Neutral Premier League fans, this is the season you’ve been waiting for! The unpredictability of the Premier League this season will shine like none before. Those 90 minute equalizers, the penalties, the momentum swings between winning streaks and huge losses of possession; this season will be a real testament to the league considered the most exciting in the world.
The English Premier League is shaping up to be one of the all time greats, and clubs have not even concluded their respective transfer business yet. With the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson finally leaving his throne at Manchester United, can David Moyes succeed Fergie and bring continued success to the Red Devils? Or will this be the start of a battle to hold on to top four status?
In the last 20 plus years since the inception of the Premier League from old Division One, Manchester United have been the team to beat more often than not. Guided by the gum chewing genius, they have thwarted all comers, but now is the time for Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and the chasing pack to gain ground of Moyes’ United. For the first time in 26 years, United have an important weakness: adapting to a new manager. That is not to say David Moyes is inexperienced, not at all. But as far as winning league titles, trophies, or competing in the Champions League on a regular basis, this is all new to Moyes. The fear factor of going to play against United will always be strong, but facing Moyes is to this date not as intimidating as it would be against Sir Alex.
Moyes will have talismanic striker Robin Van Persie to lead the line and a host of experienced winners by his side to help him, but will that be enough to keep United the kings of England for years to come? Teams like Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal hope to end that dominance and take the reins of the Premier League in the near future.
With fan favorite manager and double Premier League title winner Jose Mourinho back in their corner, Chelsea should be a serious force to be reckoned with this season. As always with the Blues, money is no obstacle in terms of who they can bring in, and so far, adding Mark Schwarzer and Andre Schurrle only makes them better. With Schwarzer as a solid back up, and should anything happen to Cech, the goalkeeping department is just fine. As for the addition of Schurrle, Chelsea have near unlimited resources in the wing areas. But with Mourinho, the transfer business is not done until the window is closed. Terry, Lampard, Cole, Cech will all be glad to see the competitor in Jose back in their corner. How long Mourinho lasts though is another story all together.
I expect Chelsea to come out of the blocks and blow most of their first batch of opponents away. Although they face United away in the second game of the season, I don’t think that will stop Chelsea should they lose from still having a strong start. It’s their confidence that is the worry. Eden Hazard will continue to improve, Mata is a flat out star, but it is the striking department that has most Chelsea fans worried. I think it’s safe to say the “Liverpool” Fernando Torres is long gone, and even 15 goals this season won’t improve his once superstar striker standing in football again.
As for now, if Chelsea don’t land another striker of quality it’s down to Torres and Ba to be the main options unless Lukaku forces his way in to the team, which at some stage I’m sure will happen. But for Chelsea, once that unexpected loss happens and they drop their heads can Mourinho pick them back up and keep them fighting till the end? Can Mourinho keep the job more than one year without a trophy? Can he help them dominate England? It is all part of the unwritten script this season that is waiting to feed us Premier League hungry fans.
With 90 million pounds already spent on the likes of Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Brazilian Fernandinho, and Stevan Jovetic, it’s clear City aren’t wasting any time in wanting to stake their claim to be the new dominant force in English football. With the endless pockets of their owners, there is no player who is out of their price bracket, and that alone will keep them in the conversation for as long as the star players keep rolling through the door. The loss of Tevez won’t be felt much considering Aguero, Dzeko, Negredo and Jovetic are all legitimate starters for most teams in world football. The time for Negredo and Jovetic to integrate will be dealt with by the classy and stylish Manuel Pellegrini, who will bring style and flare to the blue half of Manchester.
Expect to see City challenge right to the end. His first season in England may prove to be too tough for Pelligrini to claim a domestic double or treble, but if they end the season empty handed, I for one will be very surprised. I can see a bit better turn out in Europe for the citizens also, maybe not a final, but the quarter finals or more is not beyond them at all.
The team the media can’t stop linking players to is none other than Arsenal. The team who’s manager is now the longest serving and most successful in the league. Even if that success has been eight years and counting, Wenger says he still has the hunger, and Gazidis says they have the money. Yet while other teams are making significant moves already, Arsenal are stalling. Regardless if it’s the media making up stories or not, if Arsenal have the money, they should not be sitting on it.
Most people see Arsenal, much like Chelsea, in need of a quality striker, and in Giroud they have a good one, but not enough to this point that he can push out twenty to thirty goals in the Premier league just yet. I believe he can improve his tally this season, but if they could add a Suarez or someone of that quality and finally break that transfer record, everything changes. If the money is there and they buy the two to four players that are so abundantly clear they need to fight for trophies, then in Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, and the rest of the supporting cast, Arsenal fans have more than a reason to be excited. But with Arsenal, at the moment all we can do is wait and see what they do.
As far as the top four places goes the only other team I see being in that conversation is Tottenham. As long as they hold on to Bale, they will be a quality side again. I think their hopes of pushing for a top four place again is well within their reach, but the Europa League will be an unwanted distraction for the white team from North London. If they are seriously going to finish in the top four, they need to be out of that competition as soon as they can. For Spurs, if they put their eggs in any basket, and if anything to keep Bale any longer, making the Champions League is a must.
Then you have Everton and Liverpool, and whoever else you may believe will finish in the Europa League places, such as Swansea. Maybe even a West Ham or either of the teams from Tyneside and Wear. Can the Youthful Aston Villa make an impression? Can West Brom, Cardiff, Hull, Crystal Palace or any of the others be surprise packets up the table this season? But with all the new managers at the top end, the promoted teams, Liverpool’s hunger and ambition to be a top four team again, etc. this Premier League season could throw up as many shocks, classic matches, controversial moments, and sheer brilliance as any that have ever come before.
This is a neutral football fans dream. All of it sure has me buzzing, and the same goes for the fans of specific clubs. The transfer rumors are really starting to heat up, and the best is yet to come from the most exciting league in the world. The 2013-2014 season may be one that will be remembered for the highs and lows, the upsets, and the dominating performances. But above all else, without a doubt the unexpected nature of the Premier League is the thing that will have neutral football fans talking.
Written by Jake Meyboom