Huddersfield Town 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate.
Good news Terriers fans! I think that Huddersfield Town (HTAFC) has a good shot of staying up this year, their two big problems from last year (kind of major ones… ) goals scored and goals allowed. But the management seems to be ready to do business to get these fixed, they’ve been free-spending on some key cogs from last year, and have brought into some great youth prospects.
While they haven’t added any out and out strikers,  Right after I finished this article, they did add a striker in 22-year old Adama Diakhaby from AS Monaco (formerly also from Stade Rennais). I think that the moves they’ve made will improve the service to their current forwards, which should be able to bag more goals between them than the team did last year. The Terriers have got to figure out how to get the ball in the goal, 28 goals scored (tied for 2nd lowest) is not going to cut it. The goals allowed is much more respectable and would put them about middle of the field, but allowing this many goals while scoring so few means that you have a horrendous goal difference and that will kill anyone’s chances.
I’m interested to see if there are any changes in the tactical formation of this team for the new year, they’ve brought in good right and left backs to complement the defense. I expect this team to play with a little more freedom (at least in the attacking-third) based on their addition of multiple attacking (central) midfielders. While they could stretch the field by adding some width, I wouldn’t be surprised if this team fluctuates between a very narrow attack (almost exclusively through the middle) and a very wide attack with most of the action coming from the left/right backs whipping crosses in. I think either one could be successful (depending on the opponent), but I definitely still think there will be games that the Terriers need to pack it in and play for a draw. I’m anticipating a low-middle table finish, but I think they have enough to stave off relegation again and then the real fun will begin with another season of Premier League money and some more transfer magic.

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Brighton & Hove Albion 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate.
I think that Brighton & Hove Albion has a real chance to make some waves in this season of the Premier League (as I noted here). I spoke about their need to fill some key positions, and I think they’ve done that very well. I am also astonished by the manager speaking about this BHAFC club. I have never heard a coach/manager say they are “happy with their squad.” They are always seemingly the first to point out concerns or to allude to potential additions that could make their squad better. Maybe that says more to do with the eight acquisitions they’ve already made than faith in the squad, but regardless of the reason, Manager Chris Houghton has sent a statement to his team loud and clear.
Hopefully this translates to a bumper season for Gull’s fans, they definitely have made some shrewd signings — I think the mid-table finish I suggested in my Primer is a very realistic possibility. I expect this side to bring a lot more goals in, and probably keep the back line a little tighter for an even better goal differential. I also think that their transfer business, while around $45M, is still realistic for this side — they aren’t spending outside their income and could still achieve a pretty hefty profit margin. (Update: as the window continued — they made their way closer to the $75M mark, excluding undisclosed transfers — but I still think the outlays can be covered by a decent performance in the league. For this side, I think that means, don’t get relegated because if they can stay up I think all of their improvements will be reimbursed by league revenues).

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Wolves 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest breakdown of transfer moves leading up to the 2018-19 Premier League season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window as appropriate. 
I think this Wolves team puts up a good fight to stay in the league, but I think there is a real possibility of them visiting the Championship at least once more before they come up and stay up. I’m going to be optimistic and say that they finish just above the relegation line. I think that Wolves have made some great transfer moves this season, but am a little perplexed about their squad identity though.
They have two quality defensive midfielders, but are much more thin at a pure central midfielder, they also seem to have an exorbitant amount of striker/forward talent especially considering they played roughly half of their games with only one forward (supported by two attacking midfielders); they have 6 strikers on their roster. I don’t think that wolves realistically thinks they are going to be able to stay up by scoring goals alone, and I’m not sure that their defense has followed the attack. Willy Boly helps to correct this imbalance but it remains to be seen if it’s enough.
The midfield situation concerns me a little also, because of: Ben Marshall leaving with no incoming players, and the reliance on youth players. They have been operating between a 4 or 5 midfielder set up. The left and right sided midfielders have been being filled with left or right backs. I am hoping that Wolves’ transfer business isn’t done and that they pull in some midfield support.

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Cardiff City 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest post in a breakdown of all Premier League clubs’ transfer activity leading up to the 2018-19 season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window during the upcoming season.
I don’t have the same optimism for Cardiff City that I have for Fulham, and I think the Bluebirds are probably in for a rough season in the Premier League. Despite massive debts and measures to cut the wage bill dramatically (read more about that here), they have spent a sizable sum. My other major concern with Cardiff is their losses, specifically Birmingham City (19th), Bristol City (11th), Bolton (21st), QPR (16th). Additionally, in the League Cup, they lost to eventual relegatees in Burton Albion (23rd place), and that was only after barely squeaking by Portsmouth, a side a division below them, after extra time.
To me, this suggests either a lack of focus, or that they are lackadaisical in handling of the ball against “lower” opponents. Regardless of what it is, there could be a game with 5 or 6 goals conceded this level. They had a few other losses, but they were to quality opponents and thus concern me far less.

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Fulham 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the first in the series covering the transfer activity of English Premier League clubs in advance of the 2018-19 season. These posts will be updated regularly as the transfer window progresses throughout the season.

Fulham should be able to avoid relegation this year, they finished with tied with newly-promoted wolves, each with 3 players in the Championship First XI (one of which has since left the team). Overall, they finished 3rd in the Championship and advanced by way of the promotion playoff. In the championship they averaged 1.7 goals for and 1 goal against per game. Fulham lost only 8 games in the championship (1 more than 1st place team, Wolves, who conceded 7), though they drew 4 more times than wolves. They split games with both of the other promotion teams, 1st place Wolves (each team winning the home leg) and 2nd place Cardiff. Fulham lost roughly the same number of games the bottom four teams from the Premier League won, although the Championship does play more games than the Premier League (by 8). Fulham was shut out only 5 times out of 46 matches.

My biggest concern for this Fulham team is the loss of Ryan Fredericks at Right Back, as the team has only Cyrus Christie (25) and Denis Odoi (30) as replacements. Christie was brought in during the 2017 winter transfer window and despite playing almost every minute for Middlesbrough in the championship, he played only 135’ minutes in 5 appearances for Fulham, failing to come off the bench for another 12 games. Odoi on the other hand made 38 appearances for Fulham, although only 3 appearances at his favored right back position, the other appearances coming from 26 as centerback and 13 more as left back. Marchand’s favored position is a center back which should allow Odoi to feature more regularly as starting right back, however, the gap in quality between Odoi and Fredericks remains to be seen.

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Premier League Club Primer: 2018-2019 Edition

Ever had questions about clubs that you were afraid to ask? Here’s the rundown on the 20 Soccer teams competing in the top tier of English Soccer. Some historical facts, some questions to be answered, and some serious takeaways. Here is everything you wanted to know about the clubs but didn’t want (or know) to ask.
During the next couple weeks, we’ll be exploring each teams transfer business (In and Out) to see how well teams have addressed their needs!

Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners
Founded: 1886 (Under a different name)
Location: London
Team Colors: Red/White
Kit Manufacturer: Puma (2014-present)
Kit Sponsor: Emirates Airlines
Ground: Emirates Stadium (2006-present)
Capacity:  59,862
Manager: Unai Emery (first season) replacing Arsene Wenger (1996-2018)
Website: www.arsenal.com
17/18 Season: 6th in English Premier League

Arsenal are a perennial Premier League team, with their only stint in lower-tier football occurring prior to World War I (as part of their progression to the Premier League). Since then, they’ve been a stalwart and are considered part of English soccer’s royalty, the “Big Six”.  While placed in this royalty, Arsenal’s recent form have had them finishing outside of the top-4 which is a perquisite for the UEFA Champions League.  Missing out on the Champions League is a big financial hit for the club, and has been a voiced concern amongst the players; some of whom have run out their contracts or joined rival clubs for the opportunity to compete at the highest level. One of these situations led to a winter transfer window swap for one of Arsenal’s top players, Alexis Sanchez, getting swapped for a Henrik Mkhitaryan who was in poor form for Manchester United so that they didn’t lose him to a free transfer deal.

Arsenal are on their first season Post-Wenger who’s been at Arsenal almost as long as I’ve been alive. So far, Unai Emery, has shown a couple of positives: he’s managed to get some top-tier talent for reasonable prices (by EPL standards) and one particular transfer, Sokratis, was able to overcome reported interest by other Big Six clubs. Arsenal is not a bad side, and I fully expect them to continue in continental competition. Arsenal’s Achilles heel last year was their propensity to give up losses, whereas their EPL opponents could fight for draws. If only a few of those losses were draws, they likely would have been in Champions League competition instead of Europa League.

I think the prospects for Arsenal will be good enough for Champions League this year. Arsenal has also had a larger squad than many teams which has caused some strife for its players (Olivier Giroud –last year, and Jack Wilshere – this year) which eventually have led them elsewhere. I think that clarified expectations under Emery could tighten up the rotation a little and keep continuity (especially in the back) which will allow them to hold on in tight contests.

Click here for an in-depth look at Arsenal’s transfers in advance of the 2018-19 season.

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