Saturday, August 18, 2012

EPL Preview

This post is written by Travis Lankford. You will see him nearly every week with his thoughts on all things Premier League

That wonderful time of year is upon us – yes, the new season of the Barclay’s Premier League begins this weekend. It seems like only yesterday when Sergio Aguero fired in the game winner for Manchester City and cemented their place as champions. The only regret of this opening weekend is that it will pale in comparison to the drama of that day. However, there is much to look forward to this season. 

Manchester City is still the deepest squad but Manchester United now has RVP and a healthy Darren Fletcher. Not to mention the signing of Shinji Kagawa to take over as United’s midfield general. Arsenal have signed Podolski and Giroud; yet, Van Persie has switched to the red half of Manchester and Song looks set to join Barcelona. Their new signings will have to step up significantly and the question of the captaincy at Arsenal has been raised again. Chelsea have done the opposite and used the influx of Champions League winners cash to bolster their squad further and are still linked with a trio of signings. The managerial merry-go-round halted, for the moment, as Roberto Di Matteo was rewarded with a two year deal after winning both the FA Cup and Champions League. Tottenham have Chelsea’s failed revolutionary, Andre Villas-Boas, as their new manager. The deal is not done but their mercurial midfield maestro, Luka Modric, is on the way to Real Madrid and Tottenham do not have a suitable replacement. They have, however, been able to hang onto Gareth Bale which is a huge plus for them. The team does look very unfamiliar with AVB’s preference of a high defensive line and pressing when off the ball.

There hasn’t been much activity on Newcastle’s accord and it will be interesting to see if their defense holds up and if Ba and Papiss Cisse can finally fire on all cylinders together. Everton have lost their prized midfielder, Jack Rodwell, to Manchester City but the squad is otherwise intact. David Moyes has a knack for getting the best out of average players (England job, anyone?). Liverpool hired Swansea’s former coach in Brendan Rogers, whom hopes to instill his philosophy onto a squad not suited for it. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact Joe Allen has on his new team.

The biggest question amongst the mid-table teams is whether Swansea will be able to replicate their form of the past season without their manager that led them to some historic results. I sadly don’t find much of the mid-table battles to be very interesting but these teams directly impact the success and failure of the champions and the wannabe’s.

The relegation battle should be another drama-filled race to the final matchday. The newly promoted teams are Reading, Southampton, and West Ham; the latter being the leader in capturing the newly deserted Olympic Stadium in London. Other teams fighting to stay up will most likely be comprised of Norwich, West Brom, QPR, and Wigan. QPR have added to their squad and Wigan will enjoy cashing in on Victor Moses.

The ultimate excitement with Matchday One is the fact that the season is finally upon us and the race to the top is about to begin. The races at both the top and bottom of the table will start on Matchday One and end on Matchday Thirty-Eight. The Premier League is the greatest club soccer league in the world for a reason; it never fails to deliver the drama. Go ahead and take some blood pressure medication now as any fan of a Premier League team will need it at some point this season. Rejoice everyone! The Premier League is upon us!

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