Here in the dark depressing ends of the L Lounge at Humber College are three young men who will be covering the Premier League and various competitions around Europe this season. Today, we weigh in our thoughts on who will be successful in the Premier League this season. Over the course of the year we’ll be covering games over twitter, providing match recaps, our own individual pieces and we are in the process of providing Humber and the general public with a refreshing footy podcast. But enough about us, it’s time to dive into the 2012/2013 nine month soap opera or known to most as the Premier League season and boy does it look exciting.
It’s been 84 days, 2,016 hours, and 120,960 minutes since Sergio Aguero’s injury time strike handed Manchester City the Premier League for the first time in 44 years. Arguably the greatest ending to a Premier League season has set the bar, but the way the summer has gone so far gives us hope that it’ll live up to its high standards.
- Defending champions Manchester City head into the season with virtually the same team that was triumphant last season. Only Jack Rodwell has joined the club since, and surprisingly City have spent very little compared to the other top sides this summer. Not to worry City fans, this squad with a in form and motivated Carlos Tevez is much better than the City side we saw throughout majority of the season. They’re now proven winners and all seem to be fully behind Roberto Mancini. Another CB and CM would be great buys, but with Yaya Toure and the best defender in the league in Vincent Kompany in front of Joe Hart, City are in good hands. City are favoured to retain their Premier League title this year and if they’re able to avoid the horrid media scandals of last year, it’s hard not to believe that they’ll be top of the league in May.
- Manchester United seem to always find a way to be in the title race and you wouldn’t bet against them this year especially with the arrival of Robin Van Persie. Last season United lost the title in the final minutes on goal difference which should motivate them to win back the title they lost to their “noisy neighbours”. They’ve brought in the likes of Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa and young teenager Nick Powell after failing to land Lucas Moura and Eden Hazard. The problem with United is they still possess holes in their midfield and could use cover at LB and this could lead to another poor European campaign. With captain Nemanja Vidic healthy along with their new signings United look more than capable of challenging and possibly claiming another Premier League title. Key question is how will Fergie utilize Rooney and Van Persie? If there are no more summer signings how will Ferguson improve their displays against top teams in the league and in Europe?
- Chelsea head into this season with a lot to prove, albeit finishing sixth in the league they were still able to claim a FA cup and their first European title under interim manager Roberto Di Matteo. This summer Di Matteo was appointed as the permanent manager on a one year deal and has so far spent £65m on the likes of Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar. Chelsea have addressed the problems they had last year by instilling younger players that provide creativity and natural width. All eyes are on Fernando Torres as he and Daniel Sturridge are the only main strikers at Stamford Bridge thus far. The team was built around Torres in hope that we can once again see the qualities that transformed him into a world class striker, any less than that would officially mark the end of Fernando Torres and hurt Chelsea’s chances of finishing in the top four. There are many unanswered questions about Chelsea and one is how will Di Matteo keep all these players happy, and when they go through a tough spell will he be able to turn things around ? Will he be able to control all the massive egos in the dressing room?
- Is it a surprise we head into yet another Premier League season questioning Arsenal’s title ambition? Last summer they lost Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, this season Robin Van Persie has left to rivals Manchester United and Alex Song is apparently on his way to Barcelona. This would leave Arsenal with a decent squad since he has brought in striker Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, and creative midfielder Santi Carzola, but this team simply isn’t good enough to challenge for trophies. In Van Persie they lost their only world class player, and it will be a true testament on Wenger to see how he addresses the issues and uses the money available. In a matter of a week Arsenal have went from a possible title contender to a team that will be fighting to secure a European spot for ANOTHER year.
- Andre Villas-Boas is BACK; and back to prove a point. After his failed stint at Chelsea, Villas-Boas received another chance to win Premier League fans over as he’s the new Tottenham manager. He has inherited a squad that fits the style of football he wants to play. Although he’s signed Jan Vertonghen and Gylffi Sigurdsson, their summer has been overshadowed by the Luka Modric saga. Spurs have yet to sign a striker and Modric leaving would be a massive loss to this team who is striving for Champions League football. It’s hard to see them do better than last season, and with the media watching Villas-Boas every move it will be an interesting summer at White Hart Lane. Villas-Boas needs to get this dressing room behind him fast, or we could see results similar to those of Chelsea last year. Signing a quality striker and Joao Moutinho could see this team sneak into the top four.
- Newcastle United were a revelation last season under Alan Pardew and were able to secure Europa League football. This year with pretty much the same team they plan to do one better and reach the Champions League. With only one signing in Vurnon Anita from Ajax, this team hasn’t changed with the prolific Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye and Chiek Tiote just to name a few. They were a thrill to watch last season and we expect them at the same level next season but with more fixtures added on to their schedule and numerous rivals building better and larger clubs it’s going to be difficult for Newcastle to replicate their stunning form from last season. They all love playing for Newcastle and that will go a long way, but a Champions League spot might be too optimistic Toon fans this year.
- A new Era is about to begin as Brendan Rodgers takes over the helm at Anfield. He brings with him a tiki-taka style that saw newly promoted Swansea finished 11th last season. Liverpool welcome back Joe Cole from loan, Lucas Leiva from injury and have brought in Joe Allen, Fabio Borini and Oussama Assaidi; Rodgers insists more players will be on their way. After a poor season under his standards, this season will be Luis Suarez’s chance to silence the critics. Having hit more posts and nutmegs than goals scored, Suarez should yet again show us all the qualities he possesses that make him a world class attacker. Liverpool will be stronger than last season, but the question is how long will it take for Rodgers system to kick in? That will be one of the major factors along with the form of Luis Suarez that determine whether Liverpool finish mid table or in a European spot.
- Everton head into this season with pride restored as they finished ahead of there Merseyside neighbours. Their eyes will be set this year on a top six finish, but with many teams getting stronger and losing the likes of Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell some might believe their backs are against the wall already. The upside is they re-signed Steven Pienaar who found his form when joining Moyes in January last season and Rangers striker Steven Naismith on loan. With these signings plus Marouane Fellaini and Nikita Jelavic, this team should finish nowhere below eighth and if they start the season of well for a change a European spot is possible.
Humber’s Footy Chat EPL Predictions
Tyrrell Meertins – (Chelsea supporter)
Top Four – Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal
Relegation – Norwich, Reading, Southampton
Champions League – Real Madrid
Europa League – Atletico Madrid
Golden Boot – Sergio Aguero or Carlos Tevez (One or the other couldn’t decide)
FA Cup – Chelsea
Carling Cup – Manchester United
PFA Player of the Year – Sergio Aguero
PFA Young Player of the Year – Eden Hazard
Players to lookout for this season – Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres, Santi Carzola, Joe Allen, Luis Suarez, Jan Vertonghen, Rickie Lambert, Shinji Kagawa, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Nikita Jelavic, Michu
The team I expect a lot from this season other than my beloved Chelsea is Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers will need patience but he has the players to excel in this system, and as the season progresses I expect them to be playing some entertaining football. They should do better than last season and I feel Luis Suarez will turn those shots off the post into goals, 5th or 6th and a cup run would be a great start for Rodgers.
Michael Osei – (Barcelona supporter. EPL wise he supports Tottenham Hotspur)
Top Four – Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea
Relegation – Reading, QPR, Southampton
Champions League – Real Madrid
Europa League – Manchester City
FA Cup – Tottenham
Carling Cup – Manchester City
Golden Boot – Robin Van Persie
PFA Player of the Year – Robin Van Persie
PFA Young Player of the Year – Kyle Walker
Players to lookout for this season – Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres, Santi Cazorla, Eden Hazard, Oscar
The team I expect a lot from this season is Chelsea. They’ve made huge moves in the off-season and are running on the momentum of a Champions League title.
Paolo Serpe is also part of the team, but was unable to send us his predictions due to personal issues. We’ll come back to these predictions September 1st when the transfer windows closed to reassess our views on this upcoming season.
We’d love to hear your intake on how the season will turn out, so feel free to post your predictions.