EPL Season Preview: Teams #11-20
With the EPL season creeping up, it's time to make some predictions for how the season will end. Here are teams in the lower half of the table (11-20), with the top half of the table (1-10) coming up in a future post.
#20: Cardiff City
Last Year: 1st (Championship)
In: Andreas Cornelius, Steven Caulker, John Brayford, Simon Moore
Out: Elliot Parish, Stephen McPhail, Nathaniel Jarvis, Jesse Darko
Preview: For the first time, Cardiff City will be competing in the Premier League. Backed by Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan, Cardiff have huge hopes, but will most likely come short of most of them in their first EPL season. Cardiff have well known players in Andreas Cornelius, Steven Caulker and Craig Bellamy, but have holes in other areas. The performance of the front line and midfield is important, as Cardiff's defense should keep them competitive in a good share of games. Cardiff has some household names, but at the end of the day, they look like a team destined for relegation.
#19: Crystal Palace
Last year: 3rd (Championship)
In: Stephen Dobbie, Dwight Gayle, Jerome Thomas, Jose Campana, Elliot Grandin
Out: Alex Marrow, Andre Moritz, Louis Zaha, Jazz Richards, Jacob Butterfield
Preview: Palace are back in the EPL after an 8 season wait, but it will be a tough battle to stay up. Palace haven't done much in the transfer window so far, with Jose Campana and Jerome Thomas the only big(ish) names arriving Selhurst Park. That being said, they do have a fantastic manager in Ian Holloway who will be looking for another shot in the EPL after being relegated with Blackpool three seasons ago. The performances of Mile Jedinak and Glenn Murray will be key, however Murray is injured and won't play for the first half of the season. Palace have talent, but the majority of it is too inexperienced and young to stay up in the EPL.
Last Year: 17th
In: Cabral, Jozy Altidore, El Hadji Ba, Emanuele Giaccherini, Valentin Roberge, Vito Mannone, David Moberg Karlsson
Out: Simon Mignolet, Alfred N'Diaye, James McClean, Matthew Kilgallon, Ahmed Elmohamady, Danny Graham, Ryan Noble
Preview: Despite Sunderland bringing in a good amount of quality players, Sunderland will struggle to stay afloat in the Premier League. Sunderland's key flaw is in their manager Paolo Di Canio, who has had bust-ups with several players since arriving at the club last March, while criticizing the club's supporters and players. No team can play under a poor manager, and that will be the case at the Stadium of Light. There is a bright spot for Sunderland as American striker Jozy Altidore arrives from AZ Alkmaar after being the top scorer in the Eredivisie. If he can find the back of the net consistently, he could save the Black Cats from a relegation battle.
#18: Stoke City
Last year: 13th
In: Marc Muniesa, Erik Pieters, Juan Agudelo (Will join the team in January 2014)
Out: Carlo Nash, Matthew Upson, Rory Delap, Dean Whitehead, Micheal Owen
Preview: Mark Hughes may have brought in big names in Marc Muniesa, Erik Pieters and Juan Agudelo, but these additions are too few to bring change to a struggling Stoke side. Hughes is clearly trying to take steps away from Stoke's rough and tough style, but the players who play in that style still outnumber the players that play Hughes' new style. It is a period of transition for Stoke, and if it doesn't get off to a good start, it could end poorly for the Potters.
#16: West Ham United
Last Season: 16th
In: Răzvan Raț, Adrian, Andy Carroll, Danny Whitehead
Out: Carlton Cole, Robert Hall, Gary O'Neil
Preview: Although West Ham added big names in Andy Carroll and Răzvan Raț, don't expect West Ham to be anything above mediocre. The Hammers still lack in star power in the midfield and on defense, as players like Alou Diarra and Răzvan Raț are far past their prime to make a huge impact. West Ham could be a mid-table team, but it would mean consistent quality performances from Andy Carroll and Ricardo Vaz Te up front, something that isn't likely to happen. West Ham are an average team, but this year's Premier League should be stronger than past years, and West Ham will most likely be draw into a relegation battle.
Last Year: 14th
In: Victor Wanyama, Dejan Lovren
Out: Vegard Forren, Sam Hoskins, Ben Reeves, Frazer Richardson, Steve de Ridder
Preview: After a fairytale finish last season for Southampton, expect them to take a step back into reality. The signing of Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren will help improve the Saints, but they aren't experienced enough to boost a rather inexperienced Southampton squad (Average age: 24.9). Rickie Lambert will be key as always, and if he can get off to a hot start, Southampton could be a dark horse in the race for a Europa League spot. As mentioned above, it will be one of the toughest Premier League seasons in a while, and that will drag a young Southhampton team down to a low-mid table spot.
#14: Hull City (To be know as Hull Tigers)
Last Season: 2nd (Championship)
In: Yannick Sagbo, Maynor Figueroa, Ahmed Elmohamady, Curtis Davies, Danny Graham (Loan), Steve Harper, George Boyd, Allan McGregor
Out: Sonny Bradley, Danny East, Andy Dawson
Preview: Hull City AFC is to be known as the Hull City Tigers after owner Assem Allam decided that the name Hull City AFC was"irrelevant" and "common" and wanted to make the club special. Despite the name change, Hull should be one of the biggest surprises in the Premier League. The Tigers added quality players in Yannick Sagbo, Maynor Figueroa and Ahmed Elmohamady, and Steve Harper should bring a large amount of Premier League experience, something that is priceless for newly promoted teams. Expect Hull to stay up, and upset the big boys every once in a while.
Last Year: 12th
In: Adel Taarabt (Loan), Sascha Riether, Giorgos Karagounis, Derek Boateng, Maarten Stekelenburg, Fernando Amorebieta
Out: Mark Schwarzer, Mladen Petric, Mahamadou Diarra, Chris Baird
Preview: Fulham after years of bouncing in and around Europa League spots, Fulham has fallen back to being a mid-table team. Signing Sascha Riether from Cologne was a fantastic move for the Cottagers, and will help Fulham be one of the top defensive teams in the league. The performances of Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz will determine whether Fulham will be a Europa League team or a mid-table team. Ruiz is inconsistent, while Berbatov who had a strong season last season isn't getting any younger. Fulham has too much experience to be caught in a relegation battle, but too little star-power to be a serious contender for a Europa League spot.
#12: West Bromwich Albion
Last Year: 8th
In: Nicolas Anelka, Goran Popov, Diego Lugano
Out: Marc Antoine-Fortune, James Hurst, Jerome Thomas, Gonzalo Jara
Preview: Don't be fooled by West Brom's 8th place finish last season, that was solely because of Chelsea youth star Romelu Lukaku, who is back at the Blues after spending last season on loan at West Brom. West Brom added former Blue Nicolas Anelka, however he is far past his prime and will most likely have little impact on the Baggies' season. After high flying for the past two seasons, expect West Brom to come crashing back to Earth for the 13/14 campaign.
#11: Aston Villa
Last Season: 17th
In: Aleksandar Tonev, Jores Okore, Leandro Bacuna, Antonio Luna, Nicklas Helenius, Jed Steer
Out: Richard Dunne, Eric Lichaj, Andy Marshall, Brett Holman, Derrick Willams
Preview: After a down season for Paul Lambert's (very) young Villa squad, the Villains are ready to make an impact. Star striker Christian Benteke has signed a new contract at Villa Park, and is the man to watch. Antonio Luna is a young defender who could make a splash quickly if the backline struggles in the beginning of the season. Paul Lambert is the right man to lead a young Villa squad, and he should lead them to a mid table finish.
What teams did you think were rated too high or too low? Tell me your thoughts by posting a comment!