The Premier League is back as we take a look at the betting odds as Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham & Liverpool all go head to head for the 2013/2014 season.
Football is almost back. The Championship has started with the one that most people want, the Premier League almost upon us.
In the first of two features Squeakybumtime will look at the title winners and the relegation candidates with the 22nd edition of the world most best league promising to be one of the most exciting season’s ever.
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The off-season has been dominated by the “will they won’t they” transfers of Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale however it is changes in the dug-out which will ensure that the ultimate destination of the title will go down to the wire.
Of last season’s top six only Spurs and Arsenal will begin the season with the same coach with Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton all experiencing managerial changes.
The most surprising change came at Old Trafford when the record breaking Sir Alex Ferguson handed the reigns over to another Scot, David Moyes.
The consistent Everton manager who despite his promise has never won a major title.
The managerial change aided by a failure to add to the squad not to mention an indifferent pre-season see’s United begin the campaign as the bookies third favourite to claim the title with last season’s runners up, those nosey neighbours Manchester City, the favourites.
While Moyes has yet to win a major piece of silverware he has good Premier League pedigree something which new City boss Manuel Pelligrini cannot boast.
The former Real Madrid manager is highly rated in European circles but an Intertoto cup success in 2004 aside has yet to claim a trophy since arriving in Europe that same year.
City have bought well during the summer with Jesus Navas, Fernandinho and Alvaro Negredo set to bolster a squad that already boasts the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany.
Chelsea have endured a difficult couple of years, managerial wise, since the departure of the special one back in 2007. While the trophies have continued to stockpile there has always been a feeling that the seat was being kept warm for Mourinho as he sauntered around Europe’s top leagues building up his resume.
The 50 year old is now back where he belongs and while they say you should never go back the feeling is that Chelsea will be serious contenders this season.
Like United, Chelsea have not been active in the transfer market with Andre Schurrle the only major arrival however with Eden Hazard and Oscar poised for big years after their customary settling in period and Fernando Torres set to be the main man under Mourinho stability in personnel appears to be the key at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal meanwhile appear the most likely to benefit from all the managerial change. Arsene Wenger has yet to make his mark on the transfer market with the very public pursuit of Luis Suarez likely to go down to the final minute of the transfer window but with Jack Wilshere’s injuries woes behind him, Oliver Giroud and Lukas Podolski settled, Theo Walcott’s future resolved and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain another year older the Gunners could mount a serious challenge.
For the first time since their move to the Emirates Arsenal are able to match the inflated transfer fees and wages that are required to land top stars.
That new found firepower, the product of frugal spending in transfer windows past, added to the fact that the club are consistent on the field maintaining their status as the fourth biggest team currently in the premier league has left them in a position to strike.
Spurs have been knocking on the door for a couple of seasons now and while a jump from 5th to 1st would seem like a unrealistic jump at any time during the history of the Premier League the addition of a prolific striker in the shape of Roberto Soldado could move them from pretenders to contenders.
The uncertainty over the future of Gareth Bale will have little bearing on Andre Villas-Boas as the Spurs hierarchy have shown in the past that they act with the club interests at heart ensuring that when the Welshman does move a healthy treasure trove of cash not to mention top quality replacements will follow.
Surprisingly however Spurs rank below Liverpool in the betting with the Brendan Rodgers’ project and the pre-season optimism that all Red’s supporters enjoy each summer placing them 5th in the betting. While a title challenge in unrealistic Liverpool look set to challenge for the top four regardless of whether Suarez stays or not.
If the second half of last season is anything to go by then Philippe Coutinho is going to be the name of everyone’s lips come the start of winter.
The Brazilian star has looked every inch the playmaker since his arrival from Inter Milan and with a full pre-season behind should get even better.
It should be a very interesting Premiership with United going through a period of change – Man City and Pelligrini should go close with their strengthened squad, but the manager may just be a little too inexperienced this time around..The Mourinho effect may reap dividends and propel Chelsea to Premiership victory.
1 – Chelsea
2 – Man City
3 – Man Utd
4 – Tottenham[/colored_box]