Premier League title favourites assessed
Chelsea, Manchester United & Manchester City - Who's in the best shape to be crowned Premier League Champions this year?
The start of the Premier League season is in sight and as all football fans rejoice it would seem that the three usual suspects will be battling it out at the top once again.
Though the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and even Liverpool will go into the season hoping they can make their own inroads into the title challenge, it still remains Chelsea, and both the blue and red sides of Manchester that go into the 2013/14 campaigns as the title favourites once again.
Though this may be no deviation from the norm there is a certain edge to this year’s title race due to the managerial reshuffle that each club has experienced over the summer.
Manchester United’s season will hinge on two key factors; Firstly, and most important it depends largely on how David Moyes handles the step up in expectations and pressure.
The Manchester United job is a completely different animal to what Moyes has been used too in the past. As Everton boss a top 6/7 finish alongside a strong cup run would be seen as a very successful campaign and taking into account the budgets which Moyes worked with whilst at the Merseyside club it was an extraordinary feat that he managed to achieve such success year on year, something Roberto Martinez will struggle to emulate.
But now he is leading out one of the biggest clubs in Europe and the expectations of the board and more importantly the fans are sky-high.
One thing that is important to remember is that everyone involved with Manchester United from fans too owners are not used to losing, they’re not used too mediocrity or second best and David Moyes will need too hit the ground the running at Old Trafford if he wants to avoid the wrath of the fans and of those in the boardroom.
One way which David Moyes could ease this transition, and the second key factor is the signing of a marquee name, preferably a creative midfielder too fill the void left by the retired Paul Scholes.
The two sticking points for Manchester United in this summers transfer window have been the future of Wayne Rooney and the search for that midfield talisman.
If Manchester United can fetch in excess of £30million for Wayne Rooney I think it would be a great bit of business on their part, selling a player who clearly is unhappy and possibly disruptive and also one who they have got the best years out of.
More pressing is who they will bring in, Both Manchester City and Chelsea have strengthened, and strengthened well in this transfer window bring in an array of attacking talent too compliment and improve their current arsenal whilst United have done very little.
Thiago Alacantra slipped through their fingers and it looks as if Cesc Fabregas will be remaining at the Nou Camp and with time running out Moyes needs to act fast if he is too not fall behind his rivals. A player in the mould of Paul Scholes is needed within the Manchester United midfield without any question, someone who can dictate the tempo, unlock defences and contribute goals and if David Moyes fails in his attempt to find this man it could well be the downfall of his first year as Manchester United Manager.
The ‘Special One’ has returned to Stamford Bridge and expectations for the coming season have never been higher.
There is a great romance between the Chelsea fans and Jose Mourinho and I don’t think there was any ever doubt that he would return to Chelsea at some point in his career and this time around he has inherited, arguably, an even more talented group of players.
The task for Mourinho will be too inject discipline and consistency into this talented squad, and install that steel and resilience which was so integral to Mourinho in his first stint as Chelsea manager.
Andre Shurrle and Marco Van Ginkel have already been signed this summer whilst the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku have returned from their successful loan spells to further bolster the Chelsea ranks.
Mourinho has a rich array of attacking flair too choose from and his pursuit of Wayne Rooney shows he intends on adding to it but his task will be in accommodating all this attacking flair into one team, in the past certain teams, including Chelsea, have maybe suffered from having too many attacking minded players in the same team and finding a balance between Attack and discipline will be essential for Jose Mourinho.
It has been three years since Chelsea were crowned Premier League Champions and they enter the forthcoming season arguably in the best shape they have been in since they last lifted the trophy.
The likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech will be of the upmost importance this season, not just for their on pitch performances but also in the way they guide the predominantly youthful team throughout the season.
Jose Mourinho knows how vital experience can be to the title race and his pursuit of Rooney, as much as it is case of trying too acquire a proven attacking asset to lead his line is also a pursuit of infusing his team with a winner.
A player who has track record of titles and accolades and one who has proven time and time again that he thrives in the high pressure situations. Chelsea, for me, enter the season as slight favourites, Jose Mourinho knows what to expect and under his tutelage a very talented Chelsea team have more than enough about them to be crowned Premier League Champions.
Manchester City wasted no time in making their mark on this seasons transfer market, £30 million was shed out on Fernandinho and a further £15million on the flying winger Jesus Navas before any other team had a chance to open up the cheque books.
Since then the spending has shown no signs of slowing, with both Stefan Jovetic and Alvaro Negrado coming in to strengthen the City attack and further highlight the owners intent to reclaim the Premier League and pose a more significant threat on the European stage.
Last season Manchester City failed to build upon their Premier League triumph and one of the major reasons for this was the dip in form that their key players suffered at important stages of the season.
David Silva for example during City’s title winning season contributed 6 goals and no less than 15 assists, compare this too the most recent campaign where Silva only managed 4 goals and his number of assists took a huge nose dive dropping too only 7.
The same criticism can be said for players like Samir Nasri and Sergio Augero, though injury can take some responsibility for the latter's less effective 2012/13 campaign. If Manchester City want to reclaim the title this season then their key players must recapture the form that saw them lift the title before and the new big money signings must follow suit.
For as much as this seasons success relies heavily on the squad improving their performances drastically from last year, a lot also will also rely on Manual Pellegrini and how he can adapt too the pressures and expectation that the City owners will have undoubtedly voiced too him over the course of the summer.
In this sense, Both Manchester teams are in the same boat, how their respective seasons unravel will depend hugely on how their incoming managers cope with the new demands hoist upon them both.
Pellegrini certainly showed his managerial abilities whilst with Malaga, achieving their highest league position in the 2011/12 season then impressing in last seasons Champions League also where his team were cruelly denied a semi-final place by two very late Broussia Dortmund goals.
But Manuel Pellegrini will soon learn that nearly is not enough for Manchester City any more as Roberto Mancini found to his own dismay.
Manchester City certainly have the quality and depth to be crowned champions this year but it will depend on whether the new manager can adapt to the rigours of the Premier League and get the very best out of his big name players, and maybe just as important will be managing the big egos which reside in his squad also.
I think they may fall just short again this year in the league though I wouldn’t rule out some sort of silverware ending up at the Etihad come the end of the season.
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