favorites to the title.
Will Pep win the Champions League on his first try for Manchester City?
Reginald : The answer to that is an easy no. It is no surprise English teams have been underwhelming in Europe since Chelsea won the CL trophy. The league is daunting and with the tempo Pep will want to play week in, week out I doubt the team will be able to sustain that all year round. The effect of that will see them fail to go all the way in the CL.
Cyril : It is a no here from me as well. I’ll even go one further to predict a R16 exit. The run up to that knock out game will probably see Kompany ruled out because of an injury and Hart, who is on a poor run of games will let in a howler that sees them out of the competition.
Donald : It is possible, City have a better chance for sure. Unai Emery seems to be a man who knows how to win European games making PSG a considerable threat, juventus are stronger, Bayern will remain a threat, Real and Barca ever present. It’s surely going to be tougher. But just for football’s sake I think City will win it. First in their history and probably the best manager and squad they’ve ever had to pull it off.
Which Manager will José pick a touchline fight with this season?
Donald : The overwhelming favourite is the mighty Arsène Wenger. It is obviously personal for José.
Reginald : Book your seats for the Manchester derby because history is going to rewrite itself.
Donald : With Pep, I think both managers seem to be determined to avoid a confrontation and will do their best to keep it straightforward. But no way José wastes an opportunity to have a go at Wenger.
Cyril : I am thinking no one — no fights for José this season. I don’t think he’s in a hurry to launch into any controversy during the first year of his tenure at Old Trafford. I also think the club has him on a short leash and other than the occasional tirade he will launch at other managers and people in the media, I don’t think we will see him getting physical with anyone.
Will Wenger resign during the course of the season?
Reginald : No. He’s too proud to ever resign. Let’s not forget he hasn’t signed a new deal yet. So he could just see out his current contract.
Donald : Yh I agree. He will most likely see out his contract and retire after.
Cyril : This question is a great opportunity to unleash my hitherto-unknown mystic powers. Arsène has been talking to the press this week and some of the stuff that he addressed was his regret at not winning the league with Arsenal last season despite the seemingly perfect conditions to be able to do so and his apprehension about retiring as he isn’t sure what to do should he retire from football.
Unfortunately, according to be my new found powers, that decision won’t be his this season. Arsenal will find themselves marooned in mid-table for the first half of the season with an injury to Giroud/Sanchez/Ozil coming during the winter run of games. Losing a key player and realising that the club failed to secure an adequate backup will push the #WengerOut campaign into a rabid frenzy resulting in them booing and demanding his exit at every game. Only the resignation of their manager will suffice.
Who should readers keep an eye out for this season?
Cyril : The club to pay attention to is Sunderland. I predict them being ‘king makers’ come May. Moyes and his merry Wearside-men will be this season’s giant killers. Watch out Allardici, the best British manager will is coming for his throne.
As for the player to watch, it has got to be Christian Benteke if he does secure a move in the summer to another Premier League side. As of the time of writing this, Palace’s interest in him is just a rumour and he is still very much a Liverpool player. People are sleeping on Tekkers because they have forget how good a striker he is. It is arguably on the back of his performances that Aston Villa stayed in the league as long as they did. As for the transfer signing to watch, could it be anyone else other than Zlatan?
Reginald : I am starting with the most expensive player in world football. Pogba has been great during his time with Juve with the only criticism of his performance in Italy being his inability, along with his teammates to secure the Champions League trophy. Also, despite France making it to the finals in the Euros, his overall performance was underwhelming. He is coming to United not just with the pressure surrounding his transfer fee and the weight of expectation that carries but also as one of the most hyped young talent in the game.
The other player to keep an eye out for is The Ox. It is his make or break season. Four years of being inconsistent doesn’t cut it and just as Walcott is finding out, there is only so long you can hide behind the label of being the next great young talent Wenger nurtures. He scored two golazos in pre season and will be “buzzing”. A healthy season for him and he could be the world beater he has the potential to be. We might finally enjoy the Oxlade-Chamberlain: Midfielder Extraordinaire™ show this season uninterrupted, after five false-start seasons.
Donald : Similar to Reginald, I went with players to keep an eye on. The first on my list is Vardy’s new striker partner, Ahmed Musa. Musa always looks like a spark, pacy and can finish. Next up is one of the deadly strikers from the Championship last season, Burney’s talisman, Andre Gray. Gray was one of Burnley’s stand out players last season and has been on fire during preseason, finding the net an impressive, 9 times.
Watford’s shiny new winger, Isaac Success is another to pay attention to. He comes to the league with a good reputation from La Liga and was the standout player for his former club, Granada CF last year. Borja Baston who scored 18 goals in La Liga recently signed for Swansea, he is another to have on your watchlist.
That’s all from us here at The Gold Coast Report. Make sure to check back in during the course of the season for our players, managers and league reviews throughout the course of the season.