For many of us, the three toughest months of the year are June, July and August. When you think about winter, words like “dull”, “depressing” “cold” and “dark” come to mind. But sportsfans know it’s not winter’s fault: it’s the fact that there’s no English Premier League football on our screens. The off-season falls between the end of May and the middle of August and it is downright depressing.
But this Saturday, Tottenham Hotspurs host Manchester United in a lunch time kick-off to officially signal the start of the 2015/2016 season. So we’re asking the important question: who could potentially win the league?
Last season’s champion team seems like a good place to start: Chelsea, under Mourinho, are always strong and always a favourite. They’ve been relatively quiet in the transfer market, bringing in Begovic as a back-up keeper and Falcao, who failed to impress at Manchester United last season. If he fires this season, along with Costa, Hazard, Fabregas and Oscar doing what they did last season, Chelsea will remain favourites. To me they just don’t look as strong as they normally do, but Mourinho always finds a way to win matches and leagues.
We wrote about Arsenal last week, here. It looks like they’re not going to land the signing of Benzema, and if they don’t, then they’ll need another world class striker. The gunners looked very decent against Chelsea in their Community Shield victory over the weekend. Wenger decided to start Walcott up front, and as mentioned in last week’s article, I think he’ll do really well this season and score plenty of goals – but he’s no Aguero, Suarez, Benzema or Neymar. Their defence is always great, but if they buy a striker they won’t be resting players in May – they’ll be in a title race.
Manchester City finished third last season, and I think they may drop a spot this coming season. Every time they go out to play, I always feel that they need two or three goals to win the match because they rarely keep a clean sheet. The invincible Arsenal side and The Special One’s Chelsea could always grind a game out and win 1-0. City can’t do that.
They’ve signed Fabian Delph, whose career will probably go a similar way to the likes of Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell, and end up with him rotting in the reserves. Their only other signing has been Raheem Sterling for the astronomical amount of 49 million pounds. I’m sure he’ll do well and link up with David Silva. Other than that, they have Nasri, Toure, Fernando and Fernandinho in their midfield. That seems like a very light combination to me. They are going to have to heavily rely on Aguero staying fit. If he’s fit – he’ll score, simple as that.
We’ve all talked about Manchester United being in the title race for the past few seasosns, but they’ve never made it. This season though, Louis van Gaal has bought the players he wants, and I’m sure that they’ll give City, Arsenal and Chelsea a real fight for the title. I think Manchester will be red again, when they finish ahead of City.
LvG has brought in Darmian, Romero, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger to beef up his midfield and defence. He then signed Depay to strengthen his attack. Wayne Rooney has been messed around by United for a few seasons now, being pushed into the “No 10” role as well as being asked to play in midfield. But with the departure of Van Persie and Falcao there’s no doubt who will be leading the line this season, and I’d back Rooney to bang in 25 goals.
So those are the four title challengers this season. The likes of Liverpool, Everton, Southampton and Spurs will fight it out to play on Thursday nights in the Europa Cup positions.
Manchester City may struggle, but the remaining three should provide us with some entertaining football. I’m really hoping for a tight season – in my ideal world, at the turn of the year, there will still be three or four teams with a legitimate chance of winning the league.
Who do you think will take it? Let us know at @Leftbacks on Twitter.