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2009/10 English Premier League preview

The English Premier League kicks off the 2009/10 season when last season's FA Cup winners Chelsea take on Hull at Stamford Bridge and maybe now its a good time to take a brief look at the season ahead.

I think one team most people will be looking at next season is Manchester City after the club brought in Gareth Barry, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure.

I will not be surprised to see Mark Hughes adding more quality to his side before the transfer window closes at the end of the month and so on paper they should at least challenge for the title.

I think that even if they don't end up challenging for the title, they should at least finish in the top four places ensuring a champions league place in the 2010/11 season.

Manchester United lost Cristiano Ronaldo who was sold to Real Madrid and added to that they also lost the services of Tevez.

I think it is the services of Ronaldo who they will miss most because the player was their top goal scorer for the last two seasons. Also he drew so much attention and that would free other players.

In return the Old Trafford outfit has brought in Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia and unless they can add on to the list they could find the goals hard to come by this time.

I still think that United are still a strong side will still be favourites to defend their title. I think their biggest challenger will be Chelsea who will now be managed by Carlo Ancelotti.

Ancelotti will come with lots of experience but this will be his first season in the premiership and unless he adjusts quickly his team may struggle a bit. I think its in the Champions League where his team will fare better maybe reaching the final again this time.

Liverpool had a very good season last season and on all accounts should have won the title but I think they will still be strong again this season.

They have managed to retain the key players from last season in Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres and so far they haven't sold any other major player.

The key for Liverpool will be consistence and avoiding the countless draws at home against lowly placed teams. Liverpool did not lose at Anfield last season but they also had a lot of draws which did not help their cause.

I think the team to lose out its top four position to Man City will be Arsenal. So far the Gunners have lost Adebayor and Toure without necessarily replacing them with equally experienced players and so I think they could finish fifth.

I still think Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa will compete for the top eight places with the rest of the teams fighting relegation.

Last season Spurs had a poor start but I cannot see them having a similar start again this season hence I think they will finish in the top eight.

Talking about relegation, normally the first place I look are the newly promoted sides but last season Stoke did very well whilst Hull had a flying start and it was only West Bromwich that got relegated in the end.

This season I think Birmingham will be safe but I am not so sure about Wolves and Burnley. Wolves come in as champions but I think the premiership will be a big challenge for them.

I also expect Hull to struggle after a poor finish to the season last season. If we talk about surprise packets then maybe it will be Fulham and Portsmouth.

Pompey have new owners and if they can get some good players then they can be surprise packets and Fulham had a very good season last on the back of their excellent home record and if they continue in the same vein then they could also be surprise packets.

I will continue with my premiership tipping on TipsChallenge and with the Baggies no longer in the premier league I should fare better than last season.

So lets hope that the best team will win the premiership and I hope we will also see some exciting football.

While most pundits will continue to put Man U as favourites more out of safety than anything else, I think this season has a lot of surprises in store for us.

Gunners are difficult to back but that team has the ability to move just a marginal notch up with ease. Its still largely the same team from last season which didnt get anything but came so close which makes teamwork and continuity a big factor here.

Plus they have the added advantage of having a full season's performance from Arshavin. The only problem I have is the overrated Bendter who is likely to shoulder most of the responsibilities of being the gunman.

I am not sure how mentally Eduardo has recovered. Pool will perform to deceive, not much will change from last season. Chelsea have got the presence of Ancelotti (believe me these things work), and I think they are going to be the new AC Milan (geriatrics who perform).

They have matured and they have the squad which I bet on Ancelotti making good use of. Herein lies the difference with Man City. They have bought but whether they bought what they needed or just because the players became available like in the case of Adebayor, gives more than less unanswered questions.

They still do not have a central key player around which their strategy should evolve, Fabregas for Arsenal, Drobga/Lampard for Chelsea, , Gerrard for Pool, Man U will be scratching their heads on that one. Thats why Barcaelona have been consistent, first with Ronaldinho then Messi. Real have problems managing players and coaches (they are a bad model for soccer, now they have abused half the Dutch national team, all those Dutch players were stars before joining Real and now they are hardly recognisable).

Here is my prediction: Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U, Pool,.......I will write again in May 2010 explaining how I got this one so right.

You could be right Mbareboy but Arsenal second just doesn't seem right. I also think that whatever position Liverpool finishes in, it will be higher than Man U's. I could be and I hope I am. Then there is small issue of Man City. Are they going to finish in the top four or top six? I think top but its early days we will have to wait and see as the season unravels. Thanks.

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