August 14, 2013 by backofthenetjl
Here is my Premier League season preview, part one includes previewing the top five clubs.
With the lower leagues of English football returning, the Premier League is now only around the corner, and you can already sense that we could be in for an incredibly exciting and unpredictable season. There have been a host of managerial changes at the top of the table, as well as clubs bringing in new acquisitions. After Reading, Wigan and QPR were relegated last season, we are now joined by Championship winners Cardiff, Runners up Hull and play-off victors Crystal Palace; of course they will all be hoping to hit the ground running back in the top flight.
I have tried to go as in-depth as I can, giving a lowdown on each team, their key player and where I think they will finish. Here is my preview of what has the potential to be the most exciting Premier League season, since it began in 1992:
Lowdown: In a close season of many managerial changes, the main one has undoubtedly been Jose Mourinho’s much-anticipated return to the reigns at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho has come in, and now the vast majority of people are predicting that he will be a success in his second stint with the Blues. It didn’t take him long to be active in the transfer market, with Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and back-up keeper Mark Schwarzer being brought in by ‘The Special One’.
In addition to this, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne have returned from their loan spells with West Brom and Werder Bremen respectively, and look set to play a key role for the Europa League winners this campaign. Chelsea have been hotly tipped as favourites for the title, and when you look at the options they have all over the field, it’s easy to see why they are the team fancied. Eden Hazard will be hoping to kick on from his positive debut season in England’s top tier, so he is my player to the watch. I am backing Chelsea to claim the title under Mourinho’s stewardship, but whether they do or don’t may depend on Fernando Torres and whether he can rediscover his shooting boots.
Key player: Eden Hazard
Prediction finish: 1st
Lowdown: There’s been another managerial change for a team who play in blue, this time it was with Manchester City, who announced the appointment of Chilean Manuel Pellegrini to take over from Roberto Mancini. Last season was a disappointing campaign for City, who finished runners up in both the Premier League and FA Cup. But now with Manuel Pellegrini in charge, City look like they could do pretty well this season, and possibly regain the Premier League crown.
Pellegrini has made his mark on the side very quickly, snapping up Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo from Spanish outfit Sevilla, as well as midfielder Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk and finally the capture of Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina. There will be a change of system for City next season, with Pellegrini bringing more width to the side; that is apparent through the signing of wide-man Jesus Navas, who I deem to be the key player for the Citizens this season. In his first season managing in England, it will be difficult for Pellegrini to win the league in his first season, but if he can guide the club to the advanced stages of the Champions League and win a trophy, that should satisfy the Blues faithful. Then they will go again for the 2014/15 season.
Predicted Finish: 2nd
Key player: Jesus Navas
Lowdown: The Champions will certainly be up there in the hunt for the title this season, but they may not be able to retain it; this will be largely down to not having Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout, after the Scotsman stepped down as boss at the end of last season. Another Scotsman, in the form of David Moyes, was identified as his successor and at the time of writing this, they have all made one signing, and that was Guillermo Varela; a Uruguayan full-back.
Thiago Alcantara was linked with the Reds, but eventually moved to Bayern, and United are still fighting hard to bring Cesc Fabregas to Old Trafford. They desperately need a central-midfielder to play alongside Carrick in the double-pivot, but it looks like they’ll have to pay a large sum of money to land an adequate one. Of course, you can never write off United, especially with all the talent and quality they have in their squad, but David Moyes doesn’t appear to have the same authority that Sir Alex Ferguson has, and I just don’t feel they will be able to repeat last season’s title win. I have Shinji Kagawa down as my key player, and am expect him to truly shine this season.
Predicted finish: 3rd
Key player: Shinji Kagawa
Lowdown: : After narrowly missing out on a Champions League spot last season, Spurs have acted swiftly in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli. We all know that they heavily relied on the magic of Gareth Bale to get them by last season, but now it seems as if Spurs have become more of a team, and have now landed a perfect striker for their system in Soldado; who I deem to be the missing piece in the Spurs jigsaw.
Spurs have lacked a striker who can consistently produce the goods, with Jermaine Defoe lacking consistency and Emmanuel Adebayor misfiring, it is no surprise to see Andre Villas-Boas invest in the former Real Madrid man. As controversial it may seem, I do fancy Spurs to nick the fourth spot this season, they have spent well in the summer and now it appears that the players are comfortable with Villas-Boas’ ideas. Moreover, they have some excellent options in midfield, especially with Paulinho, Dembele and Sandro; that could be a very productive midfield trio. Their whole summer has consisted of rumours of Gareth Bale leaving, if they keep him, I can really see them landing that final Champions League spot. Even if they don’t, I’m still backing them to be up there and in with a shout of qualifying for Europe’s elite competition.
Predicted finish: 4th
Key player: Roberto Soldado
Lowdown: It’s been a frustrating summer for Arsenal fans, with them being linked to a host of fantastic players, but only managing to bring in one face, young talent Yaya Sanogo. They are constantly linked with Liverpool talisman Luis Suarez, but it remains to be seen as to whether Arsenal can cough up the fee that the Merseyside club are demanding. When you look at Arsenal’s current crop of players, there is a lot of talent in there, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere all players with phenomenal technical ability. But at this present time, for me, they are not equipped to reach a place in next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal do not need a massive summer spending spree, yet they still require a couple of new players who can add to what they already have. They desperately need a powerhouse of a midfielder; something they haven’t had since Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira departed North London. Luiz Gustavo is being hotly tipped to make a move to the Emirates and, in my view he would be an excellent addition, and would provide the steel in midfield that Arsenal have been lacking. Olivier Giroud has been scoring frequently in pre-season, which is positive, but I feel that Arsenal still need to bring in a top-class striker, though it may not be easy to lure Luis Suarez away from Liverpool now, as reports suggest he now wishes to stay with the Reds. At this current moment, I predict that Arsenal will finish fifth, but should they manage to acquire Luiz Gustavo and Luis Suarez, I may be proven wrong and they may well finish in the top four once again.
Predicted finish: 5th
Key player: Laurent Koscielny