Thursday, 11 August 2011

Premier League Preview – the contenders

The long summer is almost at an end which means only one thing, the start of the football season is upon us. Every football fan worldwide has been getting more excited by the day about the return of the Premier League. It has been a long three months but at 3pm on Saturday the wait is finally over.

It has been an interesting summer in terms of transfers for the leading sides in the Premier League. With 20 days to go in this transfer window there is still a way to go and the expectation is that several high level deals are still remaining. Whilst the three Northern sides, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City have acquired several new additions the London teams, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have stuttered. Indeed the London clubs have spent most of the summer either trying to keep their best players or adjusting to a new manager.

Manchester United began the spending early this summer by signing David de Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young. All three additions are young and should form the core of the United team for the foreseeable future. This writer’s pick of signings would have to be Jones. At 19 he is already at ease in the Premier League and playing in the Champions League will only improve him as player. Whilst de Gea endured some misplaced criticism after the Community Shield he is still the second most expensive goalkeeper in history and will be between the posts at United for the next 15 years. Whilst there is some doubt over Young’s arrival from Aston Villa he has certainly gone to the best place if he is to hone his natural ability and fulfil his potential.

Manchester City have bought well and will be serious title challengers against their city rivals. The addition of Sergio Aguero from Athletico Madrid is excellent and it will be fascinating to see how he progresses in England. Only two years ago he was being likened to Lionel Messi and the general consensus is that he is ideally suited to the demands of this league. They also picked up Gael Clichy from Arsenal who will offer more pace than Aleksandar Kolorov and should prove a decent buy. Almost all summer the side have been linked with signing Samir Nasri from Arsenal but in David Silva they have one of the players I believe could be player of the year. After having an initial year to adapt he should be ready to show his class this season.

The manager’s position at Chelsea has changed yet again and they begin this season with Portuguese sensation Andre Villas-Boas. It is not the first time Chelsea have hired a successful coach from Porto and the fans will be hoping they have unearthed another football genius. The only real business Chelsea have done thus far is adding Oriol Romeu from Barcelona. It looks like being a positive signing as most La Masia graduates are remarkably good technically and physically. It is understood that they remain in the market to sign a creative midfielder and Luka Modric has been consistently linked.

I have written about these clubs in the order I believe they will finish this season. The signings United have made will enable them to easily manoeuvre the new players into the existing set up which will make them formidable. The recent speculation surrounding the possible signing of Wesley Sneijder from Inter would only make the league more of a formality if he signs.

The closest challengers I believe will be Manchester City. Now they are competing in the Champions League they are able to attract the next level of player which has made them significantly stronger than last season. The addition of Aguero should hopefully make them open up a little and we may finally see an attaching City side, although it is still relatively unlikely under Roberto Mancini. One feels that he has to deliver this season after another hefty outlay this summer.

Unlike many other pundits I generally feel Chelsea do have a chance in this title race but it is all depends on getting the best out of Fernando Torres. There are several key players at the wrong end of their careers at Stamford Bridge and if Villas-Boas can get el nino firing again they could be the surprise package in the top three. Defensively you would expect them to be sound but they have to buy another creative central midfielder if they are to get the best out of Torres.

This season promises much already and I will review the contenders for that elusive fourth place tomorrow. It is a position that will be the most sought after ever this season with Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs are fighting to qualify for the Champions League.

1 comment:

  1. what's that - no Blackburn in the running!? At least they have a better chance than ze Hammers.