2020/21 Premier League: the final stretch Predictions

The international break is over and the World Cup Qualifying campaigns for Qatar 2022 are starting to take shape. England look to be in prime position to qualify while there was also the odd surprise result such as Germany losing 2-1 at home to North Macedonia, their first defeat in a World Cup Qualifier since England won 5-1 in 2001. That said, there were still some pointless international friendlies. What is the point in that especially while we are still in a pandemic.

Domestic football returns this weekend and so too does the Premier League [feature image above from TEAMtalk]. EFL sides will be playing twice throughout the weekend which is usual for Easter. However, in the top flight, most sides still have nine games to play. That is 27 points up for grabs so I thought, as I usually do that I would make some predictions for the final stretch of the season. read more

Premier League transfers after Brexit

The UK left the EU at the end of 2020 and with the end of freedom of movement came a new regime for football transfers with players coming from an EU country now requiring a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) to be able to play in the UK. The January transfer window was generally quiet with not much money being spent (impact of Covid has perhaps some responsibility for that) but the only comments I can find regarding the new system from a prominent manager came from Sam Allardyce. The West Brom head coach made comments early in the window that the new system was making it harder for him. On January 4th, he told reporters…

Sam Allardyce. [Image from the Premier League].

‘I have found three players already who were capable of coming here and they’re not allowed. It’s a shame. Due to the new regulations in terms of the permit they were unable to come to this country, whereas (previously) they would have done. I have to look at that and think ‘can he qualify?’ read more

Premier League 2020/21: Newcastle United at the halfway stage…

At the halfway stage of the Premier League season. I aimed to do a half-term report of sorts on how I felt it has gone for Steve Bruce’s [feature image above from Sky Sports] Newcastle United. With fans not being allowed in stadiums meaning all games have been televised, it means I’ve been able to watch most games but given what I’ve seen, I wish I hadn’t.

After 19 games played, Newcastle are 16th in the table on 19 points. If that tally was replicated over the next 19 games, then Newcastle would finish on 38 points which is not always a safe points tally. They are out of both Cup competitions after losing to Championship side Brentford in the Carabao Cup Quarter Final and at Arsenal in the Third Round of the FA Cup. It is abundantly clear at this stage of the season, Newcastle’s season is basically about surviving and staying in the top flight. read more

Sam Allardyce in at West Brom, Slaven Bilic out: Will he keep them up?

The 2020/21 Premier League season got to the 13th round of games and while that number is unlucky for some, it was cruelly unlucky for Slaven Bilic. My choice of the sack race didn’t come off (I eventually went for David Moyes) and the Croatian was removed from his role as Head Coach of West Brom following their very credible 1-1 draw at Manchester City. The Hawthorns [Image above from West Bromwich Albion] club statement read:

West Bromwich Albion have today parted company with Head Coach Slaven Bilić. Assistant Coaches, Dean Računica and Danilo Butorović, and First Team Coach Julian Dicks have also left the club with immediate effect. The Baggies are currently 19th in the Premier League table with seven points from 13 fixtures. Albion would like to thank Slaven and his coaching staff for their efforts in achieving promotion last season and wishes them all well in the future. The club will make no further comment at this time. read more

Premier League 2020 Summer Transfer Window Ratings

The delayed summer transfer window slammed shut at 11pm on Monday 5th October. October 5th deadline day, well t has been a crazy year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Staggeringly, despite having no fans in the stadiums and having cuts to their incomes, the 20 Premier League sides were able to spend a collective staggering amount in excess of £1billion. That is crazy! Crazy at a time some clubs have used government support for wages, even making non-playing staff redundant, clubs in the lower reaches of English football are struggling

I was working on this post before the Premier League made the announcement that some games not originally selected for TV will now only be available on a pay per view basis. Let me this clear, I think it is absolutely disgusting for the Premier League to do this and for the clubs to agree to do this when in some areas, bars are unlikely to be open and will be left with no choice but to pay it the extra charge on top of tv subscriptions if they want to legally watch their team play at a time when people are also seeing wages cut and jobs lost. I think it’s shameful and hopefully, they have a rethink. read more

Rowan’s big 2020/21 Premier League Season Preview

After the crazy events of 2020 and Project Restart getting last season finished, incredibly it has only been seven weeks and it is the start of the 2020/21 when Fulham host Arsenal tomorrow. Personally, as a Newcastle United fan, it has been a rollercoaster of emotion the past few months with the takeover business. Is it happening, is it not? Then the saga keeps rumbling on with statements from the club and counter-statement from the Premier League. Despite signings this week, I have not really felt so much apathy coming into a new season but the quick return of football will be a joyous occasion for most football fans.

Last season saw Liverpool eventually win the Premier League title having gone 30 years since their league crown. Jurgen Klopp’s side were relentless as they beat every team, had the best start to a season of any Premier League side and were unbeaten until February. Manchester City missed the influence of Vincent Company and at the back, they were circumspect as their pursuit of a third successive league title fell by the wayside. Both teams will be seeking t battle it out for the title again. read more

Rowan’s Final Day Premier League 2019/20 Predictions: July 26th

Some thought we would not get here but Project Restart has come to its conclusion and it is the final day of the Premier League season, some 351 days since it started last August. With Champions League and Europa League positions to be determined as well as relegation, it is set to be an emotional day for some.

This week, Leeds United secured their return to the top flight for the first time in 16 years as Champions while West Brom secured top-flight status as runners up. The play-offs to determine the third promoted side take place in the next week with Brentford Town, Fulham, Cardiff City and Swansea City (who required a five-goal swing to qualify) battling it out. read more

Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: 20th-22nd July

The Premier League is now on the home stretch of Project Restart with seven league games in the next three days before the final round of games next Sunday. This weekend saw Harry Kane back to his best as he scored a brace against Champions League-chasing Leicester City. Already relegated Norwich were beaten 2-0 by Burnley including an unfortunate own goal by Ben Godfrey while Bournemouth are staring into the abyss after losing the south coast derby with Southampton.

In this round of fixtures, we will know more in the relegation battle as well as the battle for European places. Wolves and Sheffield United who are chasing the Europa League spots face Crystal Palace and Everton this evening while in the next few days the teams involved in the FA Cup final play. The Semi-finals produced some surprising results. A Pierre Emerick Aubameyang inspired Arsenal defeated holders Manchester City as Mikel Arteta beat Pep Guardiola for the first time. Then, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea swept past Manchester United to set up a 7th all-London final and the third such of those occasions it has been Arsenal vs Chelsea. read more

Rowan’s Premier League and FA Cup Semi-Final Predictions 2019/20: July 18th-19th

We are getting nearer to crunch time as the Premier League reaches its conclusion In the push for the Champions League places, Chelsea, Leicester City and Manchester United recorded wins over Norwich Coty, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace. Jose Mourinho [Pictured above; image from BBC.com] got his first league win at St James’ Park as his Spurs side beat Newcastle; even more remarkable that Serge Aurier played on only days after the death of his brother. Bournemouth were beaten by Manchester City, Liverpool tripped up in their search for the record Premier League points haul at Arsenal while Aston Villa will be ruing letting their second-half lead slip at Everton especially after West Ham beat Watford.

This weekend, the penultimate round of fixtures begins with only one game on Saturday and two on Sunday including a big south coast derby between Bournemouth and Southampton. The Cherries could have their relegation confirmed on Sunday if they fail to win at the same time Leeds United have had their return to the top flight after 16 years confirmed as Champions. There are three games on Monday night with the pick of the matches being Sheffield United vs Everton at Bramall Lane. The lack of league games this weekend is due to the FA Cup Semi-Final weekend with the last four FA Cup winners all in action at Wembley. read more

Rowan’s Premier League predictions 2019/20: 14th-18th July

What an explosive weekend of Premier League action at the bottom of the table that was! Aston Villa recorded a big win to stay in the fight for survival by beating Crystal Palace but it was followed by a magnificent 4-1 victory for Bournemouth over Leicester City which was totally unexpected. They needed the win after Watford and West Ham, the two teams immediately above the relegation places recorded wins over Newcastle and Norwich. Michel Antonio [pictured above; image from ESPN] was the star of the show as he scored all for goals for West Ham in a result that condemned Norwich to relegation back to the Championship.

Elsewhere, Manchester City romped over Brighton after Sheffield United stunned Chelsea with a magnificent 3-0 win. Earlier, Liverpool lost their 100% winning record at home this season after Burnley managed to hold them to a 1-1 draw. Jose Mourinho maintained his unbeaten home record against Arsenal in the Premier League with his Tottenham side winning the North London derby and Manchester United were held to a 2-2 draw by a very plucky Southampton side. read more