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Vital Stoke 09/10 Season preview part 2

Here is our second part to the season preview and I will previewing Everton, Fulham, Hull, Liverpool, man City and Man U.

EVERTON
It never ceases to amaze me how well Everton do each season but I don`t think their success will continue, at least to the same degree.

Upfront Everton have signed Jo on loan from Man City again and he accompanying the fit again Yakubu looks to be a formidable partnership going forward. In midfield Everton are as strong as ever with star players Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta.

Defence looks to be David Moyes`s big problem with Phil Jagielka missing the start of the new season and the Joleon Lescott saga doesn`t really look like finishing any time soon. Phillipe Senderos looks to be on his way into Goodison Park and another central defender is a must if they are too push for Europe.

As ever with Everton we will be seeing more of their younger players such as the promising pair of Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling. I like the club and everything about them but for me I don`t see them any higher than 6th at best.

FULHAM
This may sound strange but the Europa League may become an unwanted distraction for Roy Hodgeson`s men. It was a tremendous effort from them to get where they did last season but I just don`t see them doing it again.

The defence at Craven Cottage is very resolute and in Brede Hangeland they have 1 of the best defenders outside the top 4 and should do all they can to put off Arsenal signing him.

The strikers for me is Fulham`s weakest area, Andy Johnson didn`t have the most productive of season`s last year but will come good and if Fulham can find that 1 missing player to partner him then they will be a handle. My overall view, much the same but not as spectacular, mid-table mediocrity.

HULL
One of the most comical points thus far in the transfer window is to see Hull time after time fail to sign a decent striker. That looks set to change if they can get hold of Real Madrid`s Alvaro Negeredo but until then they are in desperate trouble for me.

Phil Brown is a good young manager but I can`t help but feel he has lost half the dressing room and that spells trouble. The signings of midfielders Stephen Hunt and Seyi Olofinajana are positive one`s but neither are going to take the premier league by storm. Finally Jimmy Bullard can play regular football again after his knee injury and it will be interesting to see how he gets on in the Hull midfield.

I see Hull signing some big players and for that reason I see them surviving, just, but if they don`t manage to add to the squad then its doom and gloom for them. Unfortunately for them I have to go by the current squad and so for me Hull are down.

LIVERPOOL
As soon as the news came through that Real Madrid had signed Cristiano Ronaldo I immediately thought this was Liverpool`s year in terms of the premier league. Now after thinking about it for a long time I have changed my mind. Liverpool have no strength in depth, there first 11 is a good as anyone`s in world football but when you look at the bench they aren`t as strong as Man U, Chelsea and even Arsenal.

The sale of Xabi Alonso is a huge loss and his replacement Alberto Aqualini comes with a huge pedigree but can he fill Alonso`s shoes? Defensively they are strong but if injuries occur, which they will over a long season, then Liverpool are in trouble with only two or three recognised full-backs and three recognised centre backs. Upfront is another issue, Fernando Torres, as good as he is, wont stay 100% for a full season and with no other out and out striker goals may be a problem.

Last season was Liverpool`s big chance and if things get bad they could find themselves out of the top 4. For me they need signings and they will end up 3rd.

MANCHESTER CITY
This season everyone will be intrigued by how Man City get on. Love them or hate them you going to watch them.

I still don`t understand the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor, with Robinho, Tevez, Santa Cruz and even Bellamy all recent additions the signing of Adebayor is a mistake. Even so the quality they possess not just upfront but throughout the squad will be hard to match for anyone.

I still think there a centre back away from completely being goal proof but I don`t think Joleon Lescott is the man they need. A tall, mean, bully of a player like Brede Hangeland is the type of player they require and if they can buy him or someone similar then I predict them to do well.

In Stephen Ireland they have one of the prems hottest prospects and now its time for Robinho to stand out and be the man.

The only problem being have they got the right manager to find the right blend? I think it will take time and so for me its going to be 5th but if either Liverpool or Arsenal slip up there going to be right there.

MANCHESTER UNITED
Even without the names of Ronaldo and Tevez gracing the team sheet Manchester United are perhaps the strongest team in the country and with Sir Alex at the helm I think they have every chance of retaining there title.

With the additions of Antonio Valencia and Michael Owen it`s a new look United attack but for me it`s Wayne Rooney who United depend on. Wazza has to come out of Ronaldo`s shell and be the man at United this season if they have any chance of being crowned champions. Also its now time for Dimitar Berbatov to stand up and be counted and show the fans he is worth the 30mil United splashed out on him.

Defensively you can expect much of the same from United but whether Ben Foster can step into Edwin Van Der Sar`s boots while the Dutchmen is injured remains to be seen. A small revolution at Old Trafford this year and for me its going to be tight but there just going to miss out on a n unprecedented 4th straight title.

Tomorrow on the eve of the season I will be looking ahead to the season for Portsmouth, Stoke, Sunderland, Spurs, Wigan, West Ham and Wolves.




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The Journalist

Writer: Charlie Bennett Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday August 13 2009

Time: 8:14PM

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