Putting your name to a prediction 10 months before a competition ends is risky, doing it before all the transfers have been finalised is ludicrous. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it.
Champions of 2013/4 and well deserved.
Pellegrini arrived to take over from the moody Italian and quietly set about bringing the best out of his squad. His mild mannered technique definitely got the results the boisterous and cantankerous Mancini could not achieve in 2012.
Negredo is reportedly out for 3 months with a foot injury and supposedly on the for sale list. The papers would have us believe Micah Richards is going out on loan and Gareth Barry, considered excess to requirements in 2013, is resisting approaches from the red half of Merseyside and wishes to stay and fight for his place.
Bacari Sagna, Fernando and Caballero will add depth with the Chilean rumoured to be determined to sign Mangala too. Premier league restrictions suggest some players have to be sold and most likely to go are Negredo, Matija Nastasic and Javi Garcia. Competition for Managla is believed to be high with interest from Chelsea and United and the player favouring either of these.
Liverpool had an exceptional season. In the end old legs and perhaps too little squad depth robbed them of a title for the first time in the Premier League era. Possibly combined with Sturridge losing form at the worst possible time for a title challenge, Liverpool stumbled at the finish and finished a mere 2 points behind City.
Credit must go to Rodgers who transformed perennial mid-table Liverpool to title contenders in a short time. Clever signings like Sturridge and Coutinho and the emergence of Sterling as an attacking central option while serial offender Suarez was banned helped propel Liverpool to the top 4 position they would have craved.
This season sees Liverpool enter the Champions League for the first time in a few seasons and Rodgers has been shopping like a billionaire’s daughter with an unlimited Amex card. Just about anyone who is anyone has been linked with a transfer to Anfield since the beginning of the World Cup.
Emre Can Bayer Leverkusen for £8.0m; Adam Lallana Southampton £25.0m; Rickie Lambert Southampton £4.0m; Lazar Markovic Benfica £20.0m; Kevin Stewart Tottenham Hotspur Free
Sky report that Liverpool have abandoned their quest to sign Loic Remy but are still on target to sign Dejan Lovren from Southampton, with the fee rumoured to be around £20.0m. Rodgers probably still has his eye on a few others too.
The elephant in the room is of course the departure of Suarez and I am of the opinion that his absence and the quest for Champions League glory will cost Liverpool more than a few points in the league.
Mourinho predicted his team would not win and they didn’t! 3rd place was all Chelsea could muster but they were only 2 points adrift of Liverpool. This season they will start without Frank Lampard while Didier Drogba, 36, has returned. His roll is rumoured to be part player, part coach, time will tell I guess.
David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain, £40m); Demba Ba (Besiktas, £4.7m); Bertrand Traore (Vitesse; Loan); Ashley Cole (AS Roma, Free); Samuel Eto’o (Released); Frank Lampard (Released)
Cesc Fabreagas (Barcelona, £30m); Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, £32m); Mario Pasalic (Hajduk Split, Undisclosed); Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid, Undisclosed)
I don’t think Chelsea’s issues are in midfield but I’m not earning the Pounds from Russian oil so let’s assume Mourinho knows what he is doing but a quick head count will tell you 2 strikers left and only 1 joined a team that struggled to score goals. I watched Costa at the World Cup and I’m not a fan, frankly my opinion is a 4 letter word, starts with “s” ends with “t”.
Someone has lit a fire under Wenger. Gunners fans won’t be too disappointed that the club is starting to pursuit silverware instead of merely looking for profits.
Mathieu Debuchy Newcastle United £12.0m; David Ospina Nice Undisclosed; Alexis Sanchez Barcelona £35.0m
With the only notable departure to date the move of out of contract Sagna to City, Arsenal are definitely strengthening their squad with quality arrivals. Sanchez is probably the most exciting player to arrive in the premier league for this season. Arsenal are blessed with speed and good depth in most positions but for some reason seem to suffer the most injuries of any squad in the top half (opinion, no data to back this up).
A good cup run and Champions League progress to the semi’s at the cost of a top 4 league position.
Roberto Martinez brought something refreshing to the Premier League and continued his personal touch approach after joining Everton. Loan signings like Lukaku and Barry and the change in manager, not to mention the departure of Moyes to Manchester, allowed Everton to climb above where they belong. It’s probably fair to say Moyes dragged Manchester United below Everton rather than Everton were able to climb above the Red Devils. Either way, Martinez and Everton finished a credible 5th. Everton will need some decent signings to repeat this performance, let alone improve on it.
What can one say about Spurs? Gareth Bale departed and all of White Heart Lane thought they could buy a top 4 finish with the 100 million or so Pounds made available. Instead, Spurs squeezed a 6th place finish and changed managers twice.
Pochettino was successful at Southampton where success is measured slightly differently than at the traditional top 6 clubs. Nevertheless, he built a winning team around some great English talents, who all departed soon after Pochettino.
Players who have left Spurs already include Gylfi Sigurdsson, Kevin Stewart, Jake Livermore and Jermain Defoe. So far only two have joined, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm both from Swansea for about 15m.
I think a lot of Spurs’ problems were in the dressing room with management, or lack thereof, early in the season. Some good players were signed by Andre Villas-Boas but didn’t perform or weren’t integrated successfully. Later they were marginalised by Tim Sherwood, who preferred all the players from the previous seasons and they didn’t get another look in.
Fans of the Red Devils will be delighted that Moyes has left and possibly even more delighted that his replacement is the Dutchman Louis van Gaal.
His methods and history of success in Holland, Germany and Spain suggest he might be able to turn around the fortune of England’s most successful club in the last 2 decades.
Loyal fans will be happy to see the backs of Bebe, Macheda while they may be disappointed that the careers of Ferdinand, Vidic and Giggs are either over or coming to the end. Personally, I wish Giggs had gone several years earlier. Buttner has been sold, apparently Van Gaal doesn’t think he has what it takes.
Despite being linked with several high profile players like Reus, Vidal, Strootman and several others United have signed only 2 players. Anders Herrera and Luke Shaw were signed for a combined £56 million.
Do you agree? Do you have your own predictions? Did I get something wrong? Leave your comment below!