The Premier League’s marathon season kicks off this weekend. NoTicketSports looks ahead at what 2014-2015 will bring.
Joe Bianchino: For my money, gents, this is one of the more intriguing Premier League seasons I can remember – save, of course, for last season, when Jose Mourinho’s return and Sir Alex’s retirement set the table for a fascinating year.
Even without those two story-lines, though, I’m excited to see what becomes of the year. Chelsea’s addition of Diego Costa should make the tough to beat, but Manchester City should will obviously be there, and who knows what to make of Arsenal?
Mark Graydon: I think we are in for another close title race, with Chelsea and Man City clearly the league’s strength – both in depth and rich ownership.
Behind those two, for me, is the reincarnated soul of the team we all watched die last year. United. And as a side note: Fergie, you clever barstard. Just when we thought Sir Alex had finally ridden off into the sunset with acres of glory behind him, he pulls off the ultimate coup and convinces the powers to be at United to hire David “2ft” Moyes, out of his depth, and sits back as new guy leads the club to its most disappointing season in 25 years. I’m surprised the Queen didn’t try to knight SAF again, or squeeze him into the line of succession – right in front of little Charlie.
Anyway, Van Gaal is a revelation in the wake of Moyes and leads them to 3rd.
Next, it’s Arsenal, who have finally won a trophy – two in fact with a shallacking of City last Sunday. But with a new season comes Wenger’s relentless drive for fourth place. And he’ll succeed. Such attacking talent, but dodgy defensive skill will still come back to bite them. In April.
Liverpool is fifth, because Suarez really is that good! 30 goals, 25 assists. Unreal. He’s almost impossible to replace, so the Liverpudlians will suffer some let down, but Rodgers is a great coach and will still keep them in the hunt.
And as for a few others, with all the dough they have spent, surely Tottenham must have an half decent team by now, right? I mean, I don’t understand keeping Soldado, but, still…right? And while there are things to like about the other Liverpool-side, Everton’s European vacation will crush their League hope. The Europa League is a death sentence for Champions League qualification. And while I like Lukaku, £28m (yes, in Pounds) seems outrageously high for Belgium’s #3 choice striker.
Jeffrey Simpson Day: Let’s do this team-by-team, and alphabetic-style:
Arsenal – After three years of listening to Arsenal fans say “If only Walcott could stay healthy,” finally splashed the cash for a big time winger. Nice job, Arsene. Now it’s time to upgrade the coat.
Aston Villa – Speaking of injuries, what’s the over/under for the number of times Villa fans say, “If only Bentenke were healthy”? Whatever the number is…bang that over.
Burnley – Max out those memory cards fellas, the pictures will make for great conversation pieces next season back in the Championship.
Chelsea – Safest bet on the board: At some point this season, Mourinho will play with six defenders on the field. This is an absolute lock.
Crystal Palace – When hasn’t firing your manager two days before a season turned out well?
Everton – Fifth place finish last season has them playing in Europa
League this year. I’m sure 4,000 away games in Eastern Europe won’t hurt their Premier League results.
Hull – These guys are also in Europa League this year? Really? Is Europa League just taking anyone these days? Can my co-ed, indoor team sign up?
Leicester – Welcome to the Premier League. Your first five games will be against Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal, Stoke, and Man-U. Enjoy.
Liverpool – The bad news: Not going to be nearly as exciting to watch this year. The good news: Should see a significant drop in both opposing players being bitten and racism.
Manchester City – If they get 2012 Kompany, they’ll be in the mix to the end. If they get early-2014 Kompany…not so much. Either way,
I’m sure they’ll wait until the end of the season before signing him to a massive, multi-year extension. Oh…wait… (On a related topic, how come nobody talks about how horrific the Scott Sinclair signing was? City, Swansea, Sinclair…somehow everybody lost in that.)
Manchester United – Not only have no European duties, but they replaced a manager afraid to spend money with one not afraid to drop his pants during team meetings (seriously, look it up). Expect them to
compete for the title again.
Newcastle – Of their current 40-man squad, 10 players are French. I’m just sayin’.
QPR – Mario “Throws Darts at the Youth Team” Balotelli? In Italy. Craig “Assaulted a Teammate with a Golf Club” Bellamy? Back in the Championship. Thank god Joey “Once Choked a Teammate DURING a Game” Barton’s back in the league.
Southampton – Striker, midfield playmaker, and centerback taken by
Liverpool, wingback taken by United, and manager taken by Spurs. Ah…the joys of success.
Stoke – FREE CHARLIE ADAM! FREE CHARLIE ADAM!
Sunderland – 0.5: Over/under for the number of Premier League goals
Altidore scores this year. Anyone want the over? Anyone? And, no, own goals don’t count.
Swansea – Successfully saw off the challenge from Cardiff City to remain the Welshiest team in the Premier League. There can be only one.
Tottenham – You know that guy in your fantasy league last year who
stuck by Roberto Soldado about five weeks too long, thereby crushing his chances to finish anywhere near the top of the league? Me neither. I mean…a friend of a friend told me about a guy.
West Brom – West Bromwich still has a team? In the Premier League? No, that seems unlikely.
West Ham – After spending on Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia, West Ham’s attack this season will be led by…Carlton Cole? No way that’s right, someone fact-check it. Holy crap, that’s right.
Junior: Some quick hits on several teams:
City: Firstly, Kompany signed a new deal through 2019. Secondly, City spending money on Vincent and Lamps pleases me (since I’m sure the latter was just to F with The Special One).
Spurs: Yedlin to Spurs? Intriguing. That’s something to watch… has Lennon found a first touch yet? Ya know… that doesn’t just end up 40 yards ahead of him past the end line for a goal kick?
Everton: Tim Howard’s on record as saying Chelski are the ones to beat. I’m not sure what that says about Everton, but who cares. I love Tim Howard.
Man United: Disagree with Mr. Sandler. Too much turnover. Going to take some time for that thing to get clicking. When it does: watch the hell out. Until then, I’m betting they drop points and don’t get back to the top of the table. I’m not saying it’ll be like last year’s shit-mess, but it won’t be a banner year for the Rags.
Chelsea: They’re good. Mourinho is the man. I want to hang out with Jose.
Arsenal: I just don’t care. Wenger just looks so punchable.
I’ve got it City, Chelsea, Arsenal…and then somebody else. I wouldn’t think ManU will get it figured out in time, but who the hell else is going to nip in there? And Liverpool will regress. Oh yes.
PS – Joey Barton, so hot right now. Joey Barton.
Joe Bianchino: I’m disappointed in all of us. 1,200 words and not a single mention of Didier Drogba’s white-knight return to Chelsea. What were we thinking?
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