English Football – Premier League Season Preview
Player transfers and new managers are set to be the feature of the new Premier League season which kicks off in a week’s time on August 13. With the transfer merry-go-round in full swing this summer, and several new faces in the manager’s hot seat, the new season promises to be one of the most unpredictable in recent times.
By Janith Aranze
Reigning champions Manchester United still remain the firm favourites to retain their title and is the team that everyone needs to beat. They have made some telling additions to their squad, with England international Ashley Young, promising goalkeeper David De Gea – a shrewd purchase, and former Blackburn defender Phil Jones being added to the ranks. With Wayne Rooney having rediscovered his best form towards the end of last season, and Hernandez and Nani looking to build on their impressive season’s last time out, United will be confident of retaining their crown. They have some special reasons to do so – Manager Alex Fergusan turns 70, and marks his 25th year at Old Trafford. It will also be their 20th League title if they succeed.
Their strongest challenge could come from West London where change is afoot and new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas will be eager to prove his credentials in his maiden Premiership season. Summer-long Chelsea target, Luka Modric’s future is still uncertain, but Villas-Boas will be hoping to land the Croatian international before the window closes. Chelsea have already signed Brazilian midfielder, Lucas Piazon from Sau Paulo and Thibaut Courtois from Genk for an undisclosed fee. The West-Londoners will be aiming to prevent last season’s trophy-less campaign and one of Villas-Boas main aims should be to keep owner Roman Abramovich out of team issues.
Arguably the biggest signing this transfer window has been Sergio Aguero’s move from Atletico Madrid to Manchester City for £38 million. The Argentine joins Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic in City’s new additions. The Club achieved its first success for new owner Sheikh Mansour when they clinched the FA Cup last season but Mancini’s men will need to gel together as a team if they hope to mount a serious title challenge this year. The transfer window is still open for another 3 weeks and City’s spending is by no means over.
For Arsenal, the transfer window has been something of a nuisance. Arsene Wenger has been constantly fending off speculation that his two star players, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, will be on the move. However with Barcelona, thought to be Fabregas’ preferred destination, Wenger must already be planning for life without the Arsenal captain. The signing of Gervinho from Lille will have eased some Arsenal fans’ worries. But after last seasons disappointing conclusion, pressure is on Wenger to deliver silverware to North London.
A resurgent Liverpool under Kenny Dalglish, have quietly gone about their business this summer and made some shrewd signings along the way. Former Blackpool favourite Charlie Adam has joined along with Stuart Downing and Jordan Henderson. With Andy Carrol and Luis Suarez about to commence their first full season at the club, Dalglish will be hoping for Champions League qualification. Former-Liverpool player John Arne Riise has made a return to Premiership football by joining Fulham, under new manager Martin Jol. Previously at Tottenham and Ajax, Jol will be looking to maintain Fulham’s Premiership status whilst also guiding them through the Europa League.
Premiership new boys Queens Park Rangers will be hoping to get off to a flying start come August 13. With Neil Warnock’s return to the Premiership after a controversial exit with Sheffield United in 2007, he will be hoping his team can make a lasting impression on the league. The signings of DJ Campbell and Jay Boothroyd should ensure QPR have enough firepower upfront to stay in the league.
Fans will not have to wait long for the first heavy-weight clash of the season. On August 20, Arsenal take on Liverpool at the Emirates, while the following week Manchester United and Arsenal will lock horns at Old Trafford. After a summer free of football, come next weekend the Premier League is set to provide the thrills and spills that make it one of the best leagues in the world.