Why your team will let you down in the 2016/17 season: Part Four

Here's why disappointment awaits for Swansea, Tottenham, Watford, West Brom and West Ham

Andy Carroll, West Ham,

Image: Nick Potts / PA Wire/Press Association Images/Composite

The Premier League season is just around the corner and optimism for every team has never been, and will never be as high as it is right now.

Before a single ball is kicked and a point is won, fans still believe they can avoid relegation, claim that elusive European spot or even pull a Leicester and get an unlikely title win. Well, there's a time and a place for naïveté and joy, but it ain't when assessing the chances of your team ahead of a Premier League season, so here's a much-needed dose of reality for your team.


Last year was worse than you remember:

Plenty to choose from last season, including the dismissal of former boss and wonderful servant to the club, Garry Monk. They started well and even picked up a third consecutive victory over Manchester United in the league. However, a poor run after September saw the ship almost run aground and a 3-0 defeat to Leicester was enough to cost Monk his job. All this after coming off the back of their best ever Premier League finish the season prior. Francesco Guidolin will have a job on his hands to turn this team around for the coming season.

Manager’s biggest problem:

Restoring confidence. They had a good run toward the end of the season which saw them put a respectable finish on an otherwise disastrous season. Guidolin will need to ensure his players remain confident and focused for the duration of the season. A good run in a domestic cup may go lengths to do this and last year’s chastening League Cup exit to Hull will fade into the background. tHIS MAY

Player that is guaranteed to break your heart:

New signings always take time to bed-in, but the acquisition of Fernando Llorente may prove disappointing. An early pre-season miss is entirely unfair to judge him on and we won’t (even though it was spectacularly bad), but the 31-year-old has already heaped pressure upon himself.

Image: Nick Potts / PA Wire/Press Association Images

His aim is silverware this season to try and force his way back into the Spanish national side, but leading the Swansea attack to a trophy in his first season may put too much pressure on the former Sevilla striker. Factor in the departure of Bafetimbi Gomis on loan to Marseille for the summer as well as Eder and Alberto Paloschi leaving as well, it’ll be all eyes on the Spaniard...and not just because he's so handsome.

One thing that might be OK:

New signing Borja Baston may be the breath of fresh air that Swansea needs to kickstart their season. The 23-year-old signs from Atletico Madrid as surplus to requirements and spent last season at Eibar banging in the goals - 18 to be precise. A former Spain youth international, this fella has a bright future ahead of him.

And now, a word from the fans:


Last year’s performance was worse than you remember:

Oh, Spurs. There is something so upsetting yet predictable about what happened last year as their form completely collapsed at the end of an otherwise excellent season. The wheels came off a title challenge to the extent that Arsenal had the chance to leapfrog them and celebrate St Totteringham’s Day once again, not to mention the unpleasant scenes at the Battle of the Bridge.

Manager’s biggest problem:

His favoured high-pressing approach worked well in a season in which the Premier Leauge was the main focus, but he has to show that they can vary their style with Champions League football to factor in to the equation as well. With only two players added to the squad in the transfer window, that's a big ask.

Player that is guaranteed to break your heart:

Kyle Walker is almost a textbook attacking full-back, and he can be devastating going forward. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the defence, he's not immune to causing devastation at the other end of the pitch when he’s performing his main task of…y'know, actually defending.

He made five defensive errors last season - more than any other Spurs player - with one leading to a goal.

One thing that might be OK:

On the flip side of the "they haven't made many signings argument, Spurs have kept the relatively young team from last season together, and it;s a unit that Pochettino clearly trusts entirely. They added a striker in Vincent Janssen to lighten the weight on Harry Kane's shoulders and a tough midfielder in Victor Wanyama, so they can’t be described as weaker than last year.

And now, a word from the fans:


Last year was worse than you remember:

The season actually started better than many expected, with Watford’s defensive solidity proving to be the basis of a number of good results. The backline was hard to break down, with Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney clicking up front to provide the goals. Much like Palace, however, there was a bad dip in form that almost entirely coincided with Christmas Day, and the side could only muster four wins from then until the end of the season. Only ten goals were scored from open play in that 21 game period, which showed just how well teams nullified their attack in the second half of the season.

Manager's biggest problem:

The sword of Damacles is hanging over his head; no matter how well Walter Mazzarri does this season, he need only text Quique Sanchez Flores to ask what he’s up to after keeping a highly unfancied side in the league last year. While many will know Mazzarri for his poor spell at Inter, he does have a record of achievement with Reggina, Sampdoria and Napoli, but that won’t count for much if he doesn’t improve on results quickly

Player that is guaranteed to break your heart:

Heurelho Gomes showed in fits and starts last season just why he secured a move to Spurs and has hung around in the English game. He can have matches where he looks unbeatable, but while he’s a brilliant shot stopper, he doesn’t command the box in the way a top-class player would.

He almost always manages to find a way to get himself into trouble at some stage, so you can expect a healthy dose of calamity somewhere along the way.

One thing that might be ok

Watford have, quite literally, bought Success. Isaac Success, that is. Alright, that was just an attempt to get that pun in somewhere, but they have done some good business that has gone somewhat under the radar.

Sanchez Flores showed last year that, even despite being tipped to go straight back down, you can be defensively resilient and stay up in the Premier League, and adding Christian Kabasele and Juan Camilo Zúñiga, coupled with Jerome Sinclair and Success up front might provide the spark at both ends of the pitch that the second half of their season sorely lacked last time around.

And now, a word from the fans

West Brom

Last year was worse then you remember

Seven successive years in the Premier League was the reward for a lot of hard work done before Christmas, but exit from the FA Cup to Reading (which included Chris Brunt being struck by a coin after the game by one of the West Brom ‘fans’) was the start of an alarming run of form. Seven games without a win saw them slip down the table and finally finish 14th. The season also included more trouble around Saido Berahino, who still hasn't left.

Manager’s Biggest Problem

Sorting out said Berahino issue. Tony Pulis described him last season as a good lad who had a tendency to “let himself down”. The England forward made no secret of the fact that he wanted to move away from the Hawthorns and a string of high-profile incidents (the latest of which was being caught on Snapchat while driving) may be the final straw for Pulis. The situation will likely come to a head this season, it’s difficult him having a comfortable term with the Baggies.

Player that is guaranteed to break your heart

Question marks remain over José Salomón Rondón after a relatively quiet maiden season in England. He scored 9 goals in 34 appearances for the Baggies and offered himself as a strong target man who is willing to hold up defenders. Can he keep up this form during the tricky second season?

One thing that might be OK

Over-reliance on Berahino for goals may have finished and Pulis is looking elsewhere for attacking options. Their deal for Diafra Sakho fell through but it’s positive to see them out in the transfer market and willing to shift their set-up to suit a different style of play. 2016/17 could be the season that sees them play less direct football and more expansive, passing style. They’ve certainly got the passing ability in midfield in (an admittedly aging) Darren Fletcher and Craig Gardner.

And now

West Ham

Last year was worse than you remember:

Actually, there are very few negatives for West Ham in what was a brilliant season. They improved in the second half of the year as Bilic turned draws before Christmas into wins, showing that he had a good grip on figuring the league out. Big results against the traditional big four proved easy to come by and it was a strong showing overall. If we had to nit pick, tightening up at the back would have seen them really excel, given they had plenty of high-scoring draws and lost several games by just one goal. 

Manager's biggest problem:

Expectations, again. This seems to be repeated a lot in this series of articles but with a new stadium and money to burn, there will be an assumption that the side should improve on last season. With all the managers and all the big teams pushing for Europe again, it might be hard to replicate some of their more surprising results from last term.

Player that is guaranteed to break your heart:

Andy Carroll showed at the end of last season that, when he's fit, he's almost genuinely unplayable. Big and imposing, he terorises opposition defences who quite simply can't stop him from connecting with set pieces and crosses. He still hasn't managed to stay fit long enough to fulfill his potential, however.

One thing that might be OK:

Some smart signings in the form of Andre Ayew and making Lanzini permanent have added further quality to that attack that tore open even the league's best defences last season, so there are plenty of combinations to avoid any danger of a goal drought occurring. Also Payet is a wizard-man.

And now, a word from the fans:

If your team isn't featured here, then don't worry, they'll still let you down. Find out why here:

Part One: Arsenal, Bournemouth, Burnley, Chelsea and Crystal Palace

Part Two: Everton, Hull, Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester City

Part Three: Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Stoke and Sunderland