The North American’s Sports Fans Guide to the 2015-16 EPL season

The EPL season begins on Saturday as 20 teams will be hoping that this is the year that their team can have a special season and take their team to new heights.

For those who don’t know, the EPL is very different from leagues in North America. The standings first and foremost are located in one division and every team will play every other team home and away for a total of 38 games. There is also a FA Cup and League Cup that is seperate from the league standings.

For the North American that isn’t familiar with the EPL, here is your guide to the 2015-2016 season.

Arsenal

Based in North London, Arsenal is a very strong team with rich tradition. They often make the UEFA Champions League and are a notch below rivals Chelsea.

American comparison: New England Patriots.

A very strong team but other teams tend to hate them. Be careful about jumping on the bandwagon of this team, their team name is the gunners and their logo looks like a board game piece from the board game Risk. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to be known as a gunner.

Teams goal: Win Title


Aston Villa

This team is your stereotypical middle of the pack team. Some years are good and some years are bad. Last year they had a very bad year and almost got relegated. In the off-season they sold their best player but are looking to have a good year with Tim Sherwood still in charge.

American comparison: Carolina Hurricanes.

Both teams have had success in the past but are struggling of late.

Teams goal: Top 12 finish


Bournemouth

Smallest team in the Premier League this year. Their stadium is very small with just over 10,000 seats. They are also the most southern team in the Premier League. This year marks the first year that Bournemouth will be competing in England’s top flight division.

American comparison: Miami Marlins.

Both teams are small but close to the ocean. The Marlins have never won a division title and Bournemouth has never played a game up until Saturday in the premier league. In addition, both teams fancy stadiums. Problem is, fancy doesn’t get where you any points when it matters.

Teams goal: Avoid relegation


Chelsea

Lots of tradition with this team. It seems that whatever the amount of money they choose to spend, never works out to winning many titles. In other words they under achieve. Personally, I thought they were the best team in Europe last year, however they bowed out in the Round of 16 in the Champions League to PSG.

American comparison: Boston Red Sox.

Up until 2012 Chelsea had never won the UEFA Champions League, since then they are title contenders in Europe. Very similar to the Red Sox who after won the World Series in 2004, seem to be contenders every year but still underachieve themselves as well.


Crystal Palace

Third consecutive year in the Premier League, small fan base but loud fans.

American comparison: Calgary Flames.

Both teams have had limited success in the past but both are on the rise now. When the Flames are good the Sadledome can be a very intimidating place. Same can be said for Crystal Palace who also have passionate fans. A moment of glory for the Flames was their 1989 Stanley Cup victory. The moment of glory for Crystal Palace was their 1990 FA Cup Final appearance. The Calgary Flames theme song is “Ring of Fire” and every fan knows the words. Crystal Palace’s theme song is “Glad All Over” that gets the fans going before the game.

Teams goal: Top 10 finish


Everton

Their logo looks like something from Hogwarts in Harry Potter. Nevertheless Everton is competitive but always seem to be in the shadow of Liverpool.

American comparison: Washington Redskins.

Both franchises are competitive but haven’t been able to get to the next level. Everton competed in the Europa League last year whereas the Redskins made a splash in the NFL playoffs in 2013 before losing to the Seahawks.

Teams goal: clinch a Europa League spot


Leicester City 

They had a very strong finish last year to avoid relegation. It will be interesting to see if they can manage to maintain this success into this year.

American comparison: Sacramento Kings.

Both teams struggle to stay in the league that they’re currently in. Furthermore, both teams haven’t tasted success in awhile. So, there is always hope right?

Teams goal: Avoid relegation


Liverpool

Lots of history with this team as well. They compete most years for a Champions League place but don’t get there every year. They haven’t won a League Title since 1989. However they almost saw it two years ago until Liverpool blew a 3-0 lead at Palace to cost themselves a chance at the Title.

American comparison: Dallas Cowboys.

Both teams have a lot of followers world-wide but neither team can win the big game. Last Champions League title was 2005 for Liverpool. Dallas was on pace to win the Super Bowl in 2007 until Romo couldn’t get it done against the Giants and well you know Dez Bryant’s inability of making a “football move at Lambeau Field during last year’s playoff.

Teams goal: Qualify for Champions League


Manchester City

Man City struggled for many years until the late 2000’s when they started to compete and then finally winning the EPL title in 2012. They are in the shadow of Man U who strives to win the title every year.

American comparison: LA Clippers.

Clippers also were the laughing-stock within their own state for many years, and lost the spotlight from their opposing home town team, but lately have greatly improved. Now, the tables have turned and Manchester City appears to be much better than Man United, the same way the Clippers are exceeding the Lakers.

Teams goal: Win League Title


Manchester United

Richest team with the most fame. Everyone says they are a Man United fan, even if they don’t watch or hate soccer.

American comparison: New York Yankees.

Easiest comparison there is. Both teams win lots and everyone has an opinion about them. If you support another team, you hate them. Pretty simple.

Teams goal: Win League Title


Newcastle United

They have a strong past but recently have fallen off the radar.

American comparison: Detroit Pistons.

Neither team has had much success lately but the Pistons won the NBA Title in 2004 and provided a strong self impression. Newcastle’s last appearance in the Champions League was way back in 2003. While Newcastle hasn’t gone over the hump recently, this might be the best chance they have of clinching past relegation and into a top finish.

Teams goal: Top 15 finish


Norwich City

Newly promoted Norwich City has a had recent success in the Premier League before being relegated two years ago. Out of  Bournemouth, Norwich and Watford, they might have the best chance out of all of them to stay up.

American comparison: Charlotte Hornets.

Both teams have a tough time competing but also have a bright chance in the future.

Teams goal: Avoid relegation


Southampton

Small team in the south with limited resources but lately have done a great job building. They will be competing in the Europa League for the first time in their club’s history.

American Comparison: Houston Texans.

Both teams have came a long way in a decade but both teams also have a long way to go before they can compete with the big boys.

Teams goal: Qualify for Europa League


Stoke City

They have made a climb in the standings in the past few years and it’s quite remarkable considering how much money they spend.

American comparison: Oakland Athletics.

Soccer’s version of Money Ball. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. Both teams don’t spend much money now but in the same way it’s crazy that they still compete the way these teams do.

Teams goal: Top 12 Finish


Sunderland

By avoiding relegation the last two years, Sunderland felt reassured that they would finally turn the ship around. Nonethless they did, but completing way too many ties avoided a strong finish. Many years ago, this team used to be league favorites but as of late has lost their edge.

American comparison: Toronto Maple Leafs.

Both teams are many years away from competing again and have the players to make a run to promise. Dating back to their glory days, both were top dogs of the league, though its been awhile. For Sunderland it was the 50’s and for Toronto it was the 60’s.

Teams goal: Avoid relegation


Swansea City

Team based in Whales and yes, this is allowed. They have had great success the last decade or so after being in the 4th tier of English football not to long ago.

American comparison: Toronto Raptors.

Both teams had somewhat hit a glass ceiling. Raptors with the first round of the NBA playoffs and with Swansea City, making it through the league table has always been their steepest challenge. Considering where Swansea City is placed this year, it will be tough yet again to make it past the 7th spot.

Teams goal: Top 10 finish


Tottenham Hotspur

A London based team that have a history of losing right when you think they are just about to win big. They consistently compete in the Europa League despite having aspirations on transferring to the Champions League for the past six years.

American comparison: Chicago Cubs.

Both teams are in a big city with long droughts. The Spurs haven’t won the league title since 1961 while the Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908. Do I need to say more? Both teams believe they have a strong future, yet for now a championship isn’t happening.

Teams goal: Qualify for Champions League


Watford

Not much success in the Premier League era. Watford will take a chance to gain recognition as a newly promoted club. If you’re a fan of Elton John, this is the team for you. He once owned the team back in the day. Staying up will be a challenge but not impossible.

American comparison: Columbus Blue Jackets.

Both teams struggle but like most small teams, there is always hope. In both teams cases there are just too many good teams they are competing with.

Teams goal: Avoid relegation


West Bromwhich Albion

They haven’t been strong in a while. However in the last few years there has been a bit of progress.

American comparison: Pittsburgh Pirates.

Both teams are small markets but have gotten better quickly lately. Hopefully for West Brom’s fans a playoff chance is in the future. (Likely Europa League) just like the Pirates got in the playoffs last year.

Teams goal: Top 15 finish


West Ham United

They struggle competing as a team in London. Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are all much better than West Ham. Currently, they’re competing in the Europa League because of a “Fair Play” birth they received. I’m not making this stuff up. Could you imagine if the Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs because they had the least amount of fighting majors? Yes, soccer is silly sometimes.

American comparison: New York Jets.

Both teams are in big cities that our overshadowed by very successful sports teams.

Team Goals: Avoid relegation

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