Open your closet, dust off your colours and head to your cathedral of choice. The Premiership season starts tomorrow. After the fantastic Olympics that finished only a week ago, you may be a little desensitised towards sport. However, this season promises to be fantastic, with some interesting introductions and omissions amongst the ranks of the Premiership teams.
With the final kicks of last season, we were rewarded with some of the most fantastic moments of Premiership history. Manchester City usurped victory from the jaws of defeat, with a captivating injury time goal pipping fellow countrymen Manchester United to the premiership title. This was the first time they won the title and represents a wait of around 40 years since they have won the top division in English football.
The New Boys
Winning the Championship last season certainly isn’t a guarantee of staying in the Premiership. We all saw how QPR struggled last season even with various high profile introductions to their ranks. But Brian McDermott’s men will be quietly confident after winning the Championship in such prolific circumstances.
My Tip – Reading could prove to be the surprise package of the inductees, they play attractive football and I think they will miss relegation by a whisker. 17th place (Survival).
West Ham have been a fixture of the Premiership for many years and their introduction this year comes from a successful play-off campaign. Their brand of long balls and big bruising attackers could mean the Premiership is one step too far.
My Tip – I can’t see them escaping the relegation zone all season. 20th place (Relegation).
They face the ultimate test away to Manchester City first game. Whilst that is a match I can’t see them picking up any points it will be interesting how they will recover from a possible 4-8 goal loss. They have faced a six year hiatus from the Premiership and will be hoping to establish themselves as a Premiership fixture. Whilst that may be a little ambitious based on last season, I can see them doing enough to stay above the water. It certainly will not be easy.
My Tip – I believe it may come down to the gulf between Southampton and Reading. As far as i’m concerned Reading have slightly more to give. 18th Place (Relegation).
Big Summer Transfers
Eden Hazard – One of the biggest names to be introduced into the Chelsea midfield. The Belgian international that many are calling the next Messi, he combines fast, skilled feet with a talent for scoring goals. He could fit into a lucrative relationship with Juan Mata that feeds Torres some easy goals. In pre-season he has looked sharp.
Shinji Kawaga – Manchester United’s signing from German superstars Borussia Dortmund. Coming from a successful Bundesliga campaign Kawaga is a fast tactical player, a goalscorer but will probably fit into Manchester as a creator, setting up Rooney and Van Persie.
Fantasy Football – My 11 tips
Whilst in Fantasy Football it is impossible to pick certain players that will perform, you can make some informed guesses. My 11 come from a careful look at last season’s statistics, who has done well in pre-season and who will almost certainly play (Name team).
The Lowdown – Joe Hart is injured and Tim Krull is cheap enough to allow you to spend elsewhere but also produced a respectable goal to save average last season. Rafael is a bit of a gamble although his position comes relatively unapposed in the Manchester ranks. Vincent Kompany will always play and Manchester City should get more clean sheets that most teams. Looking at statistics David Silva and Yaya Toure are prolific at setting up goals but also score enough themselves to justify there place. Gervinho is evolved in most of Arsenals attacks, he is aggressive in attack. Simply Aguero scores alot of goals. Van Persie should fit into Manchester United as the target man with Rooney playing directly behind him. With traffic from Rooney and Kawaga I can see him scoring lots of goals. Many will scoff at my inclusion of Torres into my team. Chelsea have improved their midfield greatly with the introduction of Eden Hazard, him coupled with Juan Mata, Ramires and Frank Lampard will improve his goal scoring potential. It also looked like he was back to world class form during the Euro 2012 tournament.
So who is going to win it?
In terms of squad strengthening and general prowess I see the title as a three horse race. I expect as everyone else the Manchester teams to dominate. Chelsea can be seen as having an outside chance. Roberto Di Matteo is a good manager and has put together a strong midfield capable of winning the title. Alex Ferguson has put in a new case for domination with his introductions of Shinji Kawaga and Robin Van Persie. Whilst Manchester City have not improved their squad, their prowess is undeniable and with the striking partnership of Tevez and Aguero I can’t see them outside the top two.
1. Manchester United
2. Manchester City
20. West Ham