14 August! The date when the much awaited EPL kicks off to begin another season of frantic action. This EPL season is most likely to be another topsy-turvy ride, with many teams pushing for the honors. Apart from the usual top four of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United, Spurs and Manchester City will also be pushing hard for the title.
Having already splurged 75 million pounds in new acquisitions in the summer in addition to the 100 million Pounds last term, Man City are looking stronger than last year. Manager Mancini said in a Press conference that he wanted two quality players for every position. A squad boasting of new signings of Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jerome Boateng, and Aleksandar Kolarov, he has certainly managed that!
However, with the new EPL rule of having a cap of 25 players with at least eight home-grown players, it remains to be seen who Mancini decides to drop or let go. Even then, keeping so many top players happy may not be the easiest of the tasks for the Italian tactician. Moreover, with each passing day, City close in on Balotelli and James Milner.
On paper, they easily have the best team in England. But how they play as a team will be interesting to watch!
With talented attacking players like Modric, Lennon and Kranjcar, Spurs played one the most flowing football last season. The find of the season for them was Gareth Bale. He was terrible initially when he played at left back. But he reveled as a left winger.
This should be the season where Spurs build on their 4th finish from last year. Whatever be the case, they are sure entertainers!
Having disappointed everyone last season, Liverpool will keep a realistic target of finishing in the top four. They seem to have a mediocre squad in comparison to the title contenders.
With the signings of Serbian winger Milan Jovanovic and Joe Cole on a free transfers, Liverpool seem to have won a lottery. Also the signing of the promising 18-year-old defender Danny Wilson from Rangers for a mere 2 million Pounds seems to be a bargain.
Liverpool fans must be delighted to see the flop Alberto Riera leave. Liverpool have let go of the talented Israeli, Yossi Benayoun to Chelsea. However, he would not be missed much as they already have Joe Cole to fill in the boots.
Liverpool will in most likely struggle to finish in the top four. However, with former Fulham manager, Roy Hodgson who guided the mediocre Fulham to the finals of the UEFA Cup last term, at the helm, anything can happen.
Arsenal play a brand of football which is very close to that of Barcelona's. Having almost lost Captain Marvelous to Barcelona, Arsenal can surely compete for the title this season with Cesc in the team. A squad which boasts of tremendously talented young players this can be their turn around season.
Having signed Bordeaux striker Chamakh on a free transfer and the French Laurent Koscielny for a fee in the range of 10 million Pounds, Arsenal look stronger than last term. Koscielny will act as a direct replacement for WIlliam Gallas who has moved. Chamakh will add more firepower to the squad.
In all fairness, Cesc will again be the center of Arsenal's play. They look amazing when he plays and the opposite otherwise. Their season will depend on a lot on their want away Captain. Given the young squad has one more year of experience, Arsenal should be competing for the top prize come the business end of season.
Having lost Ballack and Joe Cole, most will think that Chelsea would be a weakened unit this season. But with one of the most experienced sides in the Premier League, they are stronger than ever. They have Essien coming back into the team and he is a real match winner.
The signing of Benayoun from Liverpool is a master act. He will surely add more creativity to the team and is a replacement for the talented Cole. Chelsea are also closing in on Brazilian Ramires, and if the deal is done he will be a direct replacement for the German Ballack.
With their experience Chelsea will surely be right up there from start to end.
This season would most probably be a transitional season where Sir Alex gives more games to his crop of young and talented players. Gibson and Cleverly are talented to say the least. Cleverly has especially caught the eye with his goal scoring prowess from midfield.
Having signed two young players back in January, namely, Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling, Sir Alex Ferguson chose to be quite in the summer. The Mexican Hernandez has looked especially promising with his performances in the World Cup and the preseason friendlies.
This season will surely act as "change of guard", given the old horses will most probably retire after the current term. They may find it difficult to compete with Chelsea, but one thing is for sure, with the current mix of youth and experience, they will surely be among the mix come business end of the season.
Whatever happens this season, it is sure going to live up to the expectations. With at least six contenders competing for the Title, it is going to be the best EPL season yet!