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Revisiting PST’s preseason Premier League predictions

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Back in August, we asked our staff to pick its 1-20 table and answer a bevy of roundtable questions.

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The crystal ball ain’t so crystal clear.

The table

— Five of six writers had Manchester City lifting the Premier League trophy, with Nick Mendola’s (me) audacious 90-point total the closest to City’s actual 100 points. Kyle Bonn picked Manchester United to win the league.

–Nick Mendola’s (me) equally audacious prediction that Burnley would finish 20th with 18 total points has had him apologizing on this page for months. Way to go, numbskull.

— No one called more than one relegated team correctly. Swansea had three people pick it for the drop, while I was the lone one to tab West Brom. JPW and Andy Edwards failed to name a single relegated team.

— Who had a team finishing the most spots higher than they did? JPW and Andy Edwards had 16th place Southampton finishing 8th. I had eventually relegated Stoke in 11th, while JPW had them 10th, and Andy Edwards had them 7th!

— Chelsea’s fifth place finish was a surprise to everyone; Only JPW had them finishing lower than second… in third.

— Surprised Arsenal finished in sixth? Kyle Bonn, Andy Edwards, and Matt Reed aren’t.

The roundtable

— We asked who’d go the further in the Champions League, and JPW was the only one to name Liverpool (although he hedged in a bit by saying the Reds and Man City).

— We asked who’d score the most league goals between Romelu LukakuHarry Kane, Alvaro Morata, Alexandre Lacazette, or Sergio Aguero? Four correctly went with Kane, with Kyle Bonn wrong with Lukaku and this humble writer wrong with Lacazette.

— We asked which Premier League player would feel worst about his decision to leave his previous PL club, and we were all wrong (except perhaps JPW’s choice of Wayne Rooney, but that’s debatable). Dan Karell said Virgil Van Dijk, Matt Reed said Nemanja Matic, and I said Kyle Walker. All are probably quite happy with the manner of their seasons.

— We asked who’d fare better between manager Marco Silva, Frank De Boer, or Mauricio Pellegrino. They were all fired, though Silva’s departure was least his fault. So JPW wins again.

— We predicted who’d get fired first. The winner was Frank De Boer, but we all named men who’d get the sack. Craig Shakespeare (JPW), Paul Clement (me), Marco Silva (Matt Reed and Kyle Bonn), and Mark Hughes (Dan Karell).

— We asked which newly-promoted club will finish higher. Four of the five said Newcastle, with someone trying to hide his bias by saying Brighton.

— We asked who’d finish highest and lowest of this group: Southampton, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United, Leicester City.

Leicester finished highest and West Brom finished 20th. Dan and I correctly tabbed Leicester, while four of us correctly pegged the Baggies as the lowest.

— As for who would get promoted from the Championship, so far we’re 1/12. That could move to three if Dan and Kyle are correct in picking Fulham. Matt tabbed Cardiff City.

Marcel Brands joins Everton as Director of Football

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Everton announced Wednesday that Marcel Brands has joined from PSV as their new Director of Football.

Confirmation arrived from the Toffees on the same day that Sam Allardyce was fired as their manager after just six months in charge, and Brands will arrive to replace Steve Walsh as the Director of Football at Goodison Park.

Walsh arrived from Leicester City alongside former manager Ronald Koeman in the summer of 2016 but things soon turned soured as Everton’s player recruitment was nowhere near as successful as they’d hoped.

PSV say that Brands will move on from the Philips Stadion on June 1 after eight years with the Eredivisie club who won the league title three times (2014-15, 2015-16 and 2017-18) during his leadership.

Brands has been applauded for his strong recruitment of exciting young players at PSV following his move from a similar role at RKC Waalwijk and AZ Alkmaar in the past.

“It is a privilege to be joining Everton as Director of Football and I am incredibly excited to take on this challenge,” Brands said. “The fantastic passion of the fans for their club, the magnificent history of the club over the years and the ambition and purpose we have as people tasked with driving the club forward all mean that we need to be competing for honors against the Premier League elite. It is no straightforward challenge but this must be our motivation each and every day.

“It is only a challenge such as this which could have persuaded me to leave PSV where I am indebted to the many people whose collective effort led to some great achievements. Now we will look to build something really strong and lasting here at Everton.”

Marco Silva is the overwhelming favorite to be appointed as Everton’s new manager in the coming days and his high-pressing tactics would definitely led to a dramatic squad overhaul at Everton.

Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri has chucked plenty of cash at this team and had a seventh and eighth place finish to show for it, with Everton laboring to eighth place this Premier League season under Allardyce after Koeman was fired in October after a disastrous start with his top-heavy squad.

Brands will be a busy man this summer.

Moyes, Allardyce out at West Ham, Everton

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Two managerial departures took place on Wednesday in the Premier League as David Moyes wasn’t handed a new deal at West Ham and Sam Allardyce was shown the door at Everton.

Fans of both clubs will be feeling slightly optimistic but there’s no hiding behind the fact that both West Ham and Everton have become anything but models of stability of recent years.

Moyes was only on a short-term deal at the Hammers after arriving in November and guiding them to safety after an intense relegation scrap. West Ham beat Everton 3-1 on the final day of the season to finish in 13th place on 42 points. But with plenty of unrest behind-the-scenes amid fan protests against the owners which sparked pitch invasions during the season, there are a lot of issues for West Ham’s hierarchy to sort out. Moyes’ reputation has been rebuilt somewhat after his debacle at Manchester United and Sunderland, so he may well be happy to move on.

West Ham’s joint-chairman David Sullivan explained the decision for West Ham and Moyes going their separate ways.

“When David and his team arrived, it was the wish of both parties that the focus be only on the six months until the end of the season, at which point a decision would be made with regards to the future,” Sullivan said. “We feel that it is right to move in a different direction. We aim to appoint a high-calibre figure who we feel will lead the club into an exciting future for our loyal supporters within the next 10 days.”

Allardyce arrived at Everton in November and still had 12 months to run on his contract with the Toffees, with Big Sam dragging Everton out of a relegation battle (Ronald Koeman was sacked in October) and into eighth place in the table but a late charge for a Europa League spot faltered.

Despite that huge upturn in results, plus the likes of Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun arriving in January, Everton’s fans didn’t enjoy the direct style of play Allarydce preferred and often booed the manager and his tactical decisions. He was adamant until last week that he would be in charge next season but Everton’s owner Farhad Moshiri has listened to the fans as the Toffees are searching for a third manager in the space of eight months.

Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale had the following to say on Big Sam’s departure.

“Sam was brought in at a challenging time last season to provide us with some stability and we are grateful to him for doing that,” Barrett-Baxendale said. “However, we have made the decision that, as part of our longer-term plan, we will be appointing a new manager this summer and will be commencing this process immediately.”

What is next for West Ham and Everton?

It has been reported that West Ham are in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonesca, while Everton are said to be interested in bringing Marco Silva to Goodison.

The latter left Watford in January after he was initially linked with taking charge of Everton before Big Sam did, but the Hornets blocked the move and then Silva’s side slumped drastically as he was fired.

The Premier League managerial merry-go-round keeps spinning…

Statistical guide to 2017-18 Premier League season

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Sometimes statistics tell new stories.

Take 2014-15, when Burnley was relegated but Kieran Trippier sneakily lead the Premier League in crosses and Aaron Cresswell did the same in minutes.

Both have turned into league mainstays.

[ MORE: U.S. players in the Premier League ]

So let’s dig into the numbers from what should be a Man City heavy run through the league leaderboard.

Most wins: Man City (32)

Most losses: Swansea City (21)

Most draws: Southampton (15)

Most goals: Man City (106)

Least goals: Swansea City and Huddersfield (28)

Most goals allowed: West Ham and Stoke City (68)

Least goals allowed: Man City (27)

Best goal differential: Man City (+79)

Worst goal differential: Stoke City (-33)

Most goals: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool (32)

Most assists: Kevin De Bruyne, Man City (16)

Yellow cards: Oriol Romeu, Southampton (11)

Team yellow cards: West Ham and West Brom (73)

Red cards: Jonjo Shelvey, Newcastle and Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester (2)

Team red cards: Leicester City (5)

Saves: Jack Butland, Stoke City (141)

Clean sheets: David De Gea, Manchester United (18)

Shots on target: Harry Kane, Spurs (76)

Shots attempted: Kane, Spurs (184)

Shots per game: Man City (17.5)

Least shots per game: Swans (8.9)

Minutes played: Several with 3420 (Jack Cork, Burnley; Lukasz Fabianski, Swans; Alfie Mawson, Swans; Asmir Begovic, Bournemouth; Lewis Dunk, Brighton; Jordan Pickford, Everton; Mat Ryan, Brighton; Harry Maguire, Leicester; Jonas Lossl, Huddersfield; Mathias Jorgensen, Huddersfield).

Fouls suffered: Richarlison, Watford (96)

Fouls committed: Luka Milivojevic, Crystal Palace (69)

Fouls committed per game: Everton (12.1)

Least fouls committed per game: Bournemouth (8.9)

Offsides: Jamie Vardy, Leicester City (45)

Crosses: De Bruyne, Man City (313)

Corner kicks: De Bruyne, Man City (154)

Penalty kicks attempted: Milivojevic, Palace (8)

Penalty kicks converted: Milivojevic, Palace (7)

Penalty kicks converted without a miss: Sergio Aguero, Man City (4)

Total touches: Nicolas Otamendi, Man City (7820)

Passes: Nicolas Otamendi, Man City (2791)

Pass percentage: Man City (89 percent)

Worst pass percentage: Burnley (70.5 percent)

Possession: Man City (66.4 percent)

Least possession: West Brom (42.8 percent)

Interceptions: Dunk, Brighton (99)

Interceptions per game: Yohan Cabaye, Palace (2.5)

Blocks: Kyle Naughton, Swansea (120)

Tackles: Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester (121)

Tackles per game: Huddersfield (19.6)

Least tackles per game: Bournemouth (13.4)

Highest rated, WhoScored.com: Aguero, Man City (7.81)

Lowest rated, WhoScored.com: Andre Gray, Watford (6.24)

Highest rated per 90, Squawka.com: Eden Hazard, Chelsea (57.82)

Lowest rated per 90, Squawka.com: James McClean, West Brom (-18.53)

Combined goals-assists: Riyad Mahrez to Vardy, Leicester (7)

Aerials won per game: Peter Crouch, Stoke and Christian Benteke, Palace (7.8)

Passing percentage: Andreas Christensen, Chelsea (93.4)

Worst pass percentage, non-GK: Sam Vokes, Burnley (49.4)

Offsides won per game: Christian Kabasele, Watford (1.3)

Clearances per game: Shane Duffy, Brighton (8.8)

Own goals: Dunk, Brighton (4)

Key passes per game: Mesut Ozil, Arsenal (3.2)

Dribbles per game: Hazard, Chelsea (4.9)

Long balls per game, non-GK: Jordan Henderson, Liverpool (5.6)

Everton to let Allardyce go, chase Silva (again) as replacement

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Sam Allardyce did exactly what he was expected to do in his first — and probably final — six months as Everton manager: stabilize a wayward side and guide them as far away from the Premier League’s relegation zone as possible.

[ MORE: Grades for all 20 PL clubs ]

Following the Toffees’ eighth-place finish, Allardyce is expected to be rewarded compensated with a hefty severance package — the full $8 million remaining on the 18-month contract he signed upon taking charge in November — when he is relieved of his duties as Everton boss this week.

According to widespread reports out of the UK, Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s major shareholder, is expected to meet with Allardyce later this week at which point he’ll inform him that his services are no longer required at the club. Allardyce’s brash demeanor and defensive style quickly rubbed the Goodison Park faithful the wrong way despite the massive uptick in form which coincided with his arrival following Ronald Koeman‘s departure (and David Unsworth‘s month of interim work).

[ PL REVIEWS: Clubs 20-15 | Clubs 14-10 | Clubs 9-5 ]

Moshiri is expected to renew his pursuit of former Watford manager Marco Silva, whom he chased — to no avail — to replace Koeman in the fall. Relations between Everton and Watford soured quickly, as the Hornets claimed an “unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival” unsettled the Portuguese manager and played a part in his side’s sharp downturn in form — one win in 11 PL games — which resulted in his dismissal in January.

The future of Wayne Rooney is also expected to be discussed — and, perhaps decided — when Moshiri meets with Rooney and/or his agent this week. A report from the Washington Post indicated on Monday that Rooney and MLS side D.C. United were “inching closer” to an agreement.