Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Premiership Preview 2010/11: The Title Contenders

With the Premiership season fast approaching, it seems like a good time to take a look at the possible title contenders for the new season and it seems that this year could be one of the most wide open and unpredictable seasons in recent years.

It's likely that Man. Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal will challenge again and, despite Rafa Benitez's disastrous final season as Liverpool manager , it is difficult to write Liverpool off as well. Tottenham will look to build on their impressive season last year where they broke the dominance of the so-called "Big four" but can they improve enough to mount a serious title challenge and, after another summer of big spending, it is hard to ignore Man City as genuine title contenders.


After last season's success, Chelsea have been quiet in the transfer window. Michael Ballack and Joe Cole have been allowed to leave the club and there remains uncertainty over the future of Ashley Cole who has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid. However, Carlo Ancelotti will remain optimistic over his side's chances this season. The arrival of Yossi Benayoun from Liverpool could prove to be a shrewd signing and Michael Essien's return from injury will be like a new signing for them. The champions will also know that they can rely on many of last year's stars which probably makes them slight favourites to win the title again.


Despite having to settle for 2nd place last season, Sir Alex Ferguson has resisted the temptation to make big changes at Old Trafford. In contrast to there neighbours Man. City, there have only been two additions to Man. Utd.'s squad this summer and neither Javier Hernandez or Chris Smalling could be described as "marquee" signings. However these signing do add to a wealth of young talent that Ferguson has at his disposal but there is never a guarantee that they will be good enough to step up and make an impact in the first team. There are also lingering doubts over the fitness of the likes of Hargreaves, Ferdinand and Owen which could be important if United are to be successful this season as will Wayne Rooney's form after such a poor World Cup. However, Ferguson will know that he will be able to rely on the experience of Giggs, Scholes and Neville which could be vital and means that it is likely that United will challenge again this season.


Arsene Wenger has added two new faces to his squad this summer and has been linked with others as the pressure builds on his youngsters to win a trophy. The arrivals of Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh look to be positive moves for Wenger but are they enough for Arsenal to win their first trophy since 2005? One thing that will be key for Arsene Wenger is that he can keep hold of Cesc Fabregas. It seems that he has succeeded in his fight to keep his captain at the Emirates this summer but it is clearly ony a matter of time before Fabregas moves to the Nou Camp. Arsene Wenger's faith in his young squad is admirable but Arsenal fans may start to lose patience if they fail again.


Liverpool have appointed Roy Hodgson as their new manager after Rafa Benitez moved to Inter Milan. This could prove to be a good appointment for Liverpool as there are few managers who will have the experience of Hodgson which could be vital as he attempts to stabilise Liverpool. However, their off-the-field problems mean that Roy Hodgson has a restricted transfer budget. This makes Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic who have arrived on free transfers even better signings. Jovanovic adds more cover up front where Liverpool had relied on injury prone Torres a little too much and Joe Cole could provide the creativity that Liverpool have lacked since the sale of Xabi Alonso last summer. Hodgson has also added Danny Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey to his squad and has resigned Fabio Aurelio. If Hodgson can add a few new faces to his squad and persuade Gerrard and Torres to commit their future to Liverpool, they must surely be considered title contenders.


Although Spurs performed above expectations last season, it is hard to see them seriously challenging for the title. Last season, they beat Man. City to the final Champions League spot but, consequently, they will have a far more congested fixture list than last season. This makes Harry Redknapp's attempts to bolster his squad even more important but even if he succeeds it is unlikely that they will be serious title contenders. Spurs may find finishing in the top 4 this season difficult. Man City have spent big once again and the pressure will be on Mancini to atleast break into the top 4.

Man City

As expected, Roberto Mancini has splashed the cash this summer and has added the likes of Boateng, Silva, Yaya Toure and Kolarov to his squad this summer. There are no signs of Man City's spending stopping either with Mario Balotelli heavily linked with a move to Eastlands this summer. Man City need to offload players though because of new Premiership rules restricting clubs to only 25 players over 21 years of age. With many players expected to leave this summer and more players expected to arrive, Man City could have a very different squad of players by the end of August and there is no guarantee that they will gel as a team which will be necessary if they are to seriously challenge for the title.

Predicted Top 6

1. Chelsea

2. Man Utd

3. Man City

4. Arsenal

5. Liverpool

6. Tottenham

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