It has been 96 days since the final whistle blew a close to the 2011-12 EPL season – not that we are counting. More importantly, it is less than 1 day till the commencement of the 2012-13 season – the 21st since the establishment of the Premier League. And like the lead up to a massive 21st birthday bash anticipation is high and speculation rife.
Thankfully The Blog FC is here to give you a comprehensive guide to each of the teams competing in this seasons Premier League, covering all the transfer news, strategic analysis and final predictions. Have a read, give us your thoughts and impress your friends with more interesting EPL facts than you can poke a stick at.
Man U |
West Ham |
2011/12 Result: 15th
Manager: Roberto Martinez
Ins: Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal – Loan), Ivan Ramis (Mallorca), Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen)
Outs: Hugo Rodallega (Fulham), Chris Kirkland (Sheffield Wednesday), Hendry Thomas (Free), Mohamed Diame (West Ham), Steve Gohouri (Free)
Wigan spent the majority of last season languishing in the relegation zone. Indeed, at the end February they were coming stone motherless last. In a remarkable turnaround in form, Martinez’s side were able to climb up to a respectable 15th come the last day of the season.
Having lost first-teamers Rodallega and Diame, the Latics have another difficult season ahead of him. Signing Ivan Ramis is somewhat of a coup – he had agreed to a deal in principle with West Ham and also had had interest from Everton and Celtic amongst others.
Having turned down the Liverpool job in the off-season, Roberto Martinez clearly believes his project at the DW Stadium is on course to come to fruition. Time will tell if this belief is well founded.
Key Player James McCarthy
Who? Exactly. At the ripe old age of 21, McCarthy has already made 77 appearances for the Latics over the past 3 years – primarily in the centre of midfield.
One of Martinez’s first names on the team sheet, there may not be more pivotal player for any other club in the EPL this season. Mark my words – this kid has got class and talent that belie his 21 years. If McCarthy can make the next step up this season that his potential promises, the world will no longer be wondering who James McCarthy is.
The Road Ahead
Is a tough one. Another relegation battle is on the cards for Wigan, and with Chelsea sniffing around one of their prized possessions – Victor Moses – the signs are ominous. A case can be made that Martinez has been building a squad over the past couple of years, and that this year the results will start to flow in. However, if Moses goes, and there is no addition of quality to the squad, expect a long cold winter at the DW.
Wigan is currently youngest side in the Premier League, having been formed in 1932 but it has not been an easy ride getting there. Athletic was the fifth attempt to establish a club in the town of Wigan and made 34 applications to join the Football League (plus one to join the Scottish League Second Division) before they were finally accepted in 1978. Even then, in 1995 the club had average attendances of 1,845 and finished the season fourth last in League 3. You could say that Chairman Dave Whelan has made quite the impact since purchasing the side in 1995.