Obviously these views are just my opinion and I don’t claim to be an expert on such topics. My outlook on Everton is usually a “pessimistic” one as usually when you dare to dream with Everton they usually manage to make a complete mess of things.
I hope they start the season well and don’t take until Christmas to get results which has been the pattern on recent seasons.
Keeping Nikica Jelavic fit is key, in the second half of last season almost everytime he touched the ball he would score.
Steven Pienaar returning is also a massive boost as well as the acquisition of ex Rangers man Steven Naismith. If Everton can keep the squad as it is now (at the beginning of August) and not lose anyone or even add to it then there is no reason why this season could not be a good one.
So, what am I expecting from the rest of the league next season?.
For me, a top four finish is beyond Everton as things stand, this is not a criticism, I expect the top four will be the same as last season, if not in the same order. It is hard to see Manchester City not retaining their title and Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea will probably be the leaders of the chasing pack.
Then I would probably expect to see Spurs, Liverpool and Everton competing for 5th, 6th and 7th places. Spurs and Liverpool will both have expectations of getting into the top four, as well as the distraction of Europa League football, which could become an issue regarding their league form.
Everton need to take advantage of this in my opinion, as well as paying full attention to the League Cup, Everton have never won the League Cup in their history and despite other clubs disinterest in the competition, it would be a piece of silverware which I think David Moyes is desperate for, as well as another entry route into Europe.
I do not want to take anything away from Newcastle’s achievement last season, they did well to finish where they did, but I think they will struggle to do as well next year. As with Spurs and Liverpool they will have the Europa League to contend with and this could affect their form, plus if Ba or Cisse are injured I am not sure where their goals will come from.
I expect Newcastle will finish mid-table, which I do not think would be that bad a season for them, but will it be good enough for their fans?.
Then there are a few clubs that I think will finish in the places between 8th and 12th place, those teams are Fulham, Stoke, West Brom, West Ham and Sunderland.
Then there are a bunch of teams that in my opinion will be looking over their shoulders, teams such as Wigan, Swansea, Aston Villa, Southampton, Reading, QPR and Norwich could all struggle this season in my opinion.
Wigan, despite their Houdini style escape acts, never seem to have a good season and despite never actually getting relegated, they are always there and thereabouts, despite the hype surrounding manager Roberto Martinez.
Swansea are another team who, in my opinion, were over-rated last season. Yes, they passed the ball well, but they only did that when teams let them and I saw Everton hassle them into mistakes and comfortably beat them in their two fixtures last season. I am not so sure teams will allow them to play as they did last year.
Aston Villa have changed their manager from the hated Alex McCleish to the hot managerial prospect Paul Lambert. Lambert did very well in getting Norwich into the Premier League and keeping them up before walking out on them to join Villa. Villa at one time were looking like they were going to become a top four side, before American owner Randy Lerner tightened the purse strings and they have since sunk like a stone.
At one point last seaon Villa looked like they were headed for the drop but managed to survive. I thin they will again this year but as I said, they have to be carefull.
Southampton and Reading are virtual unknowns. They finished in the top two positions in the Championship last season, but the Premier League is a massive step up and they will be down there struggling in my opinion.
Of course I could be wrong, and I can’t see Swansea or Norwich repeating the seasons they had last year which could mean they join the scrap at the bottom which could mean Reading and Southampton have a chance of staying up.
QPR have spent quite a bit of money this summer, but quantity does not mean quality and I think they have done similar to what Sunderland have done in the past and bought a lot of fringe players from more successful teams.
I am not so sure if this will work, but they managed to stay up last season with a poor team, plus I think there will be at least five worse teams than them in the league this year so they will likely stay up.
My Predictions For The Premier League 2012/13
Champions – Manchester City
Champions League Qualification – Cheslea, Manchester United, Arsenal
FA Cup – Chelsea
League Cup – Everton (PLEASE!!!)
Relegated – Southampton, Swansea, Reading