Top 5 Conclusions to Jump to for Premier League Season

Liverpool's Fernando Torres (L) challenges West Bromwich Albion's Gonzalo Jara (R) during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, August 29, 2010.   REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

After three matches, jumping to conclusions about how the season will play out seems a bit hasty. We can’t possibly know after three short weeks what’s going to happen in the next eight months, right? Wrong. Here are five conclusions I’m ready to jump to:

  • This is the last season you’ll see Fernando Torres in a Liverpool shirt

The season surely hasn’t been the start Roy Hodgson dreamt of. It’s tough to say what has been the most excruciating part of Hodgson’s first three weeks in charge. It could be Joe Cole’s less than stellar red-card and botched penalty debut week. Or perhaps it was the way Pepe Reina let those two points bang off his hands and into the Reds goal at Anfield? The 3-0 pounding at Eastlands? No, it surely has to be Javier Mascherano’s insistence on getting out, and getting out now. I think Masch could read the writing on the wall, and although he may not have handled the situation gracefully (according to Hodgson), I can’t blame him for wanting to bail on this sinking ship.

Torres took the opposite tack in the late summer, pledging his loyalty to the club and vowing to win trophies. I respect that loyalty, but I don’t expect Fernando to be singing the same tune come January, when Liverpool sits in the middle of the table with virtually no shot at the Champions League. They’ve left too many holes in the squad for too long, starting last year with the exit of Xabi Alonso and now with the departure of Mascherano. There are some new faces around to try to fill in some of the gaps, but I don’t think these pieces have what it takes to get Liverpool in title contention and keep their star striker happy. If he’s fit in January – that’s a capital IF – I expect Torres to start making some transfer noise and begin his campaign to move on from Liverpool, regardless of the ownership situation.

  • Manchester City is going to qualify for the Champions League

With more money spent on their bench than most squad’s starting eleven, I think the Citizens have finally amassed the talent necessary to get to that next level and claim one of the EPL’s Champions League spots. Yes, I saw the mess at Sunderland and the virtual theft of a point at Spurs courtesy of a Joe Hart clinic in big time goal keeping. I also saw them dismantle Liverpool, and what impressed me was not that they beat them but how, that was never a contest. I just think this squad has too many quality pieces to miss out on the top four.

For me, the biggest addition has to be James Milner. His creativity, motor and scoring ability bring to the team a bit of anti-Robinho-ness (a new term, I hope you like it) and a touch of grittiness that they lacked before. Hart’s goalkeeping has been spectacular, one goal allowed in three games, and a penalty at that. He’s the real deal. Perhaps the biggest transfer win for City is that they did not have to work out a deal for the exit of Shay Given. Keeping him on their bench means that Arsenal doesn’t have him, which means they’re stuck with the unfortunate duo of Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski. Which leads me to my next thought…..

  • Arsenal’s neglect of acquiring a solid keeper takes them out of title contention

Chelsea and Man United seem to be the consensus no. 1 and 2 teams, but Arsenal’s net minding situation should be very unsettling for the Gunners. The race for the third and fourth will come down to Arsenal, Tottenham and Man City. I think City is better than Arsenal, and I expect them to prove that as the season progresses. Tottenham swooping for Rafael Van der Vaart gives them a boost, and Gareth Bale is emerging as a true force in the Premier League.

There are a few too many big question marks around Arsenal right now. The biggest one is at the back, in goal. The one place you can’t afford to be weak is where Arsenal is the weakest. I’m a bit surprised there was no move for Given, Mark Schwarzer, or anyone for that matter.

Another question is Cesc Fabregas. Is his Barcelona dream really just going to be put on the backburner, or is he going to yearn for the Camp Nou and start making some noise come January? Lastly, the fitness of Arsenal is a cause for concern. Robin Van Persie is out again, and Nicklas Bendtner apparently shelved for an extended period of time, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on The Walcott to continue his scoring streak. With all these questions, I expect Arsenal to be in a dogfight all season, but instead of fighting for the top spot, they’ll be fighting to stay in the top four.

  • Recently promoted Blackpool and Newcastle will stick around another year

Both Newcastle and Blackpool come out of the first three weeks with four points to their name. While it may not be a total shocker for Newcastle, I don’t think too many people thought Blackpool would be off to this kind of start. A thrashing of Wigan, and a hard fought draw against Fulham have me believing that this Orange shirted squad is not going to just give up points week after week. The 6-0 loss to Arsenal surprises nobody, but I give them a bit of extra slack since they had 10 men for 60 minutes.

Newcastle looks a bit more impressive. Andy Carroll’s goal scoring form seems to prove that he can handle the big stage, and Newcastle is playing like they are more likely to be hanging around the middle of the table than fighting to avoid relegation. Both of these squads will likely drop some points to the big boys, but I don’t expect them to be in the relegation zone come May.

  • Chelsea is going to break their goal scoring record and repeat as EPL Champs

It took until late September last year for Chelsea to hit the 14 goal mark. They have 14 through three games, and with the relative ease of their upcoming schedule, I think they’ll have poured in at least 20 goals by the time they roll into Manchester City for their first real test of the year.

Ashley Cole is up to his usual tricks, spending most of his time making runs and creating scoring chances, while Florent Malouda has been one of the most impressive players in the young season. Chelsea’s left side is going to continue to give everyone fits, and they’re just going to keep lighting up goalies Michael Essien’s box-to-box mad man style is back and helping make a questionable central defense look a bit stronger. And then there’s Didier Drogba, who seems just as happy creating an abundance of opportunities for everyone else as scoring himself.

Chelsea just has more of the look of a champion than Manchester United, they have not looked even a bit shaky thus far, and you can’t say the same for United. A 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage was disappointing, but Berbatov looks like he’s (finally) ready to live up to his expectations. With Rooney having not even reached his peak goal scoring form and Rio Ferdinand nearly back to fitness, I expect it to be a two horse race for the title. Right now, Chelsea looks poised to win that race, and I think they’ll crack 115 goals easily.

So what do you think? Am I jumping the gun on these?

21 thoughts on “Top 5 Conclusions to Jump to for Premier League Season”

  1. I doubt your 5th conclusion. How about the fact does say every winner of Community Shield will win the EPL in the same season? Meaning Man. United will beat Chelsea in two horses race.

  2. rubbish conclusion chelsea will not be champs man city will not get cl, torres will still be there and almunia is not as bad as everbody makes out, you kno nothing about football

  3. Your actually an idiot, for one thing your English is appalling, you keep saying city is going to finish forth, city is bigger than arsenal, instead of City ARE bigger than arsenal. Apart from that you made 3 obvious conclusions that any idiot could make. its obvious that Torres will leave next season, and city are almost certain to finish fourth, well done for noticing arsenal need a keeper, no else had realised that. Your bottom one is too early, are you aware that there are 38 games in the premier league, not 3.

      1. Sorry to be a complete pedant, but this is the truth of the matter:

        In BRITISH English, it is correct/acceptable to use “are” for organizations, teams etc (i.e. treating them like a plural) – for example, “Man City ARE better than Arsenal” or “The company ARE going to release their annual accounts”.

        In AMERICAN English, teams/organizations are nearly always treated as singular (“Man City IS better…” or “The company IS going to release ITS annual accounts”). The exception would be if the team name itself is a plural (eg “The Chicago Bulls ARE a basketball team”).

        Given that we’re on the internet, I think either usage is acceptable.

    1. “no else had realised that”

      hmmm… I think you missed a word. Who’s the idiot? I’ve learned that if you’re going to critique someone else you should at least make sure you aren’t repeating the same offense.

      And to Evans point below… City is is indeed correct :-)

  4. arsenal can score just as much as chelsea if rvp is fit – remember last year first few weeks everyone saying they would esily break 100 goals that season but then injuries took it from them. chelsea is one injury to drogba away from becoming a 2nd tier team. man city so great win at liverpool doesn’t mean anything liverpool is a mid tier team these days, look at sunderland and tottenham both took it to them. epl will come down to man u chelsea and arsenal whoever can be lucky and not ave key players injured will be able to form a run and win it. i hope arsenal but no one can predict this at this time. those who do are the same ones who say arsenal crap then pick them to win everything because of one good game.

    1. Agree that while Chelsea looks amazing, it feels like they are a couple of injuries away from being in real trouble. Looking at their roster, they have 17 legit field players, and some of those have big question marks: Drogba, Anelka, Kalou, Malouda, Sturridge, Lampard, Benayoun, Ramires, Essien, Mikel Obi, Zhirkov, A.Cole, Terry, Alex, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Bosingwa. Am I missing anyone worthwhile? Right now they are amazingly healthy, apart from Bosingwa, but many of those guys are not young….. Between EPL, CL and cups, it’s hard to believe they can challenge in everything and stay healthy. Man U and Arsenal are 30 players deep, with lots of young guns. It’s a long season.

      1. Not a Chelsea fan, but it all sounds like wishful thinking to me. Look back at last year with both the loss of Drogba and Kalou to the Africa Cup of Nations and the big injuries the club had through the winter and spring.

        How’d they do during that period?

    2. but RVP isn’t fit, nor will he be for the majority of the season just like every season. that is the problem with your argument that Arsenal will score just as much. Arsenal have no heart, not even the captain wants to play for them.

  5. Wow, shaun, you really are a prick.
    You can gracefully disagree you know, but the name calling was really uncalled for! Get a life, dude!

    Thanks for the article Kevin. Don’t let the haters put you down. You had guts to say all those things and I appreciate that (even though I might disagree on some)

  6. Yeah, I’d say most of these conclusions are really made way ahead of time and represent nothing more than blog stuffing. Arsenal wasn’t going to win the Title this year and it wasn’t because of the goalie situation. That won’t help, but the team just can’t produce all season long.

    Blackpool and Newcastle have good starts, kind of, much like how other teams started, such as Burnley did last season, beating Man United. We know how that finished.

    Liverpool, people keep trashing them. Honestly, it looks like it is impossible to tell how they’ll finish this year.

    Chelsea winning the Premier League, well… its a guess, not a bad one, but still a guess. I would agree at this point, though with 35 games to go…

    Pretty much the only safe conclusion right now is that Chelsea and Man United will qualify for the Champions League and Liverpool will not win the Champions League this year. I know, I know… going out on a long branch there.

  7. Of course you’re jumping the gun, Kevin. That’s what the early season is for, isn’t it? :-)

    My early season “jump”: Fulham will, at some point, do something other than draw a match. A W would be nice.

  8. ManCity may very well finish in the Top 4, but I’m not sure why the first three games would lead to that conclusion. A draw to Spurs after being on the backfoot the whole game and a loss to Sunderland were two of their results thus far; not exactly showing the promise expected of them.

    I understand it’s tough to play at the Stadium of Light and all, but those are the type of games that they are expected to actually win now that they’ve spent as much as they have.

    Again, I understand why that prediction would be made…just not sure how the first three games could actually lead to that conclusion.

  9. Manchester City won’t be in the top four at Arsenal’s expense–I would almost guarantee it (if that meant anything at all). They aren’t cohesive enough and they lack heart. Their bench will be close to useless later in the season because it will be full of overpaid superstars who are sulking. Those aren’t role players. And I think Mancini is far overrated. Tottenham is getting stronger–the only issue with them is that they will have a tough time adjusting to CL football and it is going to take a toll somewhere. Arsenal has the same critics every year and while they didn’t solve the goalkeeping problem it’s impossible to argue that they regressed in that department. Yet they strengthened defense considerably, and in a way that shows an awareness of their weaknesses–lack of heart and lack of set-piece ability. They strengthened in depth and plan-b at the front with Chamakh and while I hope they win and really want to believe they’ll win, I really think that what’s most likely is a 2nd place finish.

  10. I, for one, would like to see fewer posts of the ilk, “I may not have the slightest idea of what I’m talking about, but please waste some of your precious time reading my unenlightening rehash of the Conventional Wisdom.”

  11. torres will leave, city will win f*ck all (35 years) and chelsea will not win the league. the plastics could only muster up 4 homegrown players, so they are playing with a depleted squad. any injuries and they are toast. they will be playing u-21’s and we all know they don’t have much of a youth policy at crapford bridge.

    1. Erm, thanks “crap”,
      Not difficult to figure out who you support, then. While I’ve no love lost for Chelsea, I’d be careful throwing around the term Plastics. That’s largely been reserved for your lot, as your Surrey-based, faux green and gold scarf-wearing bunch will evidence. Even I will reluctantly agree that Chelsea have the look of champions again. They’ve also got a much better under-21 side than basically anyone in the league, which is why those kids don’t need to be counted towards the 8 homegrowns — I think Sturridge, Kakuta, Bruma, McEachran and the rest are all exempt for them. If only the Hammers had a young Kakuta… was UNREAL in the U-20 world cup this summer.

      Also, while I don’t agree with the furore above, when referring to an English team, it is *always* ARE, not IS. Nothing will classify you as a Yank faster than making this basic error. You’re not necessarily wrong, but it’s a massive faux pas if you want to be taken seriously on the subject of English football…

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