July 11, 2006
The 2006/07 English Premier League Way Too Early Preview: Part 3
Last Season: Chris Coleman reportedly had his job on the line for much of the season, but the league’s worst club away found a bit of form at the end of the season to finish 12th.
Defining Moment of Last Season: Fulham managed to hold out against a second half barrage against Chelsea to secure their first league win over their West London rivals in 27 years.
Transfer Ins and Outs: Some players of little note have left the club to play in the Conference. Not content with helping Leyton Orient win promotion to League One last season, Democratic Republic of Congo international Gabriel Zakuani may seek a Premiership trial by fire at Craven Cottage.
One Sentence Description of Playing Style: A multi-pronged attack that leaves holes at the back, but Fulham would not be entertaining otherwise.
Best Case Scenario: 10th, Fulham do not have the appeal to draw in big names even with a rich backer. The players seem to respond well to Coleman and a top half finish seems possible with this team.
Realistic Goal: 12th, As bad as they were on the road last season, they were still able to finish in 12th. It will be disappointing if they finish any lower than that.
Last Season: After taking beatings in Europe, David Moyes side took some time to find the form that finally took them away from the relegation zone. The poor start cost them a chance at a European spot as they finished 11th.
Defining Moment of Last Season: Richard Wright injuring himself on a sign that said “Do not warmup at this goalmouth”
Transfer Ins and Outs: Leaving the club was Nigel Martyn who retired due to recurring injuries, even though he was arguably the second best English goalkeeper at age 39.
On the other front, Everton continued to splash out their sweet, sweet Wayne Rooney cash on a pair of signings. England international Andy Johnson will dive his way back into the Premiership after an £8.6 million switch from Crystal Palace. Promising young defender Joleon Lescott cost the Toffees £5 million from Wolves. In addition, Everton have been linked to Rangers’ Tunisian midfielder Hamed Namouchi.
Last Season: In their first ever season at the peak of English football, Wigan prospered as they nearly qualified for Europe through the league and as finalists in the Carling Cup. Paul Jewell guided the Latics to a strong 10th position.
Defining Moment of Last Season: The Carling Cup semifinal against Arsenal which saw Wigan advance on away goals after extra time.
Transfer Ins and Outs: Their biggest transfer to this point was bringing in 18-year-old Polish youth international Tomasz Cywka. They wasted some money on emile heskey (who won’t have his name capitalized until he scores 10 league goals).
The man heskey was brought in to replace was Jason Roberts. The Grenadian striker thought starting for a Blackburn side in Europe might be a tad better than mediocrity in Wigan.
One Sentence Description of Playing Style: Wigan likes to strike on the counter and on set pieces since only Henri Camara is capable of controlling a match on his own.
Best Case Scenario: 10th, Wigan would do extremely well to match last seasons finish as they have managed to get worse.
Realistic Goal: 17th, Wigan will probably suffer from the second season blues that have struck overperforming clubs.
West Ham United
Last Season: Got enough points to avoid relegation, then mailed it in as the potential for an FA Cup final appearance beckoned.
Defining Moment of Last Season: The nine change lineup against Portsmouth which was absolutely destroyed. Justice was delivered in the form of Steven Gerrard’s injury time strike in the FA Cup final, however.
Transfer Ins and Outs: Alan Pardew has spent his time trying to add depth to the Hammers defense. Jonathan Spector and Tyrone Mears have joined from Manchester United and Preston. Making way thus far have been striker Yaniv Katan; back to Maccabi Haifa on loan, defender Elliott Ward to Coventry and Chris Cohen to Yeovil. Trinidad World Cup hero Shaka Hislop returned to the United States with FC Dallas.
One Sentence Description of Playing Style: The Hammers like to attack even if they have nothing to protect them at the back.
Best Case Scenario: 6th, If their new signings work out European qualification should not be difficult. That said, they still remain some distance behind the top 4 and Spurs.
Realistic Goal: 7th, If there is a surprise club that finishes top 5 that isn’t West Ham, they will be disappointed to finish any lower than this.