Football aficionados and premier league lovers across the globe will be in high spirits this weekend as the premier league resumes today in England.
The tackles, the goals and the entire glamour of what many consider the most interesting football league in the world resumes after a summer break which was busy in itself as it was a world cup year.
Teams have gone back to the drawing boards, analyzed the previous season’s lapses and fortified their squads. Some teams have had better pre-season preparations than others who had many of their players participating in the later stages of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
The premier league stands out for his stiff competitiveness. In recent years, it is hard to point out clear favourites to lift the trophy before the season commences. For the 2014/2015 season, here’s the situation on ground for the big teams:
The defending champions may have not made the larger than life signings they would love to due to the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP). As a matter of fact, City has too many players in the first team squad and will really need to sell off players before the transfer window is shut. Failure to do so, Manuel Pellegrini should expect the FFP to limit them even more next season and of course disharmony may set in mid-season as the manager will have many unhappy players desiring first team action.
Even with the FFP situation, City has managed to make some good signings. The purchase of Eliaqium Mangala and Fernando from Porto and a surprise loan deal for Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard will be considered good deals.
However, the strength of their towering Ivorian midfielder, Yaya Toure and the techniques of Argentine, Sergio Aguero will remain the major keys to City’s ambition this year.
The biter from Uruguayan is gone and he may have departed with the bite in Liverpool’s attack. His contributions last season need not be reiterated as it was clear for the world to see and appreciate. Liverpool received over £80million for letting the controversial Uruguayan go but how they have re-invested that proceed may have raised eyebrows among Liverpool fans.
Liverpool came so close to winning the premier league last season but it is really in doubt if they will win a thing this year. It appears the raid on Southampton FC which saw Ricky Lambert and Adam Lallana join the Anfield team will not be enough to save them this season.
The fact that Liverpool were not really involved in Europe last season helped their premier league run immessely. With a return to the Champions league, the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling will have to prove they have what it takes to perform on the big stage without the influence of Luis Suarez.
It will really be no surprise if Liverpool doesn’t win a thing come May.
Jose Mourinho appears to have done the best summer deals in the premier league this summer. He has sold players he deemed surplus to requirement for good sums and has brought in world-class replacements. The sale of David Luiz, Romelu Lukaku, Demba Ba and the departure of Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard as a result of non-renewal of contracts has given room to the signing of lethal striker, Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and left back, Filipe Luis.
Highly rated goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois has also arrived at Stamford Bridge after three successful loan seasons. The return of slub legend, Didier Drogba this summer to complete his unfinished business with the Blues is also a big boost physically and psychologically.
Football pundits believe this is Chelsea’s most complete squad ever and it is crystal clear Jose Mourinho will have no excuses if he fails to deliver a trophy or two to the Chelsea supporters come May given the reinforcements the club management has helped him with.
Better late than never! Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger seems to have realized the importance of spending good money in order to get quality tested and trusted players. The purchase of Mezut Ozil from Real Madrid last season and the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona this summer is testimony to the new philosophy of the London club.
Arsenal is expected to really be in contention for the premier league title this season and not their usual top-four target. Despite boasting a rich attack, it would be interesting to see how Arsenal will cope with Yaya Sanogo as the target man this season if they don’t bring in a top finisher before the transfer window is shut. A good replacement has also not been made in the defence for Thomas Vermealean who has joined Barcelona.
Sadly, the FA Community Shield Arsenal won last weekend may be the only silverware to their name when the season comes to an end but the Gunners will definitely compete better this season.
United fans will really be banking on the Louis Van Gaal magic to return to their old successful selves after a disastrous campaign last term.
The absence of marquee signings at the moment is a big talking point for some United fans who are anxious to see big name arrivals at Old Trafford this summer. The fact that United will not be involved in Europe this season will give them the edge Liverpool had last season in the premier league.
Whichever way you look at it, the input of Louis Van Gaal who is definitely a better manager than his predecessor, David Moyes will be key for United this season. He knows how to handle the big boys and seems to have restructured the team. From training methodologies, new tactics, a new captain, new training equipments and all whatnot, it seems the new manager has brought a new philosophy and most importantly, belief back to the squad.
It appears Manchester United will do way better in the premier league this season but judging from their first team personnel, asking for the premier league trophy this season will be a big call for the Dutch manager and his boys.
Which team do you see lifting the EPL trophy come may?
Article written by Augustine Ogwo
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