32 Flags previews the 2016-17 Premier League from Everton to Manchester City

The English Premier League season is less than a week away and we are entering what could be the most unpredictable EPL season in years. We at 32 Flags are here to preview what each team is expected to do this season and where they could finish, as well as letting you know who to look out for from each team. Today, we’re going in alphabetical order, covering Everton to Manchester City. This is Part 2 of 4 of our EPL preview. Click to read Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4

Everton

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13: Phil Jagielka of Everton reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park on February 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 13: Phil Jagielka of Everton reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park on February 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Maarten Steckelenberg, Goalkeeper, from Fulham for an Undisclosed Fee

Idrissa Gueye, Midfielder, from Aston Villa for £7.1m

Ashley Williams, Defender, from Swansea for £12m

Notable Outs:

Tim Howard, Goalkeeper, to Colorado Rapids for Free

Steven Piennar, Midfielder, Released

John Stones, Defender, to Manchester City for £47.5m

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

11th (Placed as high as 9th and as low as 11th among 32 Flags writers)

Ever since Everton was purchased for big money, the rumors have flown around about huge signings and joining the elite. While these moves haven’t quite come off, the most important moves haven’t come in the transfer window. Bringing in Ronald Koeman was a bit of a coup and they have held on to Romelu Lukaku so far, which is possibly the most important bit of business. Now that they have a manager who can coach a defense, the can build off of the attacking strength inherent in the team. Swapping John Stones for Ashley Williams may prove astute, as well, as Williams is a solid defender who knows how to organize a defense. That being said, their goal should be placing in the Top 10, and with the transfer window still open, some of their players may yet be poached.

Player to Watch:

Romelu Lukaku

Without a doubt, the player that can win a game for Everton. Even when they were struggling last season, Lukaku managed to bang goals in for fun. Now, with an arguably better manager and the troubles of last season in the rear view mirror, Lukaku could really explode from here. Whether it’s with Everton is another story, however, with former club Chelsea rumored to be only one of the clubs after his signature.

 

Hull City

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 30:  Adama Diomande of Hull City battles with Matty Cash of Nottingham Forest during the pre-season friendly match between Nottingham Forest and Hull City at City Ground on July 30, 2016 in Nottingham, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – JULY 30: Adama Diomande of Hull City battles with Matty Cash of Nottingham Forest during the pre-season friendly match between Nottingham Forest and Hull City at City Ground on July 30, 2016 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Will Mannion, Goalkeeper, from AFC Wimbledon for an Undisclosed Fee

Notable Outs:

Mohamed Diame, Midfielder, to Newcastle United for an Undisclosed Fee

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

20th (Placed 20th among all 32 Flags writers)

This review is going to be rough for Hull City fans. One team has to finish last in the table, but the voting was unanimous that Hull would take that place. The biggest problem lies with the lack of investment, and incoming players. If you want to remain in the Premier League after a promotion, you need to reinforce your squad. Doing otherwise is essentially asking for relegation. Then, when you consider that they have lost their manager and have yet to really replace him, it’s the perfect storm of bad omens heading into the season for Hull.

Player to Watch:

Jake Livermore

Okay, hear me out. As one of the sitting midfielders, Livermore’s job will be incredibly important to Hull’s survival. There may be other players who will score more goals or make a defense-splitting pass, but if Hull are going to stay in the Premier League next season, Livermore has to be on the top of his game.

 

Leicester City

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  Danny Drinkwater (obscured) of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Stoke City at The King Power Stadium on January 23, 2016 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – JANUARY 23: Danny Drinkwater (obscured) of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Stoke City at The King Power Stadium on January 23, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Nampalys Mendy, Midfielder, from OGC Nice for £13m

Ahmed Musa, Forward, from CSKA Moscow for £16m

Notable Outs:

N’Golo Kante, Midfielder, to Chelsea for £32m

Paul Konchesky, Defender, Released

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

8th (Placed as high as 4th and as low as 16th among 32 Flags writers)

Much like their Premier League-winning run last year, this season’s Leicester is hard to predict. There was no bigger range of table placement among the 32 Flags writers than Leicester. Nobody quite knows what to make of them. One thing we do agree on is that there will be a slump this season. The loss of N’Golo Kante will be really felt, as he was essential to their midfield. Their attack will still be potent, but it remains to be seen if they will still be as solid in defense. If they can stay as stingy in defense without Kante breaking up play in the midfield, they should easily finish in the Top 10. We have to remember, the team that almost was relegated two years ago is still in there somewhere.

Player to Watch:

Riyad Mahrez

He was arguably the best player in the Premier League last year. From the wing, he is able to score and assist goals, making him invaluable to whatever team he is playing for. Leicester plan to do whatever it takes to hold on to him, and for good reason. He is a dazzling player that is just fun to watch.

Liverpool

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 20:  Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool (15) celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on March 20, 2016 in Southampton, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – MARCH 20: Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool (15) celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadium on March 20, 2016 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Sadio Mane, Forward, from Southampton for £30m

Loris Karius, Goalkeeper, from Mainz for £4.7m

Georginio Wijnaldum, Midfielder, from Newcastle United for £23m

Notable Outs:

Martin Skrtel, Defender, to Fenerbahce for £5m

Jordon Ibe, Forward, to Bournemouth for £15m

Joe Allen, Midfielder, to Stoke for £13m

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

4th (Placed as high as 3rd and as low as 8th among 32 Flags writers)

Much like Leicester above, not many people know what to make of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side. Their recent two games in as many days against Barcelona and Mainz show exactly why. While preseason is preseason, Liverpool are capable of beating anyone when they play to their strengths and were one of the in form teams in the Premier League in the second half of last season. The are also capable of collapsing in the most deflating manner. With no Europe this season and a preseason under his belt, Klopp could work wonders. If he figures out how to get the team playing their December to May 2015 form consistently, a 4th placed finish could be comfortably achieved.

Player to Watch:

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge is Liverpool’s best player when he is fit. This is an important caveat, however, since injuries have blighted what could still be a decorated career. When he is fit and firing, he is one of the two best strikers in the league, and with Divock Origi breathing down his neck, he cannot afford to stay sidelined or unfit for long. A little competition may bring out the beast in the striker.

 

Manchester City

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 12:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg match between Manchester City FC and Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium on April 12, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – APRIL 12: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg match between Manchester City FC and Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium on April 12, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Ilkay Gundogan, Midfielder, from Borussia Dortmund for £20m

Leroy Sane, Forward, from Schalke for £37m

Gabriel Jesus, Forward, from Palmeiras for £27m

John Stones, Defender, from Everton for £47.5m

Notable Outs:

Martin Demichelis, Defender, Released

Gabriel Jesus, Forward, to Palmeiras on Loan

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

1st (Placed as high as 1st and as low as 5th among 32 Flags writers)

With a manager like Pep Guardiola, it is hard to look past Manchester City for the title this year. There are question marks about how Pep will adapt to the Premier League, but they have a great squad that has added smartly. They have pace, power, and technique, and a manager who is used to successfully working with egos. The only real problem facing Manchester City, one which could have them failing to win the Premier League and (in one author’s opinion) falling out of the Top 4, is their lack of a cohesive defense. The big money purchase of John Stones may bring some optimism to City fans, but they have now spent well over £100m looking for a partner to Vincent Kompany. Stones is young and can be very error prone. The potentially leaky defense could be the weak spot that brings down Achilles.

Player to Watch:

Sergio Aguero

Who else was it going to be? Sergio Aguero is the best striker in the Premier League, when fit. He is absolutely deadly while also being mildly less injury prone than Daniel Sturridge, which puts him at the top of the pile. In Pep Guardiola’s system, he should come alive as the team will be built around his style of play, with open and flowing soccer feeding one of the most clinical finishers in the league.

About Jeff Snyder

Jeff Snyder is a professional writer and has been in sports broadcast for almost half a decade. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheJackAnty.

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