Football

Premier League title race: Key factors

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A week before the new football season, and more is unknown than ever before.

Here, I outline the key factors that could determine whether the main three title contenders experience glory or agony come May.

Key Factor 1: Chelsea & Jose Mourinho

The return of the Special One has single-handedly pushed Chelsea into the position of title favourites in the eyes of many. A quick analysis of Mourinho's record is enough to suggest they have a point.

A man who has won the Champions League with two different clubs, and the domestic league title in four countries is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

However with Chelsea's striking options being either perennially underwhelming, ill-equipped for the very top level or too young to lead the line for a whole season, it's apparent to everyone that a gaping hole in the Chelsea squad exists. 

Although Mourinho seems hell-bent on plugging that gap with Wayne Rooney, United are extremely unlikely to acquiesce.

Should Chelsea start the season with the current squad, it will be fascinating to see how Mourinho juggles his attacking options. 

With Andre Schurrle added to the already excellent trio of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar, Chelsea are sure to be a threat. 

If Mourinho can conjure a winning formula from a combination of these, as the markets clearly expect him too, they deserve their favourites tag.

Key Factor 2: Manchester City - Will they settle?

The most interesting moves of this season's transfer market have been made by Manchester City.

The Txiki Begiristain influence can surely be seen in the transfers, which have a slightly different feel to those made in previous seasons. 

The new recruits are players yet to have tasted much success in their careers, and so the theory must go should be hungry, adding hunger to a sometimes soporific and seemingly self-satisfied City squad last season.

However with the exception of the excellent Jesus Navas, these signings must step up if they are to be considered of the standard necessary to improve City's first-team, already exceptional on paper.

Stevan Jovetic certainly showed glimpses of being able to do so at Fiorentina, but Alvaro Negredo and Fernandinho have not regularly displayed levels of performance in their careers to date that would suggest they would improve a team aiming at both domestic and European success. 

The arrival of Pellegrini, and how quickly he adapts to English football will be crucial to City's success. The Chilean’s recent record with Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga has been impressive, but there is a litany of managers who have come from abroad with sterling reputations and struggled to adapt to the English game.

Whether Pellegrini can be successful in moulding Manchester City in his image, and formulating a style of play conducive to success in England, will be crucial to City's success this season.

Key Factor 3: Manchester United & Robin van Persie

One of the strangest moments of season has already come and gone, and that was seeing a man other than Alex Ferguson leading Manchester United out at Wembley for the traditional curtain raiser in which United are seemingly ever-present.

The failure to land a central midfielder of repute is no doubt frustrating for the new manager David Moyes, but aside from that he has many reasons to be positive. 

Many young players took a step up and began turning talent into performances for United last season, such as David de Gea, Rafael, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones and there is no reason why they should not maintain or improve upon those levels this time around. 

Others such as Tom Cleverley, new signing Wilfried Zaha and the extravagantly talented Danny Welbeck could well make similar strides this year. 

Added to that Shiniji Kagawa has had the season often needed by newcomers to adapt to the league and United should have their skipper Nemanja Vidic available for the whole campaign.

This is a blessing that cannot be underestimated to a defence sometimes left exposed by a porous midfield.

The key though, as he was last season, will be Robin van Persie. The Premier League top goalscorer for the last two campaigns shows no signs of slowing down, and if he has another return of 25+ United will be difficult to beat, Rooney or no Rooney.

The folly of making predictions with a couple of weeks to go before the end of the transfer window has closed is such that the situation may look very different on the morning of September 3, indeed we may well have answers to many of the unknowns alluded to above. 

However, whichever club is able find the best solution to the key factors outlined above, will likely be holding the Premier League trophy aloft in May.

 

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DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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