Premier League Preview: Jose’s Blues Are The Boys To Beat

mgrs

With the new Premier League season fast approaching, it’s hard to look beyond an old foe of many managers and fans alike from stealing the limelight once the season gets underway.

This summer’s transfer window and indeed all of the summer’s talk has been shaped around three men, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Arsenal’s pursuit of the Uruguayan, Wayne Rooney and his transfer request and Spur’s Gareth Bale who is being courted by Real Madrid.

One team, with the exception of a handful of Rooney rumours, has slipped under the radar as they plan to wrestle back a title that they won back to back in 2005 and 2006, and they have Jose Mourinho back to steer them there.

Chelsea have recruited wisely. Marco Van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle have been added to what is already a splendid attacking midfield and experienced goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer’s arrival will provide ample back up to Petr Cech. However two of Chelsea’s most important moves in the window could be the return of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku from last season’s loan spells with Werder Bremen and West Brom respectively.

The Belgian duo will return to a squad of young ambitious players, sprinkled with experienced heads like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. They will also return to fellow countryman Eden Hazard, who I’m sure Jose hopes will strike a chord with Romelu Lukaku, who could well start the season as the spearhead of Chelsea’s attack.

Challenging Chelsea will be a revitalised Manchester City side. City have lost the attitude of the likes of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, and replaced it with the skill of Fernandinho and Stevan Jovetic, and the work ethic of Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas. If new boss Manuel Pellegrini can get them playing, City will be extremely hard to beat.

In terms of reigning champions Manchester United, a first season of teething for David Moyes may well be just what the doctor ordered. Without a major signing to lift the expectations at Old Trafford, Moyes must work with what Sir Alex Ferguson left behind, without really putting his stamp on things in terms of players. If he wants to challenge, he must sign players, and fast.

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Arsenal are much the same as Manchester United, if a challenge is to be mounted, significant investment in the squad must be made, but more than the defending champions.

In terms of upsets, Norwich have acquired some fantastic players to add to a nice blend of quality which is remaining from last season. The likes of Wes Hoolahan and Bradley Johnson will now be joined in the midfield by exciting young winger Nathan Redmond, and Dutch powerhouse Leroy Fer. However it is the striking department where things could really go well for the Canaries. Dutch striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel has joined from Sporting Lisbon, whilst Celtic striker Gary Hooper has taken the step up from the SPL to try and test himself on a bigger stage. If they can hit it off, Norwich could well climb the table at an alarming rate.

Underachieving is always one of the biggest talking points of a Premier League season, and I feel that the three promoted sides will have it tough trying to stay afloat in what is an incredibly competitive league. Teams like Swansea and Southampton have added wisely as they will look to build on their good seasons last year, so I feel the three promoted sides could well be cut adrift of the pack this season.

TEAM BY TEAM:

ARSENAL: The Gunners will sneak back into the Champions League places. 4th  

ASTON VILLA: Villa could struggle again. A good young side but still lacking vital experience. 16th

CARDIFF CITY: Cardiff will put up a good fight and be a tough side to beat at the Cardiff City stadium, but ultimately experience at this level could be there undoing. 17th

CHELSEA: My bet for the League. Mourinho will prosper against inexperienced Premier League manager Manuel Pelligrini and David Moyes. 1st

CRYSTAL PALACE: Ian Holloway’s team will be a blend of fun and excitement throughout the year, with 4-3 and 3-2 scorelines all over their form book, but a return to the championship will be on the cards. 20th

EVERTON: The Toffees have a new young manager at the helm, and his style of football mixed with the good players they have signed should see them do well. 7th

FULHAM: Martin Jol is a good manager and he knows what he is doing at Fulham. A good start to the season may wain towards the end as they have nothing to play for. 12th

HULL CITY: Hull play a decent style of football and have some good young Irish players like Robbie Brady and David Meyler. However I think a tough season is ahead for the Tigers and a possible return to the Football League. 19th

LIVERPOOL: Brendan Rogers is a bit of steady eddie and I think his team will be pretty consistent this year. Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge will have big parts to play, even more so if Suarez jumps ship. 6th

MANCHESTER CITY: As discussed City will be a threat but possible over the next two season and not just this one. Expect them to be much more competitive in Europe. 2nd

MANCHESTER UNITED: Moyes would really have liked to added a few names to the squad list by now. He hasn’t and could be at risk of a panic buy or two. The Scot would also like a swift conclusion to the Rooney saga. 3rd

NEWCASTLE UNITED: After the world wind of the past two seasons, Alan Pardew may well take a consolidating season. With Joe Kinnear on board, expect something crazy to happen. 10th.

NORWICH CITY: My bet for the overachievers of the year. Good signings and a lot of dead wood shifted out the door. The Canaries will be competitive. 9th

SOUTHAMPTON: The Saints have brought in two very good players in Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren, and will be steady enough as they look to build on last years survival. 11th

STOKE CITY: Mark Hughes is looking to change the whole mindset of a club and fan base by trying to play a bit more of an attractive brand of football. They could struggle at times. 15th

SUNDERLAND: Paulo Di Canio has bought in quantity this summer, and that isn’t always the right answer. His passion and outspoken nature could get him and his team in trouble. 17th

SWANSEA CITY: Definitely another team to watch. Swansea have signed a heap of players from Spain this summer, could there be another Michu? 8th

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Spurs are looking to break their Champions League hoodoo again, but it will be very difficult if they were to lose Bale. Nearly men again. 5th

WEST BROM: Losing Lukaku will be a big problem for West Brom, a problem that Shane Long will look to be the solution for. Consolidation could be the name of the game. 14th

WEST HAM: Last but not least. Sam Allardyce teams are always physical and hard to beat, and I expect much of the same from a solid Hammers. 13th

Damien Byrne’s (@DamienByrne92) tips:

Winners: Chelsea

Runners up: Manchester City

Champions League: Chelsea, Man City, Man United, Arsenal

Relegated: Crystal Palace, Hull City, Cardiff City

FA Cup: One of Arsenal, Everton or Man City

League Cup: Chelsea

Player of the Season: Juan Mata (Chelsea)

Young Player of the Season: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

Top Goalscorer: Robin Van Persie (Man United) 

Glenn Dowd’s (@irishnewsreview)  tips:

Winners: Man City

Runners up: Man United

Champions League: Man City , Man United , Chelsea , Spurs

Relegated: West Brom , Crystal Palace , Hull City

FA Cup: Chelsea

League Cup: Everton

Player of the Season: David Silva (Man City)

Young Player of the Season: Gerard Deulofeu (Everton)

Top Goalscorer: Robin Van Persie (Man United)

Nathan Kelly’s (@nathankelly_) tips:

Winners: Chelsea

Runners up: Man City

Champions League: Chelsea, Man City , Man United , Spurs

Relegated: Hull City, West Ham, Newcastle United

FA Cup: Chelsea

League Cup:  Liverpool

Player of the Season: Juan Mata (Chelsea)

Young Player of the Season: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

Top Goalscorer:  Robin Van Persie (Man United)

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