With a minute of the 2011-12 season remaining Sergio Aguero scored to give Manchester City their first league title for 44 years and clawed it back from the waiting arms of Manchester United. A thrilling end to a fascinating season.
Since then the ‘Summer of Sport’ has dominated the back pages of the papers, but as the Olympics came to end it meant only one thing, the return of the Premier League.
Much of the pre-season focus has centred on a repeat of the Manchester clubs enthralling battle. Of course they will be hard pushed by the usual contenders.
Chelsea have spent heavily, Arsenal have invested and Spurs and Liverpool have new managers. Add to that last season’s surprise package Newcastle and perenial over-achievers Everton and the fight for the European spots will be as competitive as ever.
So who will fill the top five places come the end of the season?
- Manchester City
Maintaining success is harder than first achieving it, but last season was huge for Roberto Mancini’s team and their confidence. With the hoodoo of their first title out the way City will hope to emulate their Manchester rivals and win back to back titles. The Italian has gone public with his frustration with a lack of new signings but with Hart, Kompany, Silva, Yaya Toure and Aguero, he still has the strongest squad in the league. Solid in defence and with a frightening amount of firepower in attack, City are well placed to retain their crown
- Manchester United
On paper City’s squad certainly looks stronger than United’s, but it did last season and Sir Alex Ferguson’s were still within a minute of winning the Premier League. United are still perhaps a little short of real world class quality in the middle of the park, which is were City have the edge. However, the attacking midfield trio of Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young will bring a crucial mix of creativity and goals. Robin Van Persie is a massive signing for the club. He an Wayne Rooney will guarantee the goals and should they prove me wrong and finish first, it will be down to those two.
Prior to the RVP transfer I was tipping Chelsea to finish second. Roberto Di Matteo has splashed the cash this summer as he looks to build on last season’s Champions League success. The Blues success should depend on how quickly their new signings settle but marquee signings Oscar and Eden Hazard have bags of potential and if they can hit the ground running then you can expect the Premier League to be a very close three horse race.
The loss of RVP is significant, but Arsene Wenger has invested wisely this summer and Arsenal fans will be expecting Champions League football with success in one of the cup competitions. Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have enough quality to fill the gap and the goals left by the Dutchman while Santi Cazorla will make the Gunners tick. The Gunners, as always, will challenge and can be confident of securing that crucial fourth Champions League spot.
Perhaps a surprise choice after last season and one that has just as much to do with Spurs. With their striker shortage and Luka Modric seemingly on his way out Andre Villas-Boas may struggle to steer them to the top four. Equally the jury will be out as to whether Brendan Rodgers’ can succeed at a big club. However, I expect his rigid football philosophy to be a success at Anfield. Liverpool will again profit from a strong back line and can expect goals from Luis Suarez. Perhaps still short of the quality to get Champions League football but they will go close.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!