I am already going to publish my pre-season Top 5 prediction for next term, even though the transfer window isn’t closed yet. But all the teams are back at work and in only four weeks it’s time for the Charity Shield. Another reason is that it’s really boring to continue posting about the Tevez saga.
Here we go.
Champions: Manchester United.
Our squad for next season is incredibly strong. And that doesn’t depend on Tevez’s arrival. All positions are covered by internationals and every player will have to fight to play on Saturday. Even our second team consists of almost all international players. We have a very creative team with a healthy mix of experience and age, even though we might feature one of the youngest squads in the League.
Even our young players already have many years of experience at the top level and lads such as Rooney, Ronaldo and Owen all know when they need to push, need to take the game in hands.
I’ll admit that Rafa impresses me right at the moment. He’s been very active during the transfer period so far and has spent his money wisely on younger players and at the same time signed new long term deals for Gerrard and Carragher, assuring continuity and experience.
Much to my surprise, Benitez has continued investing in young talents and if he manages to finally bring in talented youngsters in the first team, I think Liverpool will be the surprise next term and finish on #2. Several points behind us, but maybe we’ll have a genuine opponent in the seasons after.
Mourinho, who obviously had no high transfer budget available, has done everything except adding new quality his season’s squad. Further signings aren’t planned either and Arjen Robben looks on his way out too. Remember how firm Mourinho used to be last season when he remembered everyone about Drogba’s existing contract? Nowadays, all he says about Robben is that he wishes he stays. Not much optimism there.
Chelsea’s signings are all but impressive. No new name is an improvementto the squad.
Every Prem outsider will think Sidwho? I don’t understand how Mourinho believes that Pizarro, who hardly managed it to claim his spot in a struggling Bayern Munich squad could add quality at Stamford Bridge. Malouda won’t become a second surprise like Essien, and expect Ballack to fight back this season. Michael is a fighter and probably has adapted to the Prem’s pace now and to his role at Chelsea, having less freedom than before. Sheva will score, but he just doesn’t fit the hard working Chelsea stylem he needs more space than one gets in the Prem. Another problem for Sheva is that Drogba dominates much more in the air and with Cole back (and Robben/Malouda/SWP) that will be an important factor for Chelsea.
Only if everyone is fit for 50+ Chelsea has a chance to compete with Liverpool for #2, but that’s a dream. Expect a new manager at Stamford Bridge before March 08.
If there has been one surprise over the last two seasons, it was Martin Jol. Jol has installed an attractive game at White Heart Lane and shown his ambition during the transfer period.
If Tottenham’s defense can improve/stabilize, they might be able to qualify for CL this time. And who knows, maybe even compete for third.
I think Wenger’s golden period has ended. One of the problems Wenger every year again has to deal with is his ego. He might be a brilliant manager, but last 2 season’s have proven that his influence on his stars smaller, perturbing even, is once they have matured and grown an own voice. Think Cole, Pires and now Gallas. And Robin Van Persie, who might become their key player next term, surely isn’t a lad who will remain quiet. Expect some bust-ups between those two.
Unless Wenger brings some more talents, but most of all \experience to the Emirates Stadium, I predict a dark future for Arsenal, especially if Spurs and Liverpool continue to improve.