The English Premier League includes 20 clubs. All of which will be hoping to hoist the EPL trophy at the end of the season as Premier League Champions. Lets face it, you could count on one hand the teams that have a realistic chance to winning the Premier League.
Those teams are: Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and (indeed) Portsmouth.
I believe they will finish in that order. Many people have written off Manchester United for the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, but there are important things you must remember about those clubs. Chelsea has a new manager, it will take them a couple months to play Scolari's style to its full potential. Liverpool has history against them. Liverpool has never won the Premier League. Never. To think that they could turn it around after such a disappointing 2007-2008 campaign is difficult to see.
Each of these five teams have good things going for them, but also have certain flaws that could cost them the EPL trophy. Here is 2008-2009 EPL Predictions. Breaking down the top five with why they will or won't win.
1. Manchester United
Why they will win: Many reasons, starting with the best player in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo. While his heart may not be with Manchester United, his boots are. Cristiano Ronaldo will give his magnificent talents to whichever team is paying him. Sir Alex Ferguson has always kept his team fresh with good and fair lineups. The depth of this team is unparalleled in England.
Why they won't win: Manchester United will be competing in five competitions this year. The EPL, Champions League, Carling Cup, FA Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. While Manchester United has the depth, it is extremely difficult to play with England's best on tired legs.
Why they will win: Chelsea has solidified itself as a powerhouse in England. With a strong attack and an experienced defense lead by John Terry. With the addition of Deco, they will have experience and one of the world's most underrated playmakers.
Why they won't win: Chelsea lost a lot of depth this summer. The impact of the loss of Makelele will become evident quickly. His defensive mindset helped keep Chelsea in lots of matches in the past. If any of their key players go down with injuries, i'm not sure Chelsea has the depth to replace them.
Why they will win: The attack of this team is scary on paper. Fernando Torres is one of the most exciting strikers in Europe, and the addition of Robbie Keane will only make Torres better. These two strikers will challenge for the best tandem in the EPL. If they can stay healthy and if Rafa Benitez does not overwork them, they could take Liverpool to the top.
Why they won't win: Liverpool's defense is spotty to say the least. They never seem to step up to the occasion when needed, and their keeper's play never seems to help. While I am almost sold on their attacking players, I am not nearly as enthusiastic about their defense. If Rafa cannot keep a steady rotation, Liverpool will be falling out of title contention. Fast.
Why they will win: Last years run was no fluke, they have a core of talented young players that will win trophies for Arsenal in the future. If Eduardo had not suffered that horrific injury towards the end of the season, it is likely Arsenal would not have dropped points as fast as they did. Samir Nasri will be a fantastic complement to an already talented midfield.
Why they won't win: Young players have their faults. William Gallas will have to be a much better captain this year if he is to keep these young talents from losing their discipline on the pitch. While one player does not make a team great, he certainly contributes. The loss of Mathieu Flamini will become more and more apparent as the season rolls on.
Why they will win: They are overlooked. Like every other Premier League team who isn't part of the "Big Four." They will play "weaker" lineups from the big teams, and will have a chance to show off their new talent. Peter Crouch will get lots of playing time at Portsmouth, and with the "underdog" feeling going around camp, I would not be suprised if Portsmouth qualified for Champions League play next year.
Why they won't win: They have never had success in the EPL. If they do find themselves high in the table towards the end of the season, I'm not sure if their manager will know how to select his lineups so that he can keep from losing as many points as possible.
6. Blackburn Rovers
8. Manchester City
11. Aston Villa
14. Wigan Athletic
19. West Brom
The EPL season has already started, Manchester United begins their quest for a third consecutive title August 17th against Newcastle. Let the race for the championship begin!