English Premier League Season Preview: 20-16 place
In the first of a four-part series, I will give my prediction on where all 20 English Premier League clubs will end up at the end of the season.
In this first installment, I will give my prediction on which clubs will finish 20-16 on the league table, what moves each club made in this summer's transfer market, what are the club's positive and negative aspects are and what to expect from each club this season.
Result from last season: Fifth place in Championship (Advanced to Premier League by winning Championship Play Off final).
Incoming players: Tyrone Mears, Steven Fletcher, David Edgar, Brian Easton and Richard Eckersley.
Players leaving: Alexander MacDonald
Positives: After a miracle run in the Championship Play Off last season, Burnley now find themselves in the top flight of English football for the first time in 33 years, and are in the Barclay's Premier League for the first time.
They have a great manager in Owen Coyle, and want to have great success next season.
Negatives: By having many young players on the club, they will have problems keeping up with many of the Premier League clubs. Also, because Burnley are not a rich team, they will have problems getting players who could help them positively, which will hurt them while trying to stay in the Premier League.
And with their poor defensive record last season, it will be tough for them to stop Premier League clubs when they attack.
And despite wanting to succeed, they probably won't be able to keep up with many of the other Premier League clubs, which will cause them to be relegated to the Championship.
19. Birmingham City
Result from last season: 2nd place in Championship (Automatically advance to Premier League).
Incoming players: Barry Ferguson, Lee Bowyer, Cristian Benitez, Joe Hart, Roger Johnson, Giovanny Espinoza, Scott Dann.
Players leaving: Krystian Pearce, Stephen Kelly, Robin Shroot.
Positives: After falling into the Championship from the Premier League in 2007-08, the Blues now find themselves back in the Premier League after a one year layoff.
The Blues have also been busy in this summer's transfer market, with the biggest player coming in is Barry Ferguson from Rangers, who will help provide leadership for next season. They also have a great mix of both old and young players.
Negatives: Birmingham City have struggled to score goals last season in the Championship, and will now face tighter defences in the Premier League.
Injuries with the older players could potentially become a factor, and because of this, expect Birmingham City to be relegated this season.
18. Wigan Athletic
Result last season: 11th place in English Premier League
Incoming players: James McCarthy, Jason Scotland, Hendry Thomas, Garcia-Penche Jordi Gomez.
Players leaving: Antonio Valencia
Positives: Despite always having the odds stacked against them, Wigan always find a way to get the job done, and stay in the Premier League every season.
They have a good mix of veterans and young players on the squad for next season, and they have been in the Premier League every season since 2006-2007.
Negatives: Wigan lost their manager Steve Bruce to Sunderland at the end of last season, who was a key factor for Wigan over the last several seasons in the Premier League.
Wigan also had a hard time scoring goals last season, as they only scored 34 goals throughout the entire season, and with the loss of Valencia to Manchester United, Wigan will have less production than last season.
Because of this, Wigan will find themselves in the Championship for the 2010-2011 season.
17. Hull City
Result from last season: 17th in Premier League
Incoming players: Steven Mouyokolo
Players who are leaving: Samuel Ricketts, Dean Windass
Positives: Hull City had an unbelivable start to last season, as they beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and had sights of qualifying for Europe for the 2009-2010 season.
Despite drastically falling off from their great pace at the beginning of the season, Hull continue to be in the Premier League, and look to rebound from what happened to them at the end of last season.
Negatives: Hull had a terrible end to last season, and barely were able to stay in the Premier League for a second season.
They had problems keeping the football out of their own net, as they had a negative- 25 goal differential.
They also haven't been that active in this summer's transfer market, but Hull will probably gain some consistency at the end of the season, which will help them avoid relegation again.
Result from last season: 1st in Championship (Automatically advance to Premier League).
Incoming players: Kevin Doyle, Marcus Hahnemann, Andrew Surman, Greg Halford, Ronald Zubar, Nenad Milijas.
Players who are leaving: Darren Potter
Positives: Last season, Wolves scored 80 goals in 45 Championship matches, as they were dominated on offense, and took the entire Championship by storm as they finished first in the Championship by seven points as they head back to the Premier League for the first time since 2003-2004, and look to succeed.
Negatives: Despite the great season that Wolves had last season, they cannot get off to a bad start in this season's Premier League campaign, as that could hurt them tremendously.
Wolves also cannot be too offensive minded, as that will leave other Premier League clubs many great chances on counter-attacks. But they seem strong enough that they will remain in the Premier League for last season.