PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW

So comes another Premier league season. Just 5 weeks after an exhilarating world cup starts the every weekend nerve wrecking experience of unlimited high voltage drama for the next 9 months. The build up to the coming season had started hours after the euphoric scenes at the Etihad Stadium. Manchester United was all set to appoint Louis Van Gaal as their new manager, the club had promised a bumper transfer window, had bid for Luke Shaw. Liverpool, the surprise flavour of last season finishing 2nd playing some irresistible football were in the news because of impending bids from Spain for Luis Suarez. Chelsea conducted a swift transfer market buying some of the best players from Spain. Tottenham meanwhile appointed a new manager again who heralded an amazing exodus from St. Marys which continues to disrupt Southampton’s summer of discontent.

It already feels like much water has flown across since 11th May. The Premier League has seen it all-from the arrival of a block buster manager to a very high profile departure and several new incomings. 3 new teams have taken place of the 3 departed ones. Surprisingly the build up to the new season has more or less ignored Manchester City because of the happenings in other clubs.

Not only new playing and managing personnel are ready to grace the Premier League, the new technical “magic spray” used so efficiently in Brazil will be making its debut in England. The goal line technology which proved to be popular last season will continue to showcase the Premier League’s belief in more advanced technology and the magic spray will only enhance it.

Chelsea have done stupendous business in the summer. The squad lacked balance last season and narrow surprising defeats to Aston Villa,Crystal Palace and Sunderland cost them dear. They also lacked a clinical striker, but Diego Costa has got all the attributes to be a perfect Mourinho signing. Adding Filipe Luis will allow Cesar Azpiculeta to play in his favourite position. Didier Drogba is back to his den and can still deliver. But the signing of the summer has been of that of Cesc Fabregas. The midfielder knows the Premier League inside out, and his through balls and passes can determine any game. No talk of small horses this time, Chelsea must deliver and Jose Mourinho knows it.

Manchester City have focussed on working on their weak areas from last season and adding depth to their squad. While players like Bacary Sagna, Willy Caballero, Fernando, Bruno Zuchhirini aren’t stellar names they will add depth and options to the squad. But the 32m signing of Elaquim Mangala is a huge statement of intent. Stefan Jovetic will be like a new signing, and they have moved from the drama of Yaya Toure’s birthday cake by offering new terms to Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero.

Liverpool have added good players, and have improved on their numbers but they haven’t replaced Luis Suarez well enough, and what must concern their fans is that they would have made all their signings even if they had finished 7th. But Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy has always been exerting his own ideas rather than signing big players. Title contenders? No.

Arsenal have had a Chelsea type transfer window. They have filled all the holes in the squad by signing a reserve goalkeeper who is good enough to play for most sides, Mathieu Debuchy and Callum Chambers are very astute signings but the signing of Alexis Sanchez is a real boost.

Manchester United have failed to match their words for reasons best known to Ed Woodward. Ander Herrera and Luke Saw are good signings, but they must sign atleast a couple of players if they are to challenge for the title. After a disastrous season and losing their 2 best centre backs of the last decade, it is a surprise to see no new defenders added to the squad which lacks depth and balance. While it is expected Loui Van Gaal will get more from their players than David Moyes did, but the squad looks woefully short to overcome their city rivals and Chelsea.

Everton signing Lukaku is a huge signing for the Blues,and having added other good players they are looking good. They will remain competitive but will have to meet the demands of an arduous Europa League campaign too which will be testing for Everton. Tottenham also have the same commitments and while no manager is safe when Daniel Levy keeps a close eye on, Mauricio Pochettino is a good manager but improving on last season’s 6th place wont be easy.

One of the biggest stories of the summer has been the mass exodus from Southampton. While they have invested the money from the fire sale in good players and have a good manager, they will find it hard to replicate the spine they lost.

The likes of Swansea, Newcastle, Sunderland, Hull, QPR and West Ham have all spent money and added good players. No side is a pushover in the highly competitive league and history is a living proof.

The newly promoted sides will be doing it the hard way, but teams coming from the Championship have often adapted well and have remain unscathed. Leicester, Burnley, QPR will have their moments and doses of downs, but QPR managed by the willy Harry Redknapp and backed by the millions of Tony Fernandes will be the favourites to survive.

-Ricky Jana [Ricky is a Football Analyst with Sportz Cosmos. You can reach him at the gmail id: sportzcosmos]

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