The new Premier League season kicks-off this weekend and it’s sure to be an exciting one.
Last season’s campaign was enthralling until the last kick of the season, literally in Manchester City’s case.
In this article I will reveal who I think will finish in the top six of the Premier League this season.
1st: Manchester City
Manchester City enjoyed a superb season last time out and finished the season as champions, with a last gasp Sergio Aguero goal against QPR sealing the league title. I can see them being better than everybody else once again.
The Citizens may have only signed Everton’s Jack Rodwell this summer, but there is still time for City boss Roberto Mancini to splash the cash. I believe he will and strengthen his already strong squad. City’s owners have told Mancini to spend and he is likely to in the next few weeks before the transfer window shuts.
2nd: Manchester United
For much of the last day of last season United looked likely to retain their Premier League crown, until that Aguero effort took the trophy to the Etihad Stadium. United will be determined to challenge their bitter-rivals once again for the crown.
Unfortunately, the squad don’t look strong enough. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has brought in Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa from Dortmund, who should be a very useful creative force in midfield.
However, the United boss has failed to strengthen elsewhere, with just Crewe youngster Nick Powell arriving at Old Trafford this summer. United needed to reinforce in other areas and at the moment their squad doesn’t look good enough to win the Premier League title.
Should United manage to sign Arsenal’s wantaway skipper Robin Van Persie then they are more likely to challenge the Citizens for the title.
The European Champions have spent big this summer in order to get back amongst the top four of English football. The signings of Brazilian ace Oscar, in-demand Belgian Eden Hazard and highly-rated German Marko Marin are seen as a signal of intent from Chelsea that they mean business this season.
Boss Roberto Di Matteo has now been installed on a full-time basis, but he will find it more difficult than last season with expectations sky high at the Bridge. Chelsea have significantly strengthened their midfield options, but their squad still seems short of options in other areas.
However, I can see them enjoying a good first full season under Di Matteo, with the likes of Hazard and Oscar having a big impact on the team. It’s also a big season for Spain striker Fernando Torres, who won the golden boot at Euro 2012. Should he recover his best form Chelsea could be a big threat to the Manchester clubs this season.
Lots of the talk about Arsenal this summer has been about captain Robin Van Persie’s future. The annual Arsenal transfer saga has taken any some of the shine off Arsene Wenger’s signings.
Wenger has been very shrewd this summer and should his signing adapt quickly to English football they could have a very good season. The Arsenal boss has brought in Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla, French striker Olivier Giroud and Germany’s Lukas Podolski.
All three players are internationals and highly-rated. It may take the trio time to get accustomed to the English top flight, but I believe they will all prove good signings in the long run.
Although Arsenal finished third last season I can’t see them finishing as high this season simply because they may lose Robin Van Persie before the transfer window shuts.
Tottenham did really well to finish 4th last season and were unlucky to miss out on the Champions League spot, courtesy of Chelsea’s Champions League triumph. It seems to be all change at Spurs with veteran boss Harry Redknapp being replace by former-Chelsea chief Andre Villas-Boas.
It’s hard to judge the appointment of the rookie boss. The appointment could be a triumph or a disaster for Tottenham this season. Villas-Boas was highly-rated before he joined Chelsea, but he endured a nightmare time at Stamford Bridge.
Tottenham have made two impressive signings so far this summer in the shape of Jan Vertonghen and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Both players will make the Tottenham squad stronger. One cloud hanging over White Hart Lane is the uncertainly over the future of Croatian midfielder Luka Modric.
He has stated he wants a move and is currently not training with the first team. Much of Tottenham’s fortunes will be decided by what happens between now and the transfer window shutting.
Like Tottenham Liverpool also have a new man in the bosses chair. The Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is highly-rated, after he led Swansea to promotion and Welsh side impressed with their style of play last season.
Rodgers has a big job on his hands reviving Liverpool’s fortunes. The club vastly overspent last summer on some overpriced players and its left the Irishman with very little to work with.
He has however managed to sign promising young midfielder Joe Allen from his old club and brought in young Italian striker Fabio Borini from Roma. Rodgers will need time implement his style of football at the club and it will be a transitional year for the Reds. I do believe they have to do better than last season though.
The only others who have any realistic chance of making it into the top six of the Premier League are Newcastle and Everton. It really was a toss-up between Liverpool and Newcastle for sixth place for me.
Newcastle have just enjoyed a fantastic campaign, but it will be hard for them to repeat and I don’t think they have enough strength in-depth. The Magpies also haven’t yet managed to strengthen their squad this summer.
Everton are the Premier League’s perennial slow starters. Every season they struggle until Christmas and resurrect their season in fine style. If the Toffee’s get a good start to the season they could be a realistic threat to the top six.
I’m sorry my predictions are a little predictable, but it’s difficult to see much movement in the Premier League’s top eight. It would be fantastic if somebody else could be challenging for the top six. Unfortunately, I just can’t see that happening this season.
Who will finish in the top six of the Premier League this season?