My Premier League Preview

The season is here, the Premier League is about to open its doors and hopefully we are in for another fantastic season.

This is my club by club guide to the season and also how I think the season will end up.

It may not be right, so what do you think?

1st. Chelsea

Preview: This is the dawn of the new era at the bridge. Strong across the squad, improved squad and a new focus and confidence will see them through. Drogba looks up for it and this could be a bad sign for Premier League defences.

Key Player: Youri Zhirkov

Concerns: If they continue to be distracted as they have in recent seasons by the Champions League, they may struggle. The key is balancing the two and Ancelotti knows how to do this.

Title Odds: 2/1

Relegation Odds: 2000/1

2nd. Manchester United

Preview: The post-Ronaldo era has begun with more questions than answers. The squad is strong but any squad without Ronaldo and Tevez will suffer. Huge weight on the shoulders of Rooney, Berbatov and Owen. 70 plus goals from them will see them challenge.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney

Concerns: Many players are becoming injury prone and the demands on even this squad will take its toll. The limiting of these injuries and use of players like Ferdinand, Giggs and Van der Sar could be key.

Title Odds: 5/2

Relegation Odds: 2500/1

3rd. Arsenal

Preview: Will fair a lot better than people expect. Arsene Wenger is no mug and has an abundance of talent at his disposal. He has also removed two of the teams negative influences (Toure and Adebayor). Keeping Fabregas is key and signing Hangeland (as of writing this has not happened) may be pivotal.

Key Player: Cesc Fabregas

Concerns: Finding the balance to the team without a natural defensive midfield player and not over-using Fabregas, Van Persie and Arshavin. Also how long before William Gallas explodes?

Title Odds: 10/1

Relegation Odds: 750/1

4th. Liverpool

Preview: Two key signings but the loss of Xavi Alonso will have a greater impact than Red fans realise. They will struggle to cope with the demands of the Anfield faithful who are hell bent on title success, it will work against the younger players.

Key Player: Fernando Torres

Concerns: If the team lose two from Mascherano, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres and Carragher they do not have the strength in-depth to keep challenging. Dealing with smaller teams at Anfield is a major concern.

Title Odds: 7/2

Relegation Odds: 1250/1

5th. Everton

Preview: Stronger than last season with the return of injured players namely Arteta and Yakubu. They are yet again struggling to attract players to the club. This may be decisive this season for the Toffees.

Key Player:Yakubu

Concerns: Injuries as per any other team are a concern, but if the club is not competing at Christmas they will lose several players in the January transfer window. Also may lose David Moyes if ambition isn’t matched.

Title Odds: 250/1

Relegation Odds: 33/1

6th. Manchester City

Preview: Money, money, money. This type of money cannot be spent without aiming for a high level of success. If it does click and they build momentum and have happy campers then they will challenge but no higher than a Europe League place, at best!

Key Player:Nigel De Jong

Concerns: Unhappy campers and they have many to name, as well as they don’t gel as quickly as they would like then heads may roll and more money will have to be spent in January.

Title Odds: 14/1

Relegation Odds: 50/1

7th. Tottenham Hotspur

Preview: They have a team full of quality but they are players who don’t seem to give the Spurs faithful the passion they want. If key players perform and Ledley King stays fit they will have a good year.

Key Player: Robbie Keane

Concerns: How many right backs does one club want? Corluka, Hutton, Naughton. This list goes on. No natural left side to the team leaves an imbalance that may see a change in formation, with Keane behind a front two.

Title Odds: 150/1

Relegation Odds: 40/1

8th. Aston Villa

Preview: Last season took its toll and I believe without replacing Martin Laursen and Gareth Barry the squad is too thin to even compete for European places, maybe a good cup run or two will help ease the impatient Villa fans. New players are key to this club.

Key Player: Stillian Petrov

Concerns: If last seasons high performers do not perform this season who can take over from outside the starting XI? The answer quite simply is nobody. Harewood, Gardner and Shorey and the are not good enough.

Title Odds: 150/1

Relegation Odds: 40/1

9th. Fulham

Preview: Last season will not be repeated. they are struggling to hold onto Brede Hangeland and this tight compact team as with Villa lacks depth and it also lacks enough goal scoring threats to allow last season to be repeated.

Key Player: Mark Schwarzer

Concerns: Holding onto Hangeland, can they?  I doubt it. If Roy Hodgson cannot work his magic will he move on? Or will Mr Harrods become impatient! Lack of goals are a huge concern.

Title Odds: 1000/1

Relegation Odds: 10/1

10th. Sunderland

Preview: Some decent signings will see Sunderland improve on last season and if Steve Bruce track record is anything to go by then they will do well. May well coincide with a decent cup run and one or two more lavish signings to follow in January.

Key Player: Steed Malbanque

Concerns: If the new signings don’t click then the reserve offers are decent Championship players at best. Murphy, Healy, Leadbitter and Edwards should not scare even the weakest of top flight defences.

Title Odds: 1500/1

Relegation Odds: 7/1

11th. West Ham United

Preview: The Zola magic has begun, will it continue. I hope so. They have a very small squad but try to play flowing football. Carlton Cole is set to have a big season and the signing of Luis ‘the magician’ Jimenez, could prove to be a bargain.

Key Player: Luis Jimenez

Concerns: If they suffer as many injuries as they did last season then Messrs Zola and Clarke may need to dust off the boots. Some signings are needed to avoid a relegation fight.

Title Odds: 1500/1

Relegation Odds: 10/1

12th. Bolton Wanderers

Preview: The ginger Mourinho had a decent season last year and has added to the squad over the summer with Sean Davis the stand out player. They will compete and give as good as they get but a top-ten finish is the best they can aim for.

Key Player: Gary Cahill

Concerns: Several teams in the league have the ability to rough it up like Bolton and their game plan may come undone if teams become too use to playing against this style. Kevin Davies is key and to lose him would be damaging.

Title Odds: 2500/1

Relegation Odds: 7/1

13th. Stoke City

Preview: Last seasons surprise package will offer exactly the same again and the key will be how many teams can handle the aerial bombardment mixed up with high tempo and the occasional glimpse of pretty football. Home form again will be vital.

Key Player: James Beattie

Concerns: Big clubs are sniffing round some of their key players and they need to keep hold of them. Also should they not rack up enough home points then away form needs drastic improvement,

Title Odds: 2500/1

Relegation Odds: 11/4

14th. Wigan Athletic

Preview: Roberto Martinez brings a breath of fresh air to the league and hopefully a playing style of boot. This club has survived on a very tight budget but this could be the toughest year yet. Can they rough it up in the post-Bruce era? I doubt it!

Key Player: Jason Scotland

Concerns: The integration of players with no top flight experience will be vital as well as the club adopting to Martinez style of play will be key to picking up early points. Goals needed from Scotland and Rodellega.

Title Odds: 3500/1

Relegation Odds: 4/1

15th. Blackburn Rovers

Preview: I am not a fan of ‘Big Sam’ but his philosophy works. They will survive but they have brought untested players to the club and the key will be integrating them with the likes of Neilson, Samba and McCarthy.

Key Player: Morten Gamst Pedersen

Concerns: Very indifferent home form and an obvious lack of creativity apart from Pedersen may see the goals dry up. Several players with a point to prove notably David Dunn a return to his former self may see a higher league placing.

Title Odds: 2500/1

Relegation Odds: 6/1

16th. Birmingham City

Preview: One of the many yo-yo clubs in this league. They have spent a reasonable amount of money and with the likes of Bowyer, Queudrue and Kevin Phillips it will be key that they blend and blend quickly. St. Andrews could be the key to survival as well as the scoring boots of Christian Benitez.

Key Player: Christian Benitez

Concerns: Is there enough quality and are they gambling on potential. The struggles of seasons gone by could become a thing of the present, an early poor start could see the disgruntles of last season come back to the forefront rather than the football doing the talking the board room will.

Title Odds: 10000/1

Relegation Odds: 8/11

17th. Burnley

Preview: They are a well organised and compact team and will surprise a few teams this season, let last seasons Carling Cup run back this up. Have some talented players but a lot will fall the fans favourite Brian Jensen between the sticks.

Key Player: Brian Jensen

Concerns: Had one of the worst defensive records last season despite promotion. Will this team stop that? It will prove key to survival hopes. Also the form of the clubs strikers will be key, Martin Paterson needs to fire into double figures.

Title Odds: 10000/1

Relegation Odds: 1/2

18th. Portsmouth

Preview: The takeover looks to have fallen through and they have lost several big name players to balance the books. Long gone are the Harry Redknapp F.A. Cup winners and this will be a dogged fight for Paul Hart and his talentless squad.

Key Player: Nico Kranjcar

Concerns: Who will be sold next; Distin? Kranjcar? Diop? Belhadj? This is as weak a team on paper as there is in the league. Goals will be hard to come by and attracting a goal scorer to the club will be difficult.

Title Odds: 2500/1

Relegation Odds: 2/1

19th. Wolverhampton Wanderers

Preview: I like Mike McCarthy and he has assembled a talented squad of young players but they have a team shy of top flight experience. The form of prospects like Kightly, Ebanks-Blake, Hennessey and Henry will be key as will the experience of Jody Craddock.

Key Player: Kevin Doyle

Concerns: Away from Molineux will prove to be tough this season and should they lose a couple of games heavily it may be a long season. Experience in tough situations will be vital and looking at this squad I don’t believe they have it.

Title Odds: 3500/1

Relegation Odds: 11/8

20th. Hull City

Preview: I have put my dislike of Phil Brown to one side but still I cannot see them surviving, confidence despite survival last season has to be low and many players don’t seem to respect the manager. Have panic bought in my opinion and many of the signings were not first choice buys.

Key Player: Ian Ashbee

Concerns: Have some gritty players who will need to play through the whole season to enhance the survival hopes. Goals will be at a premium and they have two fairly poor goalkeepers who need to improve to give them a fighting chance.

Title Odds: 10000/1

Relegation Odds: 4/5

Do you agree? Have your say………

I also predict the winners of the following trophies and awards:

Top Scorer: Fernando Torres

F.A. Cup winners: Arsenal

League Cup winners: Aston Villa

Championship winners: Middlesbrough

League One winners: Charlton Athletic

League Two winners: Notts County

Scottish Title winners: Celtic

Champions League winners: Bayern Munich or Barcelona

Europa Cup winners: Does anyone actually care, bring back the UEFA cup!!

Finally who gets your vote for the top scorer in the Premier League:

Enjoy your sports viewing this weekend.



P.s. Well done to Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves on reaching the Challenge Rugby League Cup final.

It is good to see so-called big teams fail and other teams challenge for honours.

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