The competition for the Premier League title will be a two-way battle next season but, by most accounts, it should be a straightforward march for Jose Mourinho's Chelsea to reclaiming the title.
Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal are top-four contenders, not title challengers.
Manchester City look set to divide their time between the winning the league and a good European finish. Even when fully focused, they don't always look like genuine contenders to me; they flop when it is least expected and have a habit of depending on results elsewhere going their way to mount a real challenge to the genuine contenders - namely Chelsea and Manchester United.
Besides, Manuel Pellegrini is no magician and I do not see him 'doing a Mourinho 2004'.
Title holders Manchester United have started pre-season badly and I expect them to falter under David Moyes, despite having runaway with the title last season.
They have lost Sir Alex Ferguson, while transfer target Thiago opted to sign for Bayern Munich. Retaining the title looks a distant yet realistic possibility. Emphasis in on ‘distant’ anyway.
Now, to Chelsea.
The Blues were tipped to win the league last season, following the Champions League success the previous campaign. However, controversial managerial changes and off-field scandals saw results drop and they ended up battling to a third-place finish.
This season, however, they have brought back the most 'special' manager they have in Jose Mourinho - and further strengthened an already talented squad.
So, it looks like Chelsea is a more balanced side among the three realistic title challengers, and over the course of a usually gruelling campaign, balance and strength is needed.
Anyhow, it won't be plain sailing unless the Special One does something really special with the special squad at his disposal. But with the way things are, the Premier League is there for Chelsea to take.
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