This season is shaping up to be one of the most open premier league seasons where a team which is not part of the big four (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United) and big spending Man city can pull off a shock in lifting the premier league.
The likes of Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa are the likely candidates to do this. All of these teams showed that they can get good results of the big four and Man City.
The five top title contenders can take points off each other in a way that might play into the hands of Everton, Tottenham or Aston Villa. Chelsea won the league and incidentally took maximum points against the big four.
Usual Suspects—Big Four
Arsenal: This is a make or break season for Arsenal.
The younger players (now fairly experienced) have reached the time they have to show that they have matured and that they are winners that can sustain a title challenge to the last five games of the season and claim at least one trophy. With a great attacking capacity they need to strengthen the defence
Chelsea: Will be looking to retain their league which won’t be easy and have a group of players that have to show there are not reaching the downward curve of their careers. The squad is very experienced but also ageing, they need to bring younger blood. Still the team to beat.
Liverpool- Coming from a very disappointing season they need to reaffirm their position in English football. 20 years without winning a league title they must come out and play.
The arrival of Hodgson and Joe Cole has restored confidence in the squad. The other players like Kuyt, Babel and Jovanovic must provide more of a supporting role for Torres, Gerrard and Cole.
Man United- In my opinion the favourite to win the league. Going for the record 19th title will be the driving factor for Sir Alex Ferguson this season. The club has the right balance between experience and youth in the squad. There is one thing short and that is a goal scoring midfielder (i.e. replacement of Paul Scholes).
Big Spenders- Man City
Basically for the money spent in the last three seasons, the target surely has to be to win the league and if not so definitely get champions league football at the club. Squad full of top quality but problem will be trimming down to met required 25 players limit and losing good players at low values to rivals.
Everton- The club has a good squad which last season was greatly affected by injuries in key parts but finished last season on a high with two convincing home wins over Man United and Chelsea and a 2-2 draw at the Emirates (with a performance that deserved 3-1 victory). Priority will be to retain the current squad.
Tottenham- After clinching a chance to play in the Champions League, the most important thing will be to maintain top four status this season. Also last season showed they can beat top teams at home with victories over Arsenal and Chelsea but need to get better results away from home against big teams. They must add two players who can make the difference (especially a world class striker).
Aston Villa- Had a fairly good season in the league and good cup runs in the league cup and F.A. cup.
In November 2009 last season Sir Alex said, “As far as the title race is concerned, Aston Villa could be the dark horses” after they won 1-0 at Old Trafford which showed their capacity. Best defence last season but need to score more goals and have more depth in the squad.