By Lee Dover | football
It will be difficult to top the climax to last season’s drama in the greatest football league in the world, but with three former Premier League heavyweights re-entering the fold, we are pretty sure it will be another campaign that fans shouldn’t miss.
Will Brian McDermott achieve mission impossible?
Move aside Tom Cruise, there is a new man in town looking to achieve a task that many people believe cannot be done – keep Reading in the top flight for more than one season. However, Brian McDermott (pictured above) is not one to quiver under the pressure. Remember, this is the same guy who led Reading to the Championship title last season against the odds.
Will McDermott will have the golden touch once more? Well, Paddy Power is offering 8/13 in their online betting that the Royals can steer clear of the drop zone come May 2013. And the former Arsenal player who one day wants to manage the Republic of Ireland is up for the challenge. McDermott says:
The bottom line is I cannot wait to get going
Most likely to say: “It looked so easy in pre-season.”
West Ham United
Will Sam Allardyce still be blowing bubbles this term?
West Ham United certainly made their return to the Premier League look tough. At one point, The Hammers had one hand on automatic promotion before a sudden change in gear saw the team drop into the play-offs by season’s end.
Sam Allardyce slapped his men back into shape fast though, with West Ham waltzing through the play-offs and ending their one-year away from the summit.
The fact that West Ham have plenty of recent memories in the top flight makes them the least likely of the new boys to face relegation this term at 11/5. Big Sam certainly knows how to make an instant impact on the top flight. Many people were scoffing at Bolton Wanderers’ chances in the Premier League in 2001 but their smiles were wiped off their faces when The Trotters beat Leicester, Middlesbrough and Liverpool to lead the table after three games.
Aston Villa, Swansea City and Fulham are first up for West Ham this term – three fixtures that could give Allardyce a great deal of breathing space in the top flight.
Most likely to say: “Sir Alex, can I have a stick of chewing gum?”
Can Nigel Adkins keep the Saints marching on?
You have to go way back to May 2005 to remember the last time that Southampton rubbed shoulders with the biggest teams in England.
Nigel Adkins has got the song back in tune on the south coast of England though and The Saints are once again marching on to the hallowed ground of the Premier League.
Paddy Power has odds of 4/7 that Southampton can maintain their cheery tune throughout the 2012/13 season and stay up, though Adkins is a tasty 10/1 to be the next manager to leave his post should The Saints fail to perform where it counts.
The poor guy has not been given the easiest start to life back in the top flight though, with an away date at Manchester City kicking off their season. Manchester United, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Everton are all to come for The Saints by the end of September too.
So is Adkins worried? Of course not. He said:
We’re in the Premier League on merit now because we’ve earned the right to be there. We’ve got to be positive in everything we do, and go and look forward to playing these games but go with the mentality to win them.
Most likely to say: “We need a new drummer for our marching band quick.”
- Betting: Opening day matches
- Betting: The Sack Race
- Betting: To be relegated
- Betting: Premier League outright