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2012/13 Premier League Previews In Their Own Words - Part 4

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We conclude our look at the Premier League through the eyes of its team bloggers today, with all but West Brom reporting for duty

Sunderland

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Simon Walsh from The Roker Report - @Rokerreport

How would you sum up last season?

A bit of a write off to be honest as it was one of transition. Under Steve Bruce it was a shambles. Wins were scarce and there was a reluctance from him to accept any responsibility. When Martin O'Neill came hope and respectability was restored and we at times played some of the best football we have in years. It wasn't all plain sailing however, there was FA Cup disappointment and a few horrendous games thrown in, but we're prepared to chalk it up as one of them years and look to improve this season.

How has the summer gone so far?

It's gone alright, I'm sure it will get better in the next few weeks though. Carlos Cuellar coming in negates the loss of Michael Turner to Norwich, but one of the main pluses of the preseason so far has been those who've gone. The likes of Marcos Angeleri, Craig Gordon and George McCartney have both left freeing up plenty of wages, and while the squad is pretty thread-bare at the moment, we've got some good young players and lots of money to play with.

Who's your key player next season?

It depends on who we bring in really. We need a striker, so whoever we bring in will have a huge responsibility to get the goals, but as things stand it's still Stephane Sessegnon. He's pretty much our only creative player and the only one who can make magic happen. When he's on form, he's unstoppable, but while we need a striker, we also need someone to lighten his workload.

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?

We've got quite a few who could do that, but the front runners appear to be two defenders. Louis Laing is a central defender capped by England at every youth level so far. He's quite slight, but he plays the ball out of defence beautifully, regardless of distance. Another is his fellow central defender John Egan. Egan is more of a 'traditional' defender, but looks solid.

We've been waiting for creative midfielder Billy Knott to step up for a while now, so perhaps this is his year, and the same goes for striker Ryan Noble. Equally, despite the huge pricetag, we shouldn't forget Connor Wickham has only recently turned 19-years old.

Where do you think you'll finish?

I think we'll be fine. I'm expecting at the very least a top ten finish, so because I'm in a (rare) good mood as I write this, I'll go with an optimistic 7th place finish.

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?

I didn't see much of Reading last season, but what I did see was impressive. I can't see you repeating the success' of the other year when you finished quite highly, but I don't envisage Reading fighting for their lives either. Sort of 14th or 15th I think.

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?

Top four will be the usual suspects - Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. Since I've gone with my head regarding the top four, I'll go with my heart for the bottom three in hoping that West Ham, QPR and Aston Villa struggle. Thinking about that though, I think the two London sides will be down there, although more likely partners are Swansea, Southampton or West Brom.

Swansea

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Swansea fan Shaun Thomas

How would you sum up last season?

Last season was immense for us. We finished 11th but stuck to out footballing principles and got some notable wins against Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City. I think we were a little nervous during the first few matches. However, we quickly settled down and started to enjoy our football and some decent results and acclaim followed.

How has the summer gone so far?

In some ways it's gone badly! Losing Brendan Rodgers was a huge blow but we got good compensation for him and now we have a man with fresh ideas and contacts in Michael Laudrup. BR didn't install our style of play at Swansea (that was down the Martinez) and we have proved previously thatvwe can move on. Laudrup has made a few excellent signings which look good value at this stage. We also had a lot of players who represented team GB at the Olympics which will have put them in the shop window a little but time will tell...

Who's your key player next season?

Im going to say Michel Vorm. He was the surprise package last season and some of his saves were outstanding which definitely saved us a few points.

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?

Keep an eye out for Ben Davies

Where do you think you'll finish?

I'd settle for fourth from bottom but i'm going to predict 14th.

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?

I think Reading will be solid. They have a very good manager in Brian McDermott and have previous premiership experience which will bode well for them. A lot will depend on how you start and how fortunate you are with injuries. Pogrebnyak will be key for you IMO. I think you'll stay up....just.

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?

Wigan, Southampton & West Ham.

Tottenham

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Ryan Rosenblatt from Cartilage Free Captain - @cartilagefree

1. How would you sum up last season?

Last season was massively disappointing. No matter how you cut it, everyone at Spurs feels like the team should be in the Champions League. Whether the blame lies with the club for imploding from February on and losing their grip on third place or on UEFA for their rule that gave Chelsea Tottenham's Champions League place, the feeling at White Hart Lane is that last season should have resulted in the Champions League and it didn't.

How has the summer gone so far?

The summer has been a roller coaster. I think most everyone was really happy with the signings of Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson, as well as signing Gareth Bale to a new contract and while there are some questions about Andre Villas-Boas, he seemed to be Daniel Levy's first choice so there is comfort in knowing that our chairman got his man. On the downside, Spurs had to sign a striker and sort out the Luka Modric situation above else and neither is done yet. There is still time left so if Levy gets that striker that the team is desperate for (Jermain Defoe is the team's only striker on contract right now) and then either keeps Modric or sells him for £35+ million then all will be well, but it's getting nervy now.

Who's your key player next season?

Whoever the striker that Spurs buy is going to determine how well Spurs do. As much as many Spurs fans love Defoe, he is a bench player who can bag goals against tired defenses and certainly cannot start as a lone striker, which the team will be using this year. So who will that striker be? It is anyone's guess, but he has to be good and he has to play well if Spurs are going to put their wealth of attacking talent, like Bale, Sigurdsson and Aaron Lennon, to use.

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?

Steven Caulker may have already burst onto the scene last year, but that didn't really count for us because he did it for Swansea. Now back from his loan, the 20-year-old got an Olympic summer for Team GB and is ready to try and make his way into the Tottenham team. He is big and strong, can run and plays the ball out of the back well. He is one of the most promising young, English defenders and Spurs are hoping he is able to take his first Premier League season, which went well at Swansea, and build upon it on a bigger stage.

Where do you think you'll finish?

This is really tough to say because the team's most important player is a striker that they haven't signed and their best player is Modric, who might not be with the team anymore. I'll throw fifth place out there, but really, I have no idea and won't until the transfer window closes.

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?

Admittedly, I saw very little of Reading last year, but we know that Pavel Pogrebnyak can play and Danny Guthrie was a good signing. Still, unless some of these players who were in the Championship next year pick up on the Premier League pace quickly, I think Reading will be hard-pressed not to go down because like last year, the bottom of the Premier League should be very tough.

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?

I think City still win the league, with Chelsea second, United third and Arsenal fourth, but I reserve the right to throw in a Tottenham (possibly homer) pick for fourth when the transfer window closes.

As for who goes down, I think the three promoted teams will have a tough time staying up. QPR made some good signings and Aston Villa dumped Alex McLeish, making both much, much better and I don't want to pick against Wigan because Roberto Martinez is awesome.

West Brom

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Sadly we're still waiting for a Baggies contribution, perhaps they're all upset with us over the Shane Long interest?

West Ham

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Scott Tracey from The Game's Gone Crazy

How would you sum up last season?

A real mixed bag. I was at the Madejski to witness the 3-0 debacle. Reading were poor, in my opinion, until the sending off of O'Brien, but for us to concede from the resultant free kick said everything that needed to be said about our dozy football. Nobody filled in at right back and McAnuff was given the freedom of the penalty box to set up your opener. As for Collison's rush of blood, well what can you say? That game was your launch pad and from December through to April we were poor. Allardyce's tactics were truly dreadful and home draws against the likes of Doncaster were down to his negative, safety first, attitude. We picked up in the last month, ignoring your stunning performance at the Boleyn, but we were very lucky to beat Blackpool in the play off final. However, we were promoted at the end of the day so, I suppose, you have to look back on a relatively successful season even if we sacrificed every thing the club stands for along the way.

How has the summer gone so far?

What summer? From West Ham's point of view, as badly as the weather. Green walked on a free and has been replaced by Henderson who is average, Jussi who is ancient, and some kid who we have never heard of. The same applies to the forward we have bought - for the life of me I don't understand why we didn't try for your Russian. We desperately need at least three defenders and somebody creative in midfield. Reading showed what an easy game it is when you have round pegs in round holes and the team knows its shape. Zola, Grant and Allardyce have all forced players into positions they are unsuited to, and the result has been performances that, at best, have been stuttering and, at worst, absolutely dire.

Who's your key player next season?

We wish we knew! The squad is paper thin and the team mediocre. I suppose Andy Carroll if he joins us, but I'm struggling to take that seriously. Mind you, Carroll can't score if we can't create chances and Allardyce's hoof ball tactics are not going to change if we have him up front are they? You can imagine the team talk. "Get it, lump it forward, and Andy lad, try to get your head on it. The more often we lump it forward, the more chance there is Andy will head one in." If Carroll doesn't join, then I hope Vaz Te shows he can produce in the Prem and that Noble and Tomkins can carry last season's form into the new campaign. Then there is the Nolan enigma. At the Madejski, after O'Brien had been sent off, I spent five minutes trying to work out who the tenth man was that we still had left on the pitch, Nolan had been so anonymous. But he scores goals!

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?

Under Allardyce? He regards 32 as young and inexperienced! It should be Morrison, but there's more chance of Doctor Evil picking Tesco!

Where do you think you'll finish?

As Champions! Champions elect for next season's Championship sadly!

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?

I was hugely impressed last season once that run started. The problem is, what happens if you get off to a poor start and never get the momentum going? The team spirit was fabulous but the Championship is a very poor division. The step up is huge and I suspect Norwich and Swansea will be found wanting as Second Season Syndrome cuts in. That's our big hope - Reading's and West Ham's - that West Brom, Norwich and Swansea will all struggle following the change of managers. If honest, I think Reading will be in the bottom six. The final game of the season could be a relegation decider and, given your record against us, that should see you stay up and us go down!

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?

Top Four - Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal - Boring I know but a pretty safe bet.

Bottom Three - West Brom, Norwich & Swansea or one of those to survive with West Ham, Reading or Southampton filling in for them!

Wigan

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Kieran Heapy from Pie Eaters Football - @heapylatic

How would you sum up last season?

In terms of what Wigan went on to achieve, losing three games in the last four months of the season, it was the best that the club has ever had since reaching the Premier League. Yet in terms of what could have and should have been. I think many Wigan Athletic fans see it as a bit of a low point, yet in terms of Roberto Martinez and the way in which he changed and shaped our squad a very very important one for the team.

How has the summer gone so far?

Good and bad, first off it has been great for Roberto Martinez remains a Wiganer. By hook or by crook we have kept him yet again and Martinez alone is worth his weight in gold. Not only as the manager of our football club, but as the man he his, kind; honest and most importantly loyal. Something I never thought I would see in modern day football.

The rest has gone how it has. So far we have signed one new player in young Fraser Fyvie, who we Wiganers are looking forward to seeing next season very much. The rest of what maybe is yet to come. Look out for two maybe three signing with it likely that Ivan Ramis will have sign by the time this is published.

Of course the one player I have yet to mention is Victor Moses and his constant flirting with Chelsea. I have to say we are all at the end of our tether with the player. He knows what we expect of him, and he is playing his part well. Keeping his head down and working hard in pre-season. If only Chelsea could meet our valuation for our player a meger 10 million pounds.

Who's your key player next season?

The returning Mauro Boselli is may man to watch next season. Many have written him off from the last two season, but he has come back reinvigorated and ready to get working and make the first team. Boselli could provide the key in the whole thing to go out and score the goals that we need for the forth coming season. Hopefully he will do as we all wish.

One younger player who might burst on to the scene?

I have already mentioned him. That young man is Fraser Fyvie, although he may be used sparingly but to cause an impact. Many have tipped him to jump in at the deep end and show the great technical ability that he has shown over the last few month in Scotland.

Personally though there are other players who I could see make the big time this season Callum McManaman is at the age where he now needs first team football and had a great loan spell at Blackpool last season. While another Blackpool loane Noauh Dicko could also make a great impact this season with his raw strength and pace if he is given the chance in the first team.

Where do you think you'll finish?

If I was to be honest I would say mid-table around about 10th for Wigan this season. That would be the required progression and want the fans so desperately want to see, that is not a relegation battle to the death where we fear we may not return from. Yet if i was to be bold about our season next year, I would say that we could strive for a Europa spot. If Newcastle why can't Wigan? Many will laugh but we made it into the Premier League, now it is our time to show our hand on the continent.

What do you make of Reading and where they may end up?

Where they end up depends on how they settle and the way in which the player become accustomed to the Premier League. It can go either way the players can flop and not mack the impact they need. Or a team can play world-beating football, it is as simple as that. In terms of what Reading have they should survive and do it comfortably as they have the means to do well this season.

Who are you tipping to make the top four and the bottom three?

Not us! It could really be anyone this season it is so hard to tell who will be in either end of the Premier League and I really would not like to make any sort of guess who will end up where and how they will do so. Arsenal could win the league and Tottenham could get relegated, it really is that hard to tell.

Everyone is so evenly matched, but if I was to go for a top four I would go for both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal. The bottom three dare I say West Ham followed by QPR and Norwich. Yet even that does not seem right. Yet that is all the fun in football.