EPL Preview – Portsmouth and Wigan

Portsmouth goalkeeper David James makes his point.

Portsmouth

After struggling in the Premier League last season, Portsmouth will look to bounce back this season.  Following a win in the FA Cup final during the 2007-2008 season a Pompey side who looked to have a promising season under manager Harry Redknap would find the 2008-2009 season one in which they just barely managed to avoid relegation come the end of the season.  Portsmouth has since lost their manager and many key players as the club are looking at new ownership and a new challenge in the upcoming season.  To stay in the Premier League this season Pompey will have to scratch and claw their way into safety without some of the players who helped them retain their place the previous season.

Key Additions: Aaron Mokoena (Blackburn), Steve Finnan (Free), Frederic Piquionne (Lyon), Antti Niemi (Free)

Losses: Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Pele (Genoa), Djimi Traore (AS Monaco), Sean Davis (Bolton)

During this offseason Portsmouth have not had money to spend, with the club being in negotiations for sale, and therefore had to make smart moves to add to their squad in the transfer market.  Crouch who had only been with the club for one season rejoined former boss Harry Redknap at Tottenham and Johnson moved on to greener pastures with Liverpool.  Having lost these two plus Traore were large hits to the club who will be looking to avoid relegation again this season.  Adding to their defense with Finnan and Mokoena will bring some veteran experience to the side, and the addition of Piquionne from Lyon should add to the Forward spot that Crouch vacated this offseason, but is it going to be enough?  Portsmouth should stay up this season and if their sale goes through they should see a massive cash influx for January.  If they can keep it together with the rag tag squad they have to start the season and snatch a few results here and there, they should be able to avoid relegation, just barely though.

Football - West Bromwich Albion v Wigan Athletic Barclays Premier League

Wigan

A good season last term, finishing eleventh, will not be an easy act to follow for Wigan this season.  The Latics have lost a lot this offseason and with a new manager they will be looking for a new era to take shape.  Coming into his third season in management, Roberto Martinez will be looking to lead a much weaker Wigan side through the Premier League, hopefully avoiding relegation.  He has had a guarantee from owner Dave Whelan that he has three years, even if the club falls to relegation in his first season in charge.  Now whether we will be looking at Wigan as strong competitors in the EPL or if we will see a team in the beginning stages of rebuilding is the question?  Martinez has a guarantee but I do not see him not wanting to succeed in the EPL in his first season with the club.  There have been a few additions to the club in the offseason, hopefully off setting the losses the side has suffered in the last year.

Key Additions: Garcia-Penche Jordi Gomez (Espanyol), Hendry Thomas (Olimpia), Jason Scotland (Swansea City), James McCarthy (Hamilton), Scott Sinclair (Chelsea)

Losses: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Steve Bruce (Sunderland)

Now while it seems as though the additions to the club will fill the slots needed in the side, many of the new faces are unproven at this level.  The loss of Valencia and Bruce were big losses in the offseason, but if Martinez lives up to his young reputation as a manager, he should have the club working hard and improving throughout the season.  If their defense can hold up and they can get a few goals in they might just have a chance to avoid relegation this season, but it is unlikely.  Given the talent in the Premier League, Wigan will be on the short end of quite a few results this season even if they fight until the end.  Results against other clubs around them in the table and a few surprises could help them just avoid the drop though, but as I said before, I see them coming up short in the end and rebuilding next season in the Championship.  Good luck to the Latics this season though.

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Filed under EPL, Portsmouth, Uncategorized, Wigan

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