Looking At Our Premier League Rivals (Part 1/4)

As another Premier League season draws ever so closer and with our title rivals improving their squad, the excitement now is really setting in amongst not just United fans but fans of the beautiful game in general.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all seem destined to dominate the Top 4 again this season. However there are loudening murmurs coming from Anfield that Liverpool may yet sneak in after their rebuilding which has been made since Kenny Dalglish’s return.

Just like United, City and Liverpool have both spent big this off-season and the expectations really are high for them. But despite that, no United fan should be fearful as we begin the defence of our crown.

In a series of articles where I’ll look at the Premier League title contenders, first up let’s have a look at last season’s runners up assessing whether they have enough in them to win the league?

The articles looking at City, Arsenal and Liverpool will follow later today.

Chelsea

It would be fair to say that after last season changes were expected at Stamford Bridge for the coming season. After all under Carlo Ancelotti last season, Chelsea had a major mid-season blip which for a short period of time saw them struggling to hang onto 4th place in the league.

Being dumped out of the FA Cup by Everton didn’t help matters but to their credit Chelsea (with abit of luck) surged on and cut United’s lead at the top of the table to 3 points from 12 to set up a title-showdown at Old Trafford in May. As we thankfully know United went onto win the game convincingly 2-1 which affectivity won us the league.

That title-showdown defeat only added to speculation that Ancelotti was going to get the chop by Roman Ambramovich who after seeing Chelsea outclassed by us in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in April, had seemingly had enough of the Italian who had only won the double the season before.

Change came quickly as seconds after the season ended Ancelotti had been shipped out, like so many mangers before him and over the coming weeks Andre Villas-Boas (which is a cracking name to pronounce) was brought into bring back the glory-days of ‘you know who’ Jose Mourinho. 

Fresh blood is exactly what Chelsea need but Villas-Boas despite being linked with a whole bunch of players from Porto and Luka Modric has yet to bring in anyone. Well tell a lie, he has signed a young Belgian goalie in Thibaut Courtois, but he’s been shipped out on loan to David De Gea’s old side Atletico Madrid.

With Michael Essien out for large parts of the coming season and no replacement currenly linked up, it must be abit of a worry at the moment for Chelsea fans. After all they have an aging squad and Fernando Torres (despite two goals in pre-season) is still uncertain to produce despite his undoubted talent.

Frank Lampard is no longer able to produce his classic surging runs into the box time and time again and Mikel (who signed for us at one stage, least not we forget) is still failing to impress.

Didier Drogba too his credit at 33 years old, is still a key-man for Chelsea this season and at times is an unstoppable force. From what I have seen there is no reason to be overly fearful of Roman’s men, well aside from when Drogba’s on tip-top form.

The pressure is on for Villas-Boas who has declared he will win the Champions League for Chelsea. That of course is exactly what Ambramovich wants more than anything but for this coming season I think it may be a step too early to replicate the kind of success that ‘The Special One’ achieved.

By @DHick92