Don’t ask me why but for some reason the league season begins before the transfer window closes so I could write something quite easily like ‘West Brom will be relegated for sure’ only for West Brom to go and sign Messi, Ronaldo and Jesus (the guy that the religion is about, not the one that plays for Man City) and make me look sillier than a non-OxBridge running for parliament.
Anyway enough of my complaining about how the stupid window fucks up my predictions on how each team will do because this season is set to be one of the best ever (yes it is the line again…). Genuinely though I could put in an argument for any of four teams winning the league this year and I don’t think that there is a definitive top team, which as a viewer is great.
Premier League Champions
The defending champions will look to become only the second team not called Manchester United to defend their title. History is against them however as the titled has been retained by non-Utd teams only 1/7 and that was the excellent Mourinho Chelsea team, so City are already off to a bad start in that regard.
City have the best squad in the league and they probably have the best first team in the Premier League as well but they woefully underachieve. Yes that seems like an odd thing to say when you consider that they have won 2/3 Premier League’s, but when you consider how in the last three seasons the gap between their squad and the rest they should have done better. They barely won their first title, they were nowhere the year after and they barely won their second. In fact on both occasions they won their title it required another team to make an arse of themselves for City to actually get the win, and don’t get me started on their Champions League campaigns (they’ve been shit).
Anyway enough of my praising of City and onto where they’re actually going. They have a good team but that team has never actually been able to reach its full potential, whether that is from being over rated (Yaya Toure) or from poor management (Roberto Mancini) I don’t know but what I do know is that they needed to make additions, especially in defence, the centre of midfield and out wide. City haven’t really lost any players this year (unless you consider Lescott a loss…) so that is a bonus for them, although they haven’t shifted all their deadweight as of yet (largely down to being punished by UEFA for FFP irregularities).
City have been relatively busy in the transfer window by signing Bacary Sagna, Fernando, Willy Caballero, Frank Lampard and Eliaquim Mangala. That’s great four players added to a championship winning side, sounds great? Well no actually it doesn’t. When you look at it Sagna, Lampard, Fernando and Caballero they are at best back-ups (although do give good depth) and only Mangala can really be expected to come in and start straight away. I personally haven’t seen enough of Magala to comment on whether or not he is really good enough but he can’t be any worse than what is already there (sorry Demi).
This is Mourinho’s make or break year, nobody really expected Chelsea to win the league last year and somehow they managed to throw it away by not being able to beat the diddy teams, this year everyone expects them to win the league and anything but the title will likely end in the sack.
Chelsea possess the best manager in the league and along with City they have the best squad in the league. The difference between Chelsea and City though is that Chelsea know how to win and Mourinho is a classic over achiever. Talking about classic over achieving, how much did they get for David Luiz? Fuck me… Anyway out go Luiz (who couldn’t defend), Eto’o (who was shit), Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard (both of whom were done), Demba Ba (who was shit) and Lukaku (who I’m not sure is good enough but is still possibly their best striker). Essentially Chelsea haven’t actually lost any players who were important to the team and that is a huge boost for their title hopes.
Chelsea haven’t held back in the transfer window with the additions of Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, Cesc Fabregas and Didier Drogba. The Drogba signing is stupid because he is done, Luis is a good signing, I don’t see how Fabregas fits into the Mourinho system (maybe I’m wrong) and there are a lot of question marks surrounding Costa (is he just a one season wonder? Because his performances for Atletico prior to last season were pretty shit and he was useless when it really counted at the end of last season), but at least they fill holes. The major problem for Chelsea is that they still don’t have a good strike force (Fernando Torres anyone?). When you look at their strikers they have Costa, Torres and Drogba; the horse, the donkey and the old man; don’t think centre backs will be quaking in their boots over that. By the way I couldn’t two (yes this number, 2) Englishmen in Chelsea’s squad (yes not first team, squad), just in case you wondered why England are shit.
I don’t know what I am about to type, I think I may have been on drugs or something but I’m pretty sure Arsenal have had what I’d call a good summer so far. Yes I know it sounds crazy but stay with me here.
Mathieu Debuchy is a good replacement for Sagna, Alexis Sanchez is the kind of player who could take a club to the next level and gives Arsenal that pace and killer instinct that they have been sorely missing recently, David Ospina will give Szczesny the kick up the arse he required and Calum Chambers has bags of potential. On top of that Arsenal have finally got rid of Nicklas Bendtner possibly the best piece of business they have ever done. See I told you they had done well.
Can Arsenal win the league though? I think the answer is yes but for them to manage it they need to keep their team fully fit and traditionally that doesn’t happen. That is Arsenal’s problem, yes they have a good first team but their squad isn’t good enough. They don’t have enough depth in defence or up front and that in the long run will probably be the reason they come up short.
This is going to be an interesting year for Utd because they find themselves in a win win situation. It is almost impossible for the team to do worse than they did last year and even if they don’t make top 4 Van Gaal can turn around and blame Moyes.
You look at the Utd squad that is carried over from last season and on paper it is a very good team, they just overly underperformed. Gone are Vidic, Ferdinand, Giggs and Evra and in come Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw; it’s out with the old and in with the new. It will be very interesting to see how Utd do this season because last season was a disaster and after a successful pre-season tour and a new charismatic manager it is hard to not think that things are beginning to look up for Utd. The biggest questions which Utd will have to answer is how well will Van Gaal merge into the Premier League, how will the squad bounce back and will 3-5-2 work at the top level of the Premier League? All big questions all will be answered this season.
I think that Utd could and probably will challenge for the league but to actually go out and win the league they will need to add at very least a centre back and a central midfielder. If that doesn’t happen the best Utd can hope for is a top 4 finish.
Personally I think as things stand Chelsea will be the league champions by the end of the season; yes there are questions about their strikers but beyond that they probably have the best squad and definitely have the best manager in the league and that will go a long way for them. For Arsenal and Utd to be in with a real shout they need to sign a couple of players, and I don’t see City winning the league.
Europa League Place
Liverpool overachieved a great deal last season, to the extent that they should have won the league but ended up bottling it; expect normal performances to resume this season.
I didn’t think Liverpool had a chance of making top 4 this year even with Suarez (because teams wouldn’t be surprised by their style of play as they would now have a year’s worth of tape), without him they haven’t got a chance in hell. Not only are they a worse team than they were last season they now also have Champions League football to distract them even further (they’ll be lucky to make it out of the groups, dependent on draw obviously). I know the Liverpool fans will be up in arms about what I’m writing and will be comprising crudely written comments to tell me how ‘Liverpule are the best!’ and ‘YNWA!’ but they should really get their heads out of the clouds and smell the lack of Premier League titles (doesn’t smell of anything) because you weren’t a good team last year and now you are even worse.
Luis Suarez was that one player who pulled you through matches and gave the players around him the belief that they were better than they actually were, not to mention that he raised their play just by playing next to him, and who did you replace him with? Rickie Lambert…Yes I know you bought about 10 other players as well and we all know that is a great strategy for success (consults Football Manager realises this is not the case…). Here’s a rundown of the players you bought just for you guys; Emre Can (Bayern reject), Rickie Lambert (fat and old), Adam Lallana (good player but was overpriced and may struggle to take the step up as was evident when he played for England), Lazar Markovic (haven’t really seen him so not fair to comment), Dejan Lovren (see Adam Lallana), Divock Origi (loaned out), Javier Manquillo (couldn’t get in the Atletico team) and Alberto Moreno (an actual good player who improves the team). All those players and you’re still a worse team than last season because you lost your one truly special (and nibbly) player. If you disagree look at how well Spurs did last year under the same circumstances; better squad, worse team, Liverpool are the same.
Everton did really well last season performing well above everyones expectations, the problem now is that if they perform worse than they did last season people are going to be critical of the team despite the fact they over achieved.
I really like Martinez, he is clearly a very good manager and has blue and red stripes in his future but people are too quick to jump to calling him the messiah, wait until after his second season to start proclaiming genius. To be honest there is no reason why Everton can’t have a really good second season under Martinez, they have a good team. My biggest criticism of them as a team is that they paid £28 million for Lukaku, it was way too much. Yes he is a good player but he isn’t special, and you have to be special for that amount of money to be spent on you by a club of Everton’s stature. It just means that Everton won’t really have the funds now to improve the squad in general for this season which creates stagnation.
Are Spurs the worst run club in the Premier League? (Checks list…sees Palace, Hull and Newcastle, realises no). Anyway Spurs are a very poorly run club, they seem to get themselves up around challenging for Champions League then forget where they left their socks so decide to go backwards to try and find them only to realise that they were wearing them all along (yes it makes sense… to me…).
So Spurs have a new manager (again) in Mauricio Pochettino and he will be looking to play nice possession based football with a high line (sounds familiar…). Joining Mr. Pochettino will be Ben Davies (good news for Vertonghen), Michel Vorm (bit too good to be a backup) and some other guys who will probably have limited impact on the team. Good news for Spurs fans not that many of your players from your overly sized squad have left so you still have shit loads of players (and Benoit Assou-Ekotto!). What do you want from me Spurs fans? You are perennial under achievers and once again you will do what you do because that is who you are. Let’s hope that you actually give this manager some time to establish himself and a style on the team before you sack him for little or no reason.
Liverpool will almost certainly get the Europa League place unless they somehow get so distracted by their 6 European games that they forget to play their Premier League games so end up forfeiting them all hence Everton would finish 5th.
Top Half Finish
You just never know with Newcastle, one year they’re great the next their manager is head butting an opposing player, it does get confusing. This year Newcastle have actually done a good job in the transfer market bringing in some much needed additions and finally letting Shola Ameobi go. Yes Newcastle are unlikely to challenge for European places but even if they did get them they would just bitch and moan about it for the whole season because apparently they can never be pleased. If Pardew last the entire season then that man deserves a biscuit!
This may seem like an odd one but I don’t think that there are that many teams who are really good enough to finish in the top half and when I look at what Hull have got I sort of like it. They’ve signed well in the window (Snodgrass, Robertson, Livermore, Ince and Maguire) and they somehow managed to turn Shane Long into a £12 million player (I know how silly!). Don’t forget that Hull probably would’ve finished higher up the table if it was not for the fact that they had got into the FA Cup final (there season just sort of fell apart after that). They are a season wiser and they have better players without actually losing anything, this could be a great season for them.
Queens Park Rangers
It doesn’t happen very often that a team gets promoted and then finished in the top half but QPR have a good chance this season. Look at that team and explain to me how they ever got relegated in the first place, it is stacked with talent. Add onto that everyones favourite jolly old manager Harry Redknapp and you likely have a successful season. The additions of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker will help to fix their leaky defence and should see them towards a good season, better if they hold onto Loic Remy.
Stoke are a hard team to like because they play such horrible football and their ground is a windy mess which is more suited for hurricane making than football, but they are a team who know how to win. Guys like Diouf, Sidwell, Bardsley and the odd signing of Bojan (doesn’t really seem to fit what they do) make them a better team than last year and considering they finished 9th last year it suggests they will do something similar this season.
West Ham United
I don’t know what to make of West Ham, there is something there and Big Sam knows how to get wins but there always seems to be a level of uncertainty about what they do. They don’t ever seem to lose players (which maybe says something about how they play) and they’ve added Enner Valencia (that guy fae the World Cup), Mauro Zarate (that guy that used to be good in Football Manager), Diego Poyet (that guy that came out of Gus Poyet) and Cheikhou Kouyate (that guy that nobody has heard of), so they should be a better team and they have fixed their biggest problem from last season of being overly reliant on big Donkey Carroll.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren and Mauricio Pochettino are gone and you’ve managed to piss off Morgan Schneiderlin and Artur Boruc…it isn’t really the formula for a successful season is it? I don’t think Southampton will be relegated but they haven’t come anywhere near replacing these guys and the guys they are bringing in are either unproven or for positions they don’t need (why sign Forster when you have Boruc, who yes is crazier but is a better keeper?) You can extend it further to asking who the fuck thought it was a good idea to pay £12 million for Shane Fucking Long? Serious signs of concern coming from Southampton, it would be a shame if they got relegated because then we would truly see a fire sale because there is still a large amount of young talent there.
A team which with the squad they had should never have been in a relegation battle but then again when you hire a man who thinks it is acceptable to salute the crowd in a manner accustomed to Germans in the early 40’s you can see why they were. Sunderland have a talented team and have got rid of a large amount of the deadweight which was floating around the club last year. Additions like Jack Rodwell (if he can stay fit) could be very effective. They should be safe.
It’s always tough to judge how a team which has come up from the Championship will do and so it is with Burnley. If I’m a Burnley fan I’d be concerned with how things are shaping up this season because your team isn’t good enough and you haven’t added enough to it to make it good enough, you will be relegated.
Palace weren’t going to be here but they then went and sacked their manager in what can only be called the stupidest decision of the season (yes I know it’s early and not much has happened but I bet I’ll be saying it again in May). Palace are shit and grossly over achieved last season and every last bit of that was down to Tony Pulis, he is the only reason they are still in the Premier League. Palace have a shit squad and now just before the season starts don’t have a manager, what the fuck are they thinking? Relegation beckons and the decision makers heads should be falling along with the team.
Leicester won the Championship fairly easily last season but they are unlikely to feel that joy in the Premier League as they will likely be stuck in a relegation slog. Quite simply put the squad isn’t good enough and they’ve barely added anyone of use (yes Matt Upson is useless). The more I look at it the more likely I think that they are going to struggle greatly this season, they’ll need a fast start (sadly they start Everton H, Chelsea A, Arsenal H, Stoke A and Utd H).
Swansea are another team who has lost a number of players this summer, most notably Ben Davies, Michu, Michel Vorm and Chico (Big Sam’s pal). The problem is they haven’t really replaced any of them which could be a problem later in the season. I do think that the signings of Gomis and Sigurdsson are good for the club but they are going to be under pressure personnel wise if Wilfried Bony leaves like he seems to have been doing all season. Swansea have the players to be safe but the mix of uncertainty over Bony, losses of key starters and most of all questions over Gary Monk’s ability to manager (he showed nothing last season) leave me thinking Swansea will struggle this year.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom are a bit of a mess, they shouldn’t have struggled last year but after inexcusably sacking their manager they did. Again with a new manager (Alan Irvine) West Brom will struggle. I think they have a pretty decent team but I look at their squad and wonder where the goals are going to come from, Victor Anichebe? That was very much West Brom’s problem last season; they drew too many games because they weren’t clinical enough in front of goal, unless that changes all of a sudden I see them struggling once again.
Villa are such a great team that I totally forgot them until I was writing out my table and realised I was one short; ten confused minutes later it hit me VILLA! Yeah Villa don’t have a good team, they are totally over reliant on Benteke (who is coming back from an Achilles injury) and never seem to get past that ‘they are a young team and this experience will be invaluable phase’. The problem is they have been that for the past two seasons now and there has been little to no improvement, this is the make or break season, if they aren’t careful they could go down.
Currently I am leaning towards Chelsea winning the league and Palace, Burnley and Leicester going down, but these could all change with a few good signings. Here’s a table just for your enjoyment:
I’m going to say it right now, I don’t like making this sort of in detail prediction at this stage of the season because until the window closes I don’t have the full picture (like an early round of Catchphrase, where you know Mr. Chip is doing something but what the fuck is it!?). However in the unlikely event of nobody selling or buying any players this is how I think that the league will finish. I do however genuinely think that we could have 3/6 go down and I think the title could be a battle between four, so it is shaping up to be a very exciting Premier League season, let’s hope it’s a belter.
So leave a comment about what you think about the upcoming Premier League season, who you think will win, be relegated or even who you think will finish 10th, anything you fancy really. You can find all the latest bm23 sports reviews updates by following the Facebook and Twitter pages and don’t forget to share with your friends and stuff!