Premiership season preview

We ask Rob McCaffrey, the face of Showsports’ match coverage, what we can expect from the new season

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Arsenal

Position last season: 4th
Top scorer last season: Robin van Persie (11)
First game: Everton – August 15
Rob says: ‘Hard to predict, but Wenger always pulls it out of the bag.’

Aston Villa

Position last season: 6th
Top scorer last season: Gabriel Agbonlahor (12)
First game: Wigan Athletic – August 15
Rob says: ‘Maybe top six if they can hold onto Ashley Young.’

Birmingham City

Position last season: Promoted, 2nd.
Top scorer last season: Kevin Phillips (14)
First game: Manchester United – August 16
Rob says: ‘Alex McLeish is a top guy, so I really hope they do well.’

Blackburn Rovers

Position last season: 15th
Top scorer last season: Benny McCarthy (10)
First game: Manchester United – August 15
Rob says: ‘I don’t expect them to be in relegation trouble this time, but I don’t expect them to be troubling the top 10 either.’

Bolton Wanderers

Position last season: 13th
Top scorer last season: Kevin Davies (12)
First game: Sunderland – August 15
Rob says: ‘I think Gary Megson did great last year. If he can keep them mid table, he’s done well.’

Burnley

Position last season: Promoted via playoffs, 5th.
Top scorer last season: Martin Paterson (19)
First game: Stoke City – August 15
Rob says: ‘Will struggle, but Owen Coyle is a bright manager and they play attractive football.’

Chelsea

Position last season: 3rd
Top scorer last season: Nicolas Anelka (19)
First game: Hull City – August 15
Rob says: ‘Ancelotti is an interesting character. But bizzarely Man City and Madrid’s millions have left them hunting in the bargain basement.’

Everton

Position last season: 5th
Top scorer last season: Tim Cahill (8)
First game: Arsenal – August 15
Rob says: ‘Everton seem to over perform every season. You wonder when they’ll run out of gas, but they don’t.’

Fulham

Position last season: 7th
Top scorer last season: Clint Dempsey (7)
First game: Portsmouth – August 15
Rob says: ‘Brilliant last season. Need to add a few more players, though. A couple more.’


Hull City

Position last season: 17th
Top scorer last season: Deiberson Geovanni
First game: Chelsea – August 15
Rob says: ‘Phil Brown kept them up and he got people talking about Hull. I’d expect good things.’

Liverpool

Position last season: 2nd
Top scorer last season: Steven Gerrard (16)
First game: Tottenham Hotspur – August 16
Rob says: ‘They have Glen Johnson – he’s my player to watch – so could be top two.’

Manchester City

Position last season: 10th
Top scorer last season: De Souza Robinho (14)
First game: Blackburn Rovers – August 15
Rob says: ‘Will be wonderful to watch. If you’ve got all those players together, you’ve got half a chance.’

Manchester United

Position last season: 1st
Top scorer last season: Cristiano Ronaldo (18)
First game: Birmingham City – August 16
Rob says: ‘Won’t be the same without Ronaldo, but who would bet against them?’

Portsmouth

Position last season: 14th
Top scorer last season: Peter Crouch (11)
First game: Fulham – August 15
Rob says: ‘I think they’re going to struggle just because of all the uncertainty behind the scenes.’

Stoke City

Position last season: 12th
Top scorer last season: Ricardo Fuller (11)
First game: Burnley – August 15
Rob says: ‘I think they’ll be alright again, because they are so strong – just a sensible manager, Tony Pulis.’

Sunderland

Position last season: 16th
Top scorer last season: Djibril Cisse (10)
First game: Bolton Wanderers – August 15
Rob says: ‘If Steve Bruce can get them mid-table, that’s fine – you’ve got to have a bit of building going on.’

Tottenham Hotspur

Position last season: 8th
Top scorer last season: Darren Bent (12)
First game: Liverpool – August 16
Rob says: ‘With Keane and Defoe, they’ll have goals in them for sure.’

West Ham United

Position last season: 9th
Top scorer last season: Carlton Cole (10)
First game: Wolverhampton Wanderers – August 15
Rob says: ‘There were just some wonderful managerial performances last season – if they finish 10th again, I think it’ll be fantastic.’

Wigan Athlectic

Position last season: 11th
Top scorer last season: Amr Zaki (10)
First game: Aston Villa – August 15
Rob says: ‘Hard for Roberto Martinez coming in after what Steve Bruce did. They lost Antonio Valencia – it’s going to be a difficult.’

Wolves

Position last season: Promoted, 1st.
Top scorer last season: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (25)
First game: West Ham Utd – August 15
Rob says: ‘He’s one of my big mates, McCarthy, and an outstanding manager. I absolutely hope they can survive.’
The Premier League begins on Showsports on Saturday, August 15. Full game schedule can be found at www.premierleague.com. Info on Showtime at www.showtimearabia.com


Barasti
Screens: 26 including one big screen
Average pint: Dhs30
Deals: Buy Carlsberg for a chance to win a VIP trip to see Liverpool play.
Le Méridien Mina Seyahi (04 399 3333)

Boston Bar
Screens: 10
Average pint: Dhs30; Dhs24 happy hour
Deals: Beer of the month Dhs14.
Jumeirah Rotana (04 345 5888)

Double Decker
Screens: 14 including one big screen
Average pint: Dhs30; Dhs20 happy hour
Deals: Happy hour noon-8pm.
Al Murooj Rotana (04 321 1111), Old Town

Goodfellas
Screens: 29
Average pin: Dhs27; Dhs22 happy hour
Deals: Five bottles of beer for Dhs88; also happy hour 8pm-10pm.
Regal Plaza Hotel (04 355 6633), Bur Dubai

Fibber Magee’s
Screens: Seven including one projector
Average pint: Dhs28; Dhs20 happy hour
Deals: Happy hour 4pm-7pm.
Behind Saeed Tower, Sh Z Rd (04 332 3400)

The George & Dragon
Screens: Five plus one big screen
Average pint: Dhs20
Deals: Three pints and a curry for Dhs60 plus daily promotions.
Ambassador Hotel (04 393 9444), Bur Dubai

Icon Bar & Lounge
Screens: Five
Average pint: Dhs33
Deals: Happy hour for bottles, 4pm-7pm.
Radisson Blu (04 366 9111), Media City

Time Café
Screens: 57 including two big screens
Average pint: Dhs27; Dhs22 in happy hour
Deals: Five bottles of beer for Dhs125.
Royal Ramee Hotel (04 334 4088), Bur Dubai

The Underground Pub Stop
Screens: 17 including two big screens
Average pint: Dhs35
Deals: Five bottles of beer for Dhs125.
Habtoor Grand (04 399 5000)


Supporters' Clubs

Liverpool
With a grand total of 600 Reds at The Underground, Habtoor Grand, for the Chelsea v Liverpool game at the end of the last season, was a cracker. Members of this club get 30 per cent discount at The Underground and 20 per cent off at all other Habtoor Grand restaurants (except Grand Grill). It’s quite an organised outfit, with sign-ups directed to their website, www.dubaireds.com. Communications manager and dedicated Red, Russell Overy, reckons Liverpool are on for a good season: ‘They did very well last year, but I’m holding out judgement until we’ve got the final words on signings. Man United are weakened with the departure of Tevez, I think it’ll be a close run this season.’

Manchester City
The MCFC Supporters’ Club will be kicking off the season with a session at the Crown and Lion in the newly opened Byblos Hotel, Al Barsha. After that, venues are yet to be confirmed. Keep an eye on mcfcdubai.blogspot.com for info. No joining fees.

Manchester United
Dubai’s Red Devils return to Harvesters, Crowne Plaza, for yet another year of discount-fuelled devilry. Get a membership card by emailing mufc-uae@hotmail.com, and enjoy 20 per cent off beverages and 25 per cent off food on match day. A popular, active club.

And then there’s Tottenham…
Tottenham Hotspur fans once made Waxy O Conner’s their yard, but rumour has it the group has dispersed. You will still find a few Spurs fans floating around this Royal Ascot bar, however, come match day.

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