The 2009/10 season is about to kick off in England. The Red Devils of Manchester United have taken home the title the past three seasons and are hell bent on a fourth straight. Last Season also marked Manchester United 18th total title tying them with Liverpool who finished four points off the lead last season. As the two classic “Red” teams lead the way to there potential 19th titles, there will be some fun and intriguing stories to the 110 English Season.
I’ll go worst to first to help keep the you on your tippy-toes.
20. Hull City – It came down to the final game last season for the tigers – miracles aside – Hull just doesn’t have top flight talent. Though American striker Jozy Altidore – gives us a nice reason to keep an eye on this lowly team.
19. Portsmouth – New Owners and a New Manager and a lot of lost talent – um this team just looks BAD! Niko Krancjar is the only watchable player on this torn apart team.
18. Burnley – Barely were promoted (one promotion on the final day) – also top player is turning 39 this year – just not enough going for them to make it two years in the premier – though love there grounds name – Turf Moor!!!
17. Birmingham City – The promoted side has a tough tough defense and a strong Scottish flair with manager Alex McLeish bringing aboard Barry Ferguson. Also watch out for Ecuadorian transfer Christian Benitez to highlight the team.
16. Stoke City – Shocked everyone last year as they finished near the middle of the pack. Love Striker James Beattie, but back-to-back seasons of staying in the premiership is hard with no real signings of note.
15. Wolves – I have a soft spot since Former Man United great Paul Ince player/managed the team up to the premiership earlier this decade – and its another former Red Devil Sylvin Ebanks-Blake leading the way as the wolves main goal-scoring threat. There stadium lies on Waterloo road – so hey why not root for the black and gold wolves!!
14. Sunderland – The Black Cats are a team that has good talent but can’t seem to focus manager Steve Bruce is better then Roy Keane and should keep this team alive and in the mid of the pack all year. Anton Ferdinand up top and Kieran Richarson (former Man United player) lead the way and watch out for Lornik Cana (Marseille transfer) to hold the team together.
13. Blackburn – Another well manager team of Paul Ince who’s moved on and in comes BIG SAM Allardyce of Bolton and Newcastle fame – gotta say this team is a bit weird looking on paper but have a lot of talent for Sam to mold – including Chelsea wunderkin (on loan) Franco Di Santo and then there is the goal-scoring South African Benni McCarthy – love this brash fella from my folks homeland.
12. Bolton – The Wanderers this team just can’t ever get higher then 8th and last year they took a step back. Need Kevin Davies to match or better his twelve goals from last season to even crack this high.
11. Wigan – New Manager, Spainard Roberto Martinez (former wigan player), will have to figure out who will score goals since Emile Heskey and Antonio Valencia have left – but they still have Titus Bramble – what a bad ass name.
10. West Ham – the London Squad had there coach fired mid year and replaced by Italian Legend Gianfranco Zola who brought life to the team. Can’t really say this team will move up or down – they are almost the same squad but have been under Zola from the beginning may help them stay in the top ten.
9. Aston Villa – the Villians (great nickname) were downright awesome last season finishing sixth, but they lost big members in all three levels including captain Gareth Barry (Man City signee). This team has gotten much younger and will dip – but still they play good soccer under Martin O’Neill (the former great manager of Celtic – when they were dominanting Scotland).
8. – Yeah thats right!!!! How do you let your top scoring threat leave for Man City (i know a lot of money) but Arsene Wenger just keeps letting his big name players leave (Thierry Henry anyone) and hoping his youth will pick it up – don’t get me wrong I love the London team’s style of player under there quiet French Manager, but there are to many good teams this year when Barca finally pry Cesc Fabergues from Wenger’s mits then this team will have to many holes to fill. Could mean Arsene’s head if they really drop this far – but that is what i really see happening. Name alone only gets you so far.
Potential UEFA Europa League
7. Fulham – The story last year of the little engine that could – just got better. As one London team falls off – Another steps up. American Clint Dempsey has shown signs that he maybe the best Amderican in England (thats alot to say with Tim Howard at Everton) but Clint came on last year. They finished lucky number seven last year – they’ll repeat that feat and stay in European play.
6. Tottenham – The Red Haired Legend Harry Rednapp is the Manager and all he did was go get Robbie Keane and Jermaine Defoe to partner as his strikers and then he got Frenchmen Pascal Chimbonda to solidify his defense – Harry can lead this team into Champions League as early as this year – but i’m giving them a year to familiarize themselves with Rednapp crazy fits.
Automatic UEFA Europa League
5. Manchester City – No Money doesn’t build champions – but damn if it gets you close – I just don’t understand having two full line-ups that could play in the top ten if they were two teams. Robinho is still the star, but now he has the giant Adebayor to help out. I just don’t see how having 40 guys makes sense when you can only play 11 – pissed off players will keep this team out of the top four and just out of Champions League next season – but Robinho is an INCREDIBLE TALENT.
UEFA Champions League
4. Everton – Good Solid Manager in David Moyers – Good Strong System – and a GREAT GREAT GOALIE – American Tim Howard carries this team on his back and he’ll take them to “Big Four” glory this season. Moyers may have lost a few players to Man City – but he’s trying to hold on to Joleen Lescott (what a crazy story) and he stole Brazilian Jo from Man City – Genius move to ad the flair that was missing from this Stacked team.
3. Liverpool – Yes the Spanish are the top team in the world and the Beatle land is home to a slew of Spanish talent but losing Xabi Alonso is way to big for this team to be one or two. Rafa Benitez has really only swapped players for Xabi he brought in Italian youngster Alberto Aquilani (who was amazing for me as I made Roma the greatest team in history on Fifa 09!!!) but Alberto aint Xabi and Glen Johnson isn’t the full answer in Defense – though he was a huge buy (17 million). Gerrard and Torres have early injury concerns – just don’t see them being better then last year. Though the City of Liverpool has to be happy to see both the name sake and cross town rivals Everton in Champions League play. Its amazing how Tom Hicks can ruin the Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers and the mighty Liverpool!!!!
2. Manchester United – Yes I know its a sin to not pick your favorite team. But how do you lose the best player in the world (sorry Messi – Ronaldo is prettier) and not bring in anyone to replace him. Yeah I know Valencia and the other kiddo’s will be good but in like two or three seasons. When Michael Owen is your big signing you know that Man U isn’t looking hard enough – this is 2009 not 1999. But this team still has the bulldog Wayne Rooney, Rio “the Rock” Ferdinand, and Nani looks like the next big star to come out of Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson is to darn hopeful if he thinks that doing nothing and losing Ronaldo and Tevez will lead to your fourth Straight title.
Champion. – The London Rich Club didn’t go make any huge signings either, but they didn’t lose anyone huge either. The one new face that will lead this team back to the title is there new manager Carlo Ancelotti. You may be asking who is Carlo. Well he is the genius Italian that lead A.C. Milan to DOMINANCE through out the later half of the 90s and into the 21st century. I got to see him in person a few weeks back – and he is so cool and calm. This is the person to lead the veterans on this team back to the championship. Granted I’m still ticked at Owner Roman Abramovich for not sticking with Israeli Coach Avram Grant – but Roman didn’t want any connection to Jose Mourinho. John Terry, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Petr Cech, and Frank Lampard take back the title.