The time has almost arrived for the return of the Premier League. The new season gets underway this Saturday. The fight for the title, the battle for European places and scrap for survival promises to keep us all thoroughly entertained for the next ten months.
There are four teams who have a realistic chance of lifting this season’s Premier League trophy. Last year’s winners Chelsea have a good chance of defending their crown. They have proven on numerous occasions that they possess the ability and consistency required to win major trophies.
I expect Manchester United to mount a serious challenge this season. They have strengthened their squad with the additions of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger. With a few more additions I think they have a chance of becoming champions.
Manchester City have to improve from last year if they want to regain the title. They have the quality to win the league. If they can rediscover their best form then they will have an excellent chance of topping the table come the end of the season.
Arsenal finished last season on a high. If they can carry on with that form, then they too could challenge for the title. The signing of Petr Cech is a major boost for the club.
Prediction. It will be closer at the top than last season. I think Chelsea will edge it and become champions once again. They have a strong squad, and also they know how to win the big games.
It will be difficult for anyone to finish above the four teams I have mentioned. Liverpool have spent heavily in this transfer window. If they click into gear then they have an outside chance of champions league qualification.
As do Tottenham Hotspurs, who have strengthened their defense from last year. I still think both of these teams are still behind last season’s top four. Come the end of the season I think that will prove to be the case once again.
Prediction. The top four will remain the same as last season. With Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United all securing champions league football.
Realistically I think there are up to ten teams who could be relegated. The three promoted teams: Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City, will all find the step up difficult. I expect some of the teams who struggled last season, the likes of Sunderland and Aston Villa, to be near the bottom of the table come the end of the season once again.
Crystal Palace and Leicester City both had fantastic campaigns last time out. They could both easily be dragged into a relegation scrap this time out. As could Newcastle United and West Ham United. Both of these teams have a new manager at the helm, but unless they get off to a good start I can see both of these in the bottom half of the table, fighting for survival.
Prediction. Two of the promoted teams will be relegated. Norwich won’t score enough goals to stay up, along with Watford. The third team to be relegated will be Leicester. They were brilliant last season, but with a new manager in Claudio Ranieri, staying up could prove to be even tougher this time around.
Everton were last season’s underachievers. They have the squad to push for European places, something which I fully expect them to do this time out. West Bromwich Albion will be tough to beat under Tony Pulis. I can see them finishing in the top half of the table.
Southampton and Swansea have both over-achieved in recent seasons. I think this will continue, as both teams have good players and excellent managers. The team who I believe will surprise a lot of people this season are Bournemouth. They play with an attacking style under their young manager, Eddie Howe. I see mid-table as a realistic possibility for the south coast club.
This season’s premier league promises to be a closely-fought contest, both at the top of the table, and also at the bottom. We will see lots of new faces in this season’s competition. But one thing will remain the same, the excitement that the premier league offers will not be equaled anywhere else in the world.