The new season is upon us and it is time for bloggers, pundits and fans alike to put their reputations on the line and get their predictions in.
It’s not easy this year. Usually there is a clear favourite for the title. This year it could be any one from three, maybe even four if Wenger’s transfer dealings pay off.
It is even more difficult to predict what will happen at the other end. Last season Wolves and Blackburn were appalling. Nothing went to plan and they were destined for the drop. It is hard to say who it will happen to this season but it always happens to someone.
Here are my predictions of how the final table will look:
1 – Man Utd In situations where teams are so evenly matched, I would always say that United are favourites. They have the most experience and have proved time and time again that they can bounce back from a disappointment. Ferguson is always able to give his men the belief and determination needed to live up to the expectations of the watching world.
They only lost the title on goal difference last term and now Robin van Persie has joined them perhaps more games will be put to bed before any fear of dropping points start to creep in.
The pain of losing the title to their Manchester rivals in the final minute of the season should see them more determined than ever to bring the trophy back to Old Trafford.
2 – Man City City led the chase for most of last season but stuttered when the pressure reached boiling point. Their form only recovered after Roberto Mancini wisely removed the pressure by prematurely conceding the title to United.
This was important because it showed he had the psychological skills to get the best from his players in the bad times as well as the good. It also showed that he could pile the pressure on his opponents in a way that would have made even Fergie proud.
City have the most talented squad in the league and their team is now settled. However, with so many egos there is always the potential for disruption. They will also lose one of their most important players for a month as Yaya Toure goes to play in the African Cup of Nations. They could end up dropping a few too many points to retain their title.
3 – Chelsea It did Chelsea no harm at all when they finally became European Champions last year. Their new stature and continued presence in the Champions League enabled them to attract some of the most exciting young players in the world.
A lot of Chelsea’s key players are now in their thirties and last season they had their worst league finish since Roman Abramovic bought the club. Their poor league form was largely because AVB was trying to build a younger side and the older players were not happy about being left out. There appeared to be an uneasy atmosphere at the club.
Now they are looking to the future and have signed Hazard, Marin and Oscar. With Torres, Mata and Ramires already at the club, they have plenty of dangerous players. If they can gel they should fire Chelsea back into the Champions League places and maybe even mount a serious title challenge.