The Barclays Premier League – Season Preview




In the last two months, if you spent the weekends sitting at home watching sitcoms or reading a book, it is now time to change the channel and trash the book. The Barclays Premier League is back, and back with a bang! This season, as every other season, promises to get bigger and better with atleast five clubs in the reckoning for the title. There may be new players, new signings, new managers and new teams but the excitement and fervor remains the same as the Premier League knocks upon us!

The Barclays Premier League - Season Preview

The Barclays Premier League – Season Preview

While the never ending Fabregas transfer saga or Tevez’ desire to move to South America coupled with Manchester United’s pictures from the USA or Liverpool’s pre-season tour to Asia did manage to bring a smile to our faces for a while, they were only the starters before the main course. And before we digested the news, views and opinions from the transfer mill, Liverpool kicking off the Premier League season against Sunderland is already upon us!

So what does this season have in store for us?

Manchester United, despite the retirements of Paul Scholes and Edwin Van Der Sar along with the departures of John O’ Shea and Wes Brown, remain the firm favourites to win their 20th League title. Sir Alex Ferguson surprisingly has been more active than his close rivals in the off-season as he spent nearly 50 million pounds on new signings. He has stuck to his tried and tested faith in youth as he signed David De Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young to bolster his squad and the youngsters have already been impressive in the Community Shield triumph over Manchester City.

The biggest signing for Chelsea in the off-season has been the signing of 33 year old Andre Villas-Boas who replaces Carlo Ancelotti as their manager. Villas-Boas is the youngest manager in the league and is already being hailed as the next Jose Mourinho. Apart from this, Chelsea have been unusually quiet in the market with Anderlecht striker Romano Lukaku and Oriol Romeu being the only eye-catching signings so far. The strike force comprising of Drogba, Torres along with Malouda, Anelka, Ramires and Sturridge makes Chelsea a potent force and strong contenders for all the trophies on offer.

Manchester City’s oil power enabled them to finish third in the title race last season apart from winning the FA Cup. Mancini hasn’t made many changes to his squad from last season but if last season’s top scorer Tevez decides to move out of Manchester, it would be difficult for the men in light blue to repeat their performance from last season. The addition of star striker Sergio Aguero can only have a positive effect on the squad.

Liverpool, like United, have also spent nearly 50 million pounds in the off-season and according to Dalgish, are targeting a top four finish this season. New faces in Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, and Charlie Adam will bring creativity in the centre of the park while the untested strike force of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez promises a lot for the Anfield faithful.

One club that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the off-season is Arsenal. Fabregas’ repeated requests for a move to Barcelona have been waved off while Nasri is also keen to leave the Emirates. Clichy has already moved to City while Eboue is also almost certain to move. Wenger hasn’t gone around looking for replacements while Gervinho and Chamberlain are the only new signings at the Emirates and Arsene Wenger’s failure to sign an experienced goalkeeper and a clinical finisher may only add to their woes.

Amongst the others, if the duo of Modric and Bale decide to stay at White Hart Lane, then Tottenham Hotspurs are a squad that can surprise the big squads and with Harry Redknapp at the helm of affairs, they can seriously challenge for a top four spot. Everton seems to be content with a top seven finish and haven’t had many new faces coming in while John Arne’s Riise addition to Fulham means that they will be in a position to contest for an Europa League spot. Aston Villa, despite winning the Carling Cup last season, don’t look threatening enough and Ashley Young’s departure will only weaken their squad. Sunderland, on the other hand, have added experienced players with the revenue received from Henderson’s sale, and Steve Bruce’s men will be looking for a top ten finish.

Things look grim at St. James’ Park with the bulk of the squad moving to other places while Barton’s future at Newcastle looks uncertain. Johan Elmander and Gary Cahill’s expected departure will no longer make Bolton the side that reached No.4 in the table at a particular point in the season. Wigan managed to stay in the top flight for one more season but the departure of N’Zogbia from Wigan raises doubts about their survival here. Wolves and West Bromwich, along with the likes of Blackburn can expect to be in a dog fight for survival while Stoke City, runners up in the FA Cup, might find it a touch difficult to play in the Europa League and the domestic league simultaneously. Things look dark at Blackburn while Swansea returns to the top flight after 30 years. The likes of Kieron Dyer, Danny Gabbidon and DJ Campbell may be enough for Queens Park Rangers to survive this season while Norwich’s return to the top flight makes things interesting at the bottom of the table.

It all adds up to an exciting ten months of non-stop action with the champions looking to win a record 20th title while their noisy neighbours look to put an end to their streak, Villas-Boas looking to make his presence felt in England while Arsene Wenger looks to prove why he is a master tactician!!

It’s kick-off time!

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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