You’ve read BBC, consulted TeamTalk listened to the Journalists on twitter, but of course it’s the opinion of me “gibfootballshow” that you’ve been waiting for, Yeah I know this is the 107th Premier League preview you’ve read however where would I be as a blogger if I didn’t recognise one of the biggest leagues in the world starting it’s season, going to try and do it a little different so you don’t lose interest quickly, but I can’t promise miracles.

Instead of just picking the winners, I will list all 20 Premier League clubs and little reasons why as we go on, also at the end there will be 5 players to watch out for this season. So without further ado here we go English Premier League 2010/11 starts now.

 1.Chelsea
2.Manchester United
3.Manchester City

4.Arsenal

I have picked Chelsea as my eventual winners of the league, good manager a very strong squad, if Essien stays fit he is like a new signing for them, Ramires for me is a pivotal move, very strong energetic midfielder, loves to go box to box, great technique, workhorse engine, I think will take to the Premier League like a duck to water, Lampard and Drogba will score 20 goals each as always, Daniel Sturridge will have a good year, I don’t think any of the other teams in the league are as strong or have as much depth.

Manchester United will be strong, Hernandez looks like being the steal of the year, need to see whether he can play with Rooney first, Scholes, Giggs and Van der Sar are another year older, lots of expectation on Nani and Valencia, Sir Alex will need to summon all his managerial expertise to overcome Chelsea this season, not far behind them will be Manchester City, some excellent signings geared more towards building a team than just buying big name players, Kolarov will come to be a very important move, great left back, desire to get forward, cultured left foot, there is also not lots of pressure on him to perform, David Silva and Mario Balotelli are two fantastic signings “Super Mario” is the most exciting signing this summer for me, one of the best young players in the World, £24 million may sound like too much money however in two years he will be worth double, the move to the Premier League gets him away from the pressure of the Italian media that highlight everything he does simply because he is a black Italian man, in this country the things that he does are no different to any footballer, Bellamy, Cole and Terry make him look like an alter boy. Mancini will have a hard job keeping the 25 players picked for the squad happy; this could be City’s downfall.

Year after year we say “Arsenal need a goalkeeper, a centre back and a central midfielder” Well they signed a centre back, but he lacks experience I have no doubt Koscielny will be one of the top defenders in 3 or 4 years, but not this season, with an experienced goalkeeper behind a young defence they would concede fewer goals and have a chance at the title, the first team are Championship material, and on their day capable of beating any team in the league, however once the injuries and suspensions kick in, the players replacing them will struggle, I’m sure Bookies have suspended betting on a van Persie injury occurring at some point.

5.Liverpool
6.Tottenham
7.Everton
8.Aston Villa
9.Birmingham City

Anfield is buzzing again, Roy Hodgson has got some smiles back on the faces of Liverpool fans already, mostly because he has “convinced” Gerrard and Torres to stay at the Merseyside club, Joe Cole is a decent signing maybe not for £6 million signing on fee and £90,000 a week but that will all be forgotten once he scores the winner against a big club, Problems still exist however, the defence is not watertight, Carragher is aging and cracks are starting to appear, whether you can count on Agger and Skrtel together worries me, Glen Johnson proves times after time he can’t defend, and Fabio Aurelio is Liverpool’s best left back, the midfield is strong Christian Poulsen will be a success at Anfield, either along side Lucas or Gerrard with Jovanovic and Cole supporting, I can see Liverpool playing better football than last year but in the end coming up short.

There will not be much between Spurs, Everton and Villa, with O’Neill gone and Milner surely to follow Villa will struggle, there are still quality players there, Ashley Young and Agbonlahor are cornerstones to build the team around, if the new manager spends the Milner money wisely (if he gets any at all) then they could push for top six, Tottenham will need to find a way to balance the league matches with the Champions League, favourites to qualify over Young Boys, Arry Redknapp needs to strengthen his squad to have any chance of competing on two fronts, defensively there are problems, King and Woodgate will not play 20 games between them, Dawson needs a stable partner to be able to excel, Keane, Defoe, Crouch and Pavlyuchenko are all good players but lack that extra little touch of quality all the big teams have.

David Moyes has been quite quiet so far, Jermaine Beckford arrives with high hopes, able to score in League One for fun, questions over whether he can make the big step up, Pre-season form in promising, Bilyaletdinov, Cahill and Saha are important pieces of the Goodison Park jigsaw, Jagielka and Heitinga are the safety net keeping it all together, all the pieces there for a good season, depth could be an issue. Nikola Zigic and Ben Foster no doubtly make Birmingham a better team, I worry on how Zigic will adapt to the EPL style and the laws of averages would say it would take a miracle for the performances seen at St.Andrews to be repeated, there is time still left for Alex McLeish to strengthen the squad, does the club have that extra ambition though.

10. Wigan
11. West Ham
12. Fulham
13. Sunderland
14.Stoke City
15.Wolves
16.Blackburn Rovers

7 teams that could all either finish top half of the table or near the relegation battle, worse case scenario they could end up with both, the league is tight enough that a victory either way could mean 9th or 16th, which I suppose is the appeal of the EPL. Wigan and Martinez need to adapt and play a passing but defensively tough strategy, Boselli is an exciting signing, added to Rodallega, N’Zogbia, McCarthy and Alcaraz they are a young exciting team, with an equally exciting manager. West Ham have a chance to redeem themselves from an awful season last year, good signings in Winston Reid and Pablo Barrea, dealt a blow with Hitzlsperger’s injury, they have the tools to finish safely away from relegation.

Fulham are a bit of an unknown force with Mark Hughes in charge, not quite sure how they will line up, If they complete the deal for Moussa Dembele he will be an excellent recruit, as of right now I think the team is weak in parts, with Schwarzer, Hangeland, Murphy and Zamora it is a strong spine. I worry for Sunderland at times, they sign good players Riveros, Mensah and Wellbeck, but they suffer from players not being able to settle or injuries the North-East is a place where the fans are always expectant and this pressure sometimes becomes too much for players, they rely heavily on Bent’s goals and I’m not sure they have the players to be creative for him.

Stoke and Wolves are two similar teams, both now have a big money striker, Fletcher and Jones, both play a strong physical game, and both in their first season in the Premier punched way above their weight, this year will be another tough year, the worst thing a team can do is think they are “established” and rest on their laurels, which is why both teams have went out and spent money on making the team better, I’d prefer Tony Pulis to Mick McCarthy as a manager, not the prettiest football to watch but it produces results, another team under the same ilk are “Big” Same Allardyce’s Blackburn Rovers, only one signing so far in Mame-Biram Diouf on loan from Manchester United, not the worst team but they are not going to strike much fear in the other teams, could get drawn into a relegation battle, but should have enough to survive.

17. Newcastle United
18.Bolton Wanderers
19.West Brom
20.Blackpool

So on to the bottom of the Premier League, I think everyone has Blackpool going down, it would be a massive shock if they stayed up, a bit like Arles of Ligue 1 in their story and their signings, lots of journeymen onboard, a good manager, but it will be a long old season for the seasiders. I see West Brom joining them in the drop zone, I like Roberto Di Matteo as a manager has done a great job however they just don’t have a strong enough team to stay up, another yo-yo year for the Baggies. The big battle for me will be the last relegation place, which will be between Newcastle United and Bolton, no offence to Owen Coyle but his team I think will struggle, Elmander has just not turned up in the EPL yet, Klasnic is good, the loss of Weiss and Wilshere will effect them, Petrov isn’t getting any younger, and they could lose some good players in January at the latest, Chris Houghton is probably the most inexperience manager in the league and with Newcastle not splashing the cash they could find it tough on their return to the top flight, Collocini and Gutierrez, Nolan and Steve Harper are of Premier League quality, and could be the little bit of class that keeps them up……just.

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE

#1 – RAMIRES – Chelsea

Just signed today for Ancelotti’s team, I have like the player since I first saw him in last years Confederations Cup, he started next to Kaka in midfield and was breathtaking to watch, Brazil played with a fast counter attacking style and Ramires was the catalyst being the pace and the power, a player that never stops running, will defend and attack all game, good on the ball, does the simple things well, just an all round good player and a very exciting signing for Chelsea fans to watch.

#2 – WINSTON REID – West Ham United

Signed from FC Midtyjland this New Zealand international was one of the brightest prospects in Scandinavian football, after a great World Cup for the only undefeated team at the tournament he looked very good, Strong, good in the air, seem to have a good positional sense, has pace to stay with the speed merchants, I think he will add an extra layer of protection in front of Robert Green, and could become the leader of the Upton Park backline.

#3 – JERMAINE BECKFORD – Everton

A free signing for David Moyes, everyone is questioning whether he can make the step up in class, there is no doubt Jermaine has the ability, his mentality might be under question, failed to turn up at times when Leeds needed him most, this could be the best situation for the striker, no pressure to score loads of goals, Everton don’t have a World Class forward in the squad so there could be plenty of chance for Beckford to step in, as a player he knows where the goal is, has pace to trouble defences, a true predator.

#4 – GIOVANNI DOS SANTOS – Tottenham Hotspur

Now by the time the transfer window closes, dos Santos could have left Spurs, I really hope he stays, he seems to have grown up a little, maybe even matured, after a fantastic World Cup where from the first minute he looked in the mood to terrorise defences, he was one of the reasons Mexico drew plaudits and made it through their group stage, I watched Spurs play in pre-season and again he looked in the mood, a lovely back heel to Bale for the only goal against Benfica, he seems to have played his way in Redknapp’s squad, I would love to see him given a chance at White Hart Lane, this could be the year he fulfils his potential.

#5 – STUART HOLDEN – Bolton Wanderers

If Coyle’s men are to stay up they will need to exciting play of the only Scotsman to play at the World Cup, born in Aberdeen, Stuart has been a star of the MLS and is due to break into the US Men’s National Team very soon, had his season disrupted by injury during a friendly in the Netherlands with the National Team, Bolton fans were just starting to appreciate his talents, a tricky winger who can play in a fantastic cross, he will be a star for his country leading up to the 2014 World Cup, and I expect him to be a star for the Lancashire club this season.

There we go, predictions done, teams put into order and players to watch, now tomorrow of course they will all either not play, get injured or lose.

StumbleUponRedditShare

Group G was the focus today Ivory Coast v Portugal and Brazil v North Korea and the day was started with New Zealand v Slovakia, a few of the worlds best players on view today with mixed results and there was one team that stole the show but went away empty handed.

NEW ZEALAND

1

 

SLOVAKIA

1

         
Winston REID (90′ + 3)     Robert VITTEK (50′)  
         
         
1.Mark PASTON     1.Jan MUCHA  
3.Tony LOCHHEAD - Y     3.Martin SKRTEL  
4.Winston REID – Y     4.Marek CECH  
5.Ivan VICELICH OUT – 78   5.Radoslav ZABAVNIK  
6.Ryan NELSEN     6.Zdenko STRBA - Y  
7.Simon ELLIOT     7.Vladimir WEISS OUT – 91
9.Shane SMELTZ     9.Stanislav SESTAK OUT – 81
10.Chris KILLEN OUT – 72   11.Robert VITTEK OUT – 84
11.Leo BERTOS     16.Jan DURICA  
14.Rory FALLON     17.Marek HAMSIK – C  
19.Tommy SMITH     18.Erik JENDRISEK  
         
Subs     Subs  
23.James BANNATYNE     12.Dusan PERNIS  
12.Glen MOSS – INJ     23.Dusan KUCIAK  
2.Ben SIGMUND     2.Peter PEKARIK  
8.Tim BROWN     8.Jan KOZAK  
13.Andy BARRON     10.Marek SAPARA  
15.Michael McGLINCHEY     13.Filip HOLOSKO IN – 81
16.Aaron CLAPHAM     14.Martin JAKUBKO  
17.Dave MULLIGAN     15.Miroslav STOCH IN – 84
18.Andy BOYENS     19.Juraj KUCKA IN – 91
20.Chris WOOD IN – 72   20.Kamil KOPUNEK  
21.Jeremy CHRISTIE IN – 78   21.Kornel SALATA  
22.Jeremy BROCKIE     22.Martin PETRAS  

MY THOUGHTS:

Not a bad game for me, both teams tried to control the game at time, New Zealand started well, Simon Elliot the chief playmaker in midfield, Lochhead made some moves down the left, the front 3 of Smeltz, Killen and Fallon were too quiet, Killen had one chance the whole game, but Slovakia’s defence kept them smoothered for most of the game, the team as a whole worked really hard for each other, giving 100% effort and then some, the 3 centre backs, Vieclich, Nelsen and Reid were superb, switched off for only a second for Vittek’s goal but apart from that the Slovak’s struggled to find space, Winston Reid espeically was fantastic, not only did he make a game saving tackle on Sestak,but then he popped up at the other end to head the injury time equaliser, a few scouts will have taken note of him as I did here.

I expected more from Slovakia with players with Hamisk, Sestak and Weiss quality they should have cause more trouble for the All Whites, Weiss was busy looking to take people on at all time, which I like in a winger, looks to maybe not have the top level speed to make it at the top level, too early to write him off though, Vittek did very well for his goal, I mentioned earlier he was a threat with his head and he punished New Zealand with it, cross from Weiss and Vittek guided it into the net.

Hamsik disappointed me, big build up, big reputation and he didn’t play anywhere near his full potential as captain he is meant to take charge of the game and he went missing at times, New Zealand deserved their point in the end, Slovakia will be devastated by losing the 2 points in the end, they will need to play a lot better if they want to advance.

IVORY COAST

0

 

PORTUGAL

0

         
         
1.Boubacar BARRY     1.EDUARDO  
4.Kolo TOURE     2.Bruno ALVES  
5.Didier ZOKORA – Y     3.Paulo FERREIRA  
8.Salomon KALOU OUT – 66   6.Ricardo CARVALHO  
9.Cheik TIOTE     7.Cristiano RONALDO – Y  
10.GERVINHO OUT – 82   8.Pedro MENDES  
15.Aruna DINDANE     9.LIEDSON  
17.Saika TIENE     10.DANNY OUT – 55
19.Yaha TOURE     16.Raul MEIRELES OUT – 85
20.Guy DEMEL – Y     20.DECO OUT – 62
21.Emmanuel EBOUE OUT – 89   23.Fabio COENTRAO  
         
Subs     Subs  
16.ZOGBO     12.BETO  
23.Derek YEBOAH     22.Daniel FERNANDES  
2.ANGOUA     4.ROLANDO  
3.Artur BOKA     5.DUDA  
6.Steven GOHOURI     11.SIMAO IN – 55
7.Seydou DOUMBIA     13.MIGUEL  
11.Didier DROGBA IN – 66   14.Miguel VELOSO  
12.GOSSO     15.PEPE  
13.ROMARIC IN – 89   17.Ruben AMORIM IN – 85
14.KOUAMATIEN     18.Hugo ALMEIDA  
18.Kader KEITA IN – 82   19.TIAGO IN – 69
22.Sol BAMBA     21.Ricardo COSTA  

MY THOUGHTS:

All I’ve read on twitter is how bad this game was, and I just didn’t see that, both teams came out the blocks fast, Ronaldo for 10 minutes looked in the mood until he was booked, Ivory Coast had a definite gameplan got all the bodies behind the ball and try and hit on the break, I think this gameplan can only work without Drogba, as he won’t chase back for 90 minutes, but with the front 3 they had on, they chased back and frustrated the Portuguese and overall the Cote D’Ivoire were the better team, they had the better chances, Gervinho should have done better with his header in the 2nd half, a point a decent start for both teams, if there had been a loser you would think that would have been game over for their tournament, now they both have a point and both have Brazil and Korea DPR to play, anything can happen.

Zokora and Toure at the back had a great game, didn’t give Liedson a sniff of a chance and backed up by Eboue and Tiene the wide players didn’t trouble them either, Yaya Toure did what he does best, controlling the game from the middle all moves start with him and he never looked stretched at any stage, Tiote looked vvery busy, not a player I have seen often but he looked good and worked very hard trying to create openings, of the front three Gervinho was the better of the three, he looked to take on the Portuguese defence, for me his pace was wasted in the middle and with Drogba coming back I would put him on the wing to take on the fullbacks, Dindane was ok but quiet for his ability and even more so with Kalou he just wasn’t involved at all, I can’t remember him doing anything of any good.

Drogba came on and got 25 minutes but failed to make an impact, just didn’t look like he got up to speed, he will start the next game I’m sure, with his power and world class ability it will change the dynamic of the Africans front line, and they will need him against Brazil.

Portugal were very disappointing, Ronaldo smashed the post after 5 minutes and after that they struggled, Danny on the left went missing, Deco and Liedson didn’t add anything, Ronaldo failed to terrorise the defence the way he could, Raul Meireles did a good job in the middle always available for a pass and was trying to create chances, Portugal’s best players were Paulo Ferreira and youngster Fabio Coentrao both fullbacks did a great job stopping the wide threat of Ivory Coast, Coentrao looked very impressive young full back plays for Benfica and I will be keeping an eye on him.

Portugal will need to show so much more against Korea DPR they need to create more chances and i think they are too lightweight in the middle to do that, Simao will replace Danny I would think, if the Koreans defend the way they did tonight against Brazil then Portugal could struggle.

BRAZIL

2

 

KOREA DPR

1

         
MAICON (55′)     JI Yun Nam (89′)  
ELANO (72′)        
         
1.Julio CESAR     1.RI Myong Guk  
2.MAICON     2.CHA Jong Hyok  
3.LUCIO – C     3.RI Jun Il  
4.JUAN     4.PAK Nam Chol  
5.Felipe MELO OUT – 84   5.RI Kwang Chon  
6.Michel BASTOS     8.JI Yun Nam  
7.ELANO OUT – 73   9.JONG Tae Se  
8.Gilberto SILVA     10.HONG Yong Jo  
9.Luis FABIANO     11.MUN In Guk OUT – 80
10.KAKA OUT – 78   13.PAK Chol Jin  
11.ROBINHO     17.AN Yong Hak  
         
Subs     Subs  
12.GOMES     18.KIM Myong Gil  
22.DONI     20.KIM Myong Won  
13.Dani ALVES IN – 73   16.KIM Kum Il IN – 80
14.LUISAO     12.CHOE Kum Chol  
15.Thiago SILVA     14.PAK Nam Chol  
16.GILBERTO     16.NAM Song Chol  
17.JOSUE     19.RI Chol Myong  
18.RAMIRES – Y IN – 84   21.RI Kwang Hyok  
19.Julio BAPTISTA     15.KIM Yong Jun – INJ  
20.KLEBERSON     7.AN Chol Hyok  
21.NILMAR IN – 78   22.KIM Kyong Il  
23.GRAFITE     23.PAK Sung Hyok  

MY THOUGHTS:

Everyone was waiting for the arrival of Brazil and I think for 45 minutes everyone was a bit dumbfounded, noone had given Korea a chance of doing anything, I myself had said 4-0 in an earlier prediction, myself and pundits alike couldn’t have been more wrong, for 55 minutes the Koreans defended expertly, not giving Brazil any time in the middle of the park and containing them out wide, then when they got the ball they looked to pour forward and cause an upset, once Maicon had opened the scoring some more space opened up and Elano made it two, everyone like me probably thought the goals would come now, this wasn’t to be and Korea snatched a dreamland goal by Ji Yun-Nam after a great knockdown by Jong Tae-Se a great performance from the Koreans.

Brazil at times looked superb, but in contrast at times looked to lack ideas, the Koreans worked to stifle them but Brazil could have done more to open them up, only once did Michel Bastos take on the Korea right back, too often did he cut inside making it easy for them to defend a narrow side, he did smash a cracking free-kick just past the post with his thunderous left foot, Lucio and Juan looked stunned by the early play by Tae-Se but dealt much better with him in the 2nd half, Melo and Silva did the usual job of the water carriers, breaking up any of Korea’s fast breaks.

I lost count of how many times Fabiano was caught offside, he didn’t have a good night, some nice touches but overall disappointing, Maicon was one of the better players athough he didn’t attack the byline as much as he could but when he did he smashed in a wonderful goal true Brazilian style outside of the boot with great swerve, the man of the night though was Robinho he looked superb from the first minute he looked up for it, pulling tricks and flicks and taking on players everytime he had the ball, if anything was going to happen it was going to come through him, and the 2nd goal was superb a fantastically weighted ball was dispatched first time by Elano, Robinho deserved a goal but his performance was good enough and looks like he has more in the bag.

I think Brazil will get better as the games go on, it’s hard taking on a team with 9 players behind the ball and a back 5 trying to stop you playing, in the confederations cup they played at their best on the break and they will get more space against Portugal and Ivory Coast.

StumbleUponRedditShare

GROUP E

Gregory van der Wiel – Netherlands – 8 caps (0 goals)

The once troubled centre back was the present that Marco van Basten left on his departure from Ajax, turning Gregory into a full back was a masterstroke, loves to bomb forward and deliver crosses and still has his centre back instincts when it comes to defending, a bit of an unknown quantity in the Dutch team, his name will be well known come July.

Christian Eriksen – Denmark – 3 caps (0 goals)

Described as “one of the hot young prospects in any squad in the World Cup” Christian cause a bit of a interest frenzy in a recent Denmark U-20 game, scouts and agents running for their phones and laptops, only to find out he had already had a tour round Real Madrid’s training complex, not seen him play myself but very intrigued to see what he is capable of.

Shinji Okazaki – Japan – 24 caps (16 goals)

A striker in form, 16 goals in the last year, helping Japan to qualify for the World Cup, saw him for the first time against England in the recent friendly, he had good movement and awareness, a couple of half chances he may have done better with, with service coming from Honda and Nakamura he could have a chance to fire his way into Japanese folklore.

Nicolas N’Koulou – Cameroon – 6 caps (0 goals)

A very promising defender that has come from the same academy as Samuel Eto’o and Carlos Kameni, he recently played at the 2008 Olympics, has recently broke into the starting line-up for his country after an impressive season for Monaco, his performances has led the likes of Arsenal, Lyon, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla to show a interest, I predict more teams to join that list in the coming weeks.

GROUP F

Giampolo Pazzini – Italy – 8 caps (1 goal)

I haven’t personally seen a lot of Giampolo since he scored the first goal at the new Wembley Stadium, he had a great season at Sampdoria this year scoring 30 goals and helping Samp reach the Champions League for the first time since they reached the final at the Old Wembley stadium, looking forward to seeing what he can do in the Azzuri blue this summer.

Lucas Barrios – Paraguay – 3 caps (3 goals)

This is a player I am excited for, it could be one of those fairytale stories, moved to Borussia Dortmund from Colo-Colo last summer and he’s had a great season 19 goals in one of Dortmund’s best seasons for a while, I thought he was going to be in the same situation as Darren Bent, scoring goals in the league and not going to the World Cup, but then the Argentinean born forward got a life-line, he received his Paraguayan nationality in March (his mother is from Paraguay) then had to denounce his Argentinean nationality as the country doesn’t recognise Dual-Nationalities.

Lucas hasn’t looked back 3 goals in 3 games, known as being a penalty box predator also good in the air, is the script written for Barrios to lead Paraguay to a place in football history, a Quarter-Final place would be a great result.

Winston Reid – New Zealand – 3 caps (0 goals)

A player I have never seen play, but doing some research I picked him as my All-White player to watch, born in New Zealand but moved to Denmark when he was 10 this towering centre back made waves in Danish football and played for Denmark for the U-19, U-20 and U-21, however in march he declared he would play for New Zealand and made himself available for selection, making the 23 man squad he made his debut against Austrailia in a friendly match, impressing manager Ricki Herbert in his performance.

He has played 85 games for Danish club side FC Midtjylland at only 21 he sounds like a great prospect.

Miroslav Stoch – Slovakia – 12 caps (1 goal)

Another young exciting prospect due to make his bow at the World Cup, was signed for Chelsea in 2006 at 16 years old, spent 3 years in the reserves making 4 senior appearances, he was then sent to Dutch club FC Twente on loan under the tutelage of Steve McClaren, playing 32 games scoring 10 goals and lifting the Dutch title, not a bad season.

Miroslav mirrors his game on the skills of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, which combines to a winger that loves to score goals, this talent has lead him to change club again, signing with Fenerbahce for next season, I have no doubt he will be a star in Turkey, a player for Italy and Paraguay to fear come June, he will for sure turn a few heads.

StumbleUponRedditShare