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NB96

Barclays Premier League 2017/18

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NB96    767

 

The Premier League 16/17 season saw Antonio Conte’s Chelsea run away with the title but the competition is sure to heat up this year with all top 6 managers having now completed their first full season with their squad. Who will win the league this season?

Signings:

Arsenal: Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolašinic
Chelsea: Ethan Ampadu, Tiemoué Bakayoko, Willy Caballero, Álvaro Morata, Antonio Rüdiger
Liverpool: Mohammed Salah, Andrew Robertson
Manchester City: Bernardo Silva, Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy
Manchester United: Victor Lindelöf, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matić
Tottenham Hotspur: N/A

16/17 Season Review

Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side marched to victory in the league after making a change in system accelerated by the 3-0 defeat at the Emirates which exposed the frailties in Conte’s initial 4-1-4-1. New signing and 15/16 league champion N’Golo Kante helped Chelsea’s counter-attacking style by acting as a ball-winning midfield alongside Serbian Nemanja Matić to initiate counter-attacks quickly. A rejuvenated Victor Moses and new signing Marcos Alonso functioned as the essential wing-backs to make forward runs in behind defenders, or make space for Pedro, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard. However, an inability to sign key targets such as Alex Sandro as well as the sale of Nemanja Matić to Manchester United have left Conte disappointed at his club’s transfer activity so far.

 

 


Mauricio Pochettino established himself as one of the best coaches in the league this season after leading Tottenham to a second place finish, and the first time the club has ended the season above bitter London rivals since the 94/95 season. The brilliant pair of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweirld formed the backbone of the strongest defense in the league, while full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose allowed Spurs to move their play wide and make overlapping runs for Cristian Eriksen and Son Heung-min, who were given freedom to make runs inside. However, the club has made no signings so far this Summer, and with most other top 6 clubs strengthening it may become more difficult for Tottenham to challenge this coming season.

 

 


Pep Guardiola's Manchester City were the favourites going into the season. Signing Claudio Bravo, Leroy Sané, İlkay Gündoğan, Nolito, Gabriel Jesus, and Oleksander Zinchenko (who subsequently left on loan), Guardiola transitioned City's style of play into a possession based team using passing channels and slow build-up play to help dominate and break down the opposition.

After a disappointing league campaign finishing 3rd, as well as losing in the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, fourth round EFL Cup knockout against bitter city rivals Manchester United and a Champion's League last 16 defeat at the hands of Leonardo Jardim's brilliant AS Monaco, Pep Guardiola will be sure to reinvest heavily this Summer to ensure a more successful season. Guardiola has fuelled further speculation by stating that his squad needs a “little more” to compete on all fronts after an initial five signings.

 


Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool have once again finished in the top four after doing so in 13/14 thanks to the heroics of Luis Suárez. Klopp's exciting "heavy metal football" resonated with the Anfield faithful who seek return to the glory days of the 80's. Playing fast attacking football with a high line and high press, Liverpool would win the ball further up the pitch and quickly overload the opposition. Liverpool showed they are as good as anyone in the league with an excellent record vs the top six, but a potential title challenge was halted by inconsistent form against the lower half of the table. Following the sale of Neymar to Paris St. Germain, Barcelona have a large transfer war chest to spend on Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele and Liverpool’s Phillipe Coutinho who has reportedly already agreed personal terms with Barcelona.

 

 


Arsène Wenger remains in a job after a horrendous 16/17 season which saw his Arsenal side finish outside Champion's League qualification for the first time in 20 years. Despite an FA Cup win, the season was one of Wenger's worst and calls for his resignation had been louder than ever. However, having signed a 2-year extension it would seem Arsenal fans have become resigned to another season under his leadership. Having signed left-back Sead Kolašinac and striker Alexandre Lacazette, Wenger may turn his attention towards Leicester City's Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez who has requested a transfer from the club following a disappointing season when compared to his 15/16 performance, or OGC Nice’s Jean Michaël Seri. Mahrez, however, has also been linked heavily with a move to AS Roma. Despite strengthening, Wenger may still find it difficult to keep talisman Alexis Sanchez who seems determined to leave the club and move to Manchester City. A horror contract situation whereby Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all have 12 months or less left on their contracts has also been described by Wenger as “ideal” for generating competition in the squad…

Manchester United - now managed by José Mourinho - enjoyed a successful season, winning the EFL Cup and Europa League to qualify for the Champion's League's Pot B. Despite a disappointing league campaign in which a plethora of draws stalled his side to a 6th place finish and an FA Cup last 8 defeat at the hands of Antonio Conte's Chelsea, Manchester United fans are satisfied with the season and feel the rot has been stopped after three painful seasons following the Sir Alex Ferguson era. The pressure is now on for Mourinho to mount a challenge for the league title thanks to the financial muscle of the club which has allowed them to spend upwards of £75m on former Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, and £35m on Swedish Benfica centre-back Victor Lindelöf. A failure to sign French striker Antoine Griezmann following Atletico Madrid's transfer ban this Summer, as well as Internazionale’s Ivan Periŝić had held up Mourinho's transfer plans. However, the recent signing of Nemanja Matic (£35m + £5m) will surely add balance and discipline to Mourinho’s midfield, allowing Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera to play in more advanced positions.

 

 


17/18 table predictions:

1 Manchester City
2 Manchester United
3 Chelsea
4 Tottenham Hotspur
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5 Liverpool
6 Arsenal
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7 Everton
8 Southampton
9 Leicester City
10 West Bromwich Albion
11 Bournemouth
12 West Ham United
13 Stoke City
14 Burnley
15 Newcastle United
16 Crystal Palace
17 Watford
--------------------------------------------------------
18 Swansea City
19 Brighton & Hove Albion
20 Huddersfield Town

What are your predictions?

The fixture list for the 17/18 Premier League season can be found below:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40253157

Edited by NB96
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+Urthor    10204

Pre-season predictions last two seasons have been so totally off from everyone I'm not even up for making any.  

 

I do think Morata will do better than Lukaku and Man U's squad would be lucky to win the title on their own merits.  The post Van Gaal rebuild is by no means finished at this point, still needs 2-3 more summers and multiple strong Champ league qualifications and performances to build to squad of 2008 era proportions.

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NB96    767

Community Shield will be contested by Chelsea and Arsenal today at 14:00 BST due to the Women's EURO final. Will be a chance to get a good look at Morata amd Lacazette in a competitive setting. Even more so because it's a derby.

 

Lacazette doesn't strike me as the player you want to lead the line. Mourinho has stated that you need a target man in the Premier League. It's not strictly true seeing as Agüero has done it for City but I can see the merit, especially because Mourinho is experienced in this league having won it three times. Arsenal's 3-4-3 saw them win 9 of their last 10 league games if I'm not mistaken, so I think this may be their shape going forward.

 

I still think Chelsea are in trouble. Bakayoko and Hazard injured, and I can't help but feel Morata is a downgrade on Costa. I think the striker is important in Chelsea's system and there will be a reliance on him to score 15-20 goals this season. I have question marks over them retaining the title this season. I still think they will come close but I think Conte's relationship with the board sounds like it is deteriorating. Didn't sign Sandro, let United steal Lukaku from under his nose, sold Matić when he wanted to keep him etc.

 

We still can't win the title but I think we will be comfortably top 4. If I had editing privileges I would go back and put Chelsea at second at United at third in hindsight but no matter. We still need a left back and an attacker. Also a replacement for Valencia who we can probably do with for this season, but must be replaced for next. His crossing just isn't good enough anymore. I could depend on the court ruling for Serge Aurier's entry into the UK. I'd rather not have a thug at the club however.

 

Tottenham I have at fourth because they haven't strengthened at all, in fact they've weakened by losing Walker to City. Everybody is spending a lot of money right now to strengthen aignificantly and I can't help but feel that without new additions they will become stale and the exodus of their best players will continue. I wouldn't mind taking Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen off their hands next Summer if it were at all possible. Not strengthening for just one Summer can have disastrous effects; see Moyes 2013-14 where United signed only Fellaini and fell from 1st to 7th. Although there also other factors causing the decline, but still.

Edited by NB96

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Faint    5420

Just gonna come out and say that nobody views the community shield as competitive and it is no indication of anything.

 

Predictions wise I think people are ruling out Chelsea too easily for winning again. They're a settled, consistent side with Hazard still being the best player in the EPL

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Aaron    1966

ya community shield is dry. dont even bother to watch it most of the time. 

 

think hazard being the best is debatable. 

 

their squad is noticably thinner and they have issues with costa.

 

if morata or batusyashi are goal machines this season then they're my favorite. 

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NB96    767

What do you guys make of the 3 at the back systems? LVG was using it for a while but Conte was the guy who had success with it. Wenger also switched to 3-4-3 and went on to win 9 of his last 10 league games last season.

 

I think you can reduce the need for a DM with 3 defenders if you have a sweeper who can play the ball (David Luiz and Leonardo Bonucci are perfect for this. Wing backs help counter inside forwards because those forwards can't exploit the gap between CB and full-back as easily, and you can stretch the play easily with the wing back and potentially your own inside forwards in the 3-4-3. If a CB pushes into midfield a little (e.g. Eric Dier for Spurs) you can also try to being outnumbered in central midfield more easily.

 

I'm starting to think this sytem is going to get more and more popular in Europe. Juventus has been doing it for ages but I think it is actually one of the better formations now. There aren't really any specialised wingers anymore since they are being asked to do more tasks, and the full backs provide width instead so that the wide attackers can come inside. Defending is evolving and people are finding that one striker isn't enough to stretch defences because of this distinct lack of traditional wingers but the wing-backs play that role for you. Modern full backs in a 4 at the back system also do this but the extra CB makes you less vulnerable on the break.

 

I think this system is excellent going forwards for opening up teams since the wing backs have more freedom knowing there's an extra man to cover that wide area, and strong defensively because you have that extra defender. I'm really starting to think this is the next big system, just as 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 were the way forward to counter the 4-4-2 by using an extra midfielder as Mourinho showed in his first stint at Chelsea.

 

I thought this was a good read on Chelsea half-way last season talking about how they play with this system:

http://spielverlagerung.com/2016/12/25/antonio-contes-3-4-3/

Edited by NB96

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Aaron    1966

the only formation which is dead is 4-4-2. everything else works fine. 3-4-3 is like a 4-5-1 but holding mid is a cb and the fullbacks are pushed more forward. 

 

 

i dont think its anything revolutionary. daglish did it w/lpool for a few games. 

 

 

i think teams are moving towards it because fullbacks are getting shitter and shitter at defending as they''re forced to provide more width. 

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NB96    767
23 minutes ago, Aaron said:

the only formation which is dead is 4-4-2. everything else works fine. 3-4-3 is like a 4-5-1 but holding mid is a cb and the fullbacks are pushed more forward. 

 

 

i dont think its anything revolutionary. daglish did it w/lpool for a few games. 

 

 

i think teams are moving towards it because fullbacks are getting shitter and shitter at defending as they''re forced to provide more width. 

4-4-2 isn't very popular anymore but Leicester City, Monaco and Atletico Madrid have all had success with the formation lately. I think it's just the fact that two banks of four is still a great shape defensively and very tough to break down, even if you are missing that third central midfielder you can stil be deadly on the break if you have quick wingers as well as two strikers which I really like personally.

Edited by NB96

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Aaron    1966
1 hour ago, NB96 said:

4-4-2 isn't very popular anymore but Leicester City, Monaco and Atletico Madrid have all had success with the formation lately. I think it's just the fact that two banks of four is still a great shape defensively and very tough to break down, even if you are missing that third central midfielder you can stil be deadly on the break if you have quick wingers as well as two strikers which I really like personally.

 

They always nearly have 1 dropping off into midfield.

The days of something like Heskey Owen are dead. 

 

you're right on Atletico, they do it really really well. 

 

4-4-2 haven't got Leicester very far this season. 

Edited by Aaron

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NB96    767

I thought Sead Kolašinic looked really good for Arsenal today.

Morata not so much but to be fair he didn't get much service and the Pedro red card made Chelsea play for penalties. Also he hasn't had much pre-season to get up to fitness just yet either. Still happy we got Lukaku instead though.

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NB96    767

We still need another attacking player. I still like Mahrez even though his 16/17 wasn't as spectacular, I think we could get him back to his best because he'll be in a team that is attacking a lot this season. Although Mkhitaryan also plays wide right. The main problem is that he doesn't track back enough for Mourinho.

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Faint    5420

Paul Merson is always wrong

Congratulations on survival Watford, Huddersfield and Brighton!

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NB96    767

Concerning for Spurs fans that reports have indicated that Danny Rose was given a hero's welcome after his comments to the Sun yesterday. The exodus will continue, and I hope United take either Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen off their hands. I rate both highly.

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NB96    767

GLORY GLORY BARCELONA

 

@Aaron @Winter Multi JAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJAJA

Edited by NB96
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NB96    767

José Mourinho won more trophies last season than Liverpool has in the last 10 years right?

Edited by NB96

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NB96    767

I'm gloating in jest by the way

 

Psyche!

Edited by NB96

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+Urthor    10204

Don't let people playing actual literal football distract you from the hilarious Philippe Coutinho saga

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NB96    767

Also I thought Lacazette looked good yesterday.

Edited by NB96

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NB96    767

I wonder why Liverpool seem to have such problems against weaker teams in the league yet are fantastic against the top six. Maybe they can expose gaps easier with their counterpress when the opposition has more of the ball, whereas when teams let Liverpool have the ball for most of the game they don't have the creativity to break down two banks of four? Coutinho would probably have helped a lot in this game.

Also I think it's telling that Mignolet, Lovren and Moreno are still starters for Liverpool. I do like Matip, though.

 

Edited by NB96

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NB96    767

Chelsea are currently losing 3-0 to Burnley. Perhaps the Costa and Matic situations have damaged the team going into the season, along with an overall underwhelming transfer window so far.

Lol now Fabregas has gotten a red to go along with Cahill. Catastrophe, especially seeing as Chelsea play Tottenham next if I'm not mistaken. Keep trying to avoid a "Mourinho" season Conte!

Edited by NB96

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