Premier League Preview: 10 Things to Look Forward to this Season
The Barclays Premier League is back! With the new season kicking off this weekend here are 10 things we can look forward to seeing over the next 9 months…
#10 New signings
Each club has strengthened in the off season and it’ll be interesting to see which new players can make an impressive start for their new club. There’s plenty of hype around Diego Costa at Chelsea, Ander Herrera at Manchester United and Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal. Liverpool raided Southampton for Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert and we’ll see if the trio can continue their sublime form from the previous 2 seasons. Frank Lampard’s loan move to City won’t impress Chelsea fans, but his replacement Cesc Fabregas could light up Stamford Bridge. The transfer window doesn’t shut for another 2 weeks either so expect plenty more big moves to come.
Liverpool and Hull experimented with it last season and now Manchester United and QPR are both setting up this season with a 3-5-2 formation. It doesn’t suit every team, but if proved to be an effective system we could well see more sides adopting the formation.
#8 Chelsea challenging
Jose Mourinho was keen to exclude Chelsea from last year’s title race, but this season he’s going for the Premier League crown. He’s brought in Diego Costa and the reliable Didier Drogba to solve his striker conundrum, and Cesc Fabregas will fill the hole left by Frank Lampard. Favourites with the bookmakers, will Chelsea lift the title in May?
#7 Vanishing spray
Having been used in South American football for numerous years and the success it had at the World Cup, vanishing spray is being introduced into the Premier League as a tool to help referee’s prevent the wall from creeping forward at free-kicks.
#6 High profile assistant managers
Simply there to assist or readymade replacements for when the manager loses his job? Teddy Sheringham and Roy Keane have been brought in as assistant managers at West Ham and Aston Villa respectively, and Harry Redknapp has added former England manager Glenn Hoddle to his coaching team. Ryan Giggs also steps up to the plate as Louis van Gaal’s assistant at Manchester United.
#5 Teams coping having lost their stars
How will Liverpool react to the loss of Luis Suarez? How will Southampton and Swansea fare after their player exodus? Only time will tell.
#4 The future’s bright the future’s Oranje
After the disaster that was David Moyes’ 10 months in charge at Manchester United, there’s renewed optimism around Old Trafford after Louis van Gaal’s arrival. Will one of Europe’s most successful managers bring Champions League football back to Old Trafford or will it be another season of disappointment for United’s fans.
#3 Managerial Departures
Tony Pulis has surprisingly become the first managerial casualty of the season without a ball even being kicked. 12 managers left their clubs last season, and in the climate of modern football, you can expect more of the same.
#2 More competitive than ever at the bottom
It’s difficult to predict the 3 clubs destined for the drop and this season could be even closer than last year in the fight for survival.
#1 More competitive than ever at the top
7 teams are going for 4 places and only 6 are guaranteed European football next season. You feel any one of 5 teams can win the league, although Chelsea and Manchester City on the face of it appear to be the favourites. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be the closest season at the top yet.