EPL 2011-12 Season Preview (PART 1)

Will Chelsea, Manchester City and the others allow Man Utd make it five in six years?

What can Swansea city, Norwich City and QPR to do achieve survival?

It’s back!  The Barclays English Premier League will be kicking off today barring any further drama by looters rioters in England.  We all have waited for the new season to commence and so, let the games begin!

This preview is centered around the top-six sides since the former group of four has been extended to six by Tottenham and lately Manchester City while attention will also be on the bottom six.

THE TOP SIX

ARSENAL (finished 4th last season)
Transfers in: Alex Chamberlain(£15m), Gervinho (undisc.), Carl Jenkinson (undisc.)
Transfers out: Kyle Bartley (loan), Gael Clichy (undisc.), Thomas Cruise (free), Roarie Deacon (free), Denilson (loan), Mark Randall (free), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas(£1.1m), Wellington (loan)

For Arsenal fans, it has been more of another miserable summer for the Gooners faithful with Arsene Wenger’s dealings in the transfer market. Gervinho’s arrival from Lille appears the most significant of the signings made so far though there is still time to bring in additional new faces. Contract rebel Nasri and the age long drama between the London club and Barcelona on the subject Fabregas appears to be a distraction in their preparations for the new season. The pressure continues to pile more on the “Prof” as he searches for their first major silverware in the seventh season of drought or famine. In my opinion, Arsenal do not stand a chance in winning the EPL this season as it stands but I believe they can keep their top-four spot.

CHELSEA (finished 2nd last season)
Transfers in : Thibaut Courtois (undisc.), Oriol Romeu (£4.35m)
Transfers outFabio Borini (free), Thibaut Courtois (undisc.), Jeffrey Bruma (loan), Jack Cork (undisc.), Samuel Hutchinson (free), Carl Magnay (free), Michael Mancienne (undisc.), Danny Philliskirk (free), Jacopo Sala (free), Jan Sebek (free), Michael Woods (free), Yury Zhirkov (undisc)

Carlo’s exit paved way for Andres Villa-Boas entrance. The Portuguese tactician will be looking to address last season midway slump that saw them surrender their title. Michael Essien’s long term injury will either be a gift or a curse to the Blues – only time will tell. The aging squad is something of great concern but the manager sees numerous positives from his experience team but his major headache will be the £50million man and his return to goal scoring form for AVB side as they battle to reclaim their lost title.
Chelsea look to be taking another route this time as indicated by the recent arrivals of youngsters Oriol Romeu and Romelu Lukaku but I’m surprised the Mr Abramovich’s billions couldn’t land Javier Pastore with Luka Modric’s chase waning too.
The 33 years old knows success is all that matters in South-West London club for him to continue. They are the strongest threat to Manchester United for the league title this season in my opinion.

LIVERPOOL (finished 6th last season)
Transfers in: Charlie Adam (undisc.), Alexander Doni (free), Stewart Downing (undisc.), Jordan Henderson (undisc.), Sanchez Jose Enrique (undisc.)
Transfer out: Jason Banton(free), Gerardo Bruna (undisc.), Deale Chamberlain (free), Douglas Cooper (free), Stephen Darby (loan), Peter Gulacsi (loan), Martin Hansen (loan), Sean Highdale (free), Tom Ince (free), Steven Irwin (free), Milan Jovanovic (undisc.), Paul Konchesky (undisc.), Chris Mavinga(undis.), Nikola Saric (free)

Kenny Dalglish was brought in on a rescue mission last January to salvage a disastrous campaign. The aim for the new season will be different as he has busied himself during the close season to strengthen the average team of last season. The arrival of Adam from Blackpool should help ease the burden of skipper Gerrard who has been battling injuries. A natural wide man in Downing to provide Carroll with the goods combined with the craftiness of Suarez in addition with workaholic Kuyt makes The Reds a tough nut going forward. It’s the defense that needs some shoring up now. A good left back is required and it seems they have captured the signing of Jose Enrique from Newcastle. They would also require an additional centre back to provide competition for the aging Carragher and injury prone Agger. Where does that leave Skrtel?
With no European distraction, Liverpool will probably set a target of a top-four finish for themselves before they can start dreaming of the league title in subsequent seasons.
A top-four position is achievable for Kenny’s team in my view.

MANCHESTER CITY (finished 3rd last season)
Transfers in: Sergio Aguero (undisc.), Gael Clichy (undisc.), Costel Pantilimon (undisc.), Stefan Savic (undisc.)
Transfers out: Jerome Boateng(undisc), Javier Garrido (free), Shay Given(undisc.), David Gonzalez (loan), Jo (undisc), Michael Johnson (loan), Scott Kay (free), Shaleum Logan (free), Ben Mee (loan), James Poole (free), Kieran Trippier (loan), Andrew Tutte (free), Javan Vidal (free), Patrick Vieira (retired), James Wood (free)

Carlos Tevez’ transfer request drama rocked the Manchester based club but billionaires are never deterred. Club manager, Mancini with the backing of Sheikh Mansour has signed Sergio Aguero to boost their attacking option as they attempt to challenge for the Premier league crown. It remains to see how City manage their UCL adventure alongside the rigor of the league. Mancio days may be numbered if he doesn’t turn his multi-million side into a consistent winning team soon. Their catastrophic second half performance in the Community Shield should give him a lot to ponder on. Money isn’t a problem here, success is what is expected.
A top-four finish is the most I feel MCFC can achieve under Roberto Mancini this season.

MANCHESTER UNITED (finished 1st last season)
Transfers inDavid De Gea (undisc.), Phil Jones (£16.5m), Ashley Young (undisc.)
Transfers out: Nick Ajose (undisc.), Bebe (loan), Wes Brown (undisc.), Ritchie De Laet (loan), Conor Devlin (free), Joe Dudgeon (undisc.), Owen Hargreaves (free), Gary Neville (retired), Gabriel Obertan (undisc.), John O’Shea (undisc.), Paul Scholes (retired), Ryan Tunnicliffe (loan), Edwin van der Sar (retired), Scott Wootton (loan)

If there is a reason why MUFC have been the most consistent force in English top tier for almost two decades, it is all down to a particular 69 years old Knight. Sir Alex Ferguson has continued the tradition at Old Trafford of installing self-belief and a winning mentality to all his team from the youngsters to the established ones.
At the end of last season, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Edwin Van der Saar retired while Wes Brown, John O’Shea and the bit part Owen Hargreaves and Gabriel Obertan have moved away from the club. The arrival of Young, Jones and De Gea with the development of Welbeck, Cleverly and Smalling have ensured another seamless transition from one generation to another. United proved their class once again last sunday as they came from two goals down to scupper their noisy neighbours – a warning note to all their title rivals.
MUFC are undisputed favorites to the title this season.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (finished 5th last season)
Transfers in: Cristian Ceballos (free), Souleymane Coulibaly (undisc.), Brad Friedel (free)
Transfers out: Nathan Byrne (loan), Bongani Khumalo (loan), Paul-Jose M’Poku (undisc.), Kyle Naughton (loan), Jamie O’Hara (£5m), Jonathan Woodgate (free)

The North-London showed their worth during last season’s premier European competition when they reach the quarter-finals in their debut campaign. Their excellent performance brought attention to their key players (Bale, Modric) and Spurs have fought very hard this summer to keep star midfielder Luka Modric at White Hart Lane. They have shown ambition by keeping their valuable asset but that’s where it all end. Tottenham haven’t strengthen their side during the close season. They need a quality striker who can guarantee them 20goals per season. Centre back Michael Dawson needs a regular partner in the heart of defense for stability.
The marathon Europa league campaign is another distraction for Spurs as they look to challenge for a top-four position this campaign.
Harry Redknapp knows he needs to strengthen to stand a chance. A top-four finish is unlikely.

…..to be continued

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by tunde on August 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Arsene keeps buying kids::: After the newcastle game, id decide whether the season is worth watching

    Reply

  2. Posted by Theodora Chimonez on August 18, 2011 at 9:23 am

    My dear Lako, never say never.

    Reply

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