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2011/12 English Premiership Preview

2011/12 English Premiership review The English Premier League kicks off over the weekend with defending champions Manchester United going for their 20th title.

I think this season is going to be much tougher especially with the emergence of Manchester City as real title challengers and with Liverpool regrouping after two "bad" seasons where the team has finished outside the top four positions.

I think the days of the top four are gone now and what we have now is a top three and then a top six.

I think in the top three there are the two Manchester teams United and City and then Chelsea.

Manchester United has brought in Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David de Gea and the team will not sit back but will try and to successfully defend its title.

I can see the strongest challengers being Man City and Chelsea.

Chelsea's purchases so far has been young promising players and I think the new manager wants to have a mixture of youth and experience. Players like Ramires will be in their second season and so the team should not have the dip in form like last season that caused them to drop down to fifth at one stage.

Man City have brought in Sergio Aguero, Gael Clichy, Stefan Savic and Costel Pantilimon so far but it is Aguero who I think will make the difference for them.

I think they need to play like champions but not as defensive as they were last season only to react when they are down.

I think Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham will complete the top six and fight for fourth place.

I think there will be a big improvement in a Liverpool team that finished sixth and is out of Europe for the first time in many years. I think not being in European competitions will help Kenny Dalglish's side concentrate on the league.

Arsenal tend to start the season very well but towards the end they falter. This has happened in the last two seasons and it could happen once again. If it happens this season then they could finish fifth or sixth.

I think one of the strongest teams outside the top six is Everton despite no activity on the transfer market so far.

I think its fair to say that the rest of the teams are just trying to stay in the division.

There has been a lot of movement at Sunderland after a slide in the second half of last season and on paper Steve Bruce has a team to finish in top half of the table.

The other two teams I tip to be in the top half are Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers.

Leading the bottom half will be the likes of Newcastle, Fulham and Stoke City.

As for relegation, I have seen anything from three new teams QPR, Swansea and Norwich City to suggest they have much stronger teams than last year's teams.

The same can also be said of Wigan Athletic, Blackburn and Wolverhampton Wanderers who just managed to survive relegation and I think those six teams will be candidates for relegation.

Once again this season I will be putting my predictions on TipsChallenge and hoping to finish in the top half.

I think Liverpool will surprise a few people this season. Under King Kenny I see as them as title contenders and not fighting for fourth place or anything like that.

Liverpool has bought the right players whilst rivals like Spurs and Arsenal haven't done any meaningful business so far. Our only challenge will come from ManU but we need to do a double on them.


Man U and Chelsea look like they are ahead of the pack in terms of stability and continuity for me. So, top spot will be a fight between the two of them.

Chelsea with a bit of consistency could have won last season but they left the charge to the finish line a bit too late. Man U still look good but I think people are putting money on them more because of Sir Alex Ferguson's pedigree than anything else. They have lost a bit of their invincibility and they look beatable.

Chelsea have the ammunition and experience to determine their destiny easily.

I am not totally convinced that Man City are a credibe top notch team to win the league. They are still just a bunch of good players and looking at Mancini and his tactics, he does not look like he is up to speed with the demands of the EPL yet. They still have to decide on their gunman, a consistent scorer and how to support him to take them to the next level.

While they are spoilt for choice in terms of selection, they look like they dont understand who is who and where in their formation (i.e. if they have got one). Their pursuit of Nasri is not about filling a gap in terms of skills or position, its more about upsetting Arsenal and using that to get a competitive edge. The really dont need him and Silva is more potent than Nasri.

While its difficult to talk up Arsenal's chances, a lot depends on how they are going to replace Fabs and Nasri. I feel it could be easy to replace Nasri, but Fabs has some of the best statistics you can find of any player in the world in terms of goal assists, completed passes, getting fouls(it helps, believe me), distance covered per game, etc.

All they need is consistency from the likes of Theo (who had a brilliant start to the season last year) and all year round participation from van Persie. They can easily finish in the top four if they sort out their defence frailties. One good thing about Arsenal is that their type of play involves the whole team and Wenger is good at adapting technical players to play his style.

They had no problems scorig goals last season. If they can deal with the second half of the season fizzling out and tighten defence, they can easily have a say on who tops the league.

I know people are using the second half of last season resurgence by Pool to rate them highly for this season, to me they look like they are still in a building and consolidation phase.

Spurs, Everton, Stoke, and Sunderland will do well to cement their second tier club status.

Thanks Bambo for the comment. I think its going to interesting how Arsenal replace Fabregas and Nasri if they eventually go because they are key players for the team. But even then how much of an influence can the replacements coming when the season has already started? That could be the difference, I think.

There is no need to look beyond Man utd for the championship.

Man city are pretenders, a team that leads 2-0 at half time and then lose in my eyes do not look like champions material.

A lot is said about the Tevez and Aguero combination, it hasnt even worked for the Argies and so why would it work now at City.

Liverpool has bought a lot of unproved players that may help them finish in the top four and nothing else really. Gerard half the time is injured and they depend on him, he is their talisman.

Arsenal's squad looks like an Olympic squad with a few over aged players. Dont expect much from that bunch.

Chelsea and Spurs not convincing. So the title will stay at Old Trafford.

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Thanks Sybil, I think Man City cannot easily be dismissed, the early fixtures will tell.

Good post, this looks like a very unpredictable season. I am more interested in the in the promoted teams after Blackpool's adventures last season. That brought a breath of fresh air.