TN5's view on how the football season will pan out
After the drama of last season, the new Premier League season is eagerly awaited. Here TN5 look at the likely contenders for the title, those who might exceed expectations, and the players to look out for.
Tip for the Title
Genuinely too close to call. Anyone who picks out their ‘favourite’ is purely guessing. In our view, there is little to suggest that anything other than Man City, Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal will be contesting the top 4 places. As much as we enjoyed it, the drama of last seasons’ chase for the top 4 places is unlikely to be repeated – these 4 will take them comfortably.
As for the winners, that is impossible to predict. Many believe Van Persie’s move to Man United has given them the edge. We’re still not sure. Their midfield still looks too fragile and the weak point of the team. So will Man City retain their title? Their lack of recruits has put a question mark against that, but the return of Tevez on form is almost like a new signing. If they can add De Rossi to their ranks it might be enough to tip the title their way again.
After a disappointing league campaign, Chelsea will be back in the mix. Their midfield is full of creative flair, with Hazard looking very lively pre-season. But, the lack of a top quality striker will be their downfall as we believe Torres is not yet over his crisis of confidence. Which leaves Arsenal: The loss of Van Persie is big, but not insurmountable. In fact, as in the past, it will galvanise the team. Podolski is the signing of the summer. His work rate down the left and especially his shooting power and goals will take Arsenal on to the next level, even without Van Persie.
All of which means it’s anyone’s guess! Arsenal will improve, but probably come up short at the last – as usual. Chelsea will be better but will struggle without a top goalscorer, whilst the Manchester teams both have their strengths and weaknesses. This means we’re putting our money……right back in our wallets and see how things look at the end of October!
Tottenham are weakened after a summer of unrest. They will be up there, but not as close as in the last few seasons. The changes at Liverpool won’t see an improvement in their league position, 6th or 7th is the best they will manage. Newcastle have retained most of their star players and will be high up the table again. Expect a big season from Cabaye.
Of the rest, we think QPR will see a big improvement and may challenge the European places. After just avoiding relegation, they have bought well in the summer and Hoilett could give them something extra to see them as the surprise package this term. Everton, Villa, Fulham and the like will have the usual steady seasons.
Those who will really struggle are Reading and Southampton on their return to the top flight (West Ham should be safe), West Brom , Wigan, Norwich and Swansea. The three for the drop? Southampton, Norwich and Reading – with Swansea perhaps taking the place of one of these if they get off to a poor start.
So, watch this space and let the season commence!