The same is said every year but this really does feel like the most exciting Premier League season ever!
Mourinho enters his second term in his return to Stamford Bridge, Louis van Gaal takes the reins on a wounded Manchester United, the battle for the title and Champions League football is tighter than ever and then there’s the hair-raising relegation scrap.
In all this excitement it’s only natural to ponder the fate of your team in the following 10 months, so I consequently assumed the task of predicting the Premier League standings come May.
After a few hours of keyboard tapping and screen scanning I conjured up the following...
3. Man City
4. Man United
11. West Ham
17. Crystal Palace
18. Aston Villa
20. West Brom
In the acquisition of Diego Costa, Mourinho has goal scorer which the team was crying out for last year. If he stays fit I feel Chelsea’s strength and depth in other departments will land them the title.
Finally flexing their muscles in the transfer market, Arsenal have signed quality this transfer window. With Sanchez, Ramsey and Ozil in the same team Arsenal could seriously fire this season, yet Giroud is still not up to scratch as a title-winning striker.
Manchester City’s ambition to fire in Europe coupled with second season syndrome under Pellegrini could leave them short in the points tally for the title. However with a plethora of world class talent in Kompany, Yaya Toure, Silva and Aguero they’re impossible to write off.
Louis van Gaal’s track record with teams in his first season is terrific, yet the composition of the squad still lacks enough quality to win the title. Then again, with no distraction of European football, United have the opportunity to submit a serious pursuit of the title.
Liverpool have collected a lot of signatures this summer, yet not even the signings of Lallana, Can, Markovic and Lambert will be able to collectively accumulate the goal tally of 31 achieved by Luis Suarez last season.
Pochettino has had a promising pre-season with Spurs, yet Europe always deters Tottenham’s domestic performance. Plus, with the lack of top-class players in the squad it seems unrealistic for them to break into the top four.
A sprightly season last time out saw Everton bank 5th place, but that standard will be difficult to maintain with European distractions given the lack of depth in the squad.
Mark Hughes had a hugely successful start with Stoke after persisting with his style of play to win over the Britannia faithful. Also, new recruit Bojan, once hailed at Barcelona as the next Messi, has hit the ground running in pre-season.
Alan Pardew wrote himself the role as pantomime villain last year even with Newcastle supporters, yet has signed long term target Luuk De Jong along with other seasoned internationals. Things are promising in Pardew’s third year of his eight year contract.
Much has been made of departures at St. Mary’s but not much about the players coming in. Pelle, Tadic and Forster have great records in other European leagues and new manager Koeman is renowned for advocating youth. They won’t have the demise everyone expects.
Allardyce was scrutinized by West Ham fans for the style of football the team played last season, but the character of ‘Big Sam’ would suggest he’ll stick to what he knows best. Also, new signing Enner Valencia is one to watch after his impressive World Cup.
Gary Monk failed to elevate Swansea’s performances last year, and many predict a tough season for Swansea following the departures of Michu and De Guzman. Yet new recruits Gomis and Sigurdsson are underrated and could be pivotal in sealing survival for Swansea.
Sunderland phoenixed from relegation last season as Poyet’s vision became visible. Signings in midfield have been made including Jack Rodwell, but insufficient solidity at the back leaves them vulnerable to relegation.
Steve Bruce worked wonders to keep up Hull last year as their squad looked the weakest in the league. However they were great at beating teams around them last year and with additions of Snodgrass and Ince they should score enough goals to equate safety.
Leicester ran away with the Championship last season to gain promotion but lack a talisman in the side to spearhead a Premier League survival. Then again the solidity of the side and their record at the King Power Stadium suggests they will stay up.
QPR struggled in their two prior season in the Premier League, and should expect similar fates this season. Though performing well in crunch games at Loftus Road, QPR need more stability especially in defence which should be assisted with recruits Caulker and Ferdinand.
The shock exit of Tony Pulis leaves Palace big contenders for the drop. Though his methods will be engraved in the squad, a new manager will come in with different ideas. The offensive quality of the squad isn’t good enough to fully transform the style of the side.
Aston Villa have struggled the last two seasons as Paul Lambert has heavily relied on youth to fulfil his yearn for attacking football. However, he seems to be changing his system to three at the back this season and the inexperience of the squad may get caught out by this.
Burnley enjoyed a fruitful season under Sean Dyche last year yet haven’t made any significant additions to make the team good enough for the step up. Many are tipping them to face the drop and it seems a fair appraisal.
West Brom lost their last four pre-season friendlies heading into this campaign and Alan Irvine has never previously managed in the Premier League. Decent signings have been made in the form of Ideye and Lescott yet I don’t think that will be enough.
I wouldn’t place bets on the final standings reflecting the above work, but you can sure bet this Premier League season will be a cracker.
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