Premier League: Assessing Chances of the Big 6
The days of the big four in the premier league are gone.
Between Manchester City's wealth, Harry Redknapps genius and Liverpool's Kenny Dalglish, anyone could be this years champions. It doesn't help that Manchester United has practically retired, Chelsea has a new manager and Arsenal, well, lets not go there.
In this article I am going to access each teams chances at a championship and look at each of their strengths and weaknesses.
Where to begin with arsenal?
At Christmas, everyone thought it would be Arsenal's year. They were a few points away from Manchester in the Premier League, and they were still in the Champions League, the League Cup and the FA cup. Arsenal fans were sure their trophy drought would be over.
Then came the League Cup Final. Arsenal and Birmingham were level, and it was approaching injury time. Then, somehow, Birmingham managed to score, thanks to an awful defensive mistake.
From that match onwards Arsenal could not find their old form. They drew way too many matches and conceded a lot of goals in injury time. In the end, they finished fourth, meaning they have to play annoying Champions League qualifiers.
But that was not the end of their problems.
When the season ended, three of Arsenals most important players wanted to leave. Gael Clichy has already moved to Manchester City, Nasri wants to be anywhere but with Arsenal, and Fabregas once again wants to leave to Barcelona.
Although Arsenal have signed Gervinho, a very good player in my opinion, unless they sign some more players in defence, I think Arsenal will struggle to get a champions league spot.
My Prediction: 5th.
Manchester City have had an incredible past three years.
After being a mid-table team in 2008 for most of the Premier League's history, they were purchased by Abu Dhabi United Group, making them the richest club in the world.
After spending hundreds of millions on players, Manchester City had a successful season, getting into the champions league and winning the FA cup.
City have been criticized by many managers for their manic approach to signing players, but last season we finally started to see a team come together.
For the first time City are been treated as actual title contenders, and rightly so. With the additions of Gael Clichy, Stevan Stavic and Sergio Aguero, City are a forced to be reckoned with this year.
My Prediction: 3rd
Chelsea have had a topsy turvy season.
After winning the double the year previous, they had a disastrous injury spell in the middle of the last season, where they lost numerous games and dropped down to fifth.
Abramovich, however, was not happy and spent €75 million in January to bring in David Luiz and Fernando Torres. Their fortunes turned despite Torres' alarming lack of form, and they mounted a late title challenge and finished second.
This, however, was not good enough for Abramovich, so he fired the then-coach, Carlo Ancelotti, and replaced him with a coach who is younger than some of the players at 33, Andres Villas-Boas. AVB had a very successful season with Porto, winning every competition bar the champions league.
I think it will be a transition season for Chelsea, and they will finish second from top.
My prediction: 2nd
Spurs had a great '09-'10 season but were disappointing this year in the league.
Many people put this down to their fantastic run in the Champions League, in which they destroyed Inter Milan and beat AC Milan. They were beaten in the semi-finals by Real Madrid and struggled in the premier league from then on. Many people put it down to fatigue because of the Champions League, as it was their first season.
If Tottenham are to win the league, they need to buy a striker, but there does not seem to be sufficient funds to buy one of the calibre needed. Tottenham also have the Europa League to deal with, which will cause added fatigue to their players. For these reasons, I think Tottenham are the weakest of these teams.
My prediction: 6th
Liverpool finished last of these six teams last season, but this actually turned out to be a decent result, considering where they were at Christmas time.
Liverpool started out last season by firing Rafa Benitez, a good decision in my opinion. That was about all the good decisions there was that summer.
Hicks and Gillet then hired Roy Hodgson, who had had a good run with Fulham the past season. Hodgson then brought in numerous players, all of which turned out to be flops. (Accept Meireles.)
Liverpool had a an awful start to the season, losing numerous matches against week opponents. Then, in October, Hicks and Gillet were finally ousted from the ownership of Liverpool and replaced by the Fenway Sports group. Finally things were looking up, but for some reason they didn't fire Hodgson, so the bad results kept coming.
Come January, and all was repaired. The King returned. Liverpool signed Suarez and Carroll in January, both of which played well.
They then had a great run of form and got back into fifth place, challenging for Europe. However, they lost their last two games and finished sixth. Over the summer they have acquired the talents of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing.
Liverpool look like a team ready to challenge for trophies and a Champions League spot.
My Prediction: 4th
Manchester United won the Premier League last season and did well in all competitions, getting to the Champions League final. Many people thought United would have a weak season, but they were without a doubt the best team in the Premier League last year.
The one problem that Manchester do have this year is that three of their most important players retired in Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Edwin Van Der Sar.
They have replaced Neville and Van der Sar successfully with the signings of David De Gea and the De Silva twins, but the problem of Paul Scholes leaves United with one of the worst central midfields out of the top six. They do want to address this problem, but there does not seem to be someone to their taste for sale.
Despite these problems, I do think United have one of the top squads in the premier league, and with the edition of Ashley Young, I think Manchester United will win the Premier League.
My Prediction: 1st
Thanks for reading my article and please comment, too.