Viet Nam News
by Paul Kennedy
It seems like only yesterday we were watching the spectacular World Cup in Russia and here we are, on the eve of the Premier League’s curtain raiser.
For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past few months, tomorrow Manchester United take on Leicester City for the start of what I believe will be a fabulous season.
Liverpool have been the big spenders as they hope to close the gap on last year’s winners Manchester City while United, Chelsea and Spurs have all struggled in the transfer market.
So here are my predictions for next season. Agree with me? Or think I’m as mad as a box of frogs? Either way, let me know you thoughts.
Now granted I have been saying “next year will be our year” since about 1994 and at the start of every season I boldly go where every Liverpool fan has been before, and say we will win the league. In the past I’ve actually never believed it, but this year I think Jurgen Klopp has bought well and has created a great team no one wants to play. On paper, Liverpool’s first four games are very winnable before we have a month when Liverpool play City, Spurs and Chelsea. Win those and they will be in the driving seat.
2nd Manchester City
Last year they won the title at a stroll and Pep Guardiola will no doubt be hungry for more. In Kevin De Bruyne they have arguably one of the best players in the world, keep him fit and they will definitely be challenging for top spot once more. Signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester was good business, but this year could well be the break out season for youngster Phil Foden. This kid is class.
3rd Manchester United
Don’t ever, ever write off Manchester United or Jose Mourinho. On the face of it they are a club that seems to be in crisis both off and on the pitch. They’ve had a disastrous pre-season and rumours have emerged that star man Paul Pogba could be Barcelona bound, but despite all this, United will be a tough team to beat next season and Jose will be hungry to prove the doubters wrong.
This is a tricky position to predict. Arsenal and Tottenham will both be challenging for a place in the top four but I think Chelsea will be the team to grab the last Champions League spot. But to do so, they need to get a move on and quickly sign some players before the window closes. And in particular, a goalkeeper as it is looking more and more likely Thibaut Courtois is off to Real Madrid.
I just can’t see anything other than a season-long struggle for the boys from Wales. Neil Warnock may be a colourful manager but when it comes to the Premier League, he’s just not good enough. The only hope they have of staying in the top flight is a good home record if they can make the Cardiff City Stadium a tough place to visit. That said, I don’t have any doubt they will be back in the Championship next season.
David Wagner did an amazing job to keep Huddersfield Town up last season but this time around it will be difficult. Other than Cardiff, the other two promoted clubs, Wolves and Fulham, have better squads to last the distance and I don’t see any problems for those two when it comes to survival.
I’ve always been a fan of the team from the Toon and I would love them to survive this season but sadly I don’t think they will. And it will have absolutely nothing to do with the players, the supporters or their manager, Rafa Benitez. The reason Newcastle will go down this season is because of their owner, Mike Ashley. I’d call him a clown, but that would be unfair to Krusty and co.
FA Cup - Everton
Last season when Ronald Koeman took over at Everton many were predicting a top four spot. But bad buys saw Big Ron get the boot and the team from Merseyside went downhill pretty quickly. This season they have Marco Silva in charge and I predict a strong cup run. As for the league, top ten at best.
League Cup - Manchester United
United won nothing last season and that won’t bode well for the supporters. If Jose stays I can see the Red Devils lifting this piece of silverware next season.
Champions League - Liverpool/Juventus
Okay, so now I’ve officially gone a bit mad. I’d love Liverpool to go one better than they did last season, but if you ask me what I would prefer, Premier League or Champions League then it’s the Premier League all day long for me. So failing Liverpool winning the top prize in Europe I’m going to go for Juventus. Ronaldo for me is the best player in the world and it wouldn’t surprise me if he lifts the trophy in Madrid next year, but this time wearing the black and white of Juve.
Agree or disagree? Log on to vietnamnews.vn and share your opinions. — VNS