The Premiership 2006-07: Club-by-club guide (Arsenal-Man City)

Fans' Forum: Who we like, who we don't and who we should've signed
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Arsenal

The lowdown

Manager Arsène Wenger (appointed September 1996).

Last season Prem (4th), FA Cup (4th rnd), League Cup (semi-final), Champions' League (runners-up)

Good boy Thierry Henry (33 goals).

Bad boys Cesc Fabregas (7Y 1R).

Who's in Tomas Rosicky (Borussia Dortmund, £6.8m); Vincent van den Berg (Heerenveen, undisclosed); Joe O'Cearuill (Watford, undisclosed). Free Fran Merida (Barcelona).

Who's out Ryan Smith (Derby, undisclosed). Loans Kerrea Gilbert (Cardiff), Fabrice Muamba (Birmingham), Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham), Nicklas Bendtner (Birmingham). Frees Robert Pires (Villarreal); Sol Campbell (Portsmouth); Michael Jordan (Chesterfield); Michael Howard (Cardiff). Released Sean Kelly. Retired Dennis Bergkamp.

Total spent so far this summer £6.8m.

The questions

Answered by Steven Kell, 'Gunflash' magazine

Best performance last season? Real Madrid. We became the first top-flight team from the UK to win there.

And the worst? Bolton away, kicked off the park yet again.

Best player? Thierry Henry, the greatest player in the world, and under a new contract. Heaven!

And worst? Don't really have one.

Best young player? [Cesc] Fabregas has not just impressed for Arsenal but in the Premiership, Champions' League and on the world stage.

Money no object signing? [Juan Roman] Riquelme would be fantastic.

Money an object signing? Riquelme, we have the funds - let's get him.

Funniest moment last season? Chelsea being knocked out of Europe.

Best opponent? Curtis [Davies] of West Brom gave Thierry problems.

Best fans, besides your own? Villarreal, Wigan and FC Thun.

What would constitute a good season? To be in with a chance for the Premiership title and the Champions' League final come May.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? We gave Ronaldo stick anyway.

And is he the biggest diver? Take your pick: Joe Cole, [Frank] Lampard, [Didier] Drogba.

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? The clubs.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? Maybe! He will either be excellent or bloody awful; no in between with this guy.

Aston Villa

The lowdown

Manager Martin O'Neill (Aug 2006).

Last season Prem (16th), FA Cup (5th rnd), League Cup (4th rnd).

Good boy Milan Baros (12 goals).

Bad boy Gareth Barry (10Y 1R).

Who's in Yago Bellon (St Gallen, undisclosed); Damian Bellon (St Gallen, undisclosed).

Who's out Jamie Ward (Torquay, free).

The questions

Answered by Jonathan Browne, Villa fan for 40 years

Best performance last season? Birmingham at home 3-1. Aside from it being Birmingham, we desperately needed a good performance in a "six-pointer" and, for once, we got one.

And the worst? Doncaster Rovers away in the Carling Cup - a truly pathetic display that ended our only realistic chance of a trophy. On a positive note it was, with hindsight, the beginning of the end for [manager David] O'Leary.

Best player? Steve Davis. Remarkably consistent for one so young.

And worst? Milan Baros (complete waste of money), and Jlloyd Samuel (confidence shot and career going rapidly backwards).

Best young player? Steve Davis and Gary Cahill. Liam Ridgewell did OK and weighed in with a few goals, but I sense he still has a bit of growing up to do.

Money no object signing? Player - Fernando Torres. He'd score for fun in the Premiership, even for us. Manager - we've got him, thank you very much.

Money an object signing? James Milner, whom I was desperately sorry to see go back to Newcastle after he'd done really well for us.

Funniest moment last season? Steve Bruce's expression as he watched Liverpool tear his team apart at St Andrew's.

Whose was the best individual performance against you last season? Almost everyone played well against us last season - or seemed to anyway.

Best set of fans, besides your own? There's good and bad associated with every club but, if really pressed, Newcastle United.

What would constitute a good season? I'm a realist. There's a lot of work for Martin O'Neill to do so a good season would be top 10 in the Premiership, and maybe a cup semi-final to get the juices flowing.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo?

No! I think [Wayne] Rooney would have been sent off without his intervention.

And is he the biggest diver (if not then who else)? I think too many players "go to ground" easily and Ronaldo is no worse than the others.

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? The FA. If the clubs ran football, the game would be dead in five years.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? Don't care.

Blackburn Rovers

The lowdown

Manager Mark Hughes (Sep 2004).

Last season Prem (6th), FA Cup (4th rnd), League Cup (semi-finals).

Good boy Craig Bellamy (17 goals).

Bad boys L Neill, R Savage (12Y 1R).

Who's in Jason Roberts (Wigan, £3m); Benni McCarthy (Porto, £2.5m); Jason Brown (Gillingham, undisclosed). Free Francis Jeffers (Charlton). Loan Dwight Willen (Cercle Brugge).

Who's out Craig Bellamy (Liverpool, £6m); Jemal Johnson (Wolves, undisclosed). Frees Paul Dickov (Man City); Jerome Watt (Northampton); Gary Harkins (Grimsby Town). Released Lorenzo Amoruso; Vratislav Gresko.

Total spent so far this summer £5.5m.

The questions

Answered by Christine Peacock, chairman of the Disabled Supporters' Club

Best performance last season? Against Tottenham away, although we lost 3-2!

And the worst? Away again, 2-1 to Birmingham.

Best player? [Craig] Bellamy, but he's gone!

And worst? Can't think of anyone, not since [Corrado] Grabbi.

Best young player? Sergio Peter, our new wide man.

Money no object signing? Well [the manager Mark] Hughes is fantastic. Ronaldinho could get a game for us.

Money an object signing? We'd tempt Roy Keane out of retirement - no transfer fee - he'd do it to make up for when we lost out in 1993!

Funniest moment last season? [Tottenham's] Martin Jol squaring up to [Arsenal's] Arsène Wenger.

Best opponent? I was too busy watching Rovers to notice the opposition.

Best set of fans, besides your own? Arsenal fans. They treat you with a lot of respect.

What would constitute a good season? We've got to be sixth at least. And I think this club need to start going further in the Uefa Cup.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? Ronaldo is always falling over.

And is he the biggest diver? It was terrible when [El Hadji] Diouf won that penalty for Bolton against us with a dive.

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? I don't have much faith in the FA, so the clubs.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? I think [Sam] Allardyce would have done a better job. He would have shaken things up a bit. Even if he is the Bolton manager.

Bolton Wanderers

The lowdown

Manager Sam Allardyce (Oct 1999).

Last season Prem (8th), FA Cup (6th rnd), League Cup (quarter-finals); Uefa Cup (Last 16).

Good boy Stelios Giannakopoulos (12 goals).

Bad boy Kevin Davies (10Y).

Who's in Abdoulaye Meite (Marseilles, undisclosed); Dietmar Hamann (Liverpool, £400,000); Idan Tal (Maccabi Haifa, undisclosed). Free Quinton Fortune (Manchester United).

Who's out Radhi Jaidi (Birmingham, £2m); Dietmar Hamann (Man City, £400,000). Frees Kevin Poole (Derby); Bruno N'Gotty (Birmingham). Loan Chris Howarth (Oldham). Released Jay-Jay Okocha; Matt Jansen; Khalilou Fadiga; Oscar Perez; Bedi Buval. Retired Hidetoshi Nakata.

Total spent so far this summer £0.4m

The questions

Answered by Tony Pearson, chairman of Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Association

Best performance last season? 2-0 win at home to Arsenal.

And the worst? Abject failure in 1-4 defeat away to Man U (albeit not helped by injuries and fixtures pile-up). Best player? Ricardo Gardner.

And worst? Jared Borgetti who, despite scoring vital goals in the Uefa Cup, never adapted to the Premiership.

Best young player? The mercurial Tal Ben Haim. Also Joey O'Brien, who made it to the senior Ireland squad, and Ricardo Vaz Te, who has a great future.

Money no object signing? We don't want any other manager. Thierry Henry would be a nice player to have!

Money an object signing? No point in pipe-dreaming. The transfer market is more inflated than ever.

Best opponent? Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink gave us a torrid time in a close-fought game with Boro.

Best set of fans, besides your own? Liverpool's.

What would constitute a good season? Finishing no lower than last season, plus a run to the final in one of the cups.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? No. If you boo your opponents, it means you think they are not worth playing.

And is he the biggest diver? All the best divers are at Chelsea!

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? A combination of the two.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? No. Bolton's Bank Top Brewery have produced an ale named "Should Have Been Sam". But we are grateful that he is still with us at Bolton.

Charlton

The lowdown

Manager Iain Dowie (May 2006).

Last season Prem (13th), FA Cup (Quarter-finals), League Cup (4th rnd).

Good boy Darren Bent (22 goals).

Bad boy Luke Young (8Y).

Who's in Andy Reid (Tottenham, £3m); Djimi Traoré (Liverpool, £2m); Amdy Faye (Portsmouth, £2m); Simon Walton (Leeds, £1m); Gonzalo Sorondo (Internazionale, undisclosed); Mark Staunton (Celtic, undisclosed). Frees Cory Gibbs (Feyenoord); Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Middlesbrough). Loans Christian Bolanos (Deportivo Saprissa); Scott Carson (Liverpool).

Who's out frees Adam Cottrell (Millwall); Sheku Kamara (Watford); Francis Jeffers (Blackburn); Chris Perry (West Bromwich); Jay Bothroyd (Wolves); Chris Powell (Watford); Michael Ricketts (Gravesend). Loans Rob Elliot (Accrington Stanley). Released Shaun Bartlett; Jonathon Johansson; Jonathan Fortune.

Total spent so far this summer £8m.

The questions

Answered by David Hall, website editor of Addicksonline

Best performance last season? Middlesbrough away (3-0 win). I have never seen a Charlton team pass the ball so well. Breathtaking!

And the worst? Manchester City home (5-2 defeat). An awful performance.

Best player? Darren Bent. Should have played for England in the World Cup.

And worst? Matt Holland. You can watch a whole match and somehow you wonder if he actually played at all.

Best young player? Lloyd Sam.

Money no object signing? Michael Ballack. Just a shame Chelsea got in first.

Money an object signing? Kevin Nolan. Always seems to score against Charlton.

Funniest moment last season? Sunderland's points tally of 15 was a joke, wasn't it? How could Mick McCarthy just stand there and say, "Oh well, there's always next week" after so many defeats.

Best opponent? Henri Camara's hat-trick at the JJB Stadium was impressive.

Best set of fans, besides your own? Newcastle's fans are very passionate. Always a large crowd and very noisy.

What would constitute a good season? A mid-table finish.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? Ronaldo is undoubtedly a great footballer, but there is no need to dive and act the way he does.

And is he the biggest diver? He deserves everything he gets - until he grows up and plays professionally.

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? The Football Association has lost control, but there does need to be a governing body. I think the clubs need a fairer input into the game, not just Manchester United and Chelsea.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? No, I think England needed a complete change, and, sadly, McClaren is just a Eriksson cast-off. It is not going to work!

Chelsea

The lowdown

Manager Jose Mourinho (July 2004).

Last season Prem (1st), FA Cup (semi-final), League Cup (3rd rnd), Champions' League (quarter-final).

Good boy Frank Lampard (20 goals).

Bad boy Didier Drogba (9Y).

Who's in Andrei Shevchenko (Milan, £30.8m); Jon Obi Mikel (Lyn Oslo, £16m - £12m to Man U & £4m to Lyn); Ben Sahar (Hapoel Tel Aviv, £320,000); Hilario (Nacional de Madeira, undisclosed); Salomon Kalou (Feyenoord, undisclosed). Free Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich).

Who's out Eidur Gudjohnsen (Barcelona, £8.2m); Damien Duff (Newcastle, £5m); Asier del Horno (Valencia, £4.8m); Jiri Jarosik (Celtic, undisclosed). Frees Hernan Crespo (Internazionale); Dean Furman (Rangers); Lenny Pidgeley (Millwall); Filipe Morais (Millwall); Dean Smith (Aldershot); Danny Hollands (Bournemouth); Joe Tillen (MK Dons).

Loans Glen Johnson (Portsmouth); Anthony Grant (Wycombe).

Released Joe Keenan; James Younghusband; Jack Watkins.

Total spent so far this summer £47.16m.

The questions

Answered by Jez Walters from cfc.net

Best performance last season? Liverpool away in the League [Chelsea won 4-1, inflicting Liverpool's worst home defeat for 30 years].

And the worst? Liverpool at Old Trafford in the FA Cup semi-final [which Chelsea lost 2-1].

Best player? Joe Cole.

And worst? Robert Huth, in his brief appearances but, in fairness, he was short of match practice.

Best young player? Unquestionably Lassana Diarra: Makelele Mark II.

Money no object signing? [Andrei] Shevchenko, possibly [Michael] Ballack... ah, we already have them!

Funniest moment last season? Fergie's face after the title-clinching third goal by Ricardo Carvalho.

Best opponent? Barcelona's Messi in the Champions' League. Luis Boa Morte also stood out in the defeat to Fulham.

Best fans, besides your own? It's more than my life's worth to say...

What would constitute a good season? Premiership and Champions' League winners.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? We always have. He's a show pony.

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? The FA is totally incompetent but clubs are also out for themselves. But the clubs constitute the lesser of two evils.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? Yes, once John Terry was made captain.

Everton

The lowdown

Manager David Moyes (March 2002)

Last season Prem (11th), FA Cup (4th rnd), League Cup (3rd rnd), Champions' League (3rd qualifying rnd).

Good boy James Beattie (11 goals).

Bad boy Phil Neville (10Y 2R).

Who's in Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace, £8.6m); Joleon Lescott (Wolves, £5.5m); Scott Spencer (Oldham, undisclosed). Loans Tim Howard (Manchester United, season).

Who's out Laurence Wilson (Chester City, undisclosed). Frees Li Tie (Sheffield United). Released Duncan Ferguson; James Harris; Paul Hopkins; Christian Seargeant; Sean Wright; Stephen Wynne. Retired Nigel Martyn.

Total spent so far this summer £14.1m.

The questions

Answered by Michael Kenrick (editor) and Lyndon Lloyd (webmaster) of the online Everton fanzine ToffeeWeb.com

Best performance last season? It's a toss-up between the 3-1 win over Fulham and the 4-1 victory over Aston Villa.

And the worst? The 4-0 home defeat against Bolton or the away drubbing by the same score at the hands of West Bromwich Albion. Best young player? Victor Anichebe showed lots of promise last season.

Money no object signing? Tomas Rosicky.I'm deeply envious Arsenal have brought him to the Premiership.

Money an object signing? Maksym Kalinichenko, who starred for the Ukraine, or Mark van Bommel, of the Netherlands, would be viable targets.

Funniest moment last season? Richard Wright twisting his ankle on a sign in the Stamford Bridge goalmouth clearly telling people not to warm up there was pretty farcical.

Best opponent? Nolberto Solano for Newcastle at St James' Park.

Best fans, besides your own? Manchester City - fellow long-suffering fans of a team living in the shadow of their spoilt neighbours!

What would constitute a good season? A good season would be top-six finish, European qualification and a decent cup run.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? It would be hard to find a more prolific diver, but why waste the energy on booing him?

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? It should be the clubs as the FA don't seem able to look after everyone's best interests.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? Let's reserve judgement.

Fulham

The lowdown

Manager Chris Coleman (April 2003).

Last season Prem (12th), FA Cup (3rd rnd), League Cup (3rd rnd).

Good boy Luis Boa Morte (12 goals).

Bad boy Luis Boa Morte (10Y 1R).

Who's in Jimmy Bullard (Wigan, £2.5m); Gabriel Zakuani (Leyton Orient, undisclosed); Franck Queudrue (Middlesbrough, undisclosed), Bjorn Runstrom (Hammarby, undisclosed).

Who's out Dean Leacock (Derby, £375,000); Darren Pratley (Swansea, £100,000); Liam Fontaine (Bristol City, tribunal); Frees Neale McDermott (Carlisle); Adam Green (Grays); Zesh Rehman (QPR). Loans Ricardo Batista (Wycombe); Tony Warner (Leeds). Released Alain Goma; Facundo Sava; Robert Watkins; Richard De Villiers.

Total spent so far this summer £2.5m.

The questions

Answered by John Aitken, press officer at Fulham Supporters' Club

Best performance last season? Er, Chelsea at the Cottage [Fulham won 1-0].

And the worst? Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. We should have got a draw!

Best player? Boa Morte.

And worst? We had some very poor defensive displays last season.

Best young player? Liam Rosenior.

Money no object signing? A 27-year-old Alan Shearer.

Money an object signing? Alan Shearer now.

Funniest moment last season? Has to be David James slicing the ball twice in two attempts.

Best opponent? John Terry by miles.

Best fans, besides your own? Newcastle.

What would constitute a good season? A top 10 finish. In the last few seasons we have had no problem getting into the top 10 in the first half of the season, just not able to sustain it at the end.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? Boo Ronaldo? Us?

And is he the biggest diver? There are too many. Refs should wise up to it.

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? Neither. A professional body should be set up with a a mix of club, FA and supporter representatives.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? Time will tell, but probably yes.

Liverpool

The lowdown

Manager Rafael Benitez (Jun 2004).

Last season Prem (3rd), FA Cup (winners), League Cup (3rd rnd), Champions' League (last 16).

Good boy Steven Gerrard (22).

Bad boy Mohamed Sissoko (Y9 1R).

Who's in Dirk Kuyt (Feyenoord, £9m); Craig Bellamy (Blackburn, £6m); Gabriel Paletta (Atletico Banfield, £2m); Jermaine Pennant (Birmingham, £8m), Mark Gonzalez (Albacete, £3.5m). Free Fabio Aurelio (Valencia).

Who's out Fernando Morientes (Valencia, £3m); Djimi Traoré (Charlton, £2m); Antonio Barragan (Deportivo La Coruña, £680,000); Dietmar Hamann (Manchester City via Bolton, £400,000); Bruno Cheyrou (Rennes, undisclosed); Carl Medjani (Leyton Orient, undisclosed); Michael Nardiello (West Bromwich, undisclosed). Free Ramon Calliste (Scunthorpe); Conal Platt (Bournemouth); Zak Whitbread (Millwall); David Raven (Carlisle); Loans Chris Kirkland (Wigan); Djibril Cissé (Marseilles); Danny O'Donnell (Crewe); Scott Carson (Charlton); Darren Potter (Wolves). Released Salif Diao.

Total spent so far this summer £28.5m.

The questions

Answered by John Pearman, editor of 'Red All Over the Land'

Best performance last season? The FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

And the worst? Fulham, away, lost 2-0 and deserved nothing from the game.

Best player? Steven Gerrard.

And worst? Josemi.

Best young player? Momo Sissoko. Given time he'll be a special talent.

Money no object signing? I'll leave it to Rafa [Benitez].

Money an object signing? I'll still leave it to Rafa.

Funniest moment last season? Gary Neville facing the wrath at Anfield after his histrionics at Old Trafford.

Best opponent? West Bromwich's goalkeeper [Tomasz Kuszczak].

Best fans, besides your own? West Ham's, before, during and after the FA Cup final.

What would constitute a good season? One I enjoy.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? Only the morons will boo, but who cares?

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? Whoever it is, the fans will be a long way down the pecking order.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? I'm glad he's the England manager, it might make going to Middlesbrough more interesting... but only might.

Manchester City

The lowdown

Manager Stuart Pearce (March 2005).

Last season Prem (15th), FA Cup (6th rnd), League Cup (2nd rnd).

Good boys A Cole & D Vassell (10 goals).

Bad boy Joey Barton (10Y 1R).

Who's in Andreas Isaksson (Rennes, £2m); Bernardo Corradi (Valencia, £2m); Joe Hart (Shrewsbury, £600,000 rising to £1.5m); Dietmar Hamann (Liverpool via Bolton, £400,000). Frees Paul Dickov (Blackburn); Ousmane Dabo (Lazio); Hatem Trabelsi (Ajax).

Who's out David James (Portsmouth, £1.2m); Bradley Wright-Phillips (Southampton, £750,000); Lee Croft (Norwich £600,000); Willo Flood (Cardiff City, undisclosed). Frees David Sommeil (Sheff Utd); Mikkel Bischoff (Coventry). Released Geert de Vlieger; Tuomas Haapala; Ian Bennett; Karl Bermingham; Paul Collins; Michael Ward.

Total spent so far this summer £5m.

The questions

Answered by Ric Turner, editor of bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk, an online City fanzine

Best performance last season? The 5-2 victory over Charlton at The Valley was a devastating display.

And the worst? The FA Cup defeat to West Ham was our best opportunity of reaching a Cup final for 25 years.

Best player? No one really excelled, but I'll say Richard Dunne.

And worst? I'd have to say Danny Mills.

Best young player? The pick of a fine academy bunch is Micah Richards.

Money no object signing? Lionel Messi.

Money an object signing? Steed Malbranque, or maybe Steve Sidwell.

Funniest moment last season? Stuart Pearce threatening Ryan Giggs (" Don't you dare score against my team").

Best opponent? Aaron Lennon.

Best fans, besides your own? Sunderland - a credit to their club.

What would constitute a good season? City fans are pessimists, so anything above 15th is success.

Will you boo Cristiano Ronaldo? We'd have booed him regardless.

And is he the biggest diver? He probably is the Premiership's biggest culprit, though Joe Cole isn't far behind.

Who should run the game: the clubs or the FA? The FA may well be incompetent, but if big clubs were free to negotiate their own TV deals, the gulf between them and the rest would grow.

Steve McClaren: Yes, or no? Definitely no.

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