In a league that was once dubbed a four horse race with 16 other also-rans, the old order has fallen and has seen the rise of new contenders for the top spots. Leta s have a look at what will happen in the League, this season.
The English League, or rather the Barclays Premier League as it is known is touted as the most competitive leagues in modern football, much to the disapproval of hardcore fans of the Bundesliga. With the likes of Southampton, Tottenham and West Ham United within touching distance of Champions League football, the Premier League is no more a league dominated by 4 rich teams with all the best players. A free for all, no-holds-barred contest is unfolding in various sections of the table, with incredible fluidity in positions being the name of the game.
The League Contender
With a 5 point gap each between the first, second and third spots, Chelsea seem to be cruising ahead. However a few tough opponents in the upcoming fixtures might hinder their progress. The game against Manchester City failed to be very crucial in deciding who takes the crown. A victory against Pellegrinia s men would have ensured they stand 8 points clear of their closest contenders as clear favurites to win the title. However City are not pushovers, with the Arrival of Wilfred Bony, the blue side of Manchester have added much needed fire power to their attacking line up and will look to overcome their lost opportunities against Chelsea.
Southampton, with their best defensive record in the league, have conceded only a measly 16 goals. However, a good 10 points separates them from the top of the league which seems a rather uphill task for a team that has been having inconsistent performances off late. The Saints though strong enough seemingly to finish in the top 4 will face more competition from the Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham who all stand just a couple of points behind them.
The Last Champions League Spot
In recent years, there has been intense competition in the periphery of the 4th Spot. Battling for the final Champions League place, three or four teams have consistently offered an intense spectacle. Much like a pay per view wrestling fixture, rivals Arsenal and Tottenham have been at it for at least the last three seasons. Wringing each othera s necks to finish fourth, the two clubs have given birth to one of the most intense derbya s to be witnessed in English football and remained only a point or two away from each other. However the two clubs have also faced stiff competition through the likes of newer pretenders Southampton, Swansea and Everton in previous seasons. This season, Tottenham and Arsenal are again neck and neck and are closely being watched by West Ham and Liverpool who both look to leapfrog the London sides. A falling Manchester United, who have had a very mixed run in the league, may add to the excitement and give the four clubs a good fight to fourth place.
Relegation battles have always been an emotional matter for the few unfortunate teams that have found themselves at the bottom of the table. Of the three newly promoted teams, two already find themselves in a fix. Leicester have had a terrible run so far. Only Sunderland have fewer victories than they do and are still three points ahead thanks to their eleven draws. QPR have been quiet unfortunate as their manager,a renowned expert at saving teams from relegation will likely lead QPR to their second relegation. Sunderland and Hull and Burnley are the other three constantly touching the relegation zone.
Hull have turned themselves into a Tottenham ‘B’ team after purchasing a host of Spurs rejects and are looking to sign Aaron Lennon. If the deal goes through, it will enable Hull to inject some much needed pace into their game and may give them an edge over Sunderland and Burnley. However, Sunderland with the likes of Larsson and Adam Johnson are a tough nut to crack. They have immense quality which will most probably enable them to survive a last-minute Hull onslaught.
The Quiet Transfer Window
This seasona s winter edition of the transfer window has been awfully quiet. Most of the rumors circulating in the media have been related to Manchester United being linked to a hundred players. With the deadline day of the transfer market remaining, past experiences dictates that there are going to be some shocking moves on the last day.
Nevertheless two of the most prominent deals that have taken place in this brief window are that of Wilfred Bony moving to Manchester City and that of Arsenal signing Gabriel Paulista. These two signings will directly impact the positions in the table as Arsenals acquisition looks to strengthen their back four, an area struck by injuries recently, while Wilfred Bonya s arrival adds much needed fire power to Manchester Citya s forward line. However Chelsea too are close to completing a move for the sensational Columbian winger Juan Cuadrado as they look to send the out of favour winger Salah in the opposite direction.
Predictions for the Season
Chelsea have had an exceptional run and with a great set of players in their squad look all set to be the Champions. Even a last minute push by Manchester City, like last season probably wouldn’t knock Chelsea off the top. If current form were to be sustained, the top four are likely to be Chelsea followed by Manchester City, Southampton and Arsenal. Manchester United with their mixed results are most probably going to lose a few games allowing Arsenal to leap frog them and eventually finish fifth followed by Tottenham.
In the relegation zone, Leicester seem to be struggling in the league with just 4 victories. Having earned just three more points over and above their negative goal difference, this team is a sure shot relegation contender. Unless their fortunes turn drastically, there is a very slim chance we will see the side in the next edition of the Premier League. Sunderland, QPR, Hull and Burnley FC are the other bottom ranked teams. With just a point separating each other, a tough battle will most probably end with Harry Redknappa s side sinking yet again to the lower division accompanied by Hull City.