Arsenal, Chelsea, City, United: Who will win the Premier League?
Manchester City clinched the Premier League title in dramatic fashion last season, pipping rivals Manchester United to it in injury time on the final day of the campaign. But can Roberto Mancini retain the title this season or can United, Arsenal or Chelsea wrestle it from their grasp?
I’ve asked a number of our Premier League pundits and writers for their views on the upcoming season and over the next week, building up to the big kick off, we are going to be looking at some of their hopes and fears for the next 10 months.
Let’s kick things off with who we believe will win the Premier League. Only five teams have lifted the coveted trophy in its 20-year history and with Blackburn Rovers starting life in the Championship this season it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out who the favourites are.
Squarefootball’s Mitch Waddon, who will be back again this season with his Team of the Week and Weekend Wonders, believes the trophy will remain at the Etihad.
“I think we will once again see the Premier League title go to Manchester City. They say the first trophy is always the hardest, and now the Blues have their first League championship under their belts they will only find it easier to win it again. I think Chelsea will be the closest rivals to City, however, following the major investment into the squad. And you can never completely write off Manchester United either. It will be a close race, but City will ultimately prevail and in less dramatic fashion than last season.”
New Squarefootball recruit and Newcastle United fan Greg Hall agrees, insisting that Manchester City will only get better this season.
“Manchester City have such a wealth of talent that it’s hard to look at anyone else but them. Man United haven’t bolstered their squad this summer enough for me. Chelsea are the ones that are going to come the closest from the rest of the pack.”
Manchester City are the bookies’ favourites to hold on to the Premier League title and Squarefootball duo Steve Coulter and Hugh Larkin believe the bookies hardly ever get it wrong.
“It has to be Manchester City,” said Steve. “Now that they have won the title, they can go from strength-to-strength.”
And Hugh said: “Manchester City will win the title because they have the strongest squad and after getting over the line once it should be easier to repeat.”
Another new recruit in our squad this season, Aston Villa fan Christian Dougherty, also believes Mancini will retain the title.
“I can’t really see it being any team other than Manchester City. They managed to jump the largest hurdle last season by winning the club’s first top flight title in 44 years. Their main challengers United haven’t really strengthened in the off-season, in my opinion. Similarly Chelsea have made a number of world class signings, but just how well they perform together is difficult to foresee.”
Sunderland fan Tony Ratton insists it will be City again for three clear reasons.
“They have the best manager, the best players and now have the valuable experience of having won it last season.”
And Squarefootball’s Everton reporter Barry Gregory also believes it will be City’s name etched on the trophy again because “they will take their momentum forward and have more goals in the squad” with Chelsea as their biggest threat.
However, West Brom fan Andy Wakeman feels that City’s title rivals United will come back stronger and hungrier for success following last season’s heartbreak.
That view is echoed by United fan and fellow Squarefootball writer Alex Richert.
“Manchester United have strengthened their midfield and the return of Nemanja Vidic will be huge. Kagawa will provide goals from the midfield which United have needed and he will link up well with Rooney and company.”
Surprisingly Liverpool fan and new Squarefootball writer Dave Disciascio agrees that it will be United’s year again.
“United finished level on points with the champions City last season. The return of Vidic and Hernandez from long-term injuries, and with more activity in the transfer market, they appear stronger than City.”
Sunderland fan and Squarefootball writer Sarshar Hoseinnia also believes the Premier League trophy will be adorned with red ribbons this season, but it’s not United. He believes Arsenal’s barren spell will come to an end this year.
“It’s still early days transfer-window wise and I still think there’ll be a few more top signings so it’s a little difficult to predict anything right now. However, if I had to bet on two teams it’d be Arsenal and Manchester United.
“Arsenal will be there or thereabouts with or without Robin Van Persie. The signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud offer a combination of experience and prowess with Podolski in particular able to turn provider ala RVP and Henry in the past. With the return to fitness of Per Mertersacker and Laurent Koscielny opting to reject Barcelona’s advances their defence should be strong enough and can only get better with the prospective arrival of Yann M’Vila. The arrival of Santi Cazorla will add a nice alternative to Chamberlain and Walcott on the wings.
“It seems that every season Sir Alex Ferguson sticks with his tried and trusted blend of veterans and one or two new signings, this season is no different with messers Giggs and Scholes giving it one more shot in the big time. The big money move for Shinji Kagawa was made to provide a younger, exciting replacement for Park Ji-Sung and the Japanese international could well end-up as one of the stars of the season. Rookie Nick Powell was also brought in from Crewe and it’ll be interesting to see whether SAF throws him straight into the first team or sends him out on loan for a season but the fiery Scotsman, who doesn’t look like he has any plans to slow down in his 70s, will need to find a replacement for the outgoing Dimitar Berbatov as Bebe and Federico Macheda just don’t cut it for me.”
However, Chelsea fan Joe Tyler believes the Champions League holders will get their hands back on the Premier League trophy come May.
“I think the momentum of winning the Champions League and the belief it has installed it just has to be Chelsea, especially with our new look frontline. It’s definitely exciting times for the Blues. I can’t see Man United or Arsenal being strong enough. I think only Man City will challenge us.”
And that view point is shared by Squarefootball writer and Manchester City fan Venz DeZoysa.
“Chelsea will win it. While Manchester City and Manchester United both looked strong last season, Chelsea have been clever and active in the transfer window and they're side looks like it will regain its league winning form. With a side that now includes Oscar, the Hazard brothers and Marko Marin, they have strong versatility in the midfield which actually increases the teams strength despite the major loss of Didier Drogba to Shanghai Shenshua.”
Chelsea fan and Squarefootball writer Tapan Jindal believes it will be a three-way battle for the title.
“Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City will challenge for the title if and only if RDM manages to make the team gel in its first year of transition, in which if he is successful, will make him one of the hottest managerial properties around (remember even Real flopped in its first year). Otherwise, it’s a race between United and City, mainly because of United's consistency and City's sheer strength.”
But Squarefootball writer and Celtic fan Jim Barry thinks Chelsea will be champions thanks to their stunning line-up of talent.
“It would have sounded outlandish to suggest this was possible six months ago but the team has been reborn through their Champions League success. The team seem to be more settled under Roberto Di Matteo’s management and the track record of this club in the recent past seems to be very closely related to the players’ relationship with their manager. AVB and Scolari could not win the confidence of the dressing room and the team fell apart. But under Mourinho, Hiddink, Ancelotti and now Di Matteo they are the most formidable force in England. A popular manager combined with a more focused John Terry and a very exciting addition to the squad in Oscar makes Chelsea the team to beat.”
Personally I can’t see past Manchester City. Their confidence will be sky high after winning last season. Although they haven’t strengthened, as of yet, City still boast the best squad in the top flight, although I do believe Chelsea and United will push them all the way again and you can never write off Arsenal.
Calling all football fans: Who do you think will clinch the Premier League title this season? Can City keep hold of it or will United snatch it back? Can Chelsea bring the title back to Stamford Bridge or can Arsenal end their barren spell without a trophy by landing the big one? Whatever your view, we’d love to hear from you.
Fantasy Football Invitation: Do you think you are a better manager than Roberto Mancini, Arsene Wenger of Sir Alex Ferguson? If so then you've come to the right place. Come and join our special Squarefootball Fantasy Football competition. Click here for more details