Last season, Chelsea
had the best team, the best manager in José Mourinho and
the best players. So naturally they were favourites to win the title come
May, and that's exactly what they did. They started the season off with a bang.
They played with both flair and discipline, with new-boys Cesc Fàbregas and Diego Costa running the show upfront in attack, supported by Willian
and the eventual PFA Player of the Year Eden Hazard. The back line was marshalled
by Captain John Terry with Nemanja
Matić playing in front of
the back four as the shield, reminiscent of the role played by Claude Makélélé in yesteryears; the team was a manager's dream.
The start of yet another thrilling Premier League season is just days away. Newly promoted sides Bournemouth, Norwich and Watford would want to stamp their authority right from the onset and show everyone that they belong here with the elite. Norwich and Watford have been here before, and they know that the price of relegation to the lower leagues in England is a heavy one. If staying up in the Premier League is tough, going down to the Championship and coming back up to the Premier League is a nightmare! For Bournemouth, it's their first taste of the grand stage, and the odds are stacked massively against them. They gained promotion last year by winning the Championship with some eye catching football. But the Premier League is a totally different beast from the Championship. It has always been difficult for the smaller clubs to stay up by playing 'sexy football', so Bournemouth really needs to add a lot more grit and steel into their side. They could take inspiration from Swansea City, who came up from the lower leagues and established themselves as a solid yet stylish Premier League side. But it's easier said than done. Watford has made a host of new signings to make sure that they stay up, and if their gamble doesn’t pay off at the end of the season they could be in deep trouble. Norwich on the other hand has lots of players with Premier League experience in their ranks, and they know how to get the job done
In the top half of the table, Chelsea are favourites to retain their title. But this time around they can expect a much sterner challenge from their rivals. Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger is close to building a title winning team again after back to back FA Cups and Manchester United has also been building a solid team in the summer under Louis van Gaal. United would want to win the title again after they lifted the trophy two years ago under Sir Alex Ferguson in his last season in charge, and regain their dominance in the Premier league which they enjoyed for 20 years. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has yet again splurged this summer, but the signings seem more sensible and astute this time around. Manchester City has made their mandatory big money signing in Raheem Sterling for a whopping £50 million! But the team as whole looks a bit ragged. Unless they spend wisely and bring in new faces they might miss out on a top 4 finish, and City boss Manuel Pellegrini knows that anything short of a top 2 finish will have him looking for a new job. Tottenham Hotspur are yet to make any major additions on the attacking front, with rising star Harry Kane as the only viable option. They would want to push for a top 4 finish, though it's seems very unlikely. But Maurcio Pochettino's young guns may yet spring a surprise.
Southampton, Swansea City, Stoke City and Everton are the other candidates who might finish in the top half of the table. These teams also have the potential to upset the established order in the top 6. Whereas Aston Villa, Newcastle United, West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace might also have a say in the top half of the table come May.
Leicester City, Sunderland
and the Premier League's newly promoted sides are almost surely in for the
relegation battle. But history has taught us that one can never be sure about
anything in the Premier League. It's arguably the toughest and the most closely
contested league in the world. The one thing that everyone can be certain of is
that it's going to be yet another exciting season in the English top flight.