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August 16, 2013 / ultrafox1963

Premier League Preview 2013-14

 

Jose Mourinho - likely to be smiling again in 2014.

Jose Mourinho – likely to be smiling again in 2014.

This weekend sees the start of season 22 in the most widely watched (and most wildly overhyped) league in world football.

As ever, the Premier League will welcome a host of new characters, as well as witnessing the return or redeployment of others. But one figure, above all others, is likely to command a central role.

After a six-year absence, Jose Mourinho has returned to Chelsea looking to repeat the successes of his previous spell in charge when he landed back-to-back league titles.

The ego of the self-styled “special one” was somewhat bruised by his spell in charge of Real Madrid, much of which was spent in Barcelona’s shadow, never a comfortable place for club or manager.

But the squad he now oversees has the experience, quality and depth to bring the Premier League trophy back to Stamford Bridge for the first time in four years.

And if, as seems likely, Wayne Rooney can be tempted south from Manchester United in search of a new challenge, Mourinho’s side may also emerge as the league’s most likely contenders for the Champions League.

Meanwhile, in Manchester the balance of power is likely to tilt towards the blue side, as City have once again made lavish use of their owner’s chequebook in an effort to secure further silverware.

Now under the stewardship of Manuel Pellegrini, the light blues will be looking to recapture the trophy won in such dramatic fashion in 2012. However the strength of such a bid will depend heavily on how quickly the Spaniard and his fellow arrivals can adapt to the demands of the English game.

Nevertheless, City should at least have the satisfaction of again finishing above their neighbours. The retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson from Manchester United, the defending champions, is likely to be keenly felt, and with no activity in the transfer market to replace Rooney or cover for an ageing defence, an uncomfortable season at Old Trafford lies in wait.

Elsewhere, much of the intrigue lies within a series of other ferociously-fought battles for regional supremacy, most notably in North London, but also on Merseyside, in the North-East, the West Midlands and – for the first time in top-flight history – South Wales.

The clashes between Cardiff and League Cup holders Swansea will be fierce, competitive and intense. But whether they will be replicated in future seasons remains in serious doubt. The newly-rebranded Red Dragons, along with the other promoted clubs, look short of the standard required to survive at the highest level.

However, with the potential for instability currently evident at a number of other clubs, especially at Stoke, Fulham, Newcastle and Sunderland, the relegation places may not be entirely cut and dried.  

Once again, plenty of thrills, shocks and surprises are in store for the global audience.  Which teams, managers and players will feature in the forthcoming story lines?

 

PREDICTED FINAL TABLE

1 Chelsea

2 Manchester City

3 Manchester United

4 Arsenal

 

5 Tottenham

6 Liverpool

7 Swansea

8 Everton

9 Norwich

10 Southampton

11 Aston Villa

12 West Ham

13 Sunderland

14 West Bromwich Albion

15 Newcastle

16 Fulham

17 Stoke

 

18 Cardiff

19 Hull

20 Crystal Palace

 

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