Premier League preview: Why Chelsea will win the title
Premier League preview: Harry Kemble gives us his predictions for the coming season in the English top flight
Premier League champions
The return of Jose Mourinho will prove too much for the rest of the Premier League. The newly-named “Happy One” has certainly not lost any of his hunger and that coupled with a deep love of the club will see John Terry and the rest of the Blues squad celebrating come next May. Both Manchester clubs will experience the inevitable teething problems that come with a change of managerial regime.
Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool
With Tottenham Hotspur on course to lose Gareth Bale and Arsenal still to make any quality signings despite a reported £70m transfer kitty, Liverpool will finish fourth with the astute acquisitions that Brendan Rodgers has made in the close season. Kolo Toure, Simon Mignolet and Iago Aspas can help the Reds join Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs in the top four.
Hull City, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United
Crystal Palace will continue to yo-yo between the top two tiers of English football. Hull and Newcastle will both struggle in the bottom half of the table, too. Many of the sides lingering just outside the relegation spots last term have added well to their squad. Newcastle – despite the arrival of Joe Kinnear as director of football – have only signed a 16-year-old. They badly need Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis or Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy to lead their line this season.
FA Cup winners
The nature of the cup and the differing priorities amongst the teams makes it extremely difficult to pick an outright winner. But Liverpool could go all the way to Wembley and win without the perennial problem of the Europa League each week and a much-improved squad.
The 21-year-old’s decision to leave the luxury of north London to move to Cardiff City was bold, to say the least. But with the World Cup under a year away, the switch could prove inspired for both club and country especially if he is given regular first-team football.
Flop of season
Stoke City. A lack of investment over the summer and a new manager in Mark Hughes, who is desperately trying change the embedded mind-set of his players after seven years of Tony Pulis at the helm means The Potters may well struggle this season.
Yes, he hasn’t moved clubs but Aston Villa have given themselves a massive boost by holding on to the bulky Belgian. He celebrated his new contract with a hat-trick against Crewe Alexandra in a pre-season match. If he can notch another 20 goals this campaign, he could lift his side towards a mid-table finish.
Most looking forward to…
The return of Mourinho
The Portuguese coach has already ruffled Manchester United’s feathers when he spoke about Wayne Rooney publicly on the Blues’ pre-season tour of Asia. Expect much more from Mourinho throughout the season as the pressure starts to tell on Messers David Moyes and Arsene Wenger. Man City’s new boss Manuel Pellegrini will maintain his dignity throughout, though.
Will England qualify for Brazil?
Roy Hodgson’s men have a game in hand over leaders Montenegro and have home matches against their two immediate rivals in the group. If they don’t emerge with at least three wins from their four remaining games frankly they don’t deserve to go to Brazil.