Took me a bit, went back and forth on a couple of these predictions. Please do not grill me over where I have certain teams. The Arsenal one is mainly a "if they sign players" prediction so don't say I'm being biased or stupid.
Why?: One man, Jose Mourinho. Though I’m not too happy with his extremely arrogant and cocky attitude since he rejoined Chelsea. Mourinho’s arrogance could end up being a problem for the Blues.
Strength: Gotta be their defense. David Luiz has become probably one of the best defenders in the EPL and couple him with Petr Cech, who’s widely considered the top EPL keeper, and you’ve got a difficult time trying to break through. Also worth a mention is Frank Lampard who is Chelsea’s main source of inspiration and can easily turn a game on its head if he’s given the opportunity
Weakness: The unknown. Honestly I really don’t know what Mourinho’s plan is for Chelsea, it almost seemed like a number of players were either linked with departures or rumored to be in player swap deals.
Why?: Stability, Arsenal are the only Top 5 club that hasn’t gone through a major shift(unless Spurs manage to keep Bale). Managing to keep their best players, which it’s up to you why as some say it’s cause there’s no World Class players left at Arsenal, is almost as good as signing players.
Strength: Their attack, people seem to be so obsessed with b!@ch and moaning about how Arsenal need to buy a world class striker that they fail to realize that the Gunners were only outscored by Chelsea and Man United last season, and that 4 of Arsenal’s players put up double digit goal tallies. Arsenal do have an issue with the fact that they make more chances than you can count before they even get a shot into the goal and obviously signing a striker that can create goals out of nothing would make them more dangerous going forward.
Weakness: Consistency and Depth. Arsenal have this annoying habit of having a crazy rollercoaster form for the first half of the season, which tends to be what kills their chances of a league title(or even a Top 2 or 3 finish). Also as a result of the summer clearout, the Gunners have a paper thin squad, should an injury hit one of those places that is lacking in options, Arsenal could be in serious trouble.
3) Manchester City
Why?: While City probably is the consensus pick to finish in the Top 2 with Chelsea, I’m not convinced. City made a major change at Manager, getting rid of Mancini(still a little baffled with that considering he led them to 2 trophies and an FA Cup final in the last 3 years) and replacing him with former Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini, who is a decent manager I’ll give him that. However City have sold 2 key strikers in the last 6 months and have spent around £100 million on 4 players with 0 EPL experience, and that’s gonna be the toughest part for them. City also have players who tend to half-ass their assignments *cough* Nasri *cough* when they shouldn’t be doing so.
Strength: Aguero and Hart. In my mind these two are the reason Man City haven’t imploded at any point of the last 2 seasons. Aguero’s ability to get the crucial chances is a major part of City’s success. Hart is also easily the keeper any club would want(though it was laughable with how easy Arsenal scored on him last Saturday).
Weakness: Selfishness and Arrogance. Something I’ve noticed about City is that their players tend to try to do things by themselves, it has looked less likely to happen this year from what I’ve seen in the preseason. I’ve also noticed that they seem to become complacent when things don’t go their way.
4) Tottenham Hotspur
Why?: They have made some impressive improvements in the Summer(as frustrating as it is for an Arsenal fan to admit that). However, despite all their improvements, this summer could still turn to hell if Gareth Bale leaves. Last year I claimed they were in trouble with the departure of Luka Modric, though I don’t think any of us expected the impact Bale would make. Gareth is the only reason in my mind that Spurs had any chance of a Top 4 finish this year.
Strength: Gareth Bale. In all honesty, if not for Bale’s sudden surge to the level he is at(which IMO isn’t where Daniel Levy thinks he’s at), would Spurs have even qualified for Europe last year?
Weakness: Gareth Bale’s future. Their improvements could soften the blow of him leaving for Real Madrid, but him leaving could cause a massive dropoff for them. To be honest, if Gareth Bale’s future was decided by now, I would’ve either had them higher or lower in my predictions.
5) Manchester United
Why?: Replacing Sir Alex Ferguson is like trying to figure out a Rubix Cube in 1 minute. No disrespect to Moyes, but I’m not too sure he’ll be able to come close to bringing out the best of a average squad(with a few gems) like Fergie was able to do. And if you think Arsenal’s summer transfer window has been frustrating, then United’s has been no different. Thiago was supposedly on the verge of signing with United, then signed with Bayern Munich, and then there are the futile attempts to get Cesc Fabregas. And then there’s the Wayne Rooney saga.
Strength: Robin Van Persie. Top scorer the past 2 years, I despised the site of him lifting the EPL trophy in that kit(trust me, that’s the nicest thing I could think of saying) and a major reason for United’s 20th top division title win.
Weakness: Reliance on Robin Van Persie. Like with Arsenal in 2011-12, United seem to need him to perform at his best if they want to win(case in point the Community Shield). Even Moyes has admitted that should something happen to RvP, they’ll be in serious trouble.
Why?: I’m just not as convinced as everyone else. The signings they made seem almost random which included a misfit who hasn’t been at his best since leaving Arsenal, a goalkeeper who overachieved at Sunderland, a player who spent last year on loan at Barcelona’s B Team, and a striker who played for a club that barely escaped relegation by a single point. I believe their whole season hinges on what happens with Luis Suarez and even though he’s reportedly apologized to his teammates, I’m still skeptical about this meaning the transfer saga is over with. They still seem thin in attack and things could go bottoms up if Suarez leaves the club.
Strength: Veteran Leadership, Agger and Gerrard are probably the two best Captain/Vice Captain partnerships in the EPL and Gerrard is the most inspiring player on the squad. They do need Suarez’s goal scoring ability, but they need Agger and Gerrard’s leadership more.
Weakness: Suarez’s Behavior/Future. The main reason I’m hesitant to accept him IF he were to join the Gunners is the fact that he seems to find ways to make headlines on the field for the wrong things. The fact that he scores loads of goals makes him indispensable for the Reds(and why they are afraid to let him go) but at the same time, you know he’s likely bound to do something stupid and get himself in trouble. Should he stay, if he misses any amount of games(aside from the 6 he still has to serve for the Ivanovic bite), Liverpool could find things difficult
7) Norwich City
Why?: In my opinion, the Canaries have had the best Transfer window out of any club. Honestly, I will be surprised if they start the season as poorly as they did last year. I just find myself liking this team more and more and if they keep things intact, I could see them challenging for a spot in Europe. They finished the 12-13 season strong and if they can get the ball rolling early on in this season, they’re capable of big things.
Strength: Options in attack. The arrivals of Gary Hooper and Ricky Wolfswinkle are intriguing signings by Norwich and opens up the possibilities, and despite losing Grant Holt(can someone tell me the logic in why he left for Wigan?) they still have plenty of choices in attack and they might be scoring plenty of goals this year.
Weakness: How they start. Not necessarily a weakness, but looking at last year, the their start left them fighting for survival for a long portion of the season. Their final position shows how hard they worked to avoid the drop but they still finished only 8 points clear of relegation.
8 ) Swansea City
Why?: Heading into the 2011-12 season, if anyone told me they thought Swansea would still be in the EPL after 2 years, I’d thought they were crazy. Not only are they still here, they’re also in Europe by way of their Capital One Cup win. They haven’t made too much noise in transfers, with Shelvy and Wilfried Bony being the most notable ones, they do also have the rumors of Michu and Ashley Williams being on Arsenal’s radar(but at this point there’s nothing more than just rumors). They might make things interesting in the Top 4 fight in the end and with the way this season is shaping up, they’ll be adding fuel to the fire.
Strength: Style of play. How Laudrup has them playing seems to be eerily similar to the clubs like Barcelona and Arsenal who like to pass a lot, and Swansea appears to be set up perfectly for that style of play.
Weakness: Fixture Pile Up. Winning the COC last year earned them their first trip to Europe, and because of that, they’ll have to deal with the added list of Europa League fixtures should they progress to the Group Stage. We’ll soon see just how ready they are to compete to be among the elite of Europe.
11) West Ham
12) Aston Villa
13) West Brom
16) Newcastle United
17) Cardiff City
18) Stoke City
19) Crystal Palace
20) Hull City
Top Scorer: Robin Van Persie(if he stays healthy) or Suarez(if he avoids suspensions)
Player of the Year: Frank Lampard, Santi Cazorla, or RvP(really hate saying that last one)
Biggest Improvement: Norwich City
Biggest Dropoff: Spurs, Liverpool or Man United(really depends on how the transfer window ends)
First Manager To Get Sacked: Steve Bruce(Hull City)
FA Cup: Norwich City
Capital One Cup: Arsenal
Last edited by Gatehawk
on Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.