ESPL Off-Season 5: Preview Time!

coveresplIt’s been a long year, a long wait, and we now finally get to the preview edition of Season 2 now with commentary from the best in the league. It’s time to talk about the ESPL.

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Season 1 was a nail biter, as the league wasn’t won until the very end. We couldn’t have hoped for a better finish and Gothica came out on top as the club to beat for Season 2, defending their championship isn’t going to be an easy feat. Let’s see what we can tell about this upcoming season and see how close predictions will be when the ball is finally kicked for the first time in Season 2.

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“The Champions are really the club to beat in Season 2,” said Martin Thomas, ESPL Commentator. “I firmly believe they’ll be at the top of the table at the end of this next season, being the first and two time defending champions at the end.”

“Emerald United is the club to beat,” said David Archer, ESPL Commentator. “Gothica is going to be a tough club to beat but I think Emerald United made a lot of great moves this off season and they’ll be pushing to be champions in 2017.”

Experts are actually split down the middle, so we’re calling the final race between Gothica and Emerald United, with the winner of their two meetings really being the club to end up as the champions at the end of the season.
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“The club that underperformed in 2016 is in a solid third place,” said Martin Thomas. “Naval Armada is going to improve drastically and may even be knocking on the door to the championship with their stellar acquisition of Patrick Barnes to the already stellar lineup.”

“Naval Armada with Khan Galaxy and Patrick Barnes is going to be a force to be reckoned with,” said David Archer. “There is a lot of talent in the club but those two stand above all that talent. Naval Armada is going to have a great showing in 2017.”

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“The surprise club of 2016 was Shamrock Celtic and they’ll be pushing to repeating their performance and over performing in 2017,” said David Archer.

“I think Shamrock Celtic has a great lineup, but I also believe the loss of Patrick Barnes in the off season will be a bigger hit to the lineup than anyone cares to admit,” said Martin Thomas.

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One of the biggest shockers of the premier season was the explosion of Shazam CM, a club that was predicted to be “just part of the mix,” and ended up being a powerhouse for a good portion of the season. David Archer and Martin Thomas both agreed that they think that Shazam CM falls in fifth place.

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“The namesake of the league’s founder, Allen FC, are looking strong but will be more even than they were last season,” said Martin Thomas. “They made some improvements, but they haven’t improved more than anyone else has improved, so they are really just keeping pace. Allen FC could prove to be stronger than we think but I really believe they’ll fall short with the talent we’ve already covered.”

“Allen FC,” said David Archer. “Sixth place finish. I can’t see them outperforming Gothica, Emerald United… I can’t even see them performing better than Shazam, so I don’t think Allen will see the top of the table at the end of the season.”

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“Halo had a great showing in 2016 but they didn’t improve like they needed to in order to drive themselves up the table,” said David Archer. “Halo will finish seventh.”

“There are clubs who made big moves and then there are clubs that just sort of moved things around,” said Martin Thomas. “Halo moved things around and I think they could have really done better in the off season.”

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There isn’t as many quality comments for the next few positions, experts agreeing that Halo will be followed by Vulcan FC, Sporting Black Cats, and Knightsquare.

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“The club that enters the league for their debut that made the best moves was Queensdaisy,” said Martin Thomas. “I can really see them finishing well above the bottom and I’m interested to see exactly what they are capable of in the end. I don’t see them taking down any of the top four or five but I do see them finishing mid-table.”

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Real Olympia took their position behind Queensdaisy, the club wasn’t available as they could have been in the open market and they will probably overspend next year if they fail to finish well in 2017.

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“Another surprising tie we can’t seem to agree on is between Tardis and Wordsmiths,” said David Archer. “I pick Tardis, they’re new and we haven’t seen anything from the combination of players and management, so I want to give credit to them for making the moves they need to in order to stay off the bottom of the table.”

“Wordsmiths made big moves,” said Martin Thomas. “They redesigned their shield and they have redesigned their club as they are going to do better than last season and probably finish a lot higher than we’ll give them credit for.”

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The two clubs fighting to stay off the very bottom are both new, with neither one really giving confidence to any of the experts about having more of a chance than being in the bottom two. Octagon is expected to do better than Citrus LF, but in the end, second to last place isn’t that much better than last place.

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The season will be kicking off in a couple of weeks, so get ready for more ESPL action in Season 2!