Outlook (on 11 September 2013): Lack of firepower is sure to be the Northern Monkeys manager’s biggest worry this term. Not only does the team start with Titus Bramble forfeit player Emmanuel Mayuka, who’s been farmed out on loan to France, but Victor Anichebe has been knocked down the pecking order with the arrival of new strikers in Merseyside.
There aren’t many more goals in midfield. Marquee signing David Silva tends to enjoy a short purple patch each season, but like Antonio Valencia mainly picks up the odd assist. Since Damien Duff’s over the hill, it’s left to Kevin Nolan to find the net.
In defence it’s a better story. Vorm, Huth, Vertonghen and Mertesacker are regular starters bought for a decent price at auction. All of which leaves plenty in the kitty going into October’s transfer window. The manager will need every penny if he wants to avoid an anonymous mid-table finish for the second consecutive season.
Outlook: Shrewd auction business from the debutant, but questions remain over Edin Dzeko’s ability to hold down a starting place and whether Papiss Cisse’s can carry over the incredible form he displayed last season. Will the outcome of an FA investigation affect appearance points in defence?