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The Premier League Champions of 13/14 will be...
Yep, that got you interested didn’t it? I do have the rest of that sentence, and I‘ll tell you what it is, but first, I want to to you why I think the answer is, what it is.
The new season is going to be the most difficult to predict for many a year, with so many imponderables, new situations and limitations. Sure, players come and go every year, bosses change and new rules apply, but for the new term, all of those apply to a big degree, and this conspires to create a sense of uncertainty where picking the title winners be almost as difficult as picking the first past the post in the Grand National. So, here’s the runners and riders.
The major problem is until the season gets under way, no-one will know what effect the ‘lack of Ferguson’ factor will have on the efficiency of that trophy-hoarding club. Ferguson never kicked a ball for United – unless you count the infamous Beckham ‘stitches in the head’ incident – but his loss has meant doubt has been cast over United’s title credentials. Perennial favourites for the title, the bookies are offering attractive odds on the champions retaining their title.
There’s a new man at the helm here as well. Unlike at Old Trafford however, Pellegrini has got his buying done with a number of big signings. The trouble with picking City for the tityle is that last year, against what was probably an under par United team, they miserably failed to deliver on their talents. How quickly the new players can bed in, and the speed with which the manager can weld them into an effective unit will be the deciding factor for City’s aspirations.
Yet another new man in charge, but this time it’s the returning hero. It’s inevitable that the whole club will have received a lift from the ‘Special One’ being back at the helm at Stamford Bridge. If they manage to prise Rooney from United as well, the Blues will doubtless fancy their chances of breaking the Manchester hegemony of recent times, but Mourinho being Mourinho, the explosion could happen any time. It’s a high risk, high reward process at Chelsea – but when wasn’t it?
Yet another new manager…..Oh, no. Sorry, Arsene is still in place. Unfortunately, despite Wenger’s best efforts apparently, so is the club’s reputation as flattering to deceive in the transfer market. Perhaps however, this could be a blessing in disguise. Whilst it’s entirely possible that the Gooners will land a signing or two before the window closes, if they don’t, that could be their trump card. All of the three clubs mentioned above have new coaches and playing staff that at best will need settling in periods, at worst that may just not work. With a settled squad and coaching staff however, this could be Arsenal’s season.
Best of the rest:
It’s probably harsh to put Tottenham in this group, but if they lose Bale, it will inevitably weaken their team. Sure they’ll get a chunk of brass to reinvest in the squad, but with already signing Soldado, Paulinho and Chadli, plunging into the market for a three or four more new signings will mean a massive test for AVB to turn a new group into a team that delivers on breaking the ‘chokers’ reputation that the club has been lumbered with over recent years.
Liverpool are probably the last ones to think they’d have a genuine run at the title. The rest of the clubs’ supporters across the country will probably think that’s a pipe dream. If they manage to hang on to Suarez however, and Gerrard produces a swansong to be remembered, they could just be a contender if the other five knock points of each other.
So, here’s the completion of the sentence. The end reads “…almost impossible to predict!” OK, OK, I know that’s a cop out, but I have to say that it’s true. If you make me stick my neck out however , I’ll gamble on Mourinho, and say that Blue will be the colour.
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