With Tom’s European preview in the books and the English Premier League just over a week away from kicking-off, it’s time to preview the season and throw some early predictions out there.
You can find @TomDobbyne’s Premier League predictions throughout the article as well, enjoy the read!
Transfers To Watch – This year’s transfer window has been quiet, but there were a few moves that should impact teams battling at the top:
– David Silva, Man City (From Valencia, £24m) – Adds more creativity and experience
– Joe Cole, Liverpool (From Chelsea, Free Transfer) – Will add a lot of pace to the midfield, and will be re-invigorated after being put back into a first team selection
– Pablo Barrera, West Ham Utd (From UNAM Pumas, £4m) – The Mexican International played well in the World Cup and will be an influx of creativity for the mid-table side
– Ramires, Chelsea (From Benfica, £18m) – The only key signing for Chelsea this summer and should balance the departure of J. Cole, Ballack and Deco earlier this summer.
Mangers In The Hot seat – Finally, Benitez is out of England and wreaking havoc upon another league, but now we need another couple of managers to pick on:
– Martin O’Neill, Aston Villa – The Villa manager has led his team to back-to-back sixth place finishes, however he increased their point total by just two last seasons. The pressure is on to get his team into the Promised Land of Champions League football.
– Roberto Mancini, Man City – After the quick dismissal of Mark Hughes, Mancini was able to lead his team to a fifth place finish but the pressure is always on when your owners have unrealistic expectations
– Chris Hughton, Newcastle – Now that Magpies are back into the Premier League, there will be no allowance for going back down, that being said look for Hughton to be the first to go if the team embarks on a steady descent towards relegation.
The Relegation Battle – Last season saw Burnley, Hull City and in tatters Portsmouth drop down to the championship and saw Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool pop into the top flight, here’s who is pegged to go down:
– Blackpool – The Tangerines were an outside bet to gain promotion and managed to shock pundits by sneaking in through the playoffs, but look to see them drop back down and there won’t be much Ian Holloway will be able to do to keep them up.
– West Bromwich Albion – WBA is famous for coming up, only to drop back down and for every season since 2000, except 2004/2005 and 2006/2007, they have either been promoted or relegated from the top flight. It would be a pleasant surprise to see them stay up, but I’d expect to see them continue their usual trend.
– Wigan Athletic – The Lactics had a goal difference of -42 at the end of last season, which was worse than all three teams relegated and without any additions in firepower the team looks destined for the drop.
Tom’s Predictions: Blackpool, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion
The Title Battle – A two horse race for much of the season, the final weekend saw Chelsea pip Manchester United by one point to win the English Premier League title on 87 points, while Arsenal finished third with 75 and Tottenham a distant fourth with 70 points.
– 1st, Chelsea Football Club – The defending champions are my favourites to repeat, ignoring the fact I am a diehard supporter, and should see off any challenge from Manchester United. A fit Didier Drogba will look to build on his Golden Boot season and rebound from a disappointing World Cup, look for him to break all his previous goal scoring marks.
– 2nd, Manchester United – The 2009/2010 runner-up has a lot to prove after injuries hurt them midseason and were unable to win the Champions League. They have yet to bolster their first-team, but signings of Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez are purchases for the future.
– 3rd, Manchester City – The newest member of the millionaires club, City added Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jerome Boeteng and Aleksandar Kolarov to their team and look to push for the title. It would be foolish to look past the talent of this team, but it will be up to Mancini to make the players fit together and play a fluid game.
Tom’s Predictions: Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City
Top Scorer – Last season Didier Drogba finished three goals ahead of Wayne Rooney with 29 goals, while Sunderland’s Darren Bent finished with the third highest goal total at 24, closely followed by Carlos Tevez on 23 and midfielder Frank Lampard rounding out the top five with 22.
– 1st, Didier Drogba, Chelsea – Drogba missed a month of the season for the African Cup and still managed to score 29 goals. This season he’ll have a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing World Cup, and I see him scoring 30+ goals this season
– 2nd, Wayne Rooney, Manchester United – Rooney was hit with injuries last season, but I don’t see him scoring more than Drogba. However, look for it to be close all season much like last.
– 3rd, Carlos Tevez, Manchester City – The Man City striker will build off of a strong season and will be key to the final position for City.
– Honourable Mentions – Jermaine Defoe, Fernando Torres and Gabriel Agbonlahor
Tom’s Prediction: Wayne Rooney
The English Premier League kicks off August 14th and make sure you come back each week our Weekly Premier League Roundup and our Fantasy League Roundup, where we will breakdown the top players each week.
Henry Whitfield covers all things sports and can be found on Twitter @HenryWhitfield, where he live-tweets Mooseheads, Bluejays and much more!