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The new Premier League season is so close you can almost touch it, but we still have time to take a look at who’s going to do well, who will fail and who will surprise us. The title race will be as intriguing as ever, with all parties involved doing the usual and playing down their chances. Of course, the obvious few teams will be there or thereabouts this season, and I can’t see past a Manchester top two, with Chelsea and Arsenal grabbing the two remaining Champions League spots:
1st Man City – Despite few signings (so far) this summer, you could argue if they really need to sign anyone. Their squad is strong, has depth (ask Adam Johnson) and are coming off the back of a historic title win. I believe the title is for them to lose. (To Win – 13/10)
2nd Man Utd – Sir Alex knows that something needs to be done to compete with City this season, highlighted by the ongoing Van Persie saga. I reckon it’s the first season when United will feel ike the underdogs. Some players that weren’t overly impressive last season will have to step up to the mark if they are to have any chance of threatening City (To Win – 13/5)
3rd Arsenal – Their new look side is beginning to take shape, and they have spent some decent money this season, attracting quality players in Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla. Get this right and they could be a force to be reckoned with this season, although last season’s defensive frailties will need to be avoided.
4th Chelsea – After the game at Villa park last weekend, people have been very quick to write them off. I think this is premature, and they will come good quickly, conceding few (against the lower sides at least) and having a good attacking force. I think they may throw away a few games this season, which is why I have placed them below Arsenal.
The fight for 5th will be a good one. Newcastle arguably over-achieved last season and may find it difficult to replicate; even with an extra year’s Premier League experience. The jury is still out on Spurs, who, if they lose Modric, will need to replace him and grab a quality striker as soon as possible. Defensively they look good, but without the creativity in the middle, and a 15+ striker, they too might find it difficult. Then you have Liverpool, who might surprise a few people this season. Their squad isn’t far wrong and with a new manager, they may well come into the season with increased confidence
Perhaps more interesting this season will be the relegation battle. Last season’s newcomers (Swansea, QPR and Norwich) all avoided the drop, and although not that much confidence has been given to this season’s new boys, they will all have to be careful not to get dragged into the bottom three.
QPR – Spent well in the summer, and although there is a chance some of their signings won’t gel right away, I believe they will be more comfortable than last season and will end up well clear of the bottom three.
Liverpool – Speak to any Liverpool fan and I’m sure they’ll be happy with a 5th place finish this season. I think they’ll get it with some astute new signings and a new manager who should revitalise them and improve their confidence and style of play.
Reading – I think that the way Reading played last season was good enough to get them to the Premier League, but I’m just not convinced they will be able to succeed now they’re there. I like the signings of Pogrebnyak and Guthrie, they certainly strengthen the side. I think they have been unable to really attract the players they will need to avoid the drop.
Top 5: 1 Man City, 2 Man United, 3 Arsenal, 4 Chelsea, 5 Liverpool
Bottom 5: 20 Reading, 19 Norwich, 18 West Ham, 17 Swansea, 16 Southampton
Golden Boot – Torres/Rooney
First Manager to go – Brian McDermott – 15/1
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