July 10, 2006
The 2006/07 English Premier League Way Too Early Preview: Part 2
Last Season: Okay start followed by awful finish to come in 16th.
Defining Moment of Last Season: For a club that is playing in the abyss that is Midlands football, it is difficult to find a defining moment in the Doug Ellis influenced mediocrity. Maybe it was David O’Leary’s salute to Doug Ellis after a derby win, or the banners wanting him out. Either way, I really could care less.
Transfer Ins and Outs: With Doug Ellis as chairman this is a rather simple section to write. Hamburg may come in for striker Milan Baros further depleting a paper-thin squad.
One Sentence Description of Playing Style: Hope that one of those players scores or Thomas Sorensen will have to play another blinder to get a point.
Best Case Scenario: 16th, This is not a good team whose reliance on youth combined with a mediocre manager and cheap chairman cannot possibly improve this season.
Realistic Goal: 17th, I don’t rate Villa much higher than even Sheffield United or Watford and they will probably struggle just as badly.
Last Season: A strong start was followed by an awful finish as they collapsed to 15th.
Defining Moment of Last Season: The Pedro Mendes goal summed up City’s season as they threw the points away to a club who were struggling at the time.
Transfer Ins and Outs: Midfielder Ousmane Dabo signed on a Bosman and should step into the role Claudio Reyna filled last season.
Leaving the club were defender Mikkel Bischoff and Bradley Wright-Phillips to Championship clubs Coventry and Southampton respectively.
One Sentence Description of Playing Style: City always seem strong on the wings but letdowns in the center of the park have prevented them from beating top opponents regularly.
Best Case Scenario: Qualification for Europe, City have shown themselves in the last couple of season of having the form to finish in the top 6 or 7 positions. The question is whether they can find that form and maintain it for several months.
Realistic Goal: 12th, It shouldn’t be an impossible goal for them really.
Last Season: A miraculous run to the final of the UEFA Cup cost Boro a lot in the league as they struggled all season to finish 14th.
Defining Moment of Last Season: It would be too easy to say it was one of their comebacks in the UEFA Cup and there is probably good reason.
Transfer Ins and Outs: New manager Gareth Southgate retired from playing to take the job and has seen the departures of Doriva and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. There hasn’t been much in the way of arrival rumors for a while.
Best Case Scenario: 10th, Boro only seemed to play well last season when they were up against it, the 3-0 loss at home to Villa aside. I do not believe they will find the consistency that was needed often last season.
Realistic Goal: 12th, That aside there is little reason they should be anywhere near relegation. A strong youth system saw them end the season by fielding an entire English 16 that looked quite capable in defeat.
Last Season: At one point they trailed only Chelsea on goal difference before their usual mid season slump started and they finished 13th.
Defining Moment of Last Season: Alan Curbishley announcing he was leaving the club at the final home match of the season.
Transfer Ins and Outs: Defender Simon Walton has joined from Leeds while Chris Powell and Chris Perry left for Watford and West Brom respectively. Also, England international striker Francis Jeffers (can you believe it? I can’t.) was released by the club.
Best Case Scenario: 13th, Iain Dowie would do well as the new manager to match last season’s finish.
Realistic Goal: 16th, The Addicks still have the ability to avoid a relegation struggle but they might get dragged down anyway.