Though it may be pretty difficult to forget about the World Cup – particularly when considering just how ubiquitous the coverage of and hype surrounding it seems to be - for many football fans there is only one true league: the Barclays Premier League.
Though international football is a global phenomenon that whips the nations across the world up into a friendly, Premier League football just seems to command a lot more respect, admiration, and attention from die-hard football fans. Some say that the Premier League is where you will see the best football being played and that international tournaments like the World Cup and The UEFA Champions League simply aren’t representative of the true sport of football.
Whether this is true or not, the 2014/15 Premier League season is approaching as rapidly as the minutes and seconds of time will allow and our TV screens will once again be filled with top-league football teams battling it out for the honour of winning the Premier League, the pinnacle of any team’s achievement, whether actual or wished for. These are just a few of our thoughts on who has a chance at the title this season.
It seems like there will never be a league of top Premiership teams without Manchester City bobbing on the very top of the Premier League waters, but that’s what having one of the best squads in the entire world will get you. We all know that Manchester City lifted the title in the 2013/14 season of the Premier League, but can they do it again in the 2014/15 season? Most odds checkers on the internet definitely indicate that they are one of the most likely teams to emerge victorious and they are 9/1 to win the Champion’s League, but what about the situation on the ground as the 2014/15 commences in no time at all?
Names that will certainly tempt the odds in Man City’s favour are Samir Nasri, Fernando, and Aleks Kolarov as the players move into pre-season training. Joe Hart’s presence isn’t doing any harm either, nor is that of Kompany or Milner. Still, there are a few players whose futures may seem a little bleak at Manchester City.
Looking at Manchester City’s early fixtures also reveals a fairly tricky start for the side with Newcastle, Liverpool, Stoke City, Arsenal, and Chelsea all facing off against the team in the opening weeks of the Premier League. It doesn’t get much easier for Man City either considering they must go on to play Aston Villa, Spurs, West Ham, and Man United as well as Swansea City; bear in mind that this is all before the close of November as well. Still, Man City are a talented side and have a decent chance of winning the 2014/15 Premier League provided they get off to a decent start.
Finishing 3rd in the 2013/14 Premier League table isn’t going to harm Chelsea’s odds whatsoever, but you’re better off looking to the present as opposed to the past to realise why Chelsea’s chances of winning the 2014/15 Premier League are favourable to say the least. After all, Jose Mourinho’s weighty opinions do carry a lot of respect in the football world, and he says that Chelsea will indeed be ready to win the Premier League this year.
No one expects you to just take Mourinho’s word for it however. Look at the players on the team, all of whom either fully gel with Mourinho’s style or are at least getting to work in harmony with him: Petr Cech, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, and Frank Lampard are among these names. You’ve also got less experienced yet massively talented players such as Oscar and Hazard as well. New signings will also inject life into the squad with Matic, Salah, Willian, and Eto’o being some major names.
If you couple the dangerously talented team (who are a perfect mix of experience and fresh young talent) with Mourinho’s brilliant record against the best English teams, and also add Chelsea’s delightful comeback in the Champion’s League semi-final against PSG, then you’ve got a team that may very well be destined for winning the 2014/15 Premier League.
Since their three-years-in-a-row domination of the Premier League between 2006 and 2009, Man U have managed to clinch the title another two times since then, seemingly alternating politely with Manchester City for the crown. Twenty-time champions Manchester United are not a force to be underestimated, even when they aren’t in the best of form. #
New manager Louis van Gaal and the team have been gifted an extremely desirable start to the 2014/15 Premier League season, with seemingly the opposite luck to that of Manchester City. The opening matches Man U will face are relative newcomers Swansea City, Sunderland, and Burnley with QPR, Leicester City, and West Ham in the following month. Though these opponents obviously shouldn’t be underestimated, it is certainly a more desirable run than Manchester City’s, it’s just up to van Gaal and the team to find a bit of form and bring the title home for the club for the 21st time.
The Anfield boys certainly aren’t lacking in talent or determination, but it’s been such a long time since Liverpool have been crowned in the top league that it wouldn’t be smart to bet large amounts on them.
Though Liverpool haven’t been graced with the luck of Manchester United, their opening match against Southampton should be a comfortable one by all accounts, and will hopefully allow Liverpool to find their stride against determined Louis van Gaal and Arsene Wenger’s Man City and Arsenal teams respectively. Their second game against Man City may make or break Liverpool’s entire season, and their tough away match vs Tottenham Hotspur (who have everything to prove) also doesn’t play into Liverpool’s favour.
No Premier League title since the 2003-04 season? No problem. Arsenal face Crystal Palace and West Brom in their opening matches of the 2014/15 season, and these shouldn’t create too many problems for the side. They will face some of their biggest rivals in the following months, but their squad is good enough to hold its own against these opponents, isn’t it? Well, perhaps not, but Arsene Wenger must be hungry for more victor after Arsenal’s fresh FA CUP victory in 2014.
While Newcastle aren’t exactly frequent flyers on the Premier League winner’s table or even inhabitants of anywhere north of the middle of the Premier League table for most recent seasons, Newcastle have the ability to do better.
Manager Alan Pardew knows that another year of disappointing mediocrity won’t be tolerated, but unfortunately for him, Newcastle’s first match is against Manchester City, which would be a tough match for even the very best teams in the Premier League. Can Newcastle show resolve this season and climb the table? The Toon Army won’t stand for more disappointment, after all.
Swansea City have shown some serious resolve in the Premier League, particularly if you consider how recent of an addition they are to the league itself. They managed to easily avoid relegation in their first year and were comfortable just above mid-table in the 2013/14 season, so it’s really all about the fixtures. Swansea City face a touch opener vs. Manchester United away at Old Trafford, but if they can perform here then it will be a fantastic start for the team and should have them in good stead for matches against Burnley, West Bromwich Albion, and a tougher match against Chelsea. The official website has the rest of the Swansea City fixtures which may make or break the team for the 2014/15 season.
Southampton definitely have their work cut out for them in the opening match of the 2014/15 season, which is against Liverpool at Anfield. This is going to be a very difficult opening for Southampton but they should have a little breathing room in the following matches against West Bromwich Albion and West Ham. Fans probably aren’t expecting miracles here, but Southampton definitely have the potential to present fans with more than a mere mid-table meander this season. The closing match against Manchester City will either be a glory-filled end to a fantastic season or a bitter defeat to an unsuccessful run in the Premier League once again.
It should be pointed out that Southampton actually aren’t anywhere near the team with the longest odds of winning the Premier League either. In fact, Oddschecker.com has Southampton at 500/1 to win the Premier League outright. Though this sounds like a fairly dismal set of odds, it really isn’t considering that teams such as Burnley are around 7500/1. This means that Southampton may be unlikely to win the Premier League, but they are definitely ones to watch as underdogs.