If there was no FA, Manchester City would probably go down the path of what would be the footballing equivalence of Anarchy. But in an ideal world, they have spent only 100 Million Pounds so far and are suitably ready to fit into the ‘top bracket’ of the Premiership race.
It was the 9th of May when London Big Shots Chelsea lifted the Premiership 2009-10’ managing to net a total of 103 goals in the season, a feat never attained before. Such was their dominance that they managed to score 7 or more goals in a match four times in the season, again a-never-done-before achievement. Manchester United did their best to come close to their London rivals, but failed to add to their golden streak of Premiership trophies (2006-07’, 2008-08’, 2008-09’). Arsenal, playing most of the season breathing under the neck of their two illustrious rivals, fizzled out in the dying stage of the season due to pressure and excessive ‘beautiful football’. The fourth spot was up-for-grabs for most part of the season, and Arsenal’s rival-neighbors Tottenham Hotspur picked it up with a fair amount of consistency throughout the season.
August 14th, 2010 – starts the 19th edition of the Premiership season and it is slated to be completed on the 22nd of May, 2011.
The Big Boys –
Chelsea – The defending champions have completely restructured their squad, selling off ‘tired and old legs’ and replacing them with a few fresh ones. With the demands of competing equally well in the league and Europe, Chelsea have the perfect manager in Carlos Ancelotti to deliver the goods for them. With the core of the team intact and the addition of the exciting Yossi Benayoun from Liverpool, Chelsea would love to repeat the accomplishments of their previous season.
For more on Chelsea Transfers, refer to this.
Manchester United – The men from the ‘better’ half of Manchester have already drawn first blood by defeating Chelsea 3-1 in the Community Shield. Sir Alex Ferguson, 24 years at the helm of Old Trafford affairs, doesn’t need to worry about the ‘other’ half of Manchester as long as his players deliver as per expectations. With minimal ‘business’ in the transfer market, Sir Alex has put pressure but also instilled confidence into his old warhorses. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and co. who have played under this system for almost two decades, need to continue with the same verve, and bring back the title to Old Trafford.
For more on Manchester United Transfers, refer to this.
Arsenal – The ‘boys’ from North London are no longer delusional about their chances of winning the Premiership crown, with a surplus of talent and their manager’s spread of goodwill, they are quite ready for the new season. With the massive task of keeping their talismanic skipper at The Emirates, Arsene Wenger has made a point to the other title contenders, that they are ‘no pushovers’ this time. With their customary brand of attacking football and a possible inject of ‘steel’ at the back (new defensive signings if any), Arsenal can be a serious contender for Premiership honors at the end of the season.
For more on Arsenal Transfers, refer to this.
Liverpool – Having finished a lowly 7th last season, Liverpool have all to do to get back into the race for Premiership supremacy. The appointment of a new manager in Roy Hodgson is perhaps a calming effect for the Scousers and they would love to get on with winning ways at Anfield when they start their campaign against Arsenal this weekend. Retaining the services of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, and adding a few interesting names to the squad will really give them the much needed impetus to kick off season 2010-11’.
For more on Liverpool Transfers, refer to this.
The Potential Threats of Dethroning the Big Boys –
Refer to our featured article: The Best Of The Rest
Mid-Table Mediocrity –
Fulham – With a massive performance at the Europa last season, the Cottagers have made life difficult for themselves, as far as the ‘weight of expectations’ go. Losing their influential manager, who helped them achieve the European success, makes things even trickier. Considering the decent success of new manager Mark Hughes in the past, Fulham would love to compete with the top teams to find a place in the European stage.
Birmingham – Alex McLeish did a fantastic job last season by making St.Andrews a fortress of sorts. Equipped with a disciplined squad with no fancy names to watch out for, Birmingham would do great if they can finish one step higher this season compared to the last.
Sunderland – With the super form of Englishman Darren Bent, Sunderland looked a decent force last time round. Steve Bruces’ men would want to break into the top half of the Premiership this season.
The New Boys – What to expect?
Newcastle United – The Magpies are back after spending a season in the Championship, ‘that’ experience of finishing as champions in Tier-2 would do their confidence a world of good. The look of the team is completely different compared to their team in the 2008-09’ season when they got relegated. With the signing (free) of Dan Gosling from Everton and Sol Campbell (free) from Arsenal, the Toons are quite determined to cement their place in the top division for at least another year.
Blackpool – The Seasiders will make their Premier League debut having never played at top flight since 1971. Winning the play-off final in the Championship, they have made their way into the top tier, incredibly climbing four tiers in nine years. The team will have to travel away from Bloomfield Road to play Wigan in their first match of the season. Blackpool don’t have the resources to stay in the top flight for another season but they would love to surprise everybody.
West Bromwich Albion – Under Tony Mowbray, the Maggies played an attractive brand of football as far as our football memory goes, but they were not good enough to ‘stay up’ in the 2008-09 season. After spending a season in The Championship, they are back into top flight under the able guidance of ex-Chelsea man Roberto Di Matteo. The Italian managed to get his team a promotion in just one attempt and would love to keep them afloat for at least another season. WBA will be spending their 5th season in the Premiership since 2002.
What are they playing for?
The 20 teams will compete for the ultimate honor in English Football, the Barclay’s Premiership Trophy. It was way back in 1992, when the FA Premier League was found with its headquarters at Lancaster Gate. The 22 inaugural members were Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Coventry City, Crystal Palace, Everton, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Oldham Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Wimbledon. Only 9 out of those teams will contest in the Premiership this season. Considered as the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, the Premier League is the most watched league worldwide with over half a billion people following it on television.
As far as the ‘prize money’ is concerned, Chelsea FC earned a massive 16 Million Pounds for winning the league last time. Other teams earned 800,000 Pounds less than the club just above them.
Apart from the prize money, FA has come up with the new ‘Home Grown’ rule for this season where each club can register 25 players aged above 21 which should include at least 8 players who are ‘Home Grown’.
THT’s Five ‘Fresh’ Players to watch out for:
Javier Hernandez – Affectionately known as ‘Chicharito’, the Mexican forward was the Red Devils’ big signing of the season. The lad will add a new dimension to United’s attacking plans; he is a versatile player who can use both his foot for shooting and is a natural goal-scorer as described by his manager.
THT’s rating for signing of the season – 7.5/10
Marouane Chamakh – The man from Bordeaux had his dreams fulfilled ‘finally’ when he joined Arsenal on the 21st of May, 2010 on a free transfer. The lanky Moroccan striker has already fit into the team with very decent performances in pre-season. Wenger clearly believes that Chamakh will suit the type of game played at The Emirates and will add enough quality to the Arsenal attacking line-up.
THT’s rating for signing of the season – 8/10
David Silva – After spending valuable years at Valencia, the flamboyant Spanish winger has caught Mancini’s eyes and is ready to operate at The Eastlands this season. An estimated 25 Million signing, the Spanish international needs to prove his worth if he wants to see Champions League football a year later. The City manager believes Silva can make a big, big impact for them this season.
THT’s rating for signing of the season – 9/10
Yaya Toure – If rumors are to be believed, Kolo’s younger brother can become the World’s costliest player when he steps onto the Manchester City stadium at the start of the season. After playing some crucial seasons at Barcelona, Yaya will form a deadly partnership with his brother at The Eastlands. The signing is a fantastic one and could help City break into the elite faction of Premiership title race.
THT’s rating for signing of the season – 9/10
Christian Poulsen – After two competitive seasons at Juventus, Christian Poulsen signed for Liverpool and is a replacement for Javier Mascherano who would be understandably leaving Anfield before the season starts. Being a regular member in the Danish international team, the aggressive defensive midfielder brings a lot of experience to the Liverpool line-up.
THT’s rating for signing of the season – 7.5/10