Premier League 2013/14: Title favourites
The 2013/14 Premier League season could deliver the most open title race yet
With the Premier League season approaching, and the turmoil of the transfer window and managerial changes in full swing, many fans and pundits are beginning to voice their opinions on, who are, the early favourites to win the Premier League title.
However, this season picking a favourite has been quite difficult.
With new bosses arriving at last season's top three, possible big spending at Arsenal and Tottenham the gap could get even closer at the top.
Liverpool are attempting to cling on to their star players whilst building the rest of their squad, therefore this season could be the most unpredictable ever.
Firstly, reigning champions Manchester United have lost the gargantuan figure of Sir Alex Ferguson as their leader.
Couple this with the unrest of Wayne Rooney and you may begin to feel that the Red Devils may not be the force they were last season. Still, it would be foolish to instantly say that they are not favourites, as United have become less reliant on Rooney with the arrivals of Robin van Persie and the emerging Shinji Kagawa last summer.
Moyes is also likely to bring more defensive stability to a side who looked frail at the back last term.
The financial power of Manchester City places them as likely candidates to reclaim the title that slipped from their grasp virtually without a contest last season.
The controversial dismissal of Roberto Mancini has led to the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini, who has considerably less trophies on his CV but is more placid and should bring harmony - something the squad lacked under his predecessor (see Carlos Tevez, Samir Nasri, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko for more details) and a more methodical approach.
Whether he will be able to claim a trophy in his first season with the club is in question, and his signings this summer could be a big factor.
The signings of Fernandinho and Jesus Navas do not appear to be signings that could ultimately tilt the title race in their favour. Isco, on the other hand, could.
Another club whose hopes hinge heavily on their dealing in the transfer market are Arsenal. This season could be as good a time as any for Arsene Wenger's side, with the upheaval at United, City and Chelsea giving them an outside opportunity to make a charge for a first trophy since 2005.
The impending arrival of Gonzalo Higuain will be a further boost, adding firepower that they lacked in 2012/13 due to the departure of the aforementioned Robin van Persie.
I still feel Arsenal lack a defensive midfield player - somebody in the mould of Geoffrey Kondogbia perhaps - and a world-class goalkeeper (Julio Cesar springs to mind), with perhaps a strong centre-back to replace the pedestrian Per Mertesacker. With the astute Wenger remaining at the helm and a couple of top additions, Arsenal could be genuine title contender this year.
One cannot, of course, write off Chelsea. Daddy is home (Jose Mourinho, just to clarify). Mourinho has previously tasted success in England, amassing seven trophies during his first spell with the Blues. The squad is mostly strong although is lacking a quality centre-forward, despite the tedious, repetitive claims that Torres is back.
A purchase of Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani (although I have my doubts regarding whether he would have the same success in England), Mario Gomez or Wayne Rooney would certainly give Chelsea a strong chance of dethroning Manchester United.
Alternatively, Romelu Lukaku could be the answer to Chelsea's goalscoring problems. A denfensive midfielder wouldn't go amiss, but aside from that Chelsea have as good a squad as anyone as the season approaches.
As usual, there are always the outside bets. Gareth Bale single-handedly hoisted Tottenham into Champions League contention last term and could do so again this year, providing Spurs can fend off interest from Real Madrid.
If they can do that, and add a couple of players in order to make Bale's task easier, then they may just be able to mount a title challenge. A striker must be their top priority this summer.
No Premier League title race article would be complete without the deluded claim that this could be Liverpool's year. Their squad is looking strong and they ended last season in stellar form, losing only one of their last 11 fixtures. Losing Luis Suarez is looking increasingly likely and would almost certainly end any faint hope of winning the Premier League. A Champions League place is within their grasp though.
So, as you can see, this year the title could end up going anywhere. In my opinion, I can't see past Chelsea to claim victory this year, with United and City reeling from the losses of Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini respectively, Arsenal and Tottenham still off the pace and Mourinho's nous and knack for winning trophies making them favourites.
However, this is genuinely a season where the title race is wide open.
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