Kyrie Irving has made headlines for a lot of reasons over the past year, but in the last few weeks is where he's looked closest to making the decision to never play basketball again. First were the rumors that if traded, he would simply retire. Then came the news that he would not be taking on the vaccine, even if...
2018-19 English Premier League Preview
Author: Victor Olorunfemi
Premiere League Prediction
The World Cup Prediction was a success as we predicted two of the final four teams and the eventual champions in France. We decided to try our hand in predicting the 2018-19 Premier League Champions along with the other awards that come with the season.
20. Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield Town survived last season with a 16thplaced finish but I don't see a repeat this season. The promoted teams all have arguably better rosters than Huddersfield and I don't see the team scoring enough goals to remain in the premier league.
19. Cardiff City
The Welsh based side secured automatic promotion to the premier league on the last day but their 2018-19 season will not be as sweet. While only scoring the 6thmost goals in the league, Cardiff finished with the joint best defensive record. However, with the experienced Mo Bamba returning for the Bluebirds, they might have a chance.
18. Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton join Huddersfield with an unfortunate second year relegation. Another team that struggles to score goals, Brighton will need all the help they can get.
Watford barely avoid relegation here thanks to the vast experience of the squad. While losing Richarlison will certainly hurt the team, the return of Nathaniel Chalobah from a long-term injury and the impressive 2018 form of Will Hughes will be key for The Hornets.
Vardy's party seems to finally be over. A return to from last season will not be helped by the absence of his partner in crime Riyad Mahrez. The former premier league champions will suffer but not too much.
Southampton struggled mightily last season and although there will be a slight improvement it won't be enough to finish mid table.
14. Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace struggled to start the 2017-18 season but ultimately recovered. The team looks set to lose Wilfried Zaha but even if he stays, I don't see the team achieving much better than a 14th placed finish.
Bournemouth have one of the most underrated strike forces in the premier league with the trio of Joshua King, Callum Wilson and the never aging Jermain Defoe. The problem will be figuring out how to play all three but that's a problem a lot of teams in the premier league would love to have.
Fulham already come into the Premiere league with an impressive roster that saw three players finish in the Championship team of the year. By beating some of the biggest clubs in Europe to the signing of Jean Michael Seri and the addition of World Cup winner Andre Schrulle, Fulham have announced their intention to take the premier league by storm.
Burnley's first half of the season was far more impressive than their second half of the season and that drop of form will spill into the 2018-19 season. The team struggles to score but the defensive unit is solid enough for Burnley to record a solid season.
Wolverhampton dominated the Championship every bit as much as Manchester City dominated the Premier League and the team has only improved over the summer transfer window. A Portuguese core led by the young gem, Ruben Neves, will lead the Wolves to an impressive first season.
9. West Ham
West Ham struggled but I do not expect that to last. One of the best rosters outside of the top 6 in the premier league only got stronger with the additions of a rejuvenated Jack Wilshere and a host of other solid players will see The Hammers find more success.
Everton took a huge gamble with the 50 million signing of Richarlison but he should find the freedom to create as he did in Watford. Tosun's form and the addition of three experienced internationals in Andre Gomes, Bernard and Yerry Mina along with World Cup star Jordan Pickford should only help Everton succeed.
The signings of two of the most underrated players in the premier league in Ki Sung-yueng and Kenedy will help Newcastle immensely. Plus, having Rafa Benitez for an entire season will only mean good news for Newcastle.
The lack of transfer activity will finally catch up with the team. The team will not necessarily struggle but the growth seen by the other clubs in the top 6 will see them take a significant step back.
The addition of a new coach should bring the much-needed revolution Arsenal needed but a hectic Europa League schedule will make a top 4 finish just out of the reach of Emery and his team.
New coach with a new playing style. Anyone who watched a Napoli game last season will be excited to see the style of football Maurizio Sarri is bringing to the team. I would have the team finishing higher but the Europa League will stretch what is already a relatively thin squad.
3. Manchester United
Do we get the World Cup winning Pogba or will Jose Mourinho restrict him once again? The answer to that question will be key to whatever success the team finds in the upcoming season. Mourinho is often faulted for his defensive playing style with the team but the issue is that United cannot afford to play a more attacking game due to the lack of quality defensively. With no center backs added in the window, United will finish outside of the top 2.
Liverpool have arrived and although Salah will take a step back in regards to his goal scoring output, I fully expect the team to still have the fire power needed to challenge for the title. The improvement of Lovren over the last 5 months and the ever-solid Virgil van Dijk should give Liverpool the strength needed defensively. While the additions of Naby Keita and Fabinho should see the Liverpool midfield improve it won't be enough to top the blue side of Manchester.
1. Manchester City
This makes it two in a row. Although it won't be by a 19-point margin I expect Manchester City to repeat as champions. Not only do City have the best starting 11 in the league they also have arguably the most squad depth with a second 11 capable of a top 4 finish. Mahrez offers the team another creative force and defensively the return of super captain Vincent Kompany makes the unit as strong as ever.
Top Goal Scorer - Harry Kane
Harry Kane should finish with the golden boot due to a drop in form by Mo Salah and a split of playing time between Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. Aubameyang might make for an interesting dark horse.
Signing of the Season - Jorginho
I was tempted to name Richarlison as the signing of the season but I don't see him living up to the price tag just yet. However, Jorginho is the perfect signing for Chelsea. He enters the season with full knowledge of what Sarri wants from the position after he finished in the Serie A team of the year last season. Jorginho will have an outstanding season.
Player of the Year - Kevin De Bruyne
After narrowly missing out last season I fully expect De Bruyne to secure the player of the year trophy. The Belgian midfielder seems to only improve season by season.
Young Player of the Year - Leroy Sane
A repeat is in the cards for Sane as he uses the season to further his already impressive CV. The addition of Mahrez might make a repeat more difficult but I don't see any challengers.
Team of the Season:
Walker Otamendi Van Dijk Alonso
De Bruyne Jorginho Pogba
Aubameyang Kane Aguero
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