EPL Preview 2010-2011: Is This The Year For a Change?
In the midst of studying, I have decided to take a breather and contribute to Bleacher Report, a site that I love dearly yet have neglected.
It's quite obvious that I am a Liverpool fan; and since the last time I wrote on here an awful lot has happened at Anfield. A lot of it I didn't like, but that's football.
So instead of dwelling on what is happening at Liverpool, I thought I could do a preview of the upcoming season, which could be one of the most interesting we have had in years. 'New Money' Man City have captured Yaya Toure and David Silva, Wayne Rooney has to try and get his head right after a disappointing World Cup, Chelsea have sold Joe Cole to Liverpool and Tottenham will embark on their Champions League adventure.
Also, there are four Midlands teams in the top flight for the first time in years, so lots of fiery derbies!
I'll focus on each part of the table rather than team-by-team:
Top of the table
Despite City throwing money around like it's going out of fashion, I don't think they will win the Premiership. Players need to gel, and who's to say they will gel in the first place?
They might play pretty football and get a few good results, but I can't see them usurping Chelsea and Manchester United. Both of those teams have seasoned players who know how to win a championship, not how to play in a fantasy football team.
The best I think City can hope for is 3rd, but you can never rule Arsenal out of the title race either, especially now it seems that Fabregas is not going to be tempted to the sunny climes of Catalunia.
The race for fourth place was probably the talking point of last season, and I expect the same again.
Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City and Villa will all be fighting for that spot, and I can see City nabbing it. Villa tend to start well but taper off at the end, Tottenham may be distracted by the Champions League and Liverpool...despite getting Joe Cole and seemingly keeping hold of their crown jewels (Gerrard and Torres) the squad is still too thin and more quality players are needed before I raise my expectations as a fan.
It's nice to see Newcastle back in the Premier League after a short absence, and manager Chris Hughton has done a fantastic job in turning things around. They have a lot of Premier League quality players such as Kevin Nolan, Alan Smith and Nicky Butt and I can see them having a good season.
Stoke, Fulham and Birmingham City were all excellent last season and far exceeded expectations.
Stoke's combative style may not be pleasing on the eye but it is to be admired, and Birmingham City's defence proved the foundation for a relatively successful season. Fulham are without Roy Hodgson now so it is difficult to predict what could happen with them, but keeping Brede Hangerland is key.
Along with Everton, I can see at least one of these teams competing for a Europa League spot.
Blackburn, Bolton and Sunderland are the other teams I think will finish in mid table.
Blackpool were the surprise promoted team and it should be a great adventure for the Tangerines, but whether they can compete with the likes of Stoke, Sunderland and so one is questionable. West Ham have had a change in manager, and that could work either way for them. Despite having Scott Parker, their squad needs more quality if they are to avoid the relegation scrap of last season.
I hate to say this, being from the Midlands, but Wolves and West Bromwich Albion could be at risk. West Brom have always struggled with the demands of the Premier League and are the token 'yo yo team' and Wolves need the likes of Ebanks-Blake and Kightly need to step up and steer clear of injury if they are to avoid the drop.
Wigan also avoided relegation but again they haven't really improved on their squad, and the likes of Figueroa could be tempted away. They had the worst defensive record last year, conceding 79 goals, and manager Roberto Martinez of course needs to address this if Wigan are to survive this season.
So that's my round up, roll on August!
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