10, but there’s a lack of creative players in the squad. Two teams will most likely be happy to qualify for Europe, but might need extraterrestrial assistance to penetrate the top four. They finished second only to Chelsea, who beat the crap out of everyone for 38 games. If Walcott plays up front, Ramsey will either play through the center with Özil out right, or be a good soldier on the wing. 3″ data-chomp-id=”1375386115360189285″ data-asset-url=”http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–0wcQNoc8–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/1375386115360189285.jpg” data-format=”jpg”/>

You’ve made it to the third and final installment of our Premier League preview, and what lies below is a rundown of what we at Deadspin consider the six (6) least bad teams in all of England’s top flight. But a trip to the Europa League this season would augur better days ahead, and both clubs are eminently capable.


Of the seven first-teamers bought in 2013, three–Paulinho, Capoue, and Chiriches–were sold this offseason. This is dumb, but this is Manchester United, and so they need to keep pace with the murderer’s row of rivals that surround them.

If you’re a slave to narrative and/or to Arsenal, you might argue that the cries by fans and pundits alike for manager Arsène Wenger to retire with his lovely wife to the south of France signified rock bottom, the dark night just before dawn. (Benjamin Stambouli, who was bought in 2014, was also sold this summer.) Now, at the dawn of the 2015-16 season, there’s debate to whether the subsequent spending spree was failure.


Let’s not overthink this.

Even within this tier, though, there is a clear divide in talent and thus realistic ambitions. What’s more, his partner Eliaquim Mangala, who was bought from FC Porto for nearly £30 million (!!!) sucked too, and seemed to almost purposely get lost in the treeless, perfectly and purposfully manicured lawn just as opposing teams were baring down on goal. Wenger committed to a more pragmatic 4-1-4-1 last season, with wingers that dropped back to help on defense when pressured and pushed forward into a 4-3-3 with the ball, and as a result boasted the third-best offense and defense in the Premier League.

The two players, on £140,000 a week, were the joint highest-earners in the club. 10 after being an absolute terror in spurts last year:

Their midfield boasts Cesc Fàbregas and Nemanja Matic, who are two of the best midfielders in the league, and winger Eden Hazard, who is the best player in the league. But we’re pretending we do anyway. The quartet are expected to contribute immediately, joining Liverpool’s core of Sturridge, Gerrard successor Jordan Henderson, Brazilian starlet Philippe Coutinho, and center back Martin Skrtel.

Their manager, José Mourinho, is the best manager in the league. Mourinho’s opinion is wrong and hyperbolic, but not that wrong and hyperbolic.

John Terry figuratively or literally dies on the field.

Diego Costa misses over half the season, either due to hip replacements or first starting and then brutally ending a fight against an opposing center back.

Chelsea players get bored, start losing, remain bored.

Arsenal sign someone very, very good who both scores and creates lots of goals at an unnatural clip, like Messi.

It turns out Louis van Gaal actually knows what he is doing.

It turns out Manuel Pellegrini actually knows what he is doing.There is a disaster, in Wales, perhaps, large enough to disrupt commerce throughout the United Kingdom, temporarily or permanently halting soccer before Chelsea are able to win it outright on points.

That’s basically it. I’m probably forgetting someone, but whatever; the point is, though Chelsea aren’t deep, they are the best team, and no one has improved enough to overtake them. 3″ data-chomp-id=”1375386115174845797″ data-asset-url=”http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–UN0bxryK–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/1375386115174845797.jpg” data-format=”jpg”/>

Even with his success, though, there are still questions. But there are lots of questions. They added six first-teamers, including Argentine winger Ángel di María for over £52 million and Colombian striker Radamel Falcao on a £6 million loan. If Arsenal are going to succeed, Alexis and Özil will have to be able to combine with players like Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla in what is now one of the best midfields in the world to keep possession and turn time on the ball into chances and goals.


Four years ago, still paying off stadium debt and lacking any semblance of direction or ambition, Arsenal blew up their squad, selling best player and captain Cesc Fábregas to Barcelona, and Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy to Manchester City. Here goes.

But all of these problems were fixable if one only threw money at them, and this summer, when City pried Raheem Sterling from Liverpool, it appeared that’s what was going to go down. In every way, he’s the opposite of the Giroud, Arsenal’s lumbering, brilliant, frustrating target man. If Arsenal don’t buy one, they probably will not. 3″ data-chomp-id=”1375386115592596837″ data-asset-url=”http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–2ewMW7Gx–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/1375386115592596837.jpg” data-format=”jpg”/>

This summer transfer window seemed like it would mirror the last one, because Rodgers sold their best prospect and talent off for parts. Because he’s short, slim, and runs faster than rabbits fuck, the right wing is clearly his best position, and so naturally he wants to play as a center forward. Beyond that, it’s a shitshow, and there are moves to be made and plots to be twisted yet, and no one, least of all we at Deadspin, have any idea what’s going to happen. Chelsea won the Premier League easily last year. It was hotly debated whether it was the right move at the time, but in the end, it didn’t matter; Bale was too ambitious to stay, too good not to be pursued, and ultimately too expensive not to sell. Firmino is a fun player who can play up front or in behind the strikers. At some point in the previous year, captain and center back Vincent Kompany fell off a cliff and died, and through blood magic his corpse was reanimated, and he was trotted out in uniform to direct traffic and play defense in the heart of the City back four anyway, and it was ugly and pitiful and at times painful to watch. Both are dangerous because they’re free players who can drift out wide into channels, or knife through the center. Let’s be more realistic: Chelsea are probably gonna do it. Here is a cursory list of that shit, ranked by likelihood:

Clyne is a pretty good right back, and if nothing else, Skrtel will have more experience partnering with either Dejan Lovren or Mamadou Sakho.

Let’s be realistic: there are four clubs that can win the Premier League. With The Special One calling the shots, Chelsea boast the best defense in the league, anchored by one of the best two goalkeepers and an impenetrable quartet of defenders that don’t miss games, don’t make many mistakes, and are led by John Terry, the center back who just won’t die.

The Best Of The Best: Our 2015-16 Premier League Preview, Pt. They finished fourth last year, 17 points behind champions Chelsea, but good enough for an all-important Champions League spot.

Who starts up top ultimately shapes the rest of the lineup. Even without any hamstrings, Costa scored 20 goals last year in 26 appearances, and is at worst the second-best striker in the league. Though they flipped that cash for eight players, last year was always going to be a year of transition. Lifting the trophy at season’s end would qualify them automatically for the 2016 Champions League. Coming the other way were midfielder Santi Cazorla, forward Olivier Giroud, left back Nacho Monreal, among others. Though neither are world-class, points will be won this season on one subbing for the other midway through the second half, jarring opposing defenses.http://screamer.deadspin.com/olivier-giroud…

Kane was unstoppable for much of the season, but hit a wall in the spring, scoring only twice in his final eight appearances. pic.twitter.com/LOinaLpyQg

August 5, 2015

Chelsea start Diego Costa as forward. No one knows how that’s going to work out, just as no one knows how Schneiderlin is going to fit alongside the possibly washed-up Schweinsteiger and/or United mainstay Michael Carrick. This summer, though, it seems Rodgers is taking no chances on fliers. Kane didn’t feature in a friendly on Wednesday after Manchester United reportedly offered £40 million to the cash-strapped club for their top player. But if Arsenal lack one thing, it’s a truly great striker. He flipped Sterling’s inflated fee for four players: striker Christian Benteke, versatile attacker Roberto Firmino, Southampton right back Nathaniel Clyne, and midfielder James Milner (on a free transfer). They shipped off Robin van Persie and longtime winger Nani, and bought in midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dutch winger Memphis Depay, and Italian national right back Matteo Darmian. Rodgers is often lauded for being creative and forward-thinking when Liverpool are winning, and blasted for being needlessly capricious when they aren’t. Right winger Jesús Navas scored as many goals as you did. That could still happen. They finished fourth the following May, but won the FA Cup at season’s end for their first trophy in a decade. Captain Wayne Rooney has played as a forward, on the wing, and in the midfield under van Gaal. After largely starting alongside or in behind van Persie last season, though, he’ll now probably be the target man in a 4-3-3.

Two summers ago, after winning the Premier League with weeks left to go in the season, Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps the greatest Premier League manager of all time, retired from Manchester United, perhaps the greatest Premier League club of all time. This is a good problem to have, but it is a problem.

There are two ways to look at Spurs now. This brings us to striker Harry Kane.

After riding Luis Suárez all the way to second place two years back, Liverpool sold the Uruguayan to Barcelona for £75 million. He is a budding star, as is Lamela, a powerful, goalscoring winger who was brought into as a direct replacement for Bale.

After winning the Premier League two years ago, Manchester City put together what at first blush appeared to be a good-ass campaign last year. It was longtime captain Steven Gerrard’s sendoff season before he traveled to the great senior citizen’s home in the sky, and because the once-fierce midfielder’s legs didn’t work anymore, he was forced to play defensive midfielder, where he made the team inarguably worse. Superstar goalkeeper David de Gea may move to Real Madrid before the transfer window shuts and be replaced with new arrival Sergio Romero. The Premier League is Chelsea’s to lose.

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Both can break out this season, and both need to, because this is not a good team. The next season, helmed by Ferguson’s handpicked successor, David Moyes, they bought midfielders Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini before finishing seventh and missing Europe completely.

It all certainly seems very exciting. No one knows what this flexibility means for the Reds’ prospects.

. You may have nodded knowingly when the Gunners defeated defending Premier League champions Chelsea, 1-0, on Sunday in the Community Shield, for it signaled that the boys have grown into men, and the stopgaps are anything but, and there are three bonafide bodysnatchers on the pitch, and this might be a team that comes out and Does The Whole Shit. With a Champions League berth, Liverpool would be once again able to sign the world’s best players, and with them, rise again to the Premier League summit. The reinforcements weren’t enough, and they finished third, 19 points behind champions Manchester City. A third striker, Edin D?eko, is moving to Italy, leaving City with only Agüero and Bony as the team’s only forward options. Arsenal will only go as far as the two take them, and for Arsenal to succeed this year, the two need to be on the same page. 3″ data-chomp-id=”1375386114802185829″ data-asset-url=”http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–Axt9hFN7–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/1375386114802185829.jpg” data-format=”jpg”/>

The commentator in the AC Milan/Spurs game has claimed that Manchester United have made a huge bid for Harry Kane. 3″ data-chomp-id=”1375386115486614117″ data-asset-url=”http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–0aGh5jLS–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/1375386115486614117.jpg” data-format=”jpg”/>

The Best Of The Best: Our 2015-16 Premier League Preview, Pt. This time, it was 20-year-old playmaker Raheem Sterling moving to Manchester City for £49 million. But they're still going to concede a lot, so they'll need to score. More to the point, he could play on the right flank, so Navas could sit his ass down.

All you need to know about Tottenham Hotspur’s chances can probably be summed up in an exchange I had with my esteemed colleague as we were divvying up teams to preview:

Two summers ago, Tottenham sold their far-and-away best player, winger Gareth Bale, to Real Madrid for around £86 million. The Red Devils’ fate could go either way, and with weeks left in the transfer window, there’s no way to tell.

Yes, the Champions League is probably out of the question for Tottenham and Liverpool. So with the Bale money, Spurs went out and bought a whole slew of cheapish guys to bolster the first team: Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado, Érik Lamela, Paulinho, Étienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches, and Nacer Chadli.http://deadspin.com/tottenham-sold…

During their championship campaign center midfielder Yaya Touré looked the very best at his position in the world, but he sleepwalked through last season, only rousing himself every fortnight or so to make his signature thundering runs through the midfield. Sturridge is returning from injury near the start of the season, and if everything goes well, his partnership with £32 million man Benteke has the potential to be the deadliest in England. But a knee injury caused him to miss the 2014 World Cup and the start of last season, and he only hit his stride in the spring. Spurs open the season against United Sunday.

Their best chance, then, is to win the Europa League. Unless they make moves in the the last three weeks of this summer’s transfer window, they aren’t winning the Premier League, and are the most at risk of any club in last season’s top four.

You recognized that the signing of Chelsea keeper Petr ?ech was a stroke of genius, as he’s looked imposing and unbeatable and statuesque in preseason. Milner left on a free transfer. Outside of Rooney, who scored 12 goals and 5 assists last season, there aren’t any real matchwinners.

City have regressed since winning the title two years ago. Milner and Henderson are both industrious, and there’s no real reason why they can’t hold down a narrow midfield together with Can as the anchor. New signing Wilfried Bony had to fight for for time and touches, but he had an uncanny nose for goal. But there’s hope for Man City, United, and Arsenal, and the very strong probability of Champions League berths as consolation prizes.

What we’re left with is squad with a lot of talent, and a lot of questions. Coutinho, 23, could explode this season as the no. Ashley Young looks likely to start on the left side opposite Depay, with Mata playing behind Rooney as the no. When healthy, Walcott is one of the most dangerous players in the league. There was no obvious reason for it, but Tottenham’s Premier League hopes live and die with Kane, who has the potential to be the best Spurs striker in a generation, and next year could prove to be.

If nothing else, United have Fuck You money and are willing to throw it around. 3″ data-chomp-id=”1375386115243022693″ data-asset-url=”http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–8tRKs95a–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/1375386115243022693.jpg” data-format=”jpg”/></p>
<p>After recording seven goals and eight assists in just 25 league appearances in 2014, Eriksen tallied 10 and two while solidifying himself as the orchestrator of the Tottenham attack. He was Spurs’ savior, led all Premier League scorers save Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero, and his goals contributed directly to 24 points for his team.</p>
<p>Photo Credit: Getty Images</p>
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Freddie Gregory

Freddie Gregory

For recreational bettors who want to place bet with a single bookie. It is suggested that they should select sport book after comparison of different sport books and that sport book should be selected that is offering lowest margins as compare to others these books are mostly located near to the top of odds comparison.
Freddie Gregory

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