EPL Preview: The big 5

Welcome back for the last of my EPL previews. You can go back and read the previous ones here, here and here.

Tottenham 

Manager Harry Redknapp

Last Season 5th in the Premier League

Feelings Its a wierd time at Tottenham. They had a first crack at the Champions League last year and did relatively well in the cup. They struggled to maintain the challenge on the domestic front though and ultimately ended in disappointment. Its been a boring summer so far for Spurs who didnt sign anyone and came to South Africa for a loss and a draw. They have brought in Brad Friedel who will provide a proper challenge to Gomes the Almunia of Tottenham. They, like their much better looking neighbours Arsenal, have had an off season where their best player has desperately wanted to leave. At least they still have Modric, but for how much longer. Spurs have spent a ridiculous amount of money over the past few years, its time for them to push on. I dont think they will.

Ins: Brad Friedel (free from Aston Villa), Cristian Ceballos (unattached), Souleymane Coulibaly (undiscl. from Siena).

Outs: Jonathan Woodgate (free to Stoke), Jamie O’Hara (£5m to Wolves), Steven Caulker (loan to Swansea), Paul-José M’Poku (free to Standard), Kyle Naughton (loan to Norwich), Nathan Byrne (loan to Bournemouth), Ryan Mason (loan to Doncaster Rovers), Jonathan Obika (loan to Yeovil), Oscar Jansson (loan to Bradford), Bongani Khumalo (loan to Reading)

First 5 Fixtures and Expectations

Everton (h) – 3 points

Man Utd (a) – 0 point

Man City (h) – 3 points

Wolves (a) – 3 points

Liverpool (h) – 3 points

Expectation – 12 points

Arsenal

Manager Arsene Wenger

Last Season 4th in the Premier League

Feelings Arsenal fans have endured one of the toughest summers in history. Fabregas (still not confirmed at Barca) and Nasri have unsettled the squad with constant speculation. After being promised a busy pre season, the Gunners have seen the signing of only one out and out first teamer in Gervinho, while the signing of young promising players has not appeased the fans. Arsenal have once again been written off by the pundits, something which has been done for the past 4 seasons. I would put money on Arsenal making the top 4 again, but cant see my Gunners winning the league, unless transfer window madness leads to some amazing madness!

Ins: Carl Jenkinson (£1m from Charlton), Gervinho (£10.6m from Lille), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£12m from Southampton).

Outs:
Gael Clichy (£7m to Manchester City), Tom Cruise (released), Roarie Deacon (free to Sunderland’s reserves), Mark Randall (free to Chesterfield), Denilson (loan to Sao Paulo), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (£1m to Ipswich Town), Kyle Bartley (loan to Rangers), Pedro Botelho (loan to Rayo Vallecano).

First 5 Fixtures and Expectations

Newcastle (a) – 3 points and revenge

Liverpool (h) – 3 points and revenge

Man Utd (a) – 0 points

Swansea (h) – 3 points

Blackburn (a) – 3 points

Expectation – 12 points

Manchester City

Manager Roberto Mancini

Last Season  3rd in the Premier League

Feelings They made the Champions League last year, which is extremely underwhelming for the billions of Dubai. Man City have spent over 200 million pounds on strikers in 3 seasons, but Mancini still tries to play defensive football. When they turn it on they can be a delight to watch. They dont do it often. It will be an interesting season as Man City have to at last test their depth in playing twice a week, which is something Arsenal, United and Chelsea are already used to. At the end of the day if Man City do not win the league, they have failed and that is not being unfair.

Ins: Gael Clichy (£7m from Arsenal), Stefan Savic (£7m from Partizan Belgrade), Sergio Agüero (£35m from Atletico Madrid), Costel Pantilimon (undiscl. from Poli Timisoara).

Outs:
James Poole (free to Hartlepool), Javan Vidal, Patrick Vieira, James Wood (all released), Scott Kay (free to Macclesfield), Shaleum Logan (free to Brentford), Andrew Tutte (free to Rochdale), David Gonzalez Giraldo (loan to Aberdeen), Donal McDermott (free to Huddersfield Town), Jerome Boateng (£12m to Bayern Munich), Felipe Caicedo (£880,000 to Levante), Shay Given (£3.3m to Aston Villa), Keiran Trippier and Ben Mee (loan to Burnley), Michael Johnson (loan to Leicester City), Jo (undiscl. to Internacional), Abdi Ibrahim (loan to Nijmegen), Ryan McGivern (loan to Crystal Palace).

First 5 Fixtures and Expectations

Swansea (h) – 3 points

Bolton (a) – 3 points

Spurs (a) – 1 point

Wigan (h) – 3 points

Fulham (a) – 3 points

Expectation – 13 points

Chelsea

Manager Andre Vilas-Boas

Last Season  2nd in the premier League

Feelings  A new manager, again. AVB will be under pressure to perform like the man he is so often compared to, Jose Mourinho. His starting press conference didnt have the same charisma and charm as JM, but he has an amazing record and will definately improve the strength of Chelsea. The biggest problem Chelsea will have is how to fit in Torres, Drogba, Kalou, Anelka and Sturridge. A challenge that Carlo Ancelloti was not able to beat. I think AVB has been given instruction to focus on the Champions League as that is the jewel missing from Abramovich’s crown. Can he do it? Time will tell.

Ins: Thibaut Courtois (£7.9m from RC Genk), Oriol Romeu (£4.2m from Barcelona).

Outs:
Michael Mancienne (£3million to Hamburg), Fabio Borini (free to Parma), Jack Cork (£750,000 to Southampton), Jeffrey Bruma (loan to Hamburg), Danny Philliskirk (free to Sheffield United), Samuel Hutchinson, Carl Magnay, Jan Sebek, Michael Woods (all released), Thibaut Courtois (loan to Atletico Madrid), Sam Walker (loan to Northampton), Yuri Zhirkov (£13m to Anzhi Makhachkala).

First 5 Fixtures and Expectations

Stoke (a) – 3 points

West Brom (h) – 3 points

Norwich (h) – 3 points

Sunderland (a) – 3 points

Man Utd (a) – 0 points

Expected – 12 points

Manchester United

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Last Season  Champions for the 19th time

Feelings  Manchester United have spent money on youth this year. On paper Man City and Chelsea have better squads I think,  but they dont have the maestro. Sir Alex proved once again in the Community shield that he is the master and Mancini is merely a muppet. I think Man U will win the 20th edition of the premier league and I think this will be a year where Nani (doos) rises to become the star that he was showing his potential last year. I also think we will see a bit more of Berbatov with the dead ball ability of Ashley Young. They are the front runners, who will rise up to the challenge? Well the waiting is over. It starts today

Ins: Phil Jones (£16.5m from Blackburn), Ashley Young (£16m from Aston Villa), David de Gea (£17m from Atletico Madrid).

Outs:
Joe Dudgeon and Corry Evans (undisc to Hull), Robbie Brady (loan to Hull), Conor Devlin, Owen Hargreaves, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar (all released), Bebe (loan to Besiktas), Nicky Ajose (£300,000 to Peterborough), Wes Brown (£1m to Sunderland), John O’Shea (£5m to Sunderland), Ritchie De Laet (loan to Norwich), Scott Wootton and Ryan Tunnicliffe (loan to Peterborough), Gabriel Obertan (£3m to Newcastle), Joshua King (loan to Borussia Moenchengladbach).

First 5 Fixtures and Expectations

West Brom (a) – 3 points

Tottenham (h) – 3 points

Arsenal (h) – 3 points

Bolton (a) – 3 points

Chelsea (h) – 3 points

Expected – Harsh but 15 points

Things are about to get real! Jabu

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