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Betting Tips for the Premier League Top Four!

Liverpool

Liverpool

liverpoolThe Club

 

The five times European Cup winners are arguably the largest club in the country. To anyone born in the 90s, though, they are the club who always claims it to be ‘their year’ before missing out. European success aplenty, Liverpool are one of the most romantic clubs in the UK and has always stood for high quality football and a very intricate way of playing and managing the club.

 

Having nearly gone bust under George Gillett and Tom Hicks, the club was bought by Fenway Sports Group – FSG – and have become a model for Moneyball ever since, for better or worse.

 

16-17 – How Was It?

 

A revival. Coach Jürgen Klopp rebounded from two cup final defeats in his first year to claim Champions League football once again. This set the club on the right path after many years without consistent European progress. While they toiled in the cup competitions and seen a sure-fire league challenge be ruined by a poor January, Liverpool found their verve once again and sealed Top Four on the last day.

 

It’s a shame that they couldn’t maintain their pace: at one stage, they were the most exciting side in the country.

 

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

 

A lot. Klopp is one of the best coaches in the world, and the signing of Mohamed Salah only adds to their electricity up top. The likely signing of Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita, though, improves midfield and defence and could see the spine of a new LFC team put in place for many years to come.

 

Added to the solid players already there, the Reds look set to capitalize on their form from last year and return to the top of the table. If they can get into the Champions League, they’ll be progressing nicely.

 

 

September 16, 20170 commentsRead More
Arsenal

Arsenal

The Club

The Gunners are the most impressive London club domestically, having won the most League titles and FA Cups alongside a UEFA Cup. The club itself, though, has been in a period of flux for the last decade or so. Since they left Highbury, Arsenal have seen title pushes become rarer and also a need to balance the books see top players move on at peak years. With the club one of the richest and most fiscally mature clubs on the planet, though, they have the means to finally return.

16-17 – How Was It?

A shock. They won the FA Cup in impressive fashion, but finally crashed out of the Champions League after many, many years of participation. Coach Arsene Wenger came closer than ever to leaving until signing a new 2-year deal, while the club had a lot of transition on and off the pitch.

Star players looked close to leaving, and the disharmony finally seen the club miss out on what is a very important part of their overall image in European progression. That aside, though, much change is expected to come to make up for their worst league campaign in years.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

With the likes of Alexandre Lacazette sure to sign up alongside some other impressive names like Sead Kolasinac, Arrsenal have a lot to come. This year should see them compete for he Europa League, fight for Champions League qualification, and try to retain their FA Cup.

The futures of star plyers like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, though, will likely determine where the club goes. A few more big sales and another transitional period could see Arsenal truly begin to fall behind from a position that for over two decades they have more or less always guaranteed to keep maintaining.

September 14, 20170 commentsRead More
Manchester United

Manchester United

The Club

The most successful English club in recent times, United were the first English side to win a European Cup trophy. Famed for sides such as the Busby Babes and then Fergie’s Fledglings, United were always a team who could compete (bar a few rough spells that even seen relegation) and have long been one of the biggest clubs in the world. Now in the post-Ferguson era, though, the club appears to have transformed its identity and changed how it approaches just about everything in the game, becoming increasingly more modern – for better and for worse.

16-17 – How Was It?

Hard to define. The Europa League win can never be seen as a negative, nor can the League Cup. The European trophy in the cabinet is always a nice feeling, their first in close to a decade. Add in the Champions League qualification it brings, too, and things can be seen to be returning to the ‘good old days’.

However, United played poor football, had the most unimpressive unbeaten run in history, loaded with draws, and done nothing to maximize talent such as Paul Pogba. It’s certainly not the most impressive of seasons for United.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

A lot of positivity from the sounds of things. With new signing Victor Lindelof in the door, United have a more solid defence prepared for the years to come with him alongside Eric Bailly. Add in the impressive signings that should be coming in too, with the likes of Alvaro Morata being linked, and United could be returning to their old ways.

Mourinho has a habit of building a strong squad in season two, and it would be no surprise to see the schemer do the same here. We expect a title push and European progress from United.

September 10, 20170 commentsRead More
Everton

Everton

The Club

The Toffees are, to many peoples surprise, one of the largest clubs in England. Post-80s mismanagement and poor decision making has seen the club rather coast along, with one 4th place finish since the Premier League began. They are, though, one of the most successful in league wins, cup wins and European honours. While the clubs heyday seems to be long since passed, they were at once stage deemed to be one of the finest clubs in the country.

Still to this day, they possess an excellent support and a fine youth academy.

16-17 – How Was It?

Transitional. The much-needed end of Roberto Martinez was a huge step forward, with the rather expensive hiring of Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh from Southampton and Leicester putting the club on the map. Huge spending since has seen the club put in place an interesting squad, although 16/17 was more about blooding the likes of Tom Davies.

Comfortable in their 7th place finish, Everton managed to put in place the building blocks for a transitional summer. Romelu Lukaku finally took that next step and, while success was rather limited, the club looked more alive than previously.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

A lot of work. Major new signings are coming in at a pace we can barely keep up with, with Malaga striker Sandro Ramirez arriving the most recent at the time of writing. Everton look to be losing a few important players, too, though, so it will be interesting to see how the latest signings can help to take the club forward.

With all the clubs ahead of them buying more proven talent, though, it might be that all Everton can show in 1718 is ambition. This is a long-term project, and a transitional top half finish wouldn’t be surprising.

September 9, 20170 commentsRead More
Southampton

Southampton

The Club

Formed in 1885, Southampton – The Saints – have long been a club that people respect. Famed for their brilliant youth academy and their sole FA Cup win in 1976, the south coast outfit have always been relatively well liked. With the likes of Matt le Tissier once making them worth watching, Southampton are a club that has been on an upward trajectory in recent years. An excellent footballing department in the club ensures that they can overcome the most unsettling of incidents and departures, always filling St Mary’s with passionate fans regardless.

16-17 – How Was It?

Ok. They finished 8th and seen improvement in many of their younger talents. Manager Claude Puel, though, suffered from a lack of personality and it felt like much of the season faded out in rather average form. They lost the League Cup Final, too, in poor form, despite being by far and away the better side.

A rather awkward and simple season in many aspects, the uniform simplicity of the season seemed to become a problem for Saints fans who had finally see the limits of the clubs ambitions tested, with crucial departures really limiting long-term progress overall.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

A decent mid-table finish again seems likely. Ex-Liverpool player Mauricio Pellegrino has come into the club, a talented and intelligent coach. With the likes of Virgil van Dijk surely to leave, though, there is little appetite amongst the fans for anything too exciting.

New signings are thin on the ground, and many of them look to be young, hit-and-hope replacements for star names sure to be moving on. Wherever the Saints go from here, it will be hard to determine just where they should be given the relative quality of the talent that the club can afford and call upon.

September 8, 20170 commentsRead More
West Ham United

West Ham United

The Club

The Hammers were once the darlings of London football, having won the FA Cup three times and also the Cup Winners Cup. However, grandiose ambition seen the club move away from Upton Park, instead moving to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. The club struggled greatly with the move (see below) and found a huge chasm forming amongst their working class fan base.

A club in relative flux, it’s hard to see where West Ham United can go from here – the glory days are gone, so what’s left?

16-17 – How Was It?

Awful. They stayed up but for many fans they were expected to challenge for Europe. Their rancid home form played a big part in this, too, seeing their new home become a curse in no time at all. They looked set to go down at some stages, and if it were not for the work of Slavin Bilic they may have done just that.

A good club, West Ham squandered money and security, likely leaving themselves with a much harder future as the learning curve settles. Overall, the first season in their new home quickly became an exercise in frustration.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

Obscurity. The club is not doing very impressive work in the market (yet), there has been little in the way of harmony between all interested parties, and the team in general does not look very exciting any longer. Much of their original verve and swagger under Bilic is gone, and they do not look up to the task of genuine improvement.

We expect that a solid mid-table finish is likely, without too much more really being possible without immense surgery. Given the competition and the negative club atmosphere, though, that may be somewhat harder to achieve than fans expect.

September 4, 20170 commentsRead More
Leicester City

Leicester City

The Club

The Foxes are, to many football fans, a middling Midlands club that has never seen much success or glory. Always in the shadow of the likes of Aston Villa, Wolves, Derby County and Nottingham Forest, success for The Foxes was always quite fleeting. Until 2015-16, of course, when they managed to lift the league. Their famous title win will go down in history as one of the most impressive of all time, never to be repeated. Now, though, the club looks to be returning to relative, middle-of-the-road stability.

16-17 – How Was It?

Sobering. After the league win, the club never kicked on and poor signings were made. They lacked the ability to really continue on and an impressive run to the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League was a massive highlight. League form was awful, though, culminating in the exit of league winning coach Claudio Rainieri.

Star players lacked the same hunger as before and much of the club began to feel disjointed. A lifetime of goodwill was used up and gone in a single season, as the ‘second season’ struggled to live up to the hype and Leicester truly fell away spectacularly.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

It depends, really. Craig Shakespeare has been given the job full-time, and he looks to be on the market for some impressive signings. Little activity so far, though, means that some fans might be worried about where the club is going to be next season. Overall, we expect a season of relative obscurity from the former Champions.

They lost a lot of their verve and Shakespeare merely wants to try and play the same way as the title winning season. People appear to have worked that out, so what lies ahead will be determined by how adaptable they can be.

September 3, 20170 commentsRead More
Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

The Club

Crystal Palace have always been a perennial strugglers club. Known for decent youth production and always trying to play football the right way, Palace rarely have the ability to compete at the top end of the table. Financial instability, too, has regularly been a problem for one of the smaller London clubs.

In their classic red and blue kit, though, The Eagles have always been a club that people respect. Their famous FA Cup final appearances against Manchester United have always earned them a ‘neutral’s favourite’ tag.

16-17 – How Was It?

Challenging. Club legend Alan Pardew rightfully moved on, before Sam Allardyce returned from disgrace to take the club to safety. Impressive wins – again, with a win at Anfield – helped to seal the clubs safety and they managed to stay up. A lack of movement on and off the pitch since, though, has seen a rather stressful summer come together.

A lack of improvement on a rather imbalanced playing staff could see major problems for Palace, who while they managed to finish 14th in the league never really looked particularly safe, with some big name signings never truly settling in.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

A battle. The hiring of Frank de Boer seems ambitious but also misguided. A good coach, he managed to lose it with Ajax in the end (despite rebuilding them) and also managed to fall apart at Internazionale in a record space of time. A good coach, he lacks the right kind of profile for a club like Palace – he’s too ambitious in playing style for it to likely work, and not pragmatic enough to make it stick.

Either way, it’s going to be interesting. We expect Palace to be battling relegation, although we expect them to stay up – just about.

August 30, 20170 commentsRead More
Swansea City

Swansea City

swansea cityThe Club

The Swans are the sole representative in the Premier League outside of England, having been joined be eternal rivals Cardiff in 2013/14. Swansea were in regular trouble for many years, bar a rather wild time under John Toshack in the 80s. Once the residents of the charismatically awful Vetch Field, they moved to the Liberty Stadium and done very well. Now, they are one of the more established clubs, having lifted the League Cup in 2013, culminating years of work from chairman Huw Jenkins. Now under manager Paul Clement, The Jacks want to take another step forward.

16-17 – How Was It?

Poor. The sacking of several coaches, including US coach Bob Bradley, seen the club go through a period of relative flux. Under Paul Clement, though, the club maintained a decent run of things after a crazy 3-2 win at Anfield vs Liverpool. They went on to finish an impressive 15th, given the relative mess of the club that season. The season, though, was one of serious issues for the clubs fans.

Fallouts and a lack of trust in the new ownership meant things went wrong, with survival only achieved late on.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

More stress, we suggest. Summer moves have been slow and a lack of quality in the market could see them struggle further. Coach Paul Clement is very good at his job but can only do what he can with the squad he has. With an ageing team and everyone a year older, doubts exist as to whether they can survive again without more intelligent investment.

Either way, the season is not likely to be one that is memorable for the right seasons. Swans fans should be ready for another battle at the bottom: not enough progress looks to be made in summer.

August 2, 20170 commentsRead More
Watford

Watford

watford fcThe Club

Formed in 1881, The Hornets have long been a club of little consequence. Their incredible rise under Graham Taylor and Elton John was a true fairytale, missing out on a league title and the FA Cup. However, before and since the club has, at best, enjoyed top-flight football. Now owned by the Pozzo family of Udinese, they are a team that has never been known for winning things. They’ve never won a major trophy and, under the smart but rather unemotional leadership they are at present, that does not show much signs of change.

16-17 – How Was It?

Awkward. Coach Walter Mazzarri done poorly given the squad he had as they finished 17th in the league. A rather crazy squad building platform and a total lack of any kind of progress on the field left many fans concerned with the direction of the club in recent years. The season was mostly one of dour and dull frustration, with an inability to really capitalize on the work they had done in the transfer window.

With a relegation dogfight and a total lack of any kind of impetus, it was a rather forgetful season for all.

17-18 – What Lies Ahead?

Under charismatic young coach Marco Silva, that could change. Watford are emboldened by a bit more cash thanks to the Premier League survival, and the level of talent coming through the door could make a big impression on Hornets fans. The likes of Kiko Femenia have signed up, joining a rather decent collection of players.

We expect a safer season with a slow level of development regarding the kind of football the club plays. A squad that feels like it’s the work of several philosophies, though, will need to be trimmed to make the chance of long-term success possible.

July 22, 20170 commentsRead More