At this point, just before the dawn of another season, every single person has some thoughts. They think about who’s going to win the league and, to a lesser extent, who’s going to slip down into the mire of the Championship. And so it would be remiss if I didn’t share my thoughts on these key issues, well, until it becomes clear they’re further from the mark than a Soldado shot, when this post will quietly disappear.
Let’s start with the bottom and then go up top.
20th – Norwich. The Canaries are back in the big time after a brief stay in the Championship, but it looks like they’re set to continue the yo-yo motion of recent times. They have added bodies to the squad, but have added little in the way of quality, with the pick of the bunch being Andre Wisdom on loan from Liverpool and Brady, who spent almost all of last season out through injury, joining from Hull.
19th – Sunderland. They’ve been flirting with the drop for a few seasons in a row now, each struggle to survive seeming more desperate than the last. Although they have definitely done some decent work in the transfer window so far, with signings including former Spurs captain Kaboul, it seems as if it is only a matter of time until they slip out if the top tier, and there’s no time like the present.
18th – Bournemouth. Touted as the rags to riches story of the league this year, but don’t be taken in by the media haze that surrounds the club; Bournemouth have a history of spending big to get where they want to go, and it works. The Cherries do play good, attractive, attacking football too, but this could prove to be their downfall as they encounter the much more resolute back lines of the Premier League.
4th – Manchester City. Pellegrini’s men looked a pale shadow of themselves last season, compared to their title winning campaign, with Sergio Aguero the only man to play to his full potential. The squad certainly isn’t a youthful one anymore, with most of the established players around the dreaded 30 years of age. This could certainly cost them this year and a season without silverware could pave the way for Pep Guardiola to take the reins next year.
3rd – Manchester United. Not the greatest year for either side of Manchester then. Although there can be little doubt as to the quality of Van Gaals side going forward and in the centre of the park, after a big spending spree brought in some big names, but rumours persist that De Gea will complete a move to Real Madrid. That’s not mentioning the lack of a top quality centre back, a problem for some time now, or the fact that the side hasn’t really had time to gel yet. Again, another season without a trophy could easily spell the end for the manager
2nd – Chelsea. Last season’s champions might just be toppled this season. Mourinho looks set to play the same defensive style as last season, which will be figured out at some point and torn down. On top of this, concerns are lingering over Diego Costa’s fitness, which could lead to the Blues becoming over reliant on the sublime Hazard.
1st – Arsenal. Yes, the Gunners have a great shot at finally reclaiming the premier league title for the first time in a rather long time. They’ve already laid down a marker, beating Chelsea in the Community Shield final, which could spell the end of Arsenal’s history of struggling against the top sides. Petr Cech, brought in from Chelsea, is a fantastic signing, and adding Benzema to their forward line could be the final piece in the puzzle for Wenger. Injuries could spell the end of any title challenge though, with Jack Wilshere becoming the first casualty, before the season has even begun.
One thing is for certain, this will be another quality season of football, and the wait is nearly over.