The Barclays Premier League finally kicks off tomorrow after a hard couple of months with virtually no football. This is how I see the table at the end of the season. Please leave a comment if your opinion differs.
1. Chelsea – The return of the special one (or the happy one) can only be a good thing for Chelsea. With the already awesome squad assembled at Chelsea and the expertise of Jose I think Chelsea will be very difficult to beat this year. Star man for the blues will be Juan Mata.
2. Manchester City- City underperformed last season and it unfortunately cost Mancini his job. Manuel Pellegrini did a superb job with Malaga and if Kompany, Hart and Toure can play as good as we all know they can City are on track to have a great season. It will be interesting to see how Navas, Jovetic and Negredo adapt to the Premier League. Star man is a toss-up between Toure and Navas.
3. Manchester United- I don’t see United winning the league this season simply because Moyes doesn’t have experience of winning trophies. Their squad is virtually unchanged from last season and I think that could be a problem as their competitors have added quality. I also don’t think United can afford to lose Rooney as he is such an important player for them, if they are to have a good season they will again have to rely on Robin Van Persie for goals. Star man will be Van Persie.
4. Liverpool- A lot of you will disagree with this one, but I just feel Liverpool have added so much quality to their squad that they will have a brilliant season. Regardless of the Suarez situation I think they have got goals in them with Coutinho, Sturridge and the new boys (Aspas and Luis Alberto). The only difficulty they may have will be keeping clean sheets especially if Barcelona get their hands on Agger. Star man for Liverpool will be Suarez (If he stays) or Coutinho.
5. Tottenham- I’m not sure Bale is going to stay at White Hart Lane and that will damage their chances of a top four place. I don’t see Spurs conceding many goals but I don’t see them scoring many either. Soldado will chip in with a few but I can’t see him lighting the place up like Bale. AVB will be relying on his back four to have a strong season. Star man for Spurs will be Vertonghan.
6. Arsenal- I really thought the Gunners would be back in the fight for the title this season but without adding to their squad they aren’t going to do that. They once again will struggle to keep clean sheets as the defenders simply aren’t good enough. If they can get a quality striker and keeper in before the end of the transfer window I may be made to eat my words. Star man for Arsenal will be Jack Wilshere.
7. Everton- Fans of the Toffees won’t find life nearly as fun under Martinez as under Moyes. They will be playing nice looking football but will find it difficult to get results I fear. Moyes had the ability to spend very little money and get results for Everton, Martinez won’t be quite as successful I don’t think. Everton need to hang on to Fellaini and Baines this season. Star man Baines.
8. Swansea- Michael Laudrup and Swansea were the surprise package of last season, I remember seeing them win 5-0 on the opening day of last season and was really impressed. Michu may not have as good of a season as last year but Bony I think will compensate for that. They need to desperately keep hold of Ashley Williams. Star man for the Swans will be one of Williams, Bony or Michu.
9. West Ham- Hopefully the Hammers will build on their impressive showing from last season. People dislike Allardyce’s way of playing the game but it has to be said that it works. I expect to see a decent defensive display from West Ham this season the only trouble will be scoring as I can’t see Carroll getting many more that 10-15 goals. Downing may just be a bargain at £5 million. Star Man will be Diame for West Ham.
10. Fulham- We may just see Fulham sneak into the top ten with the signing of Darren Bent, him and Berbatov together guarantees at least 20 goals. Stekelenberg in goal could be in for a hard season as Taarabt, Berbatov and Bent are fairly lazy and won’t track back a lot. Star man will be Berbatov.
11. Norwich- Chris Hughton has brought in some good player during the summer. Hooper especially could be a great signing. Nathan Redmund could also prove to be a great bit of business. If Hooper and Wolfswinkel can create a good partnership they will be comfortably finishing mid table. Star man will be Gary Hooper.
12. Newcastle United- The Magpies won’t struggle to stay up like last season, mid table will be a good finish for a team clearly in transition. Their main issue will be behind the scenes with the staff rather than the playing staff. If the French players can all settle into the premier league well this season then Newcastle will be safe with games to spare. Star man will be Yohan Cabaye.
13. Southampton- I was convinced sacking Nigel Adkins was a bad idea. How very wrong I was, Pochettino has got the Saints playing really attractive football and are now a comfortable PL team. Wanyama was an excellent signing and he could add that bit of steel that Southampton were sometimes lacking last season. Star man will be Gaston Ramirez.
14. West Brom- The Baggies will miss Lukaku this season big time. Anelka won’t get the same amount of goals and I can’t see Shane Long getting that many either. Vydra will be important for them this season. They won’t be in danger of relegation but it will be a long season at the Hawthorns. Star man will be Shane Long.
15. Sunderland- Di Canio’s unique managerial style will help Sunderland avoid the drop this season. A lot of new players have come in and so it will take them time to gel. Expect a lot of noise from Sunderland this season (most of it from Di Canio). Star man will be Stephane Sessegon.
16. Aston Villa- Once again Villa will struggle this season. Not enough experience will again cost them. I don’t expect Benteke to have as good a season as last year and that good see Villa in a real scrap once again. Star man will be Guzan in the goal.
17. Cardiff City- I think Cardiff will survive . . . just. They have broken their transfer record three times in the summer and that may be enough to keep them in the premier league. Steven Caulker at the back will be the star man if Cardiff are to avoid relegation.
18. Stoke City- With Pulis gone I can see Stoke going down. Not through any fault of Mark Hughes but because the players there are used to the long ball tactics of Pulis and Hughes will try to play a style they aren’t comfortable with, the lack of activity in the transfer window could cost them. Star man will be Asmir Begovic.
19. Hull City Tigers- Hull are going to find the premier league hard, they haven’t added enough quality. They are gonna find goals hard to come across and hard to stop conceding. Star man will be George Boyd or Huddlestone.
20. Crystal Palace- Like everyone else I love Ian Holloway, but let’s face it without Zaha they have very little chance. Chamakh isn’t a great striker, and Gayle and Phillips will also find it hard to score. I think if they have any chance of staying up Speroni will need to have the season of his career. Star man will be Gayle.