Top 5 Premier League flops in 2019/20

The Premier League has been able to bring in some of the very best players over the years. With buckets full of money through television deals improving your team hasn’t been that hard, but that doesn’t mean there have been some poor buys when clubs have previously thought that they have either got a bargain or spent a small fortune of what they believe to be the next best youngster.

This season alone makes no exceptions. Below we have a top 5 list of the biggest flops in the Premier League so far. True these same flops could end up being amongst the very best players come the end of the season, but with all justification all of these players have hardly got off to the starts that their clubs would have wanted. Yes it is early in the season but let’s not forget we are almost at a third of the way through.

Moise Kean- Everton

Moise Kean cost Everton £25m and that seemed like a bargain. Kean who was playing for Juventus at the time has been seen as Italy’s next best striker. He is 19, quick, versatile and very confident. Once it looked like Juventus had wrapped up last seasons Serie A title he got his chance in the team and came in and couldn’t stop scoring goals. He scored 6 from his 13 games in the league. Everton were quick off the mark to get him, but he has been a shadow of the player that graced Juventus. From his 9 games so far in the league he has yet to score, and has been some what of a disappointment.

It has got to the stage now where Marco Silva, the Everton manager has been starting him from the bench. Obviously the change of country and culture has not been easy on the player and let’s admit he is still only 19, he probably has a bright future ahead of him. For now Everton looked to have overspent and what will Kean be realistically thinking? One day training with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, the next can’t start a game at Everton.

Pablo Fornals- West Ham

A lot was expected of Pablo Fornals whose silky attacking play was supposed to make West Ham a better team going forward. But he has been very quiet, and is now enjoying more time warming the bench. Fornals has never scored many goals but in his role as an attacking midfielder he is supposed to supply them. Fornals is yet to score in the league but did do so in the Carabao Cup. Costing £24m from Spanish side Villarreal Fornals has been a big disappointment so far, he simply doesn’t seem settled with the pace of the game and looks at this point to be too predictable. He is West Ham’s 2nd ever most expensive signing.

Nicolas Pepe- Arsenal

Nicolas Pepe was incredible last season for French Ligue 1 side Lille, his 22 goals from 38 games helped greatly in Lille upsetting the odds and finishing as runners up to PSG thus qualifying for the Champions League.

It was first a surprise that Pepe did not opt to stay with Lille on their European adventure instead choosing Arsenal who are playing in the Europa League this season. But of course the lure of playing for a famed club in the Premier League and a better salary was enough for the player. Here’s the thing though, Pepe has scored just once in his 9 league games. Possibly we can point to the fact that Pepe does not start every game and also Arsenal manager Unai Emery hasn’t always been using the player as a classic centre forward, they have Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang for that. But when he isn’t scoring goals one has to wonder who will for the Gunners?

It’s not all bad for Pepe, he has shown flashes of his brilliance and has scored a few goals in the clubs Europa League campaign. But at a cost of £72m it’s fair to say that the Gunners would have expected a little more from the player.

Harry Maguire- Manchester United

Harry Maguire was so good for Leicester at the back that he has become an England international and had a very good World Cup tournament last summer. This led Manchester United to go big on the defender and splash out £80m on him. But the magic simply hasn’t clicked. United were very leaky before Maguire joined and remain that way. Even when they rarely win games these days they keep on conceding. Maguire has been a very solid player and knows how to score goals from set pieces, inevitably he is going to become better and feel more fitted in at his role with the Red Devils. For now the club are going to suffer a little before that happens.

The big question mark is the initial fee. How can any player cost so much when they have won zero trophies? Of course the fee isn’t Maguire’s fault at all, that’s what it takes for an English international in the Premier League to join another team in the same league. The pressure is on Maguire though to establish himself within the team, for now it almost feels like he is hiding.

Tanguy Ndombele- Tottenham

When you think of how far Tottenham have come in the last few seasons, it makes how they have started this one mind boggling. They didn’t lose any key players in the summer and yet seem to have returned to a mid 1990s version of themselves. They will get better of course, this is the Champions League finalists from last season, but for now they have quite a few problems on their hands.

Famous now for not spending big money in transfer windows, they spent almost £60m acquiring the signature of Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon. This felt like a strange decision, given that Ndombele who had had a decent season for the Ligue 1 side clearly wasn’t even their best midfielder last season. However trust had to be put into Mauricio Pochettino, that’s who he wanted and that is who he was going to get. Ndombele has scored a couple of goals and made an assist and that isn’t too bad, but again much more was expected of him, he needed to be the glue that sets the quickest in this very talented team of players. It might still happen, for now there has to be question marks over whether Lyon saw Tottenham coming with that fee.

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Predicted lineups for the first weekend of the new EPL season

The English Premier League returns on Friday night when European champions Liverpool face Norwich City at Anfield.

There is a full programme of matches on between Friday night and Sunday afternoon with all 20 Premier League teams in action on the opening weekend.

Here are our predicted lineups for those EPL fixtures so have a read in preparation to get your EPL fantasy season off to the perfect start.

Liverpool v Norwich City

Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane

Norwich City XI: Krul, Aarons, Klose, Godfrey, Lewis, McLean, Vrancic, Buendia, Stiepermann, Hernandez, Pukki

Questionable: Milner (Liverpool); Klose, Tettey (Norwich)

Out: Clyne (Liverpool); Zimmerman (Norwich)

West Ham United v Manchester City

West Ham XI: Fabianski, Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell, Noble, Rice, Fornals, Antonio, Haller, Anderson

Manchester City XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Rodrigo, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling

Questionable: Fabianski, Noble (West Ham); Laporte, Sane (Man City)

Out: Mendy (Man City)

Burnley v Southampton

Burnley XI: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes, Wood

Southampton XI: Gunn, Valery, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Djenepo, Adams, Ings

Questionable: Tarkowski, Long, Brady (Burnley)

Out: Defour (Burnley)

Crystal Palace v Everton

Crystal Palace XI: Guaita, Ward, Dann, Sakho, Van Aanholt, McArthur, Milivojevic, Meyer, Townsend, Benteke, Ayew

Everton XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Gomes, Schneiderlin, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Kean

Questionable: Sakho (Crystal Palace); Delph, Baines (Everton)

Out: Tomkins (Crystal Palace)

Bournemouth v Sheffield United

Bournemouth XI: Travers, Stacey, Steve Cook, Ake, Daniels, Wilson, Billing, Lerma, Fraser, King, Wilson

Sheffield United XI: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens, Freeman, McBurnie, Sharp

Questionable: Steve Cook, Daniels (Bournemouth)

Out: Francis, Kelly, Brooks, Stanislas, Gosling, Lewis Cook (Bournemouth)

Watford v Brighton

Watford XI: Foster, Femenia, Dawson, Cathcart, Holebas, Capoue, Doucoure, Hughes, Pereyra, Deeney, Deulofeu

Brighton XI: Ryan, Duffy, Webster, Dunk, Montoya, Stephens, Propper, March, Gross, Trossard, Maupay

Questionable: Deulofeu (Watford)

Out: Bissouma, Izquierdo (Brighton)

Spurs v Aston Villa

Spurs XI: Lloris, Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Sissoko, Winks, Ndombele, Lamela, Kane, Moura

Aston Villa XI: Heaton, Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett, Jota, McGinn, Hourihane, Grealish, El Ghazi, Wesley

Questionable: Davies, Aurier, Dier, Wanyama (Spurs); Nyland, Steer, Konsa, El Ghazi (Aston Villa)

Out: Foyth, Son, Alli (Spurs)

Newcastle United v Arsenal

Newcastle XI: Dubravka, Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandes, Schar, Willems, Hayden, Shelvey, Longstaff, Almiron, Joelinton

Arsenal XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Questionable: Ritchie, Colback (Newcastle); Lacazette (Arsenal)

Out: Yedlin, Lejeune (Newcastle); Bellerin, Holding (Arsenal)

Leicester City v Wolves

Leicester XI: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Morgan, Evans, Chilwell, Tielemans, Ndidi, Ayoze Perez, Maddison, Gray, Vardy

Wolves XI: Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Castro, Jimenez, Jota

Questionable: Mendy (Leicester); Doherty, Jimenez (Wolves)

Out: n/a

Manchester United v Chelsea

Manchester United XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, McTominay, James, Lingard, Rashford, Martial

Chelsea XI: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Christensen, Emerson, Jorginho, Kante, Pedro, Mount, Pulisic, Abraham

Questionable: Pogba (Man Utd); Kante, Willian (Chelsea)

Out: Bailly (Man Utd); Rudiger, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea)

 

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Will Man Utd just about snap up a centre-back this summer?

Manchester United have had an impressive pre-season at a personal level, beating the likes of Perth Glory, Leeds United, Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur whilst playing good possession-based football with a high pressing style. Majority of the Old Trafford faithful will be hoping that this continues into the new campaign, as the previous season was as awful one to simply forget.

Not only that, the two signings in Aaron-Wan Bissaka and Daniel James has received the required game time and the calm consultation from the rest of the squad, in order for their respective careers to get going. Since the duo have arrived, the club now have a right-back that is one of the best in the league and a natural winger that is really fast, both footed and is able to play on either of the flanks.

However, focusing on if United are going to complete anymore transfers or not, they still desperately in need of two to three additions before the season eventually begins. The main position just happens to be the centre-back area, where they are clearly lacking a vocal leader and someone to consistently pair up with Victor Lindelof, who is currently regarded as the side’s best defender.

With Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones constantly being injury prone and unavailable for when the side need them the most, the options that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has are limited straightaway. Meanwhile, Axel Tuanzebe has quite the potential, but it is uncertain if he plays regularly or goes out on loan again, whilst Chris Smalling has been fairly good but has failed to reach the prospects he showed during his early days as a Fulham player and in his first season at United.

Although the club have recently been linked with the likes of Harry Maguire, Kalidou Koulibaly and Toby Alderweireld, there has not been enough closure from the English papers or the club’s media press to show they intend on making a third signing. There is a huge difference in the final outcome of the season if it is to happen or not, from finishing in the Europa League spots again to a top four finish and potential silverware.

After conceding over 50 league goals and keeping only a few clean sheets last season, the Red Devil supporters were seriously hoping that the people in charge and Ed Woodward himself would have seen the defence as the side’s main weakness. Given that Liverpool have Virgil van Dijk and Manchester City have Aymeric Laporte, two of the best centre-backs within England and Europe, United are yet to have someone of that calibre to lead them to a title challenge and make them defensively sound.

Had the hierarchy provided Jose Mourinho with a centre back last summer as per his request, a lot of things would have been different by now, with the club’s chances of finishing in the top four being increased instantly and also their odds in the domestic cups. Furthermore, the club’s planning for the transfer window has been below-par and absolutely atrocious, spending just under £150million and bringing in only five new additions together this summer and last summer, leaving many holes to still fill.

Overall, Manchester United will honestly not be competing with both Liverpool and Manchester City in the league anytime soon, especially when you see the difference in quality that both rival clubs have on and off the pitch. Though, if the club were to somehow bring in a centre-back within the next ten days, it would allow them to bring pure stability and protection to a dreadful defence whilst help them to a good term.

Why is Leicester City’s Harry Maguire worth £80m?

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Leicester City’s Harry Maguire is being chased by both Manchester clubs with City, the current champions looking the favourites from the two to get his signature. But the asking price seems incredibly inflated. The Foxes want £80m for their defender- the genuine question is, how did they get to this figure?

Maguire has won no major trophies in his career and he is 26- he has never played for a top 4 side, not even top 6. Though he did join Leicester the season after they were declared champions. Has the price been inflated then because he is a current England international player with 20 caps- it does seem so.

The reality of the situation is that in the current price market Maguire is worth no more than £35m, and teams valuations of players has gone through the roof. Sadly for Premier League clubs selling on English players it has always been like this, when a few extra million seems to attach onto any fee.

City and United have the money but City have taken over United now and they will most likely get his signature. No one is denying that Maguire could become a better all round player at City and put in good displays, but City will not be making any money on the player in the future- indeed his value if sold for £80m will start to decrease the moment he puts pen to paper.

The reality of it is is that Leicester have no right to ask so much for the player, the price compared to what Maguire has achieved has no justification, plain and simple.

England’s manager Gareth Southgate hasn’t helped the situation, he once ill advised that Maguire was one of the best defenders in the world. Again totally unjustified. Maguire is a good defender and would never have made it in England’s set up otherwise and starred of course in a World Cup which saw England reach the semi-final stages. But one of the best makes little sense for a player who has played in his career for the likes of Hull and Leicester and we need to be realistic of that fact.

For now United have lodged a £70m bid which is ridiculous in and of itself, and Leicester had the bravado to turn that down and then ask for £10m extra. The fear for United is that their rivals will seriously start sniffing around and come in for the player. But no team is getting a good deal or bargain here.

 

 

Do Manchester City really need Harry Maguire?

So impressive have Manchester City been over the past two seasons, collecting 198 points over the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns, it’s difficult to envisage how they could possibly improve this summer. But this is the task they must take on otherwise risk being leapfrogged by Liverpool, who are expected to strengthen again this summer, at the top of the English game.

The past week has seen the Premier League champions spring into action, with Rodri expected to make the move from Atletico Madrid to the Etihad Stadium in the coming days. Another rumour has seen City enter the race for Harry Maguire and now it seems likely that the Leicester City defender will indeed be Pep Guardiola’s latest signing.

maguire

Maguire has become a key member and a mainstay of the England team over the past two seasons, also impressing for Leicester in the Premier League. There is a sense that he is ready to take the next step in his career and a move to Manchester City would certainly represent progression.

But is Maguire really the player that Man City need at this time? Nicolas Otamendi is expected to leave the club this summer, with Guardiola keen to move the Argentinean on. Vincent Kompany has already departed the Etihad Stadium for Anderlecht and so there is a vacant spot in the Man City defence right now.

Maguire doesn’t appear to be a Guardiola type of player, though. The 26-year-old is an extremely solid centre back, possessing all the fundamental skills required for someone to succeed in that position, but he has some way to go before he can match the likes of Gerard Pique or Aymeric Laporte for playing out from the back.

Of course, some will argue, with good reason, that Maguire would be an upgrade on John Stones, with the 25-year-old’s capacity for making big mistakes in big games once again exposed in England’s defeat to Netherlands in the semi finals of the Nations League. But surely City can do better.

Surely the player they should be targeting this summer is Matthijs de Ligt, the Dutch teenager seemingly built to play for a Guardiola team. Of course, he is the most sought after defender in the European game right now, with almost every member of the continental elite vying for his signature, but if City want the best then he is who they should be going after.

 

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EPL Best XI – Sturridge joins Kane in attack

Daniel Sturridge

Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea maintained their unbeaten starts in Week 7 of the 2018-19 season, while Manchester United’s poor run continued with a 3-1 loss at West Ham. Let’s take a look at the top players from the weekend’s games…

GK: Jordan Pickford, Everton – seven points
It’s been a tough start to the season for Jordan Pickford but he finally got his first clean sheet in the 3-0 win over Fulham at Goodison Park, earning himself seven points. He is still on minus points (-3) overall, but this is a start!

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EPL Weekend Picks – Round 5

Alexandre Lacazette

Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso are among the high-scorers for EPL Fantasy managers so far this season, but there are plenty of other players across the league who could be worthy of inclusion in your team this weekend.

GK – Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s big-money summer signing has picked up 12 points so far this season – Liverpool’s Alisson is the only goalkeeper with more – and he will surely add to that tally in the upcoming matches against low-scoring Cardiff and West Ham.

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Fantasy EPL Predictions: Matchweek 4

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Leicester vs Liverpool – King Power Stadium

While Maguire’s 95th minute winner will certainly send the Foxes tail up into this clash against the early league leaders, we think Liverpool will continue building their defensive record this season and claim the win. Fantasy managers who own stock in the Anfield Defense will look ahead with joy, as Leicester will be without Jamie Vardy, whose scoring record against the Reds is remarkable – 7 strikes in 5 games.

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What next for Leicester and England defender Maguire?

maguireLeicester defender Harry Maguire earned praise for his performances at this summer’s World Cup, and that has now converted into transfer talk with Man United believed to be interested in bringing the 25-year-old to Old Trafford. While these links represent an obvious potential improvement to United’s squad, there are a few considerations to take into account when weighing up the pros and cons of such a deal. For starters, would Maguire benefit from moving to the Red Devils rather than remain with the Foxes? How much money would it take to make this transfer deal a good bit of business for Leicester? Perhaps most importantly, would Jose Mourinho really be the right man to nurture Maguire’s career given his track record?

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Jordan Pickford wins the hearts of England

pickford

When England secured a place in their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, the nation celebrated – naturally. The Three Lions are a team capable of ramping up the patriotism and yet disappointing when a major tournament rolls around. During this World Cup, however, they have done exactly what has been expected of them, and now only Croatia stand between them and a first World Cup final in 52 years. Social media has been abuzz for the last few weeks, fans all over the world claiming that football is indeed finally coming home, 22 years after it was predicted to do so by Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and Lightning Seeds. That hasn’t been the only internet meme to go viral though, as a string of tweets about a certain player has excited the nation once again.

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