FourFourTwo's Premier League power rankings 2016/17: where will your team finish?
It’s difficult to see how the Tigers can survive the drop given that they’ve done very little to help themselves since defeating Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship play-off final in May
No manager in place, only one summer signing – 18-year-old goalkeeper Will Mannion from AFC Wimbledon – and an owner actively looking to sell: Hull’s preparation for the 2016/17 campaign has been far from ideal.
It’s difficult to see how the Tigers can survive the drop given that they’ve done very little to help themselves since defeating Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship play-off final in May, especially as the squad isn’t exactly bursting with proven Premier League talent. Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and Abel Hernandez will be key but Hull will have their work cut out in trying to avoid an immediate return to the second tier.
Burnley’s problem during their last stint in the Premier League in 2014/15, when they were relegated just 12 months after achieving promotion from the second tier, was a lack of top-level quality; two years on and the same issue could send them straight back to the Championship at the end of this season too. Sean Dyche is a shrewd operator and Burnley’s team spirit and togetherness means they won’t be disgraced, but it’s hard to see how the Clarets can stay up unless some notable newcomers arrive at Turf Moor in the next few weeks.
Mazzarri, a devotee to the 3-5-2 formation, has plenty to prove after his sacking at Inter two years ago, but the Hornets might suffer from second-season syndrome
Watford’s downturn in the second half of last season led to Quique Sanchez Flores’ departure, with former Napoli and Inter boss Walter Mazzarri his successor at Vicarage Road. Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo were heavily relied upon for goals in 2015/16 and will have to demonstrate a clinical touch in front of goal once more, but Watford could be in trouble if one or both are unable to fire. Mazzarri, a devotee to the 3-5-2 formation, has plenty to prove after his sacking at Inter two years ago, but the Hornets might suffer from second-season syndrome.
Francesco Guidolin guided Swansea to safety rather impressively in 2015/16 but will likely face a tougher time of it this year. There is not a single centre-forward on the club’s books as the start of the season looms, while Ashley Williams will be a huge loss if he signs for Everton in a £10 million deal as expected. Holding onto Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andre Ayew – the former has signed a new deal but the latter continues to be linked with West Ham – will be essential, but Swansea’s small squad could be severely tested if they’re forced to endure an injury crisis.
Eddie Howe was rewarded for sticking with his principles last season as the 38-year-old led Bournemouth to safety in their first ever top-flight campaign, and more of the same can be expected this year.
The squad has been added to intelligently, and although concerns remain about the south coast outfit’s defensive sturdiness, Bournemouth should have enough goals in them to stay out of the bottom three. If they’re able to do that, Howe – already seen as one of the most gifted young coaches in Europe – will see his stock rise further.