Tag Archives: Chelsea

Premier League Preview: Top 4, Bottom 3, Golden Boot and Fantasy

By, Kyle Gibson

It’s almost Christmas in August. The Premier League is finally upon us. New superstar managers, new superstar players, huge egos and more!

Let’s get into a quick preview, featuring the predictions Champions League sides, relegated sides, Golden Boot winner and my Fantasy EPL side.

Champions League Teams and Champions

4. Chelsea – Antonio Conte is a badass. His Italy team could have won the Euros if Germany did not beat them in penalties. I kept thinking they would win it, but I’m not sure of the back line.

3. Arsenal – Such a talented team, but Arsene Wenger still did not sign the top-of-the-line striker the club needs. Olivier Giroud looked so good at the Euros setting up Antoine Griezmann. Give him someone to work with!

2. Tottenham – “Lads (retches, sweating profusely) it’s…Tottenham.” That line from Alex Ferguson now has a different meaning. This Tottenham team is talented, deep, well drilled and only finished third last year on the final day. Spurs did not make huge changes over the summer, but did not need to.

Spurs needed a backup for Harry Kane and got that with Vincent Janssen, who scored 27 league goals for AZ last year. Adding Victor Wanyama also provides more steel in the midfield.

Many have seen the Spurs falling off, but I see the club improving.

1. Manchester United – I wish i wasn’t jinxing my favorite club. I’m just buying into the hype. Jose Mourinho has so much to prove, after the debacle last season with Chelsea.

The club worked through its central defense slightly with the emergence of Chris Smalling last year. Adding Eric Bailly in the off-season should really help.

Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrihk Mkhitaryan are the elite level signings the club has been lacking.

This all should culminate in a spellbinding year for United. Pau

Relegated Squads

20. Hull City – Ownership in turmoil. Manager Steve Bruce left just a few weeks ago. Selling their best players and not replacing them.

19. Burnley – I still think they are too small of a club, but they are a very solid team and probably the 21st best in England.

18. Swansea City – Sold the team’s heart and soul in Ashley Williams. Borja from Atletico was a solid signing, but too little. Plus, Swansea bought Leroy Fer, who relegates almost every EPL team he is with.

Golden Boot Race

Harry Kane – 24 Goals

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 22 Goals

Jamie Vardy – 20 Goals

Sergio Aguero – 20 Goals

 

My Fantasy EPL Team

I believe that I will win.

Goalkeepers – Kasper Schmeichel, Adrian

Defenders – Hector Bellerin, John Stones, Wes Morgan, Antonio Valencia, Patrick van Aanholt

Midfielders – Anthony Martial, Danny Drinkwater, Andre Ayew, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Phillipe Coutinho

Forwards – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Callum Wilson,Jermain Defoe

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New Post: Matt Miazga’s Chelsea signing shows one thing – the big clubs are watching.

By, Kyle Gibson

U.S. international defender Matt Miazga’s signing by Chelsea signifies one important factor that MLS fans should pay attention to: big clubs around the world are watching.

The 20-year old burst onto the scene this year for the New York Red Bulls, but was nowhere near a household name until he was linked to Chelsea. After all, despite earning rave reviews, Miazga did not earn any MLS postseason honors and has just one cap with the USMNT, which came against legendary 80’s band  CONCACAF weakling Saint Vincent and the Grenadines back on Nov. 15.

However, apparently Miazga did more than enough to be on Chelsea’s radar. This should be an exciting signing for young players starting out in MLS, because it demonstrates that if you have a successful season and show promise you can catch a big break.

It also might be important the next time the league and players union enter collective bargaining. The union might definitely try to argue that American players would consider staying in MLS…if the price is right. Extra opportunity presents more selling power.

With Jordan Morris recently snubbing Werder Bremen for Seattle, it’s important to remember that no situation is similar and that players are entitled to do whatever they want.

Good luck to Matt on Chelsea. I just hope he doesn’t end up like their other 50 players that are perennially loaned out.

New post: Three things we learned about the EPL, Week 3

By, Kyle Gibson

1. Chris Smalling has been great for Man United

I never thought I would be saying that this time last year. After all, his red card early on against City and generally skiddish play had many wondering if he was on the way out. 

Now, Smalling is bossing the backfield and getting real results (the team has not not conceded in the league so far). He looks like he understands the team shape and is playing like the future captain of Manchester United. 

Sure he’s still making the occasional mistake, but his development is plain to see. 

2. Bournemouth is awesome

I think everyone should “Up the Cherries” this season. If they’re not your favorite team, carve a place in your heart for this little club that earned its first ever top flight win with a 4-3 road win at West Ham Saturday. Callum Wilson scored a hat trick, showing he may be the Charlie Austin of this season. 

3. Tony Pulis won’t be sending a Christmas card to Saido Berahino

West Brom striker and England youngster Saido Berahino was left completely out of the team for Sunday’s loss against Chelsea. Rumors have had him heading to Tottenham all summer and it looks like he’s all but left. 

Manager Tony Pulis has slammed the transfer window altogether, saying disruption forced him to leave something out. 

Personally, I think both men can be a bit prickly and there’s probably some dueling egos here. 

Pulis should get the deal done quick and use the money for a replacement. Otherwise, this team may very well be heading down. 

New Post: EPL Preview! I rank every team from first to worst. #BPLKickoff

By, Kyle Gibson

Ahhh, English Premier League time is upon us. No more empty feeling, or meaningless weekends where we actually pay attention to our families. With no further ado, here are my predictions. Check back here in May to see that I got all 20 places right.

1.Manchester United (Last season, 4th): United finally signed a defender that could help. Many say Mattia Darmian was the best wing back in all of the Serie A. It also doesn’t hurt to shore up the midfield with Southampton star Morgan Scheiderlin and Bayern Munich and Germany legend Bastien Schweinsteiger. For this pick to hold, I think the club still needs to sign an attacker. Memphis Depay was an excellent addition, but Wayne Rooney can’t shoulder the load at striker all by himself. Signing Pedro away from Barcelona would really, really wrap up the title. The second season is usually make or break time for a Van Gaal coached side.

2.Arsenal (Last season, 3rd): Arsenal are everyone’s EPL darlings right now, which has me a bit nervous. Arsene Wenger is a great manager, but sometimes he and his team replace the need for defensive steel with the desire to spring forward and attack, leaving the back exposed. Petr Cech was one of the absolute signings of the summer and he will help, but I think this injury-prone club will falter around the middle point of the season, leaving the door open for Van Gaal’s men.

3.Chelsea (Last season, 1st): Jose Mourinho is the best manager in the EPL. Unfortunately, Jose also knows this all too well. His mind games and blunt honesty seem to wear with players over time and I think that will happen this season with CFC. Eden Hazard will shine as he always does, but I don’t know if John Terry can have such an amazing, relatively injury free season like last year. The same goes for Diego Costa. When the team was at its best last year, he was healthy and scoring bags full of goals. Chelsea’s lack of squad rotating will catch up to it.

4.Tottenham Hotspur (Last Season, 5th): Yes, you are reading this right. This spot does not belong to Liverpool or Manchester City. I’m operating on a hunch here, but I think Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino are more stable than the two former clubs. They also made solid, team building additions in defenders Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier. Harry Kane may need help up front, but I think West Brom’s own Saido Berahino will be in to help before the transfer window shuts.

5.Manchester City (Last season, 2nd): Oh, how the mighty have fallen. No one is high on Manchester City right now after a sloppy close to last season and a disaster of a transfer window this summer. Raheem Sterling is the only big name brought in, but they paid nearly 50 million pounds for a 20 year old that hasn’t proven himself throughout a full campaign. Fabian Delph may have committed career suicide in leaving Aston Villa for here. Honestly, I can’t see him making more than 15 starts. What the team really needs is cover for aging defenders Martin Demichelis and Vincent Kompany. Also, the club needs an attitude overhaul. No one sees Manuel Pellegrini keeping the manager’s job. I can name the players who I think have heart: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The rest don’t seem to care. That is an indictment to your club and manager.

6.Liverpool (Last Season, 6): No more Sterling. No more Gerrard. But in comes James Milner from Manchester City. I think he was one of the shrewdest deals done this offseason, coming in on a free transfer. Up to him and Jordan Henderson (your new captain) now to right that midfield.

7.Swansea City (Last Season, 8): The Swans are part of the new guard that are going to be very present in this section of the table the next few years. Garry Monk is one hell of a manager and this is a good team to boot. Andre Ayew and Eder are quality signings that show this club’s ambition.

8.Stoke City (Last Season, 9): Stoke is part of this group as well. Solid, hard to beat and they just keep improving. Sure they lost Steven N’Zonzi and Asmir Begovic, but I think the guys they’re bringing in are more than quality. Mark Hughes is a very good manager and the Brittania Stadium is a fortress.

9.Crystal Palace (Last Season, 10): I predict another stellar year for the Crystals. Alan Pardew will have a chance to build over a full season and I can see this team really scoring some upset victories. Yohan Cabaye signing to play here from PSG was an all-star deal. I love watching this team.

10.Everton (Last Season, 11): If you aren’t a fan, you probably forgot about them over the summer. I think Roberto Martinez is a good manager. I think this team has some very talented guys. But still, there’s no excuse to not really bring in any star transfers after having an off season. They’ll be the folding point of the table and I think will have a lackluster year where we pretty much forget about them.

  1. Southampton (Last Season, 7): I predicted these guys to get relegated last year and they shocked the hell out of me. Ronald Koeman is a very good manager though and the team was strong. Here are my issues for this year. There’s no more Nathaniel Clyne, Morgan Schneiderlin or Toby Alderweireld. They all moved to Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, respectively. With that being said, that’s nothing like what the lost last
  2. West Ham United (Last season, 12): If you’ve noticed over the last few predictions, no one is really moving a lot. West Ham scares me to death, though. I could easily see them going as high as seventh and as low as getting relegated. Slaven Bilic is a wild card of a manager who has shown no signs of being able to keep his temper in check during Europa League qualifying. This being said, I love the signing of Dimitri Payet from Marseille.
  3. Newcastle United (Last season, 15): New boss Steve McLaren will make sure this team stays away from relegation, but this is a broken team with a very loyal fan base. It deserves a new owner in the worst way.
  4. West Bromwich Albion (Last season, 13): Tony Pulis and his squad will stay exactly where they were last year. This is a club that is too deep to go down. Here is why I don’t think they will move forward, though. I think striker Saido Berahino will move in either this transfer window or the winter one. Without him, it gets rough trying to find a goal scorer.
  5. Sunderland (Last season, 16): Everyone from here on is always in danger of relegation. That’s how Sunderland lives. This may be a pick made with my heart, though, because I just like these guys.
  6. Aston Villa (Last Season, 17): They lost Fabian Delph and key goal scorer Christian Benteke, but I think Tim Sherwood (if he lasts the whole season) will rally the base and secure survival.
  7. Bournemouth AFC (Last Season, Promoted): They play in a stadium that fits only 11,700 people. For some perspective, my high school football stadium seats 10,000. However, they have a real fighting spirit and they’re the kind of team that can hang around.
  8. Norwich City (Last season, Promoted): They have EPL experience, but I don’t find them very convincing.
  9. Leicester City (Last Season, 17): Pulled off the greatest of great escapes last year, not so lucky this year.
  10. Watford (Last Season, Promoted): Sorry guys……I guess that’s why they call it the blues.

Follow Kicking It on Twitter @kickingitsoccer.

New Kicking It Podcast: EPL Wrap Up Edition!

On this week’s edition of the Kicking It Podcast, Kyle and Richard close the book on the English Premier League season by recapping the standings and naming a Player of the Year for the league, the top ten and a few from the loser bracket. Listen in, because Louis Van Gaal demands it!

You can listen via our Buzzsprout page, or by subscribing in iTunes!

New Kicking It Podcast: Snowed In Edition!

By, Kyle Gibson

Listen to the latest Kicking It podcast. Hosts Richard and Kyle Gibson discuss all the goings on in the world of soccer, including the Champions League clash between Chelsea and PSG, as well as Manchester United’s performance in the FA Cup. Also, we preview the EPL weekend.

We also come to a consensus that we hate Bayern Munich.

Listen via our Buzzsprout page or subscribe (and rate on iTunes) at “Kicking it WIth Kyle Gibson.”

New Kicking It Podcast! Listen in to This Week’s Episode

By, Kyle Gibson

Hey you, yeah you! Check out this podcast!

What is it you ask? The Kicking It podcast! Check out Kyle and Richard Gibson (the ultimate father-son duo) talking about soccer in the U.S. and EPL. Spread the word!

Listen via our Buzzsprout and subscribe and review on iTunes by searching “Kicking It with Kyle Gibson.”