Tag Archives: EPL

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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Manchester United Transfer Watch: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

By, Kyle Gibson

As Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen the Manchester United squad in the summer transfer window, Kicking It breaks down players whose names are caught in the Old Trafford rumor-mill. 

The Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan is still doing his thing at 34-years young. Being a legend/demigod? Yep. Bagging the goals? Yep. Asking to have the Eiffel Tower replaced with his likeness? Yup.

Ibra’s time in Paris has come to an end though – and he’s now available on a free transfer – which has led to rampant speculation regarding his future, including many links to Manchester United.

So, would he work at United? Let’s weigh the pros, cons and likelihood of signing.

Pros:

  1. Zlatan gets along with Mourinho splendidly. Many find both the player and manager to be abrasive. But these two had a successful spell together at Inter Milan together in 2008. This could be the pairing Mourinho needs to kick start his inaugural campaign.
  2. Goals. Goals. Goals. He’s bagged them at every stop in his career and topped Ligue 1 with a whopping 38 this year. There’s probably no way he gets that in the tougher EPL, but if he gets at least 20-25 league goals, he’s well worth the signing.
  3. United needs a top striker. Wayne Rooney is now a midfielder by admission and Anthony Martial excelled on the wing. Actually, Martial became everything United fans had hoped Memphis Depay would be on the left wing. Read more about Mourinho’s need to prioritize strikers in my previous post.

Cons: 

  1. Is age just a number? Mourinho and  Ibra will be hoping so. 34 is the age most players retire or are winding down.
  2. Will his personality work in such a crazy climate? The English press is insane, circling like sharks from the moment Louis van Gaal showed any sign of weakness. If Zlatan makes a lot of noise like normal, but also doesn’t perform well, fans and the media alike could call the project a disaster before it even gets half a season of trial period.
  3. What about Marcus Rashford? The 18-year old had a breakout half-season, scoring eight times in 18 matches, including the winner in the FA Cup Quarterfinal Replay at West Ham, a goal-of-the-season contender. Mourinho almost never relies on youth and Zlatan is unlikely to play a huge role as mentor. The best case scenario is that Rashford excels as an impact sub and starts games that Zlatan needs to rest.

Likelihood: High

Unlike previous United fiascos involving huge names (think Thomas Muller, Sergio Ramos, Neymar, Cesc Fabregas and Wesley Sneijder), this one seems to have a good chance of actually happening.

United is one of the only clubs willing to pay the massive wage Zlatan will demand and the link with Mourinho seems to excite the player.

Follow Kyle Gibson on Twitter, @KyleIsGibson and make sure to read the next United transfer watch, which features James Rodriguez. 

 

EPL Predictions: Kyle is back with picks you should never bet on.

By, Kyle Gibson

I always mention that it’s hit and miss for me to post blogs during the semester. I think I’ve been missing for about a month and a half now. 

Here are my picks for this week. I’ll try to stay around a little bit more. If you see me throw in a bonus, it’s something I have no proof will happen but still want to mention. I operate on hunches. 

Bournemouth 1-0 Newcastle

After all this time, I still want to believe! Here’s the thing, though. Bournemouth played very well in the second half against Southampton in last week’s 2-0 loss. If you erase the 22-27th minutes, the score would have been 0-0. This team needs a win and has to take advantage of ALL its remaining home matches. Additionally, this is the longest trip that any team has to make to play another in the entire football league. 

Kyle’s note: I gave you more tha I ever thought I would on Bournemouth vs Newcastle. I normally like to keep these short, but I ain’t taking anything out of that one. 

West Ham 2-1 Everton

A bit of a bogey game for Everton, who flew high against bottom scrapers Sunderland in a 6-2 win. I think overconfidence here will lead to incompetence and complacency in this match. 

Bonus: Payet scores from a free kick. 

Leicester City 2-0 Watford

Watford has been hot, which I love. I like a promoted team doing well. Last week, Andy Carroll defended like I did in a 8-0 loss to Hurricane Middle School and surrendered a crap goal. I think that luck runs out against the Foxes, who look like a really trendy French or German team when they play in front of the King Power stadium fans. I love a crowd that dresses in black. 

Norwich City 1-1 Swansea City

The days of Swansea thrilling the league seem so long ago. Both teams really need a win here and often that results in a draw.

Bonus: Late equalizer here…probably from the home team (Norwich).

Sunderland 1-0 Southampton

He said what!?? I know Sunderland lost 6-2 last week, but that makes Big Sam Allardyce even hungrier (hard to do) to get this damn thing right and save the club. To my dismay, I think that means no more DeAndre Yedlin. He’s probably going to stick a brick wall at right back. Southampton ain’t the best on the road. 

Bonus: Jermain Defoe lucky goal FTW

Manchester United 2-1 West Brom

I’m so nervous suggesting that United can score two goals here. West Brom’s big boy Rondon can head the ball with the ferocity of a cannon. I seriously think he scores. Even though I also think Saido Berahino is auditioning for his future club. (I’m the last person that still plays manager mode on FIFA. I’m 12 years into my career with United on FIFA 15. I bought Berahino for cheap and built him into a worldie. FIFA (the game, not the organization) don’t lie, right?

Bonus: Wayne Rooney eats three hot dogs at halftime and scores the winner. 

Stoke City 1-0 Chelsea

This is the biggest crisis in Chelsea’s 12 year history. With Jose Mourinho serving a stadium ban, let’s pause and think about the ways that he could somehow infiltrate the stadium. 

– Blackface, because he has already shown he’s tactless.

– False ID: “Yes, my name really is Joe S.A. Marino. I’m the most special one in all of Colchester.” 

– Fatsuit: I keep giggling at this one. I just think he would do it. In his mind, he wouldn’t realize he’s making himself even more noticeable. 

Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester City

The worst game to introduce your new manager. 

Bonus: Sterling notches a goal and an assistant. 

Liverpool 2-1 Crystal Palce

Palace is really good on the road, but I think Klopp is now primed for his first Kop victory. 

Arsenal 0-1 Tottenham

Biggest game of the weekend. I don’t know why I think this scoreline. Like I said though, I operate on hunches. 

Have your say in the comment section! 

New Post: Three Things We Learned From EPL Week 2

By, Kyle Gibson

This was another pretty good weekend of soccer in the EPL. One team is already showing itself to be elite…which leads me to point No.1.

1. Manchester City is playing beautiful (and pissed off) soccer. 

That’s right, the same City that I unceremoniously dumped from my Preseason top four. Now, they’re looking the class of the field after demolishing West Brom Monday and then the Champions Chelsea on Sunday. 

Two guys roundly accused of being two old, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany, have really played lights out so far. 

Maligned transfer Raheem Sterling had one of the best home debuts you can ask for without scoring. He looked like a real threat all game and played with wisdom beyond his 20 years.

Then there’s the brilliant goal by Sergio Aguero. Watch out for this City side. 

2. Chelsea are Sputtering 

Just one point so far and tons of drama. First, Mourinho bans and demoted the team physio for doing her job, then he called Sunday’s 3-0 drubbing a completely fake result. By the way, the official club match report was even more delusional than Mourinho. 

The worry spots seem to be the back line and its age. Normally, right back Branislav Ivanovic is very strong, but exposure to speedy wingers Jefferson Montero and Raheem Sterling in back-to-back weeks has shown an extreme weakness for him. 

Also, captain John Terry was subbed out at halftime. That has never, ever happened under Mourinho. Underlying tension? 

3. Manchester United Needs a Striker

I just don’t know how sharp Wayne Rooney is, or how much he has left in the tank. Aston Villa would have been a great game for him to find form, but he was invisible. James Wilson and Chicharito are pretty good, but you need more for a Premier League run and ESPECIALLY for Champions League play. 

Bonus: Bravo for Norwich City. They beat Sunderland 3-1  after losing 3-1 to Crystal Palace in week one. They at least deserved a tie in week one, but faced a few controversial decisions. This squad has some players I’d love to see in the league for years (Nathan Redmond especially.) 

New Post: EPL Predictions that will probably all be wrong. 

By, Kyle Gibson

We have the only Friday game of the year, so let’s get to the predictions! 

Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa

I think Memphis Depay goes off in this one. 

Everton 1-1 Southampton

Everton will feel hard done by just getting a point last week against Watford. This will be a more respectable draw. 

Sunderland 0-1 Norwich City

I’ll even give you the goal scorer here. Nathan Redmond will continue to impress. 

Swansea City 2-1 Newcastle United

Swansea became the toast of the league last week in a draw against Chelsea. Should win handily enough here.

Tottenham 1-0 Stoke City

Spurs lost against United and Stoke lost in heartbreaking fashion against Liverpool. Stoke will be in mild panic after 0 points in two games. 

Watford 0-0 West Bromich Albion

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

West Ham United 2-1 Leicester City

City put in 4 against Sunderland, but the Hammers should feel inflated now after their win against preseason favorites Arsenal. 

Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal

The panic continues!

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City

Yes…City will go five points up on Chelsea. 

Liverpool 2-0 AFC Bournemouth

Mario Ballotelli will finally…..can’t even finish the sentence. I expect Benteke and Fermino to play well 

What are your predictions? Leave in the comments below! 


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! Summertime Gladness

By, Kyle Gibson

Unlike Lana Del Ray, we at the Kicking It podcast love summer! In this edition, we discuss our favorite activities, as well as our love of Louis Van Gaal’s speaking abilities.

We also discuss the EPL relegation battle, the awesomeness of Sydney Leroux and the #USWNT and we also heap tons of praise of the awesome MLS.

Check us out! Listen via our Buzzsprout page or subscribe via iTunes.