We continue with our Premier League previews on this lovely Sunday morning, with us looking at Fulham and Huddersfield today. I hope you’re enjoying them so far. If you missed any, you can see what I’ve written so far by clicking here. I’m going to work through them all before the season starts, so I’ll have to squeeze some extra in here and there. Anyway, away we go.
I’m very interested in Fulham this season. I haven’t seen much of them over the last couple of seasons, but they’re a team that excite me. I think they’ll be playing some good football next season and will really bring some quality to the Premier League. They got promoted after winning the play-offs when they beat Aston Villa in the final. I think they would have been expecting automatic promotion, but Cardiff beat them to a second placed finish. They obviously won’t be upset about that though, because they got there in the end.
They have signed some really good players this summer. They have brought in midfielder Jean-Michael Seri from Nice, who was interesting the likes of Arsenal and Barcelona at one stage. Defender Maxime Le Marchand joins Seri from the same club. Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has been re-signed from Newcastle after he did really well on loan last season. Centre-half Alfie Mawson has been brought in from Swansea, which looks like a really good signing. He really impressed me at times last season. Goalkeeper Fabri comes in from Besiktas, while ex-Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle joins from Borussia Dortmund.
It’s extremely positive from the newly-promoted club, who clearly want to take the Premier League by storm. They’re not messing about, and are targeting a comfortable mid-table finish, by the looks of it. With the quality of players they’re signing, they’ll be looking to stay away from a relegation battle.
I have said many times in these posts that the league looks unbelievably strong this year, and that could be a bad thing for Fulham. As good as their squad looks, they could easily be involved in a relegation scrap. Personally, I think they’ll do alright, but a lot is going to depend on how these new players gel. We have seen in the past that when you bring in a large number of new signings you can struggle for a while as they get used to playing with each other. Fulham will be hoping that they all hit the ground running and impress immediately.
Their manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, has done a good job since he arrived in 2015. They’ll hope that he can guide them to a good first season in the Premier League, as they try to re-establish themselves as a Premier League club. They have really suffered over the last few years since their relegation from the Premier League in 2014. They have had a succession of managers and plenty of major changes at the club. They will be hoping that they’re over that period now and will stay up for years to come. I think they’ll do alright this season, and could be looking at finishing around 15th. I’m really taking a stab in the dark with the prediction though!
Things will be positive around Huddersfield at the moment as they get set to play their second season in the Premier League. They were surprisingly promoted to the Premier League just over a year ago, and, in some people’s opinions at least, they surprisingly managed to stay up last season. They needed to fight right until the end of the season, but they got there in the end. The celebrations were amazing, and I don’t think anybody could say they didn’t deserve it. They fought and fought and fought, and managed to get draws away from home against Man City and Chelsea towards the end of the season to keep them up.
They have moved to improve their squad this summer, and have brought in quite a few players. They have signed Ramadan Sobhi from Stoke, Juninho Bacuna from Groningen, Adama Diakhaby from Monaco, World Cup winner Erik Durm from Borussia Dortmund, Florent Hadergjonaj from Ingolstadt, Ben Hamer from Leicester, Terence Kongolo from Monaco and Jonas Lossl from Mainz. Of course, they have just re-signed some of those that were initially on loan, but they have still spent around £40m or thereabouts on signings.
They showed us last season that we can’t doubt them, but I think they could be a possible relegation candidate. I’m almost positive that they’ll be at least involved in a relegation scrap again, and they’ll likely have to fight right up until the end of the season if they’re going to stay up. I don’t want to commit myself and say that they’ll definitely go down or anything like that, but they could struggle. We know that they’ll fight for every point in every single game, and their home form could be really important.
Of course, the players that they have brought in could dramatically improve their squad and they could be fine. Maybe they’ll fly out of the blocks and make themselves safe early on. We’ll see how they get on, but I don’t see this as being an easy season for them.
We have the Community Shield today between Man City and Chelsea. The traditional curtain-raiser of the new season kicks off at 3pm at Wembley. It may be an interesting game, but it’s nothing more than that. It’s obviously a nice game to win, but it’s not hugely important. You’d rather win it, but if you lose it, you won’t be too disheartened.
It can be taken as another warm-up game for the new season, and I don’t think we’ll see anybody running themselves into the ground or taking many chances with tackles or the likes in the game. It’s another game that’s mainly about fitness and preparation for the new season. You can’t read into it too much, as it doesn’t really tell us anything. Arsenal beat Chelsea on penalties in last year’s game, and after Arsenal’s disastrous season, we can safely say the Community Shield made no difference.
I might watch the game, but then again I might not. Sure I’ll see what happens. I won’t be hugely upset if I don’t get a chance to see it.
Anyway, we’ll leave it there for today. I’ll be back tomorrow morning, but I might be later than I usually am on a Monday. It’s a bank holiday here in Ireland, so I might sleep a little bit later than I normally do since I don’t have to get up and go to work. It won’t be ridiculously late either though, because I don’t plan on sleeping all day! Enjoy your Sunday, whatever it is you’re doing!