THE Premier League gets under way again this weekend, but could this season possibly be as exciting as the 2013-14 campaign?
It will be tough, as I can’t remember too many occasions when we have had three teams in title contention approaching the final week of the season, but I’m sure there will be plenty of thrills and spills to enjoy between now and next May.
As is traditional, I’ve had a think about the forthcoming season and what I think will happen.
In terms of the title, the really good thing is that, with Manchester United looking a lot better this year, I believe we have five sides who could be in contention.
Actually winning the title in his first year may be a bit of a push for Louis van Gaal, but he certainly won me over with his management of the Dutch side at the World Cup and I am expecting a big improvement from United this time around.
Arsenal have strengthened, with Alexis Sanchez looking a really good signing, and they were very impressive in the Community Shield at the weekend.
If Aaron Ramsey, who has blossomed into an outstanding talent, stays fit, I can see them challenging for the title again. However, I think that the lack of a top-level holding midfielder will once against cost them against the top sides, resulting in them coming up short again.
As far as I am concerned, the title will be won by either Manchester City and Chelsea. I’ll be honest here, I am a Chelsea fan, but despite doing my best to remain objective, I’m still leaning towards the London club.
It’s pretty obvious that Jose Mourinho has done well in the transfer market over the summer. Diego Costa looks like the perfect fit for Chelsea and the Premier League, while Cesc Fabregas could turn out to be an exceptional buy.
City’s signings do not have the same profile. They look astute additions, but I think Chelsea may have done enough to close the gap and just get the better of the blue half of Manchester.
I expect City to finish second though, with Arsenal third and United just holding off Liverpool for fourth, though that could be a titanic battle.
That may be harsh on Liverpool, who did so well last year, but the loss of Luis Suarez will be an incredible blow for them. Not only will they miss his goals, but he also created opportunities and space for the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, who will now have to step up to the mark themselves.
Add to that the added pressure of playing in the Champions League and I think that Liverpool will find it harder this season, though in some ways I hope I’m wrong, because I appreciate the way they play and it’s good to see a club with plenty of English players doing well.
Turning my attention towards the bottom of the table, I anticipate a tough season for West Brom. Appointing Alan Irvine, who had a pretty poor record as a manager in the Championship with Preston and Sheffield Wednesday, was a strange decision and I wouldn’t be surprised if they finished bottom.
There are three other sides I expect to be down there with them. Leicester and Burnley don’t seem to have improved their squads enough after winning promotion and could face a long season, while I’m afraid Southampton may struggle after selling most of their best players.
Whatever happens, I’m sure there will be plenty of excellent football to savour between now and the end of the season, so sit back and enjoy!
Who do you think will win the Premier League, finish in the top four and get relegated? Have your say using the comment box below, or Tweet me @JBoymanGazette.