Rants and musings from the magazine team
The 2012/13 Premier League season is now within touching distance. We prod another bony finger at it with the final part of our season preview...
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – Ben McAleer
Last season in a tweetMind the gap... oh
Positive changes Harry Redknapp gone and Andre Villas-Boas appointed. A new era ushered in, with Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson quickly following suit.
Negative changesLack of one: no new striker. Spurs have needed one since Dimitar Berbatov left in 2008; Emmanuel Adebayor's loan was a temporary solution to a permanent problem. The Luka Modric fiasco runs it close, however.
FFT's bet partners Coral have Tottenham Hotspur 33/1 to win the Premier League, 7/2 to win a trophy
Who to follow on TwitterBen Pearce (@BenPearceSpurs), who covers Spurs for London24.com: “#thfc I felt there was a subtle change to the midfield yesterday (more 4-3-3 than 4-2-3-1) but AVB told me he hadn't changed the system.."Failing that, Windy (@WindyCoys) is always worth a follow.
What to watch out forYoung Tom Carroll, who has been in superb form in pre-season. Showed glimpses of his potential in the Europa League last season and in an advanced role, continues to excel.
Ben McAleer (@2theLaneandBack) is a Spurs fan, blogger and freelance writerFor webwide Tottenham news, check FourFourTwo's Tottenham Hotspur news page
WEST BROMWICH ALBION – Chris Lepkowski
Last season in a tweet#Poorstart, #better, #byeAppy, #Royheadbanging, #rarewinatStoke, #wo1ve5, #bestfinishsince79, #FA, #byeRoy, Rangnick, #hesnotcoming, #Clarke
Positive changesWest Bromwich Albion lowered season ticket prices. It might not get much exposure but it should do: the West Midlands remains in the throes of recession. On the field, Ben Foster's return has pleased the fans. Claudio Yacob is an Argentina international – you don't get many of those pitching up in the Black Country. We await with intrigue.
Negative changesPaul Scharner wasn't Albion's greatest player but he tapped into the club. He demanded a tour of the club's memorabilia collection during his first month – why the Hawthorns? where did The Baggies come from? – and he also took his family to the Black Country Museum to take in some local culture and heritage. His team-mates might not miss him – he could be outspoken when he wanted to be – but the media and supporters certainly will.
FFT's bet partners Coral have WBA 2000/1 to win the Premier League, 11/10 to finish above Aston Villa
Who to follow on TwitterI was going to say @odemwingiep but I honestly have no idea what he's talking about half of the time. @Benfoster is a good bloke, while @liam_ridgewell has fond memories of his summer trip to #Marbs. For a mix of dry wit and information I recommend @stevenreid12. Sarcastic and funny, he's not one to take life too seriously – a refreshing change from some of the footballers elsewhere currently soiling our social media highway.
What to watch out forWords of regret from Claudio Ranieri, surely? The former Chelsea boss was interviewed for the Baggies job but opted for Monaco. His loss: West Bromwich is in about to open one of the largest Tesco supermarkets in Europe. For Claudio's tears look up Steve Clarke's smile at a great chance to take a successful coaching career into 'management'. Otherwise, keep an eye out for Markus Rosenberg: he's Swedish and, we’re told, scores goals.
Chris Lepkowski (@ChrisLepkowski) is the Birmingham Mail's WBA correspondentFor webwide West Brom news, check FourFourTwo's West Bromwich Albion news page
WEST HAM UNITED – Tom Victor
Last season in a tweetBoring & good until January, boring & bad after, rewriting Grant-era history as 'The West Ham way'. Promotion placates fans for another year.
Positive changesMohamed Diame looks like being our best Bosman signing since Nolberto Solano, while Tomkins should gain confidence from Olympic recognition despite mixed performances.
Negative changesThe usual posturing with supposed multi-million interest in a striker we were never likely to sign (for Carroll 2012 see also Rémy 2010 and Gameiro 2011)
FFT's bet partners Coral have West Ham 2500/1 to win the Premier League, 4/1 to finish in the top 10
Who to follow on TwitterOne you probably don't follow already is @DadManClaret – expat West Ham fan who brings us the 'fortune's always hiding' philosophy, along with plenty of dry observations, from across the pond: “Football is broken. It's July 6th and still nobody has linked us with Stephen Appiah.”
What to watch out forYoung Australian striker Dylan Tombides took part in a recent reserve game as he continues his recovery from testicular cancer. Elsewhere, fellow teenagers Rob Hall and Dan Potts should see some first-term action this year.
Tom Victor (@TomVictor) is a journalist and editor of PeleConfidential.netFor webwide West Ham news, check FourFourTwo's West Ham United news page
WIGAN ATHLETIC – Andy Madden
Last season in a tweet
Championship-bound for most of the season, but belief and a canny change in formation saw us beat Arsenal, Man Utd and Newcastle in the greatest escape.
Positive changeWith funds harder to come by than a decent pie down south, the Latics haven’t exactly splashed the cash in the off-season. But, Real Mallorca’s Ivan Ramis will add some steel at the back, while Ryo Miyaichi's arrival on a season-long loan from Arsenal will soften the blow of Victor Moses’ impending departure. Martinez likes skilful players with a turn of pace and the creative Japan international could well be the wing wizard we need. Arouna Kone - Wigan’s answer to Didier Drogba - will hopefully bag a hatful. Rumour is if he gets in double figures he’ll get the keys to the town, and the Uncle Joes’s Mint Balls factory.
Negative changeMoses was our most potent attacking weapon last season, so the possibility of him shunning a new contract in favour of a seat on Chelsea’s bench would be hard to take. But, we’ve been there before and waved goodbye to the likes of Leighton Baines, Antonio Valencia and Charles N’Zogbia. This summer Hugo Rodallega (Fulham) and Mohamed Diamé (West Ham) have already left on free transfers. Hugo was a fans favourite, but couldn’t hit a barn door last season, while Diamé had fallen out of favour with Martinez.
FFT's bet partners Coral have Wigan 5000/1 to win the Premier League, 7/4 to be relegated
Who to follow on TwitterLittle old Wigan struggles for publicity at the best of times but we do have a few players amongst Twitter’s ranks. They include seasoned pro and fans favourite @EmmersonBoyce, who’s more than happy give his two-penneth post match “mixed feelings about the game. Started off well, then gave away a sloppy goal.” Anybody looking for the latest news and insider info should head to @LaticsSpeyk, who spotted Arouna Kone “chillin in Morrisons café, Ince. He’s ordered cottage pie and bigga peas.”
What to watch out forA Wigan story which doesn’t feature our ever-chatty chairman, Dave Whelan. He’s never short of a word or two and happy to gush opinions on everything from his manager to the future of English football. Martinez will be offered every managerial job in the solar system, not just the Earth. On the playing front, this season could be a tale of two James. Messers McArthur and McCarthy, our midfield mestros, have thrived under Bobby’s tutelage, with the latter already being tipped for the top.
Andy Madden (@MandyAdden) is First Tests Editor for What Hi-Fi? Sound And VisionFor webwide Wigan news, check FourFourTwo's Wigan Athletic news page
FOURFOURTWO SEASON PREVIEWS:Arsenal, Villa, Chelsea & EvertonFulham, Liverpool, Man City & Man UnitedNewcastle, Norwich, QPR & ReadingSouthampton, Stoke, Sunderland & SwanseaTottenham, West Brom, West Ham & Wigan
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