Who will be relegated from the Premier League?

Relegation from the Premier League can be tough on any team and it is the magic 40 point mark that a lot of teams aim for first even when they are not expected to get relegated. Even mid table teams don’t want to get dragged into a battle so they aim to get their as fast as possible and then build on that.

Inevitably the promoted teams are always the favourites to go straight back down and there is no change this year, with Reading being one of the teams that need a good start to the season or it could be a very long year for their fans. They have however some good signings in the summer which will surely give them a better chance in the always reliable Danny Guthrie and striker Pavel Pogrebnyak who had a very good goal scoring record at Fulham last year. They do lack a little experience in the Premier League throughout their squad so Jason Roberts and Ian Harte will both be essential to their side.

Norwich City have a new manager this season in Chris Hughton and he has the difficult task of following in the footsteps of Paul Lambert. But, he has inherited a good team that was comfortable in the Premier League last year and there will be a lot of talk of second season syndrome but Hughton has performed minor miracles before at both Newcastle United and Birmingham City so I am sure he will be a success here too.

Nigel Adkins hasn’t changed much at Southampton in the close season so he obviously believes that this team are good enough to stay up but I think they need a little more especially considering the start to the season they have. In the opening five games they have to play both the Manchester clubs and Arsenal so like Bolton last season they may be demoralised before the season has even really begun. The signings of Jay Rodriguez and Nathaniel Clyne would have been very impressive in the Championship and even though I rate both of them highly they just might not be able to cut it in the Premier League.

Wigan Athletic will always be considered as one of the favourites for relegation no matter how they finish the previous season. At the end of last season they were one of the most in form teams in the whole league but that have lost Hugo Rodallega and Mohamed Diame who have both been influential in the past for them. The signing of Arouna Kone may show their intent of finishing a lot higher up than they have in previous seasons but they will always be considered as the underdog in the Premier League but maybe they like it that way.

Swansea City are one of many teams with a new manager this year and a lot of people are already writing off Michael Laudrup before he has even took charge of them for the first time in a competitive game. They won’t have to change their style much under the new manager but maybe this is the problem because a lot of teams will have now worked out ways to stop them and they still don’t really have an option B so it will be a tough task for them to stay up.

For me it will be Swansea City, Southampton and Reading that go down.

Who will Andrew Johnson play for next season?

Andrew Johnson’s contract is up at the end of the season and it is looking increasingly likely that he will be not be a Fulham player next season.

Johnson has scored 147 goals in his career

Fulham rejected a bid for him in January from QPR which suggested that they wanted him to stay or maybe they just felt that QPR would come in with a better offer if they rejected it. He has played over 100 games for Fulham in all competitions in his four seasons at the club but has only scored 27 goals with a lot of them coming in the Europa League against opponents who Fulham should have beaten anyway especially in the earlier rounds of the competition. His 13 league goals have not been enough although he did suffer a serious injury in his second season at the club which may have hampered his progress. The transfer fee they bought him for was rumoured to be over £10 million and he certainly hasn’t lived up to that price tag.

But could he still do a good job in the Premier League for Fulham or should he be looking elsewhere? In my opinion he has to leave as Fulham have started to play a different way under Martin Jol and I can’t see where he would fit in. Also the form of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey has made it difficult for him to force his way into the team when he is fit.

So the next question is whether he is still good enough for the Premier League? This is a little harder to answer because he is getting towards the end of his career and he may not quite have the same attributes as he used to but it does also mean he has a lot more experience. He will have to adapt his game slightly as he does not have the pace he used to have, although he should still have his clever movement and will cause teams problems. At Everton, he wasn’t a consistent goal scorer but I thought that he showed enough quality to be a very good Premier League player. However, yet again the goals weren’t exactly flowing and 17 in two seasons in the league was possibly not good enough for the money they paid.

At Crystal Palace he got 21 league goals for a team that eventually got relegated which shows that he must have been a good player seen as though he almost kept them up on his own. This is why I believe one of the promoted teams should take a chance on him as he can score goals from few chances like at Palace and he might just give one of the teams a little bit more experience. Reading would be a good fit in my opinion and would be a slightly different option to Noel Hunt and Jason Roberts. Although he is quite similar to Adam Le Fondre.

I also think he could do well at Wigan as he would fit into their hardworking ethic and Johnson never stops running and works hard for the full 90 minutes and the one thing that is missing from the Wigan side is a clinical and proven goal scorer. Johnson could just be the man to take them from a battling relegation side to a mid table team.

Will Reading succeed in the Premier League if they get promoted?

Reading are timing their run perfectly to gain promotion to the Premier League after beating Leeds United and moving to the top of the Championship.

 

Adam Le Fondre may have the strikers instinct to score goals in the Premier League

After beating West Ham 4-2 last weekend the whole team must have been very confident going into the game especially when Leeds were reduced to 10 men after 13 minutes. But they were made to work hard for their win as Leeds stuck at it and defended very well and also attacked on the counter to good effect which made the home fans very nervous towards the end of the game and maybe 2-0 flatters the Royals slightly. Adam Le Fondre stepped off the bench to score twice and prove that he can be the man to fire the team into the Premier League. The signing from Rotherham United hasn’t quite settled in as quickly as the fans would have hoped but these two crucial goals will give him the belief that he deserves to be playing Championship football at least next season. He was expected to score the goals this year but that hasn’t quite worked out, however in his defence, nobody has hit double figures for Reading this season so they have had to rely on goals from all over the pitch with even centre back Alex Pearce chipping in with five goals this season.

If Reading do get promoted, do they have a good enough squad to compete in the Premier League or are they just very good Championship players? In goal they have Adam Federici who in my opinion is very underrated outside of the Championship but he is one of the best in the league and has made some heroic saves this season. Including an important one against Leeds when Robert Snodgrass had the opportunity to score but Federici stood up for as long as he could and palmed it away.

The defence is a mixture of potential and experience. Ian Harte is one of the best footballing left backs and has been his whole career, as it is worth remembering he once played in a Champions League semi final. How many players can say that in the country never mind the Championship? As mentioned previously they also have Alex Pearce who not only defends very well especially in the air, he also adds an attacking threat from set pieces which are usually precisely delivered by Harte.

The midfield is where I think they are at their best, especially out wide where they have many options with Hal Robson-Kanu and even Michail Antonio good enough to make most teams which is remarkable seen as though Antonio is out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday. But their first choice wingers are fantastic in Jimmy Kebe and Jobi McAnuff, they are both very direct and force full back onto the back foot as soon as they get the ball. In the middle they also have quality in Jem Karacan and Mikele Leigertwood who at every opportunity look to feed the wingers and provide a good screen for the back four as well as get into the box to grab goals.

The strikers is where I think they may fall down as they have good players but maybe not Premier League standard. Jason Roberts has came in and done magnificently but there is a reason why Blackburn didn’t feel he was good enough when they were in desperate need. However there were contractual issues there so maybe he would have played more of a part if that was sorted out. Noel Hunt works hard and has a great leap on him but he was easily marked out of the game by a second choice Leeds defence so they would need to invest in a striker if they do go up.

I really like the way Reading play as they look to cross the ball a lot and force defenders into mistakes. Brian McDermott deserves a lot of credit and seeing his celebration after the first goal showed how much it meant to the whole club. I would like to see them go up and them to achieve some success as the fans have been fantastic over the years and the stadium deserves Premier League football once again.