16
Aug
08

English Premier League – Preview

The Mother of all Football leagues is set to enter a new season today. Will the Red Devils boosted by Ronaldo and Rooney be able to do what they are best at – Winning. Or will the rest of the Big-4 with a spate of new signings be able to dethrone the Champs? The eyes of the World might be set open the 100m Final at the Olympics. But for football fans nothing can rival the English Premier League. Manchester United definitely start as the firm favorites. The focus will be on Cristiano Ronaldo, will he fire after the transfer saga ended as an anti-climax?

Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are no pushovers especially with big pre-season signings, something which did not happen with Man Utd. Certainly United’s inability to sign stars probably is the most discussed topic among the pundits. Dimitar Berbatov was the prime target for United, but into the new season he is still with Tottenham Hotspurs who are looking for a top four finish. Chelsea after losing both the Premier League and the Champions League to United have nothing but revenge in their mind. The Blues have a new manager in Luiz Felipe Scolari who is well aware of Ronaldo’s brilliance having coached him with the Portuguese national team. Scolari seems to be another Mourinho with his wacky humor and a determination to win. New arrivals Deco and Jose Bosingwa will be looking to impress. Arsenal meanwhile have lost a lot over the transfer period. With departures from key players Alisaksandr Hleb, Mathieu Flamini and Gilberto Silva, the only relief are the new signings, Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey. Wenger himself has described 17 year Welshman Ramsey as a player with a fantastic engine, good build, good technique and good vision. For Liverpool Robbie Keane has been the only major signing. The key player this season will once agin be star striker Fernando Torres who will be aiming to emulate last year’s success.

As for the other clubs, Tottenham Hotspurs, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers are the ones to watch out for. These are clubs which can spoil the day for any top club. All four will be aiming for a place in the top four and a place in the Champions league next season.  Spurs especially are seen as the Dark horses. Although weakened by the departure of Robbie Keane and Paul Robinson, arrivals Luka Modric and David Bentley can more than compensate. Also look out for Giovanni dos Santos who had good times at Barca and Heurelho Gomes, the young Brazilian ‘keeper. Michael Owen is undoubtedly Newcastle’s best player. But remains to be seen whether he can shake off injuries. Along with Owen, Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka will be carrying the club’s hopes. Joey Barton is another player to reckon with if he can keep out of trouble. As for Blackburn, the major signing was ‘keeper Robinson from Spurs. Morten Gamst Pedersen and Roque Santa Cruz are key players. Manchester City was probably last season’s biggest disappointment. After promising a lot initially. they could only fade away. This season however they had beaten AC Milan in a pre-season friendly. With new striker from CSKA Moscow and Tal Ben-Haim from Chelsea things sould change. Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Aston Villa and West Ham are contenders for the UEFA Cup slots. Fulham, Middlesborough, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Wigan will try to keep themselves clear from the relegation zone. Newly promoted Hull, Stoke and West Brom should consider themselves lucky if they are to continue next season.

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