Can you believe it’s that time already? We can’t. We went from the end of the season, into the World Cup, (which Germany won, in case you missed it!) and now we’re back again. We’ve yet to have a break from soccer… it’s brilliant.
World Cup summers always make for an interesting start to a Premier League season. We’ve seen some major signings off the back of the tournament, which will have a significant impact on how the league shapes out in 2014-15.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal comes into the season having shown his metal on the big stage – not that he needed to – with some controversial, yet brilliant decisions to lead the Dutch to the semi-finals.
But what does that mean for kick off on August 16? Will the EPL be as close as last year? Can United regain dominance? Let’s take a look at the top contenders to bring the title home come next May.
The current champions will be right up there again next season with the club investing more in quality talent. Willy Caballero has signed for the Sky Blues as competition for Joe Hart’s number one spot, and Fernando has made the move over from Portugal to sit in the midfield.
Fernando has come out and said he wants to be like Yaya- which is just as well – because he may have to.
If reports are true, the Ivory Coast powerhouse wants out, which could hinder Manuel Pellegrini’s title chances considerably. The 31-year-old led the way last season with 20 goals and some performances that were untouchable. Lose him, and City could see the trophy slip away from the Etihad.
It may not have to move far though. Louis Van Gaal’s men are just just five miles up the road and look all set to challenge for their 21st league title. Van Gaal will have teams worried after his tactical nouse led the Netherlands to the semis of the World Cup, while the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera certainly signal their intent.
Further signings are expected to arrive at Old Trafford in the coming weeks, and with Van Gaal expected to get the very best out of Robin Van Persie, Man United are amongst the favorites to finish top of the pile and can be backed at 3/1 with a bet365 offer code to regain their crown from their fierce rivals, City.
Chelsea will also be desperate to lift the Premier League title this year – no one more so than manager Jose Mourinho. The ‘Special One’, in his second spell at Stamford Bridge, oversaw The Blues in his first trophyless season since 2010/11; the season that witnessed Carlo Ancelotti get the chop, so pressure is on the Portuguese maestro this time round.
What Jose has done though is address Chelsea’s striking options. One of the world’s most in-form men signed on the dotted line at the beginning of July, and new boy Diego Costa could be the man to drive Chelsea forward. And then of course there’s Mr. Fabregas, who was bought in to bolster a midfield that also includes Hazard and Oscar.
Brendan Rodgers could have a bit of a struggle on his hands this season. Pre-World Cup, the additions of Rickie Lambert, Emre Can and Adam Lallana looked like shrewd moves from the Northern Irishman, but that was while they still had Louis Suarez.
Should Liverpool compete as well as they did last season, Rodgers deserves the key to the city. Of course he is capable; the 41-year-old has got the best out of his side over the last few years. He will have to address the Suarez shaped hole up top though – but how do you replace a £75 million, 30 goal-per-season man?
Alexis Sanchez may have been the man to help fill the void left by Suarez at Anfield, but Arsene Wenger has snatched him away from Rodgers’ grasp, giving the Gunners a real chance of competing at the top this season.
Arsenal had their very own Suarez situation with the departure of Van Persie two years back, but they’ve finally made that right with the signing of the Chilean forward.
Sanchez will lead an irresistible line of names that will include the likes of Ozil, Ramsey, Walcott, Carzola and Wilshere, while Joel Campbell has suitably impressed through his superb World Cup performances.
The glory days came back to the Emirates last season with the first trophy in a decade. Can the league title return as well?