The new Premier League Season kicks off on Saturday and I for one cannot wait. To get you all as excited as I am here is my list of the top five things to look forward to ahead of the new season.
1) The Big Buys
This summer has seen the big clubs go against tradition and try to get their business done early on in the summer instead of waiting until Transfer Deadline Day to complete that all important deal-something that Sky Sports News Presenter Jim White will be most upset about. Podolski at Arsenal, Hazard at Chelsea, Kagawa at United and Vertoghen at Spurs. The big price tags now have to transfer into big performances. At least one will flop and at least one will become a new star, trying to guess which one will do what is our game!
2) Under New Management
Six clubs go into the new campaign with a new boss at the helm; Brendan Rogers at Liverpool has spent most of the summer clearing out the deadwood from Kenny’s time and has bought well. It’s going to be very interesting seeing if Liverpool will adapt to his quick attacking passing style.
Rogers I feel is the new manager under the most pressure as the season gets underway. The pressure at Liverpool to get back amongst the big boys is huge and I hope that Rogers becomes a success on Merseyside because his style of play is a joy to watch and produces good football. Di Matteo in his first full season at the Bridge also has a tough task. Despite winning the Champions league last season the pressure for success at Chelsea is huge and one poor season can see the exit door wide open, something Carlo Ancelotti knows that only too well.
AVB at Spurs has a second chance to prove himself in the Premier League. For whatever reason things didn’t work out at Chelsea but now is his chance to really show what he can do. Following Harry Redknapp however means a good start to the season is essential to keep the Spurs faithful on side. As for those in the lower half of the table, I think Chris Hughton will be fine at Norwich, good manger at a good club. I worry for Steve Clark at West Brom, a poor start could be very hard to recover from.
3) The ‘Surprise Package’
Three seasons ago it was Hull, then Blackpool and last season it was Swansea, who will be this seasons surprise? The Surprise Package spend the first four months playing attacking football without any fear or respect for anyone collecting points away at the big teams whilst a raucous home crowd see mid-table teams easily swept aside. They are predicted the drop before term begins but see themselves safe by about mid-January (apologies Blackpool fans). Contenders this year include new boys Reading and Southampton; along with I think Wigan (honestly a good start with a few surprise wins could see a comfortable mid table finish) and Sunderland-Martin O’Neil knows how to run a good football club.
4) The ‘Talking Point’
In previous seasons we have had overzealous goal celebrations, beach-ball goals, wild challenges and dodgy pre-match handshakes, what will this seasons talking point be? It’s a topic no one can predict but I cant wait to spend hours waffling on about whether or not his hairstyle put the keeper off or if the ball wasn’t exactly in the corner. An event will occur during a match that will stick around for the rest of the season. There is no saying what it might be, lets all hope for the return of the blonde streaker.
5) The Title Challenge
After last season’s epic once-in-a-lifetime finale (Thank you Aguero), this campaign has a lot to live up to; I believe it’s got all the right ingredients. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, United and Spurs all begin the season with the title in mind and its going to make for a fascinating battle. I think City start as favourites despite their lack of new signings, but anyone of those teams have the players and the manager to put together a title-winning season. Its going to make for a rip-roaring season, one that will enthral us for the next nine months and again go down to the last day. Coupled with the fight against relegation and the battle for the top four, this season is gearing up to be a belter.
Roll on 3pm Saturday.