The Premier League is yet again set to throw up a season of twists and turns, as first time Champions Manchester City look to fend off title challenges from Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and possibly Tottenham Hotspur.
Predicting the top 5 is always good fodder for the pub goers as fans across the country argue their case for this season’s best performers.
5th – Tottenham Hotspur
I’m not here to inundate you with stats and facts like AVB, or as more wittingly known to his former Chelsea players ‘DVD’ would do. I am simply going to tell you I think sacking Harry Redknapp and replacing him with Andre Villas-Boas is a step backwards for the most improved side in the last decade.
Harry Redknapp was not finished at Tottenham Hotspur and I can’t fathom any sort of substance or logic to appointing a manager who’s only success has came in Portugal. Now you might say that’s how Jose Mourinho landed the job with Chelsea, but as Jose Mourinho says himself, he is the ‘special one’.
The continuous saga of where Luka Modric will play his football this season has ended with the Croatian joining the Galactico’s in Madrid. At £10 million, Gylfi Sigurdsson cannot be the only import looking to fill the boots that are now out of the door at White Hart Lane otherwise Spurs are in trouble.
Top 4 looks less likely this season, as chopping and changing looks set to continue, with little concrete transfer activity to back up any claims that Spurs are now official members of the Top Four.
- 4th – Arsenal
Selling your mink fur coat and replacing it with a bin bag, is something Leeds United have in common with Arsenal. Both teams have spent the last three seasons waving goodbye to their most prize assets, only to bring in players that give you the overall feeling of ‘is that it’.
Like shouting surprise to the Uncle nobody likes at your daughters 21st Birthday party, Arsenal fans have spent the last 7 seasons deflated and under false pretenses. Trophy less and lacking their va va voom, Arsenal now lack the creative edge that made them the ‘invincibles’ back in 03-04 season.
With Robin Van Persie having his wish granted to leave and Alex Song reportedly a target for Barcelona, I can’t see the Gunners using their Arsenal to plan a serious attack on the City of Manchester’s trophy cabinet.
Having never finished below 4th with Arsene Wenger, I can see another 4th position finish for Arsenal, with 3rd a real possibility and 2nd a slim chance.
- 3rd – Chelsea
Armed with my father’s gun, I’d decided to be Leeds and not Chelsea. Paining now that Chelsea are armed with a Champions League trophy that will surely see a much improved domestic performance this time around.
Having signed Eden Hazard and Oscar whilst hot on the heels of Victor Moses, Hulk (paper talk) and Edinson Cavani (paper talk), Chelsea will be this season’s most improved top half team.
Their key player this season will be Ramires, who flourished in their successful Champions League campaign and is oozing confidence heading into this season’s campaign.
Top 3 looks more than achievable this season for Chelsea, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they mount a serious challenge to dethrone Manchester City.
- 2nd – Manchester United
Last season’s runners-up on goal difference will give it their all to avoid the heartache that descended upon them in the 95th minute of last season’s penultimate game. With Whisky nose ‘Fergie’ still avoiding retirement, there is no-one better to bring back Championship glory to a fan base that is virtually from everywhere but Manchester.
Sir Alex knows how to push his players, even the ones that aren’t particularly outstanding. So expect another close finish at the top, with Robin Van Persie the new star striker at Old Trafford. A freshness appears at the ‘scum’ with new signing Shinji Kagawa and workhorse Darren Fletcher back in the fold, so it could be another photo finish between the two Manchester teams.
Can Robin Van Persie have another 30 goal season with Manchester United? It remains to be seen as RVP is no longer the MVP in a team that already boasts Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.
- 1st – Manchester City
Last season’s most entertaining team – both on and off the field are obvious favourites to make it back to back titles as Roberto Mancini leads the Etihad revolution at the conveniently named Etihad Stadium.
Backed by mega rich owners, the real life Football Manager team have been surprisingly quiet up to now in the transfer window, with only the addition of Jack Rodwell worth gossiping about. Roberto Mancini has made little secret of his dismay towards the lack of imports arriving by Emirates first class this season, but I think the squad needs little adjustment to win the league this time around.
Cover is needed at centre half, with Stefan Savic too prone to error to be playing first team football but little else is needed to challenge for the coveted top spot.
Yaya Toure and David Silva are both world class, with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez also two of the best strikers in the world. Not a walk in the park for City, but I expect them to be 1st or 2nd come the end of May.