Quick Look at the Premier League

After a dismal stretch after the World Cup, the Premier League finally kicks-off Saturday. Time for football to move back into its rightful place in the list of priorities. While I’m thinking of lists, it seems to be a good time to think about some hopes and expectations for the upcoming season.

Chelski will struggle to gel despite the roster of superstars and they’ll get pipped for the title, shocking the world, and sending Abramovich scurrying back to the bank for even more fodder to stuff an already overstuffed squad. They’ll be distracted running for the one bit of silverware they’re lacking, the Champions League. They won’t be having that either, and joy and happiness will reign throughout the land.

So, somebody has to win the title out of the rest of the usual suspects. It can really only be one club. Liverpool are coming together as a team and strengthened the side even further in the off season. They’re strong everywhere except for up front. They’ve just added Dirk Kuyt, but I can see him being a bust in England. Crouch remains more of a freak show than a big-time striker. All that said, I still think they’ll somehow find the net often enough to give the most storied team in England its first Premiership title.

Tottenham can sneak into the third spot, but the pack of 5 or 6 teams should be fairly tight in spots 3 through 8. I love Martin Jol. Of the quality teams near the top of the table, Spurs were one of the very few teams that actually improved their lot over the summer. They generally find ways to shoot themselves in the foot, but I think Tony Soprono, I mean Jol, will have them gunning at the others for a change.

Arsenal are bleeding quality players at the moment. Fortunately for them they can afford to bleed some. Other than managing to hold on to Thierry Henry, nothing positive has happened for the Gunners. The new stadium won’t be a help, at least not in the standings. They’ll be near the top all year, but won’t ever pose a serious threat.

I really don’t think Manchester United are going to be in as much trouble as many seem to fear. It’s just that for one of the first times in eons, they aren’t real threats for the title. A lot depends on their start. If they start poorly, it could be a disasterous year. The Glazers could be run out of town. Sir Alex could finally be sacked. Ronaldo and Roonaldo could kill each other. Well, Christiano will just pretend to be dying. It could all end in tears for the most famous club in the world. But probably not. They’ll be okay, but even that’s unacceptable in Manchester.

For the stragglers at the other end of the table, Watford is headed right back down. They haven’t a prayer. Wigan will find it much tougher going this year. Fulham have problems and Coleman could be the next coach looking for work. Randy Lerner has rescued an abyssmal Aston Villa and he and Martin O’Neill will keep them up somehow. ‘Arry Redknapp will find a way to keep Portsmouth going. Despite now having the most colorful manager in the league, Sheffield United will probably be back playing Ipswich next year. Reading shocked with the ease with which they won the Coca Cola Championship last year–it won’t be so easy now. They’ll stick for another year, though.

The rest will be mired in so-called mid-table obscurity. Good enough to draw against one another, beat the minnows, and get thrashed by the big clubs. I look for Newcastle to plummet. Charlton to struggle at the end as usual, and not start much better. Sam Allerdyce will want out of Bolton very soon. Going the other way, Psycho will have Manchester City continuing to improve.

I’m looking forward to a great year. Even if Chelsea does the expected and wins the title by September, the rest of the league seems to be tightening up. It’s still the best league going, and I can’t wait for it to start.