Thank you for your patience. i realize that you have already waded through a huge list of players, but we have only covered half the Premiership sides! i hope you found the first two parts helpful.. Here’s the next set…
Presenting my tops picks from the following teams: Queens Park Rangers, Reading, Southampton, Stoke and Sunderland.
Queens Park Rangers: The Hoops only managed to avoid relegation from the Premier League at the expense of Bolton Wanderers. QPR almost pulled off a stunning upset victory over Manchester City, but late drama ensured both teams went home happy – City were crowned Champions and QPR got another chance to stay in the top flight. Mark Hughes has promised as long as he stays at Loftus Road, the Rangers will never face last day jitters again. With a surprisingly busy summer transfer window, Hughes has strengthened the squad with some smart buys. Expect the Rangers to perform much better than last season. Here are the Super Hoops you need to keep an eye on:
- Ji-Sung Park (£6.0m) – The most decorated Asian footballer in history has arrived at Loftus Road. Expect him to take centre stage and run rampant across the field. Hughes is likely to give the versatile midfielder a free reign. Along with his vast EPL experience, Park will add a defensive dimension that QPR lacked last season, conceding the most goals outside the relegated teams. He will look to dictate the game from a deep lying position, allowing Shaun Wright-Philips, Adel Taarabt, Junior Hoilett to plot ceaseless attacks at the opposition. A big game player, expect the South Korean to pile on the assists. He will add to his goal tally substantially, and will also score the now customary goal against Arsenal.
- Junior Hoilett (£6.5m) – The young Canadian was much in demand over the previous transfer window, he was linked to Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and a host of big clubs. He chose to play with QPR for a chance to link up with former boss Hughes. An otherwise bright spark in Blackburn Rovers’ dismal relegation saga, Junior netted 7 goals and provided 6 assists, impressive numbers for a 21 year old. Another versatile midfielder who can be deployed across the park, Junior’s marauding runs down the leftflank were a sight to behold. Expect the him to improve on his goal tally and continue the fine form which prompted FIFA to choose him as one of the “13 Players to watch in 2012“.
- Adel Taarabt (£6.0m) – Off the pitch drama dominated Taarabt’s 2011-2012 season, which involved arguments with former QPR manager Neil Warnock and newly appointed captain Joey Barton. His form suffered badly and as a result, he was substituted very often, inspite being Club Captain during the team’s Premier League promotion. But Hughes’s arrival rejuvenated the Moroccan who produced excellent performances towards the end of the season. Having been handed the iconic No. 10 jersey and his confidence now boosted with a new contract that keeps him at Loftus Road till 2016, expect the attacking midfielder to trick defenders down the left flank and improve on the form that prompted him to be appointed QPR’s “Young Player of the Year 2011-12“.
Honourable mentions: Djibril Cisse (£6.5m) – He’s scores fantastic and vital goals – when not serving suspension. Jamie Mackie (£5.5m) – Currently injured, the Scotsman is poised to have a break-out season for the R’s. Bobby Zamora (£6.5m) – Should benefit from the array of attacking talent at Loftus Road, a great third choice striker.
Reading: After a poor start to the season Reading were at the 23rd spot in the 24 team Championship. However, the Royals then started a run which saw them win 17 out of 23 games in the second half of the season. Topping the Championship will be a long forgotten memory as the they will now aim for Premiership survival. The Royals had the best defense in the Championship, conceding the least number of goals. All that will quickly change and the Rz will have to start scoring goals regularly, in tandem with solid defending to ensure they remain in the top flight for years to come. Presenting the top Royals:
- Alex Pearce (£4.5m) – A central defender, Pearce started the most number of matches alongside goalkeeper Adam Federici. Voted as the “Player Of The Season” by Reading, he will aim to carry over his form in the Premiership and concede as few goals as possible. He also scored 5 goals for the Royals, a trend he will hope continue in the EPL as well. Expect him to be included in the Royals’ Starting XI frequently, and an odd goal or two. Great choice if you plan to invest heavily in midfielders & forwards.
- Pavel Pogrebnyak (£5.0m) – One of the very Reading players with prior EPL experience, the Russian played for Fulham last season. He holds the record for being the quickest player to reach 5 goals in Premier League history, en-route to scoring 6 goals despite the limited playing time. He will be the focal point in the Royals’ attack, expect him to break into double digits this season. Which is only natural, for a named by Andrei Arshavin as “Po The Great“.
- Adam Le Fondre (£5.0m) – The highest goal scorer for the Royals last season, he will familiar with the Royals’ style of play. He will look forward to improve his tally 0f 12 goals, a big match player he scored vitals goals against Leeds United, Championship rivals Southampton and the goal that earned a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace, securing their Championship title. Great choice for the third strikers’ role.
Honourable mentions: Jobi McAnuff (£5.0m) – The Royals’ Captain, an attacking midfielder who chips in with a few goals as well.
Southampton:Easily the most impressive team to be promoted, The Saints are back in the Premiership after seven long years. Manager Nigel Adkins helped Southampton achieve consecutive promotions over the past two years. They will aim continue their brand of attacking football, having scored the most goals last season in the Championship. With impressive defensive play, they managed to have the healthiest goal difference as well. However, the Premiership will be a whole new ball game, as survival will be the first priority for the Saints this season. Here are the top Southampton picks:
- Richard “Rickie” Lambert (£6.0m) – Perhaps the most exciting player across all the promoted teams, most superlatives & adjectives fall short of capturing Lambert’s performances. Top goal scorer for the Saints in the past three seasons, nPower Championship Player of the Year 2011-12, top scorer in the Championship League, Southampton Fans’ “Player of the Season” – Lambert has collected awards like they’re going out of style! A must have striker, he comes in at a relatively low price. And he even managed a staggering 13 assists last season! Expect him to be one the stars of the EPL and the FPL next season!
- Kelvin Davis (£4.5m) – The Saints skipper is a part of the furniture at St. Mary’s Stadium – a goalkeeper who has been with the club since 2006, despite interest from plenty of top clubs. Having stayed with the club through some troubled time, his perseverance will be rewarded as he leads them out in the Premiership next season. Having played all but one match, he was perhaps as important in goal as Lambert was upfront. Expect the towering Englishman to play an important part for Saints’s survival at the top flight.
- Adam Lallana (£6.0m) – Lallana was named in the Championship Team of the Year 2011-12 along with Davis and Lambert. Having been with the Saints since the start of his professional career he enjoyed his best performance last season, scoring 11 goals and providing 9 assists. At just 24 years of age, the attacking midfielder will be looking to run down defenses in the EPL and terrorize the EPL alongside Lambert. Expect the pair to be a hit in the EPL next season.
Honourable mentions: Guilherme “Guly” Do Prado (£5.5m) – An attacking midfielder, the Brazilian was the third highest goalscorer for the Saints last season.
Stoke City: Tony Pulis’ team had an indifferent run in the EPL, finishing 14th in table despite having a great start to the season which saw them competing in the Europa League. The Potters will aim to perform better and churn out consistent performances and push for a spot in the top half, and celebrate their 150th year in existence in style. They haven’t had a lot of players coming, so expect the a starting XI same as last season, and with the team well versed with their styles, expect them to push for a top 10 finish. Here are the top Potters:
- Peter Crouch (£6.5m) – Easily the biggest man at Stoke – pun intended – Crouch will have to deliver yet again for the Potters’ cause. The beanpole striker is Stoke City’s most expensive footballer ever, although his 10 goals and 5 assists in the very first season could point to a smart investment. Capable of scoring clinical headers & outrageous goals with equal ease, he is best utilized when scoring headers inside the box. Expect him to break into double digits yet again and profit greatly from the service of his team mates. A great choice for the third striker.
- Jonathan Walters (£6.5m) – The best Stoke City player last season statistically, Walters played every single match in the EPL. The Irishman is best utilized as a striker partnering Crouch upfront, he was used as a right winger as well. Having improved his performance over the past 2 seasons, he enjoys Pulis’ faith in his abilities. At 28 years of age, expect him to score over 10 goals in a season for only the second time in his career, while providing more assists than the 5 he set up last season. A regular penalty taker for the Potters, he did miss two though last season.
- Matthew Etherington (£6.5m) – The left winger had a quietly impressive season for the Potters, having lead the assists charts and having a great passing game at the Britannia Stadium. Having been through hell and back – the Englishman had a gambling addiction – his career has enjoyed a renaissance at Stoke City, being awarded a Stoke Player of the Season award two years ago. Expect him to a consistent member of the Potters’ line up, while consolidating his position as one of the most indispensable players in the current Stoke City squad.
Honourable mentions: Stoke City Captain Ryan Shawcross (£5.0m) – A fine defender, but the Welshman has a terrible disciplinary record. Will cost points through Yellow/Red Cards and penalties conceded.
Sunderland: The Black Cats’ has a tumultuous season last around, which saw manager Steve Bruce being sacked mid season. Martin O’Neill took over and managed to steady the ship, ultimately finishing 13th in the table. Relegation seemed like a possibility, but gritty survival instinct kicked in and managed to avoid darkness at The Stadium of Light. Another team which has bought in only few summer signings, expect O’Neill’s astute managerial skills to ensure the Sunderland to aim for a top half finish as well. Here are the Top Cats:
- Stephane Sessegnon (£8.0m) – Perhaps the brightest spark in the Stadium of Light, Sessegnon was easily one of the best midfielders in the entire league last season. The Beninese player can be deployed left,right and center – although best utilized in the playmaker’s role. Having played in the “hole” for most matches last season, Sessegnon set up an impressive 12 goals for his teammates while scoring 7 times himself. A big match player, he either scored or assisted goals in the most important matches last season. Expect him to continue his ascent as one of the top midfielders in the EPL, and prove yet again why he was chosen the “Sunderland Player of the Season“.
- Sebastian Larsson (£6.5m) – The handsome Swede has been labelled as “the best free kick taker” by his former manager Arsene Wenger. High praise, which highlights the excellent debut season Larsson enjoyed for the The Black Cats. The attacking midfielder is deployed on the left, and is a great asset during set pieces. At only 27 years of age with plenty of international experience under his belt, expect the Swede to be heavily involved in The Black Cats quest for a top 10 finish.
- Fraizer Campbell (£5.5m) – The young Englishman has not yet made the most of his Sunderland stint, because of a ligament injury that has persisted for a long time. Having seemingly recovered, expect “Super Campbell” to deliver goals and assists by the bucket-loads. A great choice for third striker.
End of Pt. III