The moment that millions of football lovers have been waiting for is upon us. Starting the 18th of August 2012 the English Premier League will enthrall us once again as the various clubs in Europe's elite league battle for top honours.
Last season left all of us breathless as Manchester City waited until the very last minute to wrap up a nail biting finish to the League and clinch the title. This season promises to give us fireworks and edge of the seat action.
In readiness for the season most of the top clubs contesting for the title have been busy in the transfer window trying to make deals that will give them an added advantage over their opponents.
The Champions Manchester City have maintained most of their Championship winning team. Already City have an early title after they prevailed 3-2 over Chelsea in the traditional season opener the Community Shield.
By and large the mega millionaires from Manchester have been quiet in the transfer window with their most notable acquisition been Jack Rodwell. The club has also shown an interest shown in Royston Drenthe. However going by the strength of their squad with such talent as Vincent Kompany, 'Keeper Joe Hart, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and of course Yaya Toure at Mancini's disposal there is no great need for beefing the squad.
Without a doubt City will be up there with the best fighting for the title although in my estimation they may fall a little short this season primarily because of the challenge that will be posed by Chelsea and Manchester United.
It was a painful season for Manchester United. Deprived of a 13th title by the 'noisy neighbours' the Red Devils failed to fill up their trophy cabinet as is the norm. Man U had a disastrous cup run in all competitions and will want to forget the previous season in a hurry.
However Sir Alex Ferguson has set down the marker this season with the eye catching purchase of Robin Van Persie from Arsenal. In addition the purchases of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell will serve to strengthen the team.
At some point in the season Manchester United players looked a bit leggy and Ferguson will likely seek to acquire more players in the January transfer window to shore up the side. Many football lovers will look forward to seeing the partnership between Wayne Rooney and his new strike partner Van Persie.
I tip the Red Devils to win the title this season though it will be a titanic battle to the death.
Arsenal FC is at the moment a team in shambles. The sale of Robin Van Persie, their outstanding striker last season, to rivals Manchester United has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Arsenal fans. In addition rumours are swirling about the imminent departure of one of their most dependable players Alex Song to Barcelona. Jack Wilshere has also had a relapse injury-wise and will not be available for selection for several months.
The latest joke on social media is that Arsenal ought to change its name to Arsenal D.C. (Arsenal Development Club) as the club is known for developing players for sale.
Last season the Gunners were for the most part in dire straits and it was only through the herculean effort of their top goal scorer Van Persie that the Gunners finished a flattering third. The current team lacks cohesion and despite the acquisition of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Carzola I do not see the Gunners finishing in the top four this season.
Liverpool are looking a safe bet for a good finish in the table this season. Brendan Rodgers exudes freshness at the helm. The purchase of playmaker Joe Allen from Swansea, Fabio Borini, Heereven's Ousmane Assaidi and the rumoured coup over Arsenal for the signature of Nuri Sahin bodes well for the club.
Raheem Sterling the gifted youngster has also given a good account of himself in the pre season and the return to fitness of Captain Fantastic Steven Gerrard and Leiva Lucas is a major boost to the club.
Several old timers like Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez and Craig Bellamy have been released. The team is playing with a purpose, has adopted an exciting brand of football and is likely to challenge for honours in the new season. I predict that Liverpool will break back into the top four.
Chelsea under Di Matteo were a club reborn. At the tail end of the season the club had been written off but Di Matteo brought in a sense of purpose that saw the club beat Liverpool to the FA Cup and shock many by winning the Champions League.
Di Matteo will have his work cut out this season. Chelsea owner Abrahmovich will not be content with anything other than a strong showing in all competitions having spent in excess of 64 million pounds on acquisitions including Oscar, Eden Hazard and Marko Marin. Only time will tell about what impact the departure of Salomon Kalou, Jose Bosingwa and especially Didier Drogba will have on the team.
In my view Chelsea though not in the frame for the title race may oust Arsenal from the third position.
Tottenham Hotspurs surprisingly let go of Harry Redknapp at a time when the team looked really strong last season. The young Andre Villa Boas who had a torrid time managing Chelsea has taken the reigns at White Hart lane.
It will be interesting to see how he will handle the new challenge of managing the London team that is short of confidence having squandered a 13 point lead over bitter rivals Arsenal to finish fourth.
With Louis Saha, Ryan Nelsen and Luca Modric all departing it will be tough times ahead for Spurs.
Newcastle had an exciting season last term with Pappis Cisse and Demba Ba leading the frontline. However things are going to be a bit difficult for them this season with the main contenders for the title jostling for space in the pecking order. The tag they enjoyed last season of the surprise team is now gone and other clubs will have an eye out for the Tyneside outfit.
My final prediction for the top places? Champions Manchester United, runners up Manchester City, third place Chelsea, fourth place Liverpool, fifth place Spurs and finally Arsenal to shore up the top six.
Let the games begin!
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