It all kicks-off again on Saturday, so it’s time for some Premier League predictions. Time to boldly put my neck on the line and declare who will win the Premier League title and who will finish in the Champions League places. The task is harder than ever this season with Man Utd re-tooling, Liverpool re-emerging and Man City respected as legitimate title contenders.
So, here goes with my Premier League predictions for the top four:
Liverpool have invested over £100m since January to bring in Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stuart Downing, and Doni. The spending might not stop there, with Scott Dann and Jose Enrique also being rumoured with moves to Anfield.
In brief glimpses last season, Carroll and Suarez looked to be showing the beginnings of a good partnership, which will set the Premier League alight. However, with all of the summer signings, and the chequebook may still not be closed, I think it will take some time for the new recruits to gel. Add to this, Lucas Leiva has just returned from Copa America and key defensive stopper Martin Skrtel hasn’t played yet this season, and Liverpool could be stuck in the ‘transition zone’ for a couple of months getting accustomed to playing together.
My Premier League prediction is that the Reds may be a season away from seriously challenging for it all and will finish fourth this time around.
3 Man City
The blue half of Manchester had a great season last year to finish in the Champions League places. Sergio Aguero is a fantastic capture and he will be a hit in the Premier League. However, I think it’ll take him a few months to get accustomed to the style of play and that will hinder City’s title bid this season.
Man City will also have to contend with playing in the Champions League and I think to battle Chelsea and Man Utd for the title, whilst also battling through Europe’s elite competition, will just be too much for City at their first attempt. This will be a learning season.
The big x-factor is Carlos Tevez, if he stays then Man City have a real shot at finishing higher. If he indeed does go, then my Premier League prediction for Man City will be to finish third.
2 Man Utd
Man Utd have gone big in the transfer market this summer – a season on from when they supposedly won the league with a substandard team. With Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville all retiring, Sir Alex Ferguson decided it was time to rebuild the team once more and invested in youth. In came Ashley Yong, Phil Jones and David de Gea, to join youngsters like Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Danny Wellbeck, Nani and the Da Silva twins. You’ll supposedly’ win nothing with kids,’ but the new look Man Utd have certainly impressed in pre-season and in the Charity Shield.
The two concerns for me are David de Gea and Rio Ferdinand. Firstly, can de Gea deal with the physicality of a crowded English penalty area – something Edwin van der Sar definitely could. Secondly, can Rio Ferdinand stay healthy this season? While Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are definitely good players for the future, they are not the finished articles right now.
While it will go down to the wire, my Premier League prediction for Man Utd is to finish second.
Chelsea have done very little in the transfer market, but they did shell out £14m to capture Andre Villas-Boas from Porto. He has come in and speaks confidently about his plans for the Blues, to which the players seem to have responded well – only conceding 1 goal in pre-season, a sign the defence will be solid.
If the team with the best defence wins the Premier League title, then Chelsea will be up there. Peter Cech is a proven performer between the sticks, then Villas-Boas has a wealth of defensive options to put in front of him: John Terry, Alex, Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz and Ashley Cole. Throw in a revitalised Jose Bosingwa – who missed a lot of last season through injury – and the Blues are going to be tough to break down.
While they are good at the back, I have two concerns for Chelsea. Firstly, Michael Essien will be out until at least Christmas. And secondly, will Fernando Torres continue to struggle?
Michael Essien will be missed, but Ramires really improved as a player last season and I see him really stepping in to the fold this year. Fernando Torres is more of a concern, but I think Villas-Boas not letting Daniel Sturridge go out on loan was a shrewd move. Sturridge really proved himself at Bolton last season and has scored goals in pre-season also, so Villas-Boas has another option to turn to if Torres misfires. Add to this, that Didier Drogba will still be a menace upfront and my Premier League prediction is that Chelsea will be standing with the trophy in June
Premier League Predictions:
1. Chelsea 86pts
2. Man Utd 84pts
3. Man City 77pts
4. Liverpool 72pts
Chelsea’s strength and depth will see them win the Premier League title this year by two points from Man Utd.