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The Barclays Premier League: Season Preview
Posted By akhilleus On Aug 14 2010 @ 4:10 pm In English EPL | 1 Comment
The English Premier League, commonly known as the EPL, is the best soccer league in the World. The fans of Spanish, Italian and German soccer will try to convince you otherwise; but, being a follower of all four of those leagues, I can say with certainty that the English League is the best thing there is. Having followed the World Cup one might ask: “But how could the EPL be the best league when the English players themselves are far from being the best”? The answer is simple: there is very little that’s English about the EPL. In fact, seventy percent of the players are foreigners and most of the coaches and owners are foreigners as well; even the English National team coach is a foreigner. However, the English setting, climate, the rare English star and some of the most enjoyable English commentators still gives, what is a mostly international spectacle, an essential, pleasant and charming English rapping.
From a purely player stand point, no other league boasts the same amount of quality. In Spain you have a two horse race between two powerhouses (Barcelona and Madrid), accompanied by several strong teams (Valencia, Villareal, Sevilla, Atletico de Madrid) and then the rest are relatively mediocre at best. In Italy, you have one powerhouse (Inter Milan) two ex powerhouses trying to re-find themselves (AC Milan, Juventus), several strong teams (AS Roma, Sampdoria, Palermo, Napoli, Fiorentina, Lazio, Genoa) and then the rest are relatively mediocre at best. In Germany you have one powerhouse (Bayern Munich), many strong teams (Shalke 04, Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Vfb Stuttgart, Hamburg SV, VFL Wolfsburg, TSG Hoffenheim) and then the rest are not even worth mentioning. The English League on the other hand have four clear powerhouse teams (Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal), one ex-powerhouse team trying to re-find itself (Liverpool), three very strong teams (Tottenham, Aston Villa, Everton) and the rest are relatively mediocre at best. Leagues are generally composed of twenty teams and a League’s worth is essentially, by popular opinion, judged by the quality of its top ten teams. In that respect, the English League is the best league by quite a length. Furthermore, not only has it had four teams over the years competing for the title, but also, these same four teams have been strong candidates for the European championship over the last few seasons; that says a lot about how good the EPL really is.
But even beyond the sheer superior quality of the EPL, it is also the most entertaining league in the world (careful, entertainment and quality do not always go hand in hand). Aside from the fact that it is the league that plays at the fastest pace and is constantly moving back and forth, the EPL has those classic and enjoyable moments that you won’t find anywhere else.
What to expect from the upcoming season.
The only certainty of the upcoming EPL season is that there are few certainties; that’s a good thing!
The first of few certainties is that one of Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal will win the league. Last year it was a rather expected two horse race between Chelsea and Manchester United, where Chelsea was the victor. Yet this year, seeing as Chelsea and Manchester United have been relatively inactive on the transfer market, we could well have an open four way race.
The second certainty is that three of the following will be getting relegated: Wolves, Wigan Athletic, West Bromwich Albion, Blackpool, and sadly, the once mighty, Newcastle.
And the third certainty is that …well … there aren’t any others.
Now one might be thinking: but if we already have a sense of who will win and who will get relegated to the second division, then what is the fun in watching the league in the first place?
There is much more to a season than knowing who comes first and who doesn’t; there is indeed much more to play for than that. Firstly, in the English league, there are ten teams that are trying to get into the top six places so as to qualify for European club competition. Secondly, the rest of the teams are trying to make sure that they stay in the division or what is commonly called: “trying to survive”. In fact, the games that match two bottom teams that are fighting for survival can often be some of the most entertaining games you will ever watch. Lastly, having four teams chasing first place is quite spectacular and especially when you consider the greater predictability of the other major leagues; in Italy and Germany Inter Milan and Bayern Munich will most probably win while in Spain one of Madrid and Barcelona will most probably win.
Premier League Winner Prediction: Chelsea
The bookies have them as favorites and so do I. While they may have an ageing lineup they have made some important changes to their lineup. Swapping injury prone Joe Cole with Benayoun, getting rid of out-dated Ballack for Brazilian international Ramirez and with Brazilian wonder kid Neymar on the verge of signing, its been, all in all, a fairly quiet but very positive summer transfer campaign. What alot of people forget too is that, Essien, the best defensive midfielder in the world, was out injured for most of last season; if he stays healthy he will add a whole other dimension to the London side. Manchester United, other than adding some interesting prospects to the lineup, haven’t really made any significant changes and have probably fallen more behind Chelsea in terms of quality this season. If Man Utd fell short last year I cant seen them winning it this year. Manchester City certainly have the potential to win the league with all the new signings they have made but it takes a few years to build enough chemistry to transform into a winning side. Arsenal will certainly believe they can win the league but there is no indication that the problems Arsenal have had over the last few seasons, countless injuries and a lack of pragmatism and substance when facing the big sides of the EPL, will suddenly cease this season.
Relegation Picks: West Bromwhich Albion, Blackpool and Wolves.
West Bromwhich and Blackpool, two of the newly promoted teams to the EPL, are probably the weakest sides of the EPL and I really can’t see them surviving. Newcastle, on the other hand, the other team to get promoted, are in the EPL to stay and I’m trying not to let my emotions get in the way, of my analysis here (I’ve always liked Newcastle)! Anyhow this is isn’t rocket science, of course that last sentence did sound like poetry. The third relegation spot is the trickiest one to call and I don’t like saying Wolves because I think Mick McCarthy is a fantastic manager; but I just can’t see them pulling it off again this year. I expect Wigan and West Ham to be a bit better, and I can’t see Bolton, who always manage to stay in the EPL, Sunderland, Fulham, Stoke and Blackburn going down. But, with respect to teams getting religated. the EPL has had its surprises, like Newcastle in the past and Portsmouth last season. The religation battles of this year’s EPL season are sure to be exciting.
The League has kicked off this weekend and there will be a full report available on PSB. If you would like to know which tv channels you need to watch the games, visit the following website: http://www.livesoccertv.com/ .
League soccer is back and im all smiles; what better saturday morning is there, then one of bacon, eggs and English league soccer?
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