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Premier League 2015/16

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Topic: Premier League 2015/16
Posted By: Abbey
Subject: Premier League 2015/16
Date Posted: 27 December 2015 at 9:39am
Well, the season is half way done and it's a bizarre looking Premier League. Leicester top, Man United outside the Champions League slot, Palace above them and Watford below on goal difference, Chelsea one point above the drop and Stoke playing like Barcelona (I had to get that one in).

So, what's happened?

My own theory is that each team, the traditional "have nots" can now afford a superstar or two, and not just the "haves". Lukaku at Everton, Cabaye and Bolasie at Crystal Palace, Shaqiri and Bojan at Stoke, Berahino and Rondon at West Brom etc.
If you consider Shaqiri, he cost Stoke £12M. Man City paid £54M for de Bruyne. Brilliant player as he is, what extra do you get for the additional £42M? What added value do you get for Bale's £89M. In days gone by, these guys would indeed have been worth 10 players at a team like Watford, Leicester or West Ham but now it's questionable how de Bruyne is worth 5 Shaqiris.

I've watched 9 Premier League games this season in 4 different stadiums (all involving Stoke ) with another 2 booked and struggle to see the difference between the teams, apart from Villa who were simply awful (and it was at Villa Park as well).
The best player I've seen is Willian, Chelsea, far better than their overall play (Costa is as irritating to watch live as he is on TV).

The money in the game at all clubs in the Premier League has been a leveller. I think we're seeing the outcome of that.

Posted By: lofty evans
Date Posted: 01 January 2016 at 12:32pm
Good post Abbey...what is good is how unpredictable the league is this season...I'm enjoying it tbh.

In 1972, Roy Bergiers scored that try and said "that was for you lofty"

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us"

Posted By: dantheman
Date Posted: 01 January 2016 at 4:52pm
I've watched a similar number of games live as you Abbey (Palace season ticket) and as you say I think the gap between the teams in the top 15 has narrowed markedly. Unlike previous seasons I don't think I've seen Palace being dominated once.

I'm not sure I'd put Cabaye and Bolasie on a pedestal with the likes of Bojan and Lukaku however, they do have attacking quality. I'd actually argue that Palace's most valuable player is probably Dann.

What strikes me is that all the teams in the league this year have weaknesses, the most 'complete' team is probably Man City however only if Kompany is available. If he hadn't suffered from injuries so much this year I think the league would have a bit of a different perspective.

As for the transfer money and the added value of someone like De Bruyne against Shaqiri, its becoming harder and harder for the top teams to distinguish themselves in the transfer market as even teams like Stoke, Palace etc. can buy top quality international players nowadays. The TV money in the Premier League is so large compared to its rivals that all of the top 15 teams are in the richest 30 teams in the World. Teams like Stoke and Palace therefore can mop up players from the top teams in Europe - Cabaye came from PSG and Shaquiri from Inter.

Above your Palaces and Stokes you then have your super powers who generate even more revenue with a very limited pool of truly World class players to spend it on. Hence you get Man City signing De Bruyne for £50m in an attempt to capture the very marginal gains he might give them over someone like Shaquiri. They truly have nothing else to spend the money on, thus inflating the price for those very top players.

Posted By: Abbey
Date Posted: 02 January 2016 at 8:54am
Really excellent post.

It's interesting that now the transfer window is open, Liverpool are said to be looking at Jack Butland. 3 or 4 years ago and all they'd have had to do was click their fingers to get him. Today, though, Stoke can't be swayed by a multi-million pound offer as they simply don't need the money and see a greater prize ahead in the season by attempting to qualify for Europe. Leicester the same with Vardy.

I have a soft spot for Palace as I used to watch them when I lived in Croydon 23-26 years ago. Those were the Coppel days with Ian Wright, Mark Bright, John Salako, Chris Coleman, Gareth Southgate, Geoff Thomas, Nigel Martyn and, of course, Alan Pardew. He's doing a fabulous job, especially after his time at Newcastle (who haven't recovered from sacking him).

Posted By: dantheman
Date Posted: 02 January 2016 at 11:33am
If I was Butland I wouldn't leave, he's in with a very good shout of being at the Euro's with England, and leaving risks being on the Liverpool bench which would jeopardise that.

Pardew is doing remarkably well as is Hughes at Stoke for that matter. Both managers have turned stodgy defensive minded teams into attacking threats by using creative players like Shaquiri, Bojan and Bolasie while not losing the integrity of their defence. Getting players of that ilk to work hard and be structured in defence is far harder than getting them to attack. That said, I think Palace will struggle over the next few weeks as both Wickham and Bolasie are injured, two successive no score draws is indicative of that. Chelsea up on Sunday which will be interesting not least to see whether Chelsea have improved and how they cope at probably one of the most intimidating away venues in the league.

As for keepers, I've been massively impressed with Hennessey in recent weeks, he's pulled off some genuinely World class saves and won Palace a fair few league points. With the Williams of old returning in the last couple of weeks too, Wales have the spine of a team that can do well in the summer. As we all know however, keeping Bale and Ramsey fit is integral to that.  

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