We are now just a week and a half away from the beginning of the new season, and most of the transfer dealings have been finalised. So which team are approaching the new season in the best shape?
Man Utd have lost Tevez and Ronaldo, but Fergie doesn’t seem too bothered, but he did get his main long-term target Antonio Valencia as well as a proven goal-scorer (when fit) in Michael Owen. He has already said that he is not worried about their goalscoring ability without Ronaldo, as he expects Owen, Rooney and Berbatov to get 20 goals each, and he also has Macheda and Wellbeck as more than capable substitutes.
The most recent bad news for Fergie is that Van Der Sar is going to miss the first couple of months of the season at least. This will be Ben Foster’s big chance to prove that he is ready to step up to be United’s Number One for the forseeable future. This could be a bigger loss to Ferguson than Ronaldo this year.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has basically got the same team as last year, but the loss of Alonso could be telling unless he immediately reinvests in a capable replacement. He said at the beginning of the summer that his main target was to find a striking partner for Fernando Torres. That has failed to materialise so far, so we will have to wait another couple of weeks to find out if Liverpool will be stronger or weaker than last season.
Arsenal fans may think that Arsene Wenger has weakened the team by selling Toure and Adebayor, but the coach seems to disagree with that, and is sure that he has more than enough strength in depth to mount an even more serious challenge this year, now that his youngsters have got one more year of experience under their belts. The return of Rosicky and Eduardo will not have damaged their prospects either. If he finally does win Marouane Chamakh’s signature before the end of the windo, it will give him a little more depth, but not much more strength. I would say that Wenger has sold wisely this summer.
The Blues have managed to hang on to ALL their players so far, and even Drogba has signed a contract extension this week. They have added Daniel Sturridge to the attacking pool who will give Ancelotti another option, and the signing of Yuri Zhirkov could be inspirational if the hype following from Russia is all true. Ross Turnbull is only ever going to be cover for Petr Cech, but at least we have that option now instead of just the unpredictable Hilario. Chelsea are the only one of the top four that could seriously prove that they have added strength to an already top squad.
I would imagine that this season coming could be one of the closest ever between the top clubs, and if everyone starts taking points of each other, perhaps Man City could start clawing their way into contention, but between them, Everton and Aston Villa, i would consider the Toffees to be the most likely team to make a serious challenge to the traditional vanguard.
David Moyes is repelling Man City’s interest in Joleon Lescott, He has already secured Jo for another season, and it looks like Phillipe Senderos will be joining him. Everton were ravaged by injuries last season but still performed well with their small squad. If they are blessed with all their players back i expect an even better showing from Moyes men. It will be interesting to see how they get on against Arsenal in their opening game.
So i am going to put my credibilty on the line and give my prediction for the top six next season:
Does anyone disagree with my analysis?