Thursday, August 6, 2015

EPL 2015/2016 - Chelsea won't repeat

EPL is back again! The summer has been ripe with upheavals for most of the leading teams and the race looks to be as competitive as ever. Will Chelsea keep its crown? Will Van Gaal deliver for the Red Devils? How will Liverpool cope with the strong contingent of newcomers? Will it finally be Arsenal's year? Will Man City be explosive with the arrival of Sterling? Here's a lowdown on the leading teams, and although it's way too early to make a prediction on the eventual winner, I will make one anyways!

Chelsea. By Ambramovich's standards, the Blues' summer transfer activity has been very quiet. They have pinned their hopes on the arrival of Falcao and it is really a make or break decision for the club and player. I will say this; Falcao on his best form is arguably the best striker in the world. Sure, he did not produce as expected at Man Utd. Was it his knee injury? Was it Van Gaal's system? Is he done? If Mourinho can bring him back to his best, the goals will be flowing. But it's a really big if. Provided that Falcao is a non-factor, then it must be a worry for their fans that Chelsea have really not strengthened from last year. I think they will find it a much harder season and will have to count on the others flopping again. As things stand, while I think they will be in the thereabouts (as with all Mourinho's teams), I don't think they have the quality to repeat.

Man City. Manuel Pellegrini must be feeling the heat as if he does not have the Blues in contention from the start, he could very well liable to lose the top job. They got Sterling to boost their ranks after his acrimonious exit from Liverpool. The guy is the best current English player in my opinion. So he will bolster their attack even though they have lost Jovetic and Dzeko. The trouble is really with their defence where an out-of-form Kompany spells trouble at the back. Mangala will probably show better colors this season while deMichellis has many chinks in his armour. The Citizens should be playing role again but they have yet to show that they have the mental fortitude to win the title on their own right; the 2 times they won, they were well served on a platter by Man Utd and Liverpool. Still, they boast the strongest squad in the league and are my early favourites for the title.

Arsenal. Everyone seems to agree that this is going to be Arsenal's best chance in years to land the big one. The elements seem to have properly fallen into place for Arsene's men at last. The arrival of Petr Cech in the nets provides them with stability they have lacked in previous seasons. Alexis Sanchez is their main weapon up front after a terrific first season, but fans must beware of second-season blues for the Chilean who will not have had an optimal summer rest after his exertions in the Copa America tournament. The Gunners should go close this year but need the right guidance from a manager that has definitely lacked insight during tough spells and important matches in the past. They are the outsiders with a live chance if City falter.

Man Utd. This Utd team is going to be markedly different than last year as far as player personnel is concerned. Gone are RVP, di Maria, Falcao; 3 big names that on their best form would terrorize any opposition. But the incomings are nothing short of quality with the likes of Depay, Schweignsteiger and Schneiderlin among others. Let's not forget that Pedro is probably going to make the jump from Barcelona. It's the defence that is problematic for the Red Devils where they lack the presence of a defensive rock a la Ferdinand or Vidic. There is no leader at the back and it would be worse if they lose de Gea to Madrid. I see the Mancunians having an even better season than last year but it seems stretching to see them win it all. Close but probably no cigar for Van Gaal.

Liverpool. How the Kops will deal with the post-Gerrard and post-Sterling era will determine the fate of manager Rodgers. They have brought in some top names like Benteke and Origi which makes them boast the best strikeforce in the Premiership. The fact that they went through a tame spell at the end of the season severely questions the mental toughness of this team and its manager's. This is going to be a rebuilding season and Rodgers will be the focal point. They have the potential of a top 4 team but can't expect to fight for the overall title.

So at this point, I say Chelsea won't repeat. I see this going between Man City and Arsenal. It's going to be close and the parameters will change as the weeks go by. It should definitely be a closer race than last year. We'll revisit the predictions in 6 months.

No comments:

Post a Comment