As I sat in dark bar in Chicago watching the Confederations cup final, I couldn’t help thinking how much I wanted August 17th (the opening day of the Premier League season) to come much quicker. With a change of coach for the top three sides of last season, and Arsene Wenger now realizing his need to spend big money, this season promises to be the most exciting yet.
Manchester United goes into their first season in 26 years without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm. His own first choice successor David Moyes will need to hit the ground running if he is get the fans onside as early as possible. I am sure that Moyes would have seen the fixture list and would have wished for an easier start. Moyes’ men travel to Swansea on August 17th but then face Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City in their next four games. A stern test at the start of the season but one I think Moyes will relish. No doubt what happens in these first 5 games, Moyes’ Manchester United will be challenging for the title come May of next year.
Over at the Etihad Stadium Manchester City now have Manuel Pellegrini in charge the man who had several successful albeit trophy less seasons in charge of Villarreal. Pellegrini was more recently was in charge of Malaga, another club where the owners had massive wealth to spend on players. At Manchester City he has already brought in the likes of Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donesk and Jesus Navas from Sevilla. However, Pellegrini has already lost out on the impressive Isco who opted to join Real Madrid, and he may also lose out on his other target Edison Cavani, who may favor a move to Paris St Germain. Even though they may have lost out on two important transfer targets, the intent is there for everyone to see that Manchester City will be back in contention next season. With a few more signings, and if he can get Sergio Aguero, David Villa, and Vincent Kompany to replicate their title winning form, then Manchester City will be right near the top come the end of the season again.
Chelsea has the self-proclaimed special one, Jose Mourinho back in charge for this coming season. Since leaving Chelsea by mutual consent, Mourinho has gone on to win everything at Inter Milan, and La Liga and the Copa Del Ray with Real Madrid. He has come back to Chelsea in his own words a more mature coach. Mourinho will bring back some of the vigor that saw Chelsea win back to back titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06. With more singings expected as Abramovich has started to loosen the purse strings once more. Chelsea should be expected to challenge for the title in a way that the fans have come to expect.
Arsenal has still not signed Gonzalo Higuain but the prospect of him signing can only be a good thing for Arsenal fans. If reports coming out of Liverpool are true, then Arsenal has made a $47million offer for the unsettled Luis Suarez. I don’t think that they will be able to tempt Suarez to London because his problems are rooted into the British media rather than Liverpool FC themselves. But with Wenger prepared to offer that amount of money on one player suggests that Arsenal is able to be more competitive in the transfer market which in recent years has not been the case.
Whoever wins the English Premier League this season will no doubt have done so in the most difficult of environments. Sir Alex has left Manchester United in great shape both financially and in terms of their playing squad, they will no doubt be the team to beat next season. Manchester City will strengthen, as will Chelsea and Arsenal, who will come out on top is anybody’s guess. All I know is that I am excited to watch the story unfold.