My 5 top and 5 bottom predictions
I’m sure you’re as thrilled I am for the return of the 2013/14 football season. Especially given it could be one of the most tightly contested seasons in recent years, I’ve offered my thoughts on the five top and bottom Premier League teams, their signings as well as their opening fixture performances.
My predictions for the 2013/14 season.
1st Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini’s emergence, along with Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and a rejuvenated Edin Dzeko, could be the perfect ingredients for the winning title this season. The manager’s arrival has created an instant buzz around the Etihad, one of belief and togetherness. They’ll want to forget the weekend’s result and with a squad as vast as theirs, this won’t be a problem.
Key player – Yaya Toure
Mourinho’s return to the Bridge is the exact injection Chelsea needed. They weren’t frantic in the transfer market, and rightly so. They had a title contending squad last season and just needed direction. Although I don’t see them slipping up this season, I don’t think they have enough firepower to contend with City.
Key player – Oscar
3rd Manchester United
Succeeding a manager of Sir Alex Ferguson’s caliber is never easy and although David Moyes’ arrival has been slick, his lack of summer signings will seriously hinder any chance of winning the title in his first season. United will be challenging the title come May, but their squad is hugely inferior to Chelsea and Man City’s
Key player – Robin van Persie
4th Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs are building a squad with Gareth Bale’s departure in mind, with that they’ll lose goals and direction in their team, but they gain around £80m. Spent wisely, a buoyant Spurs will pip Arsenal to the final Champions League spot.
Key player – Roberto Soldado
Wenger’s men impressed me with their 3-0 victory over Fenerbache last Wednesday, it’s going to take similar courageous performances to help carry them through the season. Had the Gunners sealed a number of players before the start of the season, then a top four would’ve been possible. Expect unsettled players and fans this season.
Key player – Mesut Ozil
Fulham appears to be a team with little ambition, there was a reported £200m takeover bid during the summer and few signings has taken place since. Scott Parker will be a welcome addition for Martin Jol’s squad but expect the reliance of this season, to be placed on the shoulders of Dimitar Berbatov, again.
Key player – Dimitar Berbatov
17th Cardiff City
Cardiff fans will hate to admit it, but they’re currently the second best Welsh outfit in the Premier League. Malky Mackay’s primary objection should be to avoid relegation, but with Gary Medel, Steven Caulker and Andreas Cornelius now on the books – and Frasier Campbell highlighting just what a threat he can be in their 3-2 victory against Man City – I think they’ll just miss the drop.
Key player – Frazier Campbell
As much as I have enjoyed Paolo Di Canio’s brand of energy as a premier league manager, I am not sure it is suited to managing elite level players. His way of publicly humiliating is players is great for the fans but terrible for team morale. I think this will impact his season. I also think the change of playing staff will impact their season. Too many seasoned, battle hardened players have left, too closely too one another. They have signed some decent players but a lot of them are unproven in the world’s most competitive league.
Key player – Jozy Altidore
19th Hull City
Unlike Cardiff, who appears adequately setup for life in the Premier League, sadly the same can’t be said for Hull. Whilst they’ve made a number of signings such as Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore from Spurs, I feel as though Steve Bruce will find it difficult to gel a squad of loaned and out of favoured players. Whilst his squad has shown glimmers of hope during their opening fixtures, I believe they’ll plunge straight back down.
Key player – Tom Huddlestone
20th Crystal Palace
Ian Holloway has already made an abrupt and cheeky return to the league following his rant on the opening day of the season. He’ll need much more than referees on his side if Palace is to remain a Premier League team. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen of his team so far, it looks like they’ll be rooted to the bottom of the league for much of the season. Expect fireworks on the touchline, but much fewer on the field following Wilfred Zaha’s departure.
Key player – Dwight Gayle