How excited am I about the new Barclay’s Premier League season? I used TWO exclamation marks in this blog title. TWO! That’s a big deal, okes and okettes.
So let’s get straight into it, shall we?
Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City have all made some big buys in the off-season — and I think that there might even be one or two more to come [I expect Man U to bulk up in defense, I expect City to make the massive bid for ex-Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruine, and I think ‘Pool will invest in another striker given the perpetual injuries plaguing Sturridge]. They have all improved their squads. I expect them to do well this season.
Chelsea are as strong as ever, despite a sluggish pre-season. They have class and depth everywhere you look [except maybe in the striking department, where they look a little short if Costa has another injury-blighted season and Falcao does as badly as he did at Man U]. Except them to contend throughout.
Spurs — spit — look a little short up front at the moment. Apart from Kane [who, I think, needs to back up last season’s excellent displays this year before we can truly judge him as a world class forward — remember, a lot of players struggle in their second Premier League season. Michu, anyone?] they don’t really have another go-to guy as striker. Unless they recruit, and do so quickly, I’m not sure they’ll be pushing at the very top end of the table.
Southampton are well coached and well organised, so I expect them to make a run for Europa League places again. West Ham United, under new boss Bilic [especially if they secure Hernandez from Man U] could also put together another run that sees them push for top 6 or 8. I don’t think Everton will be as bad as they were last season, so they’ll be up there again. Gary Monk, who is my second favourite manager in the league, is also likely to put together a strong season for Swansea.
And now to my beloved Arsenal… Man. Where to even begin.
It’s very difficult not to get excited about the Gunners this season. For the first time in years, the club has a rock solid, experienced, been-there-done-that goalkeeper. Petr Cech is, I think, going to be the signing of the season [and Rio Ferdinand agrees]. Last year, Alexis Sanchez was obviously the signing of the season, and I think Arsene Wenger has done it again with the shot-stopper. In front of him, Arsenal has a very good defensive line with serious depth [again, it’s not often you can say this] and in front of them, Coquelin looks like he could be the solution to that DM hole the Gunners have had for so long [but, like I argued with Kane, he needs a strong second season]. Arsenal’s midfield is full of attacking threat, especially when you consider that the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshire and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin are going to face some significant time on the bench because of that squad depth across the middle of the park. Mesut Ozil looks to becoming the player we thought he would be, Theo Walcott looks good through the middle and Sanchez is…well, he’s Sanchez. Giroud becomes back-up, and so, too, Danny Welbeck. It’s a seriously, seriously good side.
But who’s going to win it??? Here’s my predicted Premier League table:
- Arsenal [for me, this is the season, and if they can’t do it this year I wonder when they will…]
- Chelsea [if Costa stays injury-free, they are probably going to leap-frog into 1st…but I don’t think he will]
- Manchester City [good squad, but not sure the right man is at the helm]
- Manchester United [Van Gaal is building a title-winning squad, but I don’t think they’ll gel soon enough for this year]
- Southampton [purely gut-feel on this one]
- Liverpool [not good enough at the back, even with the addition of Clyne]
- Tottenham [this has nothing to do with me being an Arsenal fan! I just think that without a back-up striker for Kane they’re going to struggle for goals]
- Everton [will be much better this season, and could even push for 6th ahead of ‘Pool and Spurs. A lot depends on Lukaku’s performances and the John Stones saga playing out in their favour]
- Swansea [Gary Monk knows how to get the most of his players, but do they have the fire power? Probably not]
- West Ham [Bilic is a good manager, but squad doesn’t look like it go for the long haul — last season to be replicated: a good start, but fall off towards the end]
- Aston Villa [their FA Cup run showed they were better than their league position reflected]
- Newcastle [last season was a blip for a club that should not be as low in the table as they were. They’ll bounce back]
- Stoke [well managed, difficult to beat at home, very physical…but last season’s 9th was higher than they would have expected]
- Crystal Palace [my second favourite club…but they won’t reach the top-half spot they got last year]
- West Brom [decent squad, but could find themselves battling…should be safe, just not by too much
- Norwich [I have a soft spot for the Canaries [mainly because I like Stephen Fry] and
thinkhope they’ll stay up. This is heart over head]
- Bournemouth [they’ll scraaaaape through and survive…not because they’re all that good, but because I think the bottom three are worse]
- Sunderland [survived last year…SOMEHOW…but won’t again]
- Leicester City [like a fox from a burrow, the team shot up the table last year…but it won’t happen again]
- Watford [straight up, and straight back down]
Let me know if you agree in the comments below