How Would An All Irish Team Do In The Premiership – Part 2
September 7, 2017 (No Comments) by Ryan Corry

Before I go any further, if you haven’t read part one of this series where I picked my Irish selection and outlined my tactics and rules for the season, you can read that here.

Huddersfield are the team we’ve sacrificed in place of Ireland so from this point forward, we’ll look at their fixtures month by month and where we think the Irish team would finish in the Premier League 17/18.

So let’s forget the drab results and understand we have a squad of many Premiership players who should hold themselves to higher standards. Let’s get right into it.

premiership-irish

AUGUST – 4

Not the most difficult of starts to life in the Premier League for the Republic of Ireland selection with Crystal Palace (a), Newcastle (h) and Southampton (h) in the first three games of the season. I think that four from a possible nine points is how our selection would perform against this opposition and here’s why..

New managers for both Palace and Southampton make them an unknown prospect and because De Boer comes from the Ajax school of thought, I predict Palace to try and control possession and dictate games more than they did under the tutelage of Big Sam. As we have seen in the past, this type of play takes time to really gel so a stubborn opposition could easily go and cause problems and earn a draw which is what Ireland would do.

Our three points will come at the hands of Southampton who have recently appointed Mauricio Pellegrino as their manager. He’s not a manager I rate massively and I think a robust approach could easily see his light Southampton team caused problems. Three points for the Irish. Newcastle on the other hand are a very good balanced side and I would expect them to be a bit too clever for my lineup with Benitez at the helm.

SEPTEMBER – 4

A trip to West Ham, who weren’t necessarily comfortable in their new home last season, is a big banana skin for any team this year. They’ve made some good buys and for that reason I think we’ll be taking a loss. The same applies for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur in the final game of the month for obvious reasons. Spurs are an excellent side with the best coach in the league.

As for Leicester, I don’t think Iheanacho and Maguire are the answer for them. Maguire was part of a relegated back-line while the former Man City striker is unproven as a regular top level goalscorer. My team are good for a draw depending on the form of Jamie Vardy and co. Finally, our sole win of the month will come against Burnley. Turf Moor is viewed as a very tough place to go BUT they have lost their strong Irish contingent leaving them bare and in danger of going down. Three points!

OCTOBER – 2

Away from home to Swansea, I’d fancy Ireland to get a draw especially as Sigurdsson is out of the picture while there is a good chance of a result against either Man United (h) or Liverpool (a).

If you look at Ireland in qualifying campaigns, Ireland have been able to pull results out of the bag against the likes of Germany when it mattered most so I would fancy them to hold the big sides to draws throughout the season.

NOVEMBER – 6

November will start well with wins against West Brom (h) and Bournemouth (a). While West Brom are notorious for their defensive quality under Tony Pulis, they wouldn’t consider this Ireland side as a top level team so they wouldn’t resort to their 11 behind the ball tactics. Players like Hoolahan and Maguire would have enough about them to cause trouble.

I also view Bournemouth as three points due to their defensive frailties. Without Harry Arter and Jack Wilshere, they lack creativity in the middle of the park which could lead to a 1-0 for Ireland.
Inevitable losses to Man City (h) and Arsenal (a) would follow. Guardiola’s team will be a different animal this year while Arsenal at the Emirates are always tough to beat or even get the ball off.

DECEMBER – 11

The festive fixture pile-up could be a fruitful one for this Ireland squad with some very interesting games.  Away to Everton and home to Chelsea I would view as inevitable losses due to their strength while the rest of the games are a mixed bag.

Draws would come against Watford (a) and Southampton (a). I think Watford have failed to strengthen significantly in this window and Troy Deeney can’t carry the goalscoring burden on his own. However, Marco Silva made Hull into a force at home last season and I’d expect him to have them solid at the back and retaining possession. For the same reason I expect to beat them at home, we’ll get a draw at Southampton.

Brighton, Stoke and Burnley (all h) will be three point games for Ireland. Brighton will struggle to make a major impact due to lack of experience in the Premier League while Stoke are a team that could be in the danger of the drop. Their main attacking threat in Arnautovic is now with West Ham and hasn’t been suitably replaced. Burnely, as with Southampton, were already discussed above.

JANUARY – 5

West Ham don’t travel well and will be a three pointer for an Irish team that have a very strong home record. Stoke City is always a tough trip so I can see them having a bit too much for my selection.
Now, on to Leicester and Liverpool. I see both of these games as draws for very similar reasons. Ireland have a good defensive structure and concede very few goals in competition. Liverpool’s marquee signing has been Salah, who is just another Mane. They, along with Leicester, rely on pace and counter attacking to get in behind teams but what happens when those teams don’t go high. It leaves those speed merchants getting the ball to feet and often running into trouble.

FEBRUARY – 3

Two tough away games to Manchester United and West Brom could leave us in trouble for the month of February. Both of those teams have added further physical and goalscoring power to their line-ups over the summer transfer window and will be improving on last season’s finish.

Bournemouth represents the best opportunity for three points and I think that, again without Harry Arter, they will be less of a team. They’ve strengthened defensively but failed to add a much needed midfielder while it will be interesting to see how Jermain Defoe does with them.

MARCH – 7

Opening up the month of the march is trip to Wembley to take on Tottenham Hotspur who will be once again aiming to win the title. They will have far too much for this Ireland team, particularly in the wide open Wembley pitch.

Swansea are set to lose their key man Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton so assuming he makes that move, they will be a lesser team. Paul Clement will have a massive job on his hands to keep them up. They will struggle without their main playmaker against a defensive unit like Ireland’s. The same will apply the week after for Crystal Palace who will possibly be better at their new gameplan than the opening day of the season but will still struggle to break us down.

A point away to Newcastle is a good result for any team in mid table. They have a history of taking some very big scalps on home turf as long as they are going well and have the crowd on their side.

APRIL – 6

Brighton (a) is another great opportunity to get three points. They are my favourites to go back down again and will be deflated at this stage of the season provided that they are performing as predicted.
Home games against Watford and Everton are tough to call and I think that one victory will come off the back of those two games. Watford will be strong under Silva while Everton have spent very wisely and will be pushing to break into that top six and maybe higher.

A trip to Stamford Bridge is the remaining fixture and there is no explanation needed for how tough that is going to be.

MAY – 1

Nobody in their worst nightmares could imagine getting Chelsea, Everton, Man City and Arsenal in their final four Premier League games in their first season after promotion. Unfortunately for Huddersfield and my imaginary Irish team, that is what is ahead of them.

With City spending heavily and another year under the guidance of Guardiola at their backs, they will be a force to be reckoned with and are many people’s favourites to go on and win the title. The Etihad visit doesn’t represent a realistic chance of three points.

On the other hand, Arsenal will have the same old problem of being light in midfield with only Xhaka providing real strength. They can be easily bullied by teams and a hostile Aviva stadium could be the perfect recipe to steal a point from them.

POINTS TOTAL – 49

In part three, we’ll look at where our Irish selection are likely to finish up the season with the points total that we’ve accumulated throughout the year and why!

Ryan Corry
Jack of all trades, master of none. Optimistic Sunday league footballer and occasional PRO. Claim To Fame – I once played Minor at the age of 20.

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How Would An All Irish Team Do In The Premiership – Part 2
September 7, 2017 (No Comments) by Ryan Corry

Before I go any further, if you haven’t read part one of this series where I picked my Irish selection and outlined my tactics and rules for the season, you can read that here.

Huddersfield are the team we’ve sacrificed in place of Ireland so from this point forward, we’ll look at their fixtures month by month and where we think the Irish team would finish in the Premier League 17/18.

So let’s forget the drab results and understand we have a squad of many Premiership players who should hold themselves to higher standards. Let’s get right into it.

premiership-irish

AUGUST – 4

Not the most difficult of starts to life in the Premier League for the Republic of Ireland selection with Crystal Palace (a), Newcastle (h) and Southampton (h) in the first three games of the season. I think that four from a possible nine points is how our selection would perform against this opposition and here’s why..

New managers for both Palace and Southampton make them an unknown prospect and because De Boer comes from the Ajax school of thought, I predict Palace to try and control possession and dictate games more than they did under the tutelage of Big Sam. As we have seen in the past, this type of play takes time to really gel so a stubborn opposition could easily go and cause problems and earn a draw which is what Ireland would do.

Our three points will come at the hands of Southampton who have recently appointed Mauricio Pellegrino as their manager. He’s not a manager I rate massively and I think a robust approach could easily see his light Southampton team caused problems. Three points for the Irish. Newcastle on the other hand are a very good balanced side and I would expect them to be a bit too clever for my lineup with Benitez at the helm.

SEPTEMBER – 4

A trip to West Ham, who weren’t necessarily comfortable in their new home last season, is a big banana skin for any team this year. They’ve made some good buys and for that reason I think we’ll be taking a loss. The same applies for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur in the final game of the month for obvious reasons. Spurs are an excellent side with the best coach in the league.

As for Leicester, I don’t think Iheanacho and Maguire are the answer for them. Maguire was part of a relegated back-line while the former Man City striker is unproven as a regular top level goalscorer. My team are good for a draw depending on the form of Jamie Vardy and co. Finally, our sole win of the month will come against Burnley. Turf Moor is viewed as a very tough place to go BUT they have lost their strong Irish contingent leaving them bare and in danger of going down. Three points!

OCTOBER – 2

Away from home to Swansea, I’d fancy Ireland to get a draw especially as Sigurdsson is out of the picture while there is a good chance of a result against either Man United (h) or Liverpool (a).

If you look at Ireland in qualifying campaigns, Ireland have been able to pull results out of the bag against the likes of Germany when it mattered most so I would fancy them to hold the big sides to draws throughout the season.

NOVEMBER – 6

November will start well with wins against West Brom (h) and Bournemouth (a). While West Brom are notorious for their defensive quality under Tony Pulis, they wouldn’t consider this Ireland side as a top level team so they wouldn’t resort to their 11 behind the ball tactics. Players like Hoolahan and Maguire would have enough about them to cause trouble.

I also view Bournemouth as three points due to their defensive frailties. Without Harry Arter and Jack Wilshere, they lack creativity in the middle of the park which could lead to a 1-0 for Ireland.
Inevitable losses to Man City (h) and Arsenal (a) would follow. Guardiola’s team will be a different animal this year while Arsenal at the Emirates are always tough to beat or even get the ball off.

DECEMBER – 11

The festive fixture pile-up could be a fruitful one for this Ireland squad with some very interesting games.  Away to Everton and home to Chelsea I would view as inevitable losses due to their strength while the rest of the games are a mixed bag.

Draws would come against Watford (a) and Southampton (a). I think Watford have failed to strengthen significantly in this window and Troy Deeney can’t carry the goalscoring burden on his own. However, Marco Silva made Hull into a force at home last season and I’d expect him to have them solid at the back and retaining possession. For the same reason I expect to beat them at home, we’ll get a draw at Southampton.

Brighton, Stoke and Burnley (all h) will be three point games for Ireland. Brighton will struggle to make a major impact due to lack of experience in the Premier League while Stoke are a team that could be in the danger of the drop. Their main attacking threat in Arnautovic is now with West Ham and hasn’t been suitably replaced. Burnely, as with Southampton, were already discussed above.

JANUARY – 5

West Ham don’t travel well and will be a three pointer for an Irish team that have a very strong home record. Stoke City is always a tough trip so I can see them having a bit too much for my selection.
Now, on to Leicester and Liverpool. I see both of these games as draws for very similar reasons. Ireland have a good defensive structure and concede very few goals in competition. Liverpool’s marquee signing has been Salah, who is just another Mane. They, along with Leicester, rely on pace and counter attacking to get in behind teams but what happens when those teams don’t go high. It leaves those speed merchants getting the ball to feet and often running into trouble.

FEBRUARY – 3

Two tough away games to Manchester United and West Brom could leave us in trouble for the month of February. Both of those teams have added further physical and goalscoring power to their line-ups over the summer transfer window and will be improving on last season’s finish.

Bournemouth represents the best opportunity for three points and I think that, again without Harry Arter, they will be less of a team. They’ve strengthened defensively but failed to add a much needed midfielder while it will be interesting to see how Jermain Defoe does with them.

MARCH – 7

Opening up the month of the march is trip to Wembley to take on Tottenham Hotspur who will be once again aiming to win the title. They will have far too much for this Ireland team, particularly in the wide open Wembley pitch.

Swansea are set to lose their key man Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton so assuming he makes that move, they will be a lesser team. Paul Clement will have a massive job on his hands to keep them up. They will struggle without their main playmaker against a defensive unit like Ireland’s. The same will apply the week after for Crystal Palace who will possibly be better at their new gameplan than the opening day of the season but will still struggle to break us down.

A point away to Newcastle is a good result for any team in mid table. They have a history of taking some very big scalps on home turf as long as they are going well and have the crowd on their side.

APRIL – 6

Brighton (a) is another great opportunity to get three points. They are my favourites to go back down again and will be deflated at this stage of the season provided that they are performing as predicted.
Home games against Watford and Everton are tough to call and I think that one victory will come off the back of those two games. Watford will be strong under Silva while Everton have spent very wisely and will be pushing to break into that top six and maybe higher.

A trip to Stamford Bridge is the remaining fixture and there is no explanation needed for how tough that is going to be.

MAY – 1

Nobody in their worst nightmares could imagine getting Chelsea, Everton, Man City and Arsenal in their final four Premier League games in their first season after promotion. Unfortunately for Huddersfield and my imaginary Irish team, that is what is ahead of them.

With City spending heavily and another year under the guidance of Guardiola at their backs, they will be a force to be reckoned with and are many people’s favourites to go on and win the title. The Etihad visit doesn’t represent a realistic chance of three points.

On the other hand, Arsenal will have the same old problem of being light in midfield with only Xhaka providing real strength. They can be easily bullied by teams and a hostile Aviva stadium could be the perfect recipe to steal a point from them.

POINTS TOTAL – 49

In part three, we’ll look at where our Irish selection are likely to finish up the season with the points total that we’ve accumulated throughout the year and why!

Ryan Corry
Jack of all trades, master of none. Optimistic Sunday league footballer and occasional PRO. Claim To Fame – I once played Minor at the age of 20.

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