Who is going to win the Premier League this season?
After a summer that’s flown by with the Euros and the Olympic Games, domestic football is back. And following the dramatic end to last season where Manchester City snatched the Premier League title from Manchester United’s grasp with practically the last kick of the campaign, fans will be hoping for a repeat of the roller coaster ride. But will Man City be able to retain their title, or will Man Utd, still smarting from the cruel way in which they lost the title, have enough to reclaim it? Or can big-spending Chelsea and new-look Arsenal get in on the act? The Life’s a Pitch team takes a look.
“They’re reigning champions which means they’re there to be shot at,” explains The Times’ Rory Smith on Man City’s prospects. “But the fact that they’ve only signed Jack Rodwell means, as it stands, they’ve not built on what they had as much as we thought they would. They only won the title in the last minute, with the last kick of the season, by goal difference. As it stands, if they don’t sign more players then it may well be the case that they’re not streets ahead of everybody else.”
One team eager to sign new players this summer is Man Utd. The purchases of midfielders Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell have been confirmed, but rumours are growing that Arsenal’s Robin van Persie could be about to join them. ”It would give them an edge, but I don’t think goals are the problem for Manchester United,” says footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke of Van Persie’s potential signing. ”I think it’s in central midfield. I still don’t understand why Fergie hasn’t strengthened more considerably in that department. Kagawa has come in but he’s an attacking midfielder, the kind of guy who will be expected to contribute going forward. Defensively I still think they’re a little bit weak and I’m baffled as to why he hasn’t strengthened there.”
Defensive strength is less likely to be problem for Chelsea, points out Rory. ”Gary Cahill may well develop into a more comfortable player than he looked in the last six months of last season because he was still bedding into a new club. David Luiz has improved a lot. I think the balance in Chelsea’s side is better than United’s.”
But what of Arsenal, especially given they could end up losing both Van Persie and Alex Song? ”What Arsenal have done really well this summer, and it’s given the whole club a lift, is to sign three really good players early on,” says the Sunday Telegraph’s Duncan White of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla. “Arsène Wenger wanted Yann M’Vila before he started to go off the rails a little bit in France, so he’s now looking maybe at someone else who can come and play that role with a little more defensive discipline than Song. Song’s actually a very good player in transition and going forward, his final ball is excellent. Wenger wants someone who can really run the team from the back. So if he can find that person then maybe selling Song isn’t the end of the world.”
Watch the video to find out which team the Life’s a Pitch panel and host Mike Calvin believe will win this season’s Premier League title.
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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Watch live Premier League football on BT Vision:
Newcastle v Tottenham, 4.30pm, 18 August, ESPN
Wigan v Chelsea, 1pm, 19 August, Sky Sports, Sky Sports 1
Man City v Southampton, 3.30pm, 19 August, Sky Sports 1
Everton v Man Utd, 7pm, 20 August, Sky Sports 1
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