Thought I’d chip in with my predictions for the new season as the Premier League is about to kick off this afternoon. As I have stated on Twitter several times over the summer, I don’t think we will win any silverware this season (yes, I am prepared to eat my words…) I called the Arsenal clash in the Community Shield to perfection, and although we were missing a lot of players, the guys we fielded are those who will be expected to come in when we pick up our usual spate of injuries. I also think the fact several of our key players are not yet fit after only recently returning after the World Cup extended break, expecting them to hit the ground running in what is a really tough opening 5 games is too much, and I think that could be the psychological blow that could derail our defence of the title before we even get going.
There is no doubt Chelsea have strengthened over the summer, with the arrival of Diego Costa and Fabregas the real stand out signings, while I feel our eternal rivals United will also be boosted under the stewardship of Louis Van Gaal, although it remains to be seen just how many of the players they’ve been linked with hourly actually arrive. Arsenal are also looking strong this season, and their performance at Wembley in the absence of the German contingence shows they are also growing in depth, something which has caught them short in recent seasons. Finally, Liverpool have also gone crazy in the summer, trying to offset the departure of Suarez with half of the Southampton team, along with several other players of promise. How the new contingent will settle under the bigger club pressure at Anfield, and indeed how the club will cope with the added demands of Champions League football, is anyone’s guess, although I expect them to be in the mix over the course of the season.
Prediction wise I think Chelsea will win the Premier League, with ourselves, Arsenal and Manchester United taking the other Champions League spots. I expect Manchester United to lift some silverware this season under yet another “new era”, probably the FA Cup, while they will also benefit from not having European football this year which, like Liverpool last season, can be worth plenty of points over the course of the season. The League Cup is harder to call, as it depends how serious teams choose to take it. I definitely think we could have the potential to reach the final again, although whether I think we will is a different matter. I can’t help thinking it’s time teams like Everton, Tottenham, Newcastle etc started to take the tournament more seriously in the pursuit of silverware.
Finally, I really can’t see beyond Real Madrid for this seasons’ Champions League. While they are vulnerable at the back, the attacking talent they possess is scary, and I don’t know how anyone will stop them. I also expect Barcelona to be in the mix for the honour again this year, while I feel they may also pip Real to La Liga, as the Madrid club have always made their priorities known in recent years.
Whatever the outcome, right or wrong, I’m hoping for a great season with plenty more drama and great football, and if we win more silverware (remember, I never thought we’d win anything growing up so it has already exceeded expectations although some “fans” will never get that) then that would be the icing on the cake. Hat-trick has a nice ring to it. Enjoy the season guys.