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A New Dawn - A Look At The Big Boys - Part I

So, it's August again, the English Premier League is set to take over the football world- its supposedly the best league in the world according to UEFA listings, even though none of the top teams got past the quarters in an otherwise English dominated UEFA Champions league. The summer offered us a wonderful World Cup, with the emergence of an international youth philosophy in Germany, the deviation from total football by Holland and a Barcelonesque touch from Europe to World domination by Spain.

It had a lot to offer about team tactics, formations and organization, witnessing the fall of a rigid 4-4-2 of England, who were ruthlessly derailed by the Germans. Other than the tournament, the summer has been stuck to dry speculation on transfers without much activity in the market due to the clubs' inability to spend following global meltdown! .

However, these recession terms do not apply to the Blue side of Manchester, they just keep coming up with the money out of the Sheikh's oil well. It would be interesting to see how they perform as well as accord to newly implemented UEFA Financial Fair play rules. Anyway, without further ado, we'll get down to analyze how the teams challenging for the title will perform in the new campaign.

Tottenham Hotspur - The Spurs are on their high and are in Europe after a long spell of 50 years in the sidelines. They currently field an ambitious manager in 'Arry Redknapp who is looking at top signings and is making claims that this could be Tottenham's chance to repeat the glory days of 1961 and bring home the League title.

But with the new 25 man rule coming in to effect this season, it will force the Spurs to leave Jonathan Woodgate out of the squad as mentioned by the Manager. Luka Modric and Gareth Bale are key to their performances. However with an ageing backline and a low yield in the Under-21 department, they don't have a big enough squad to play top football all season long and to land the crown this season.

Prediction - dropping out of the top 4 spot to be leapfrogged by either of Manchester City or a Roy Driven Reds machine!

Manchester City - Citeh have bolstered their squad with World Class talent. Their defence is taking shape with the likes of Jerome Boateng and Kolarov coming in. Roberto Mancini is knitting his defense up tightly with the beast from Cote D'Ivoire Yaya Toure to shore up the space sitting in front of the defensive four, giving the full backs license to attack.

Well, they don't need that however, they've added Valencian Gun powder David Silva to their ranks alongside Carlos Tevez and company. The Spine of the team is complete through Given/Hart (Premier League's best prospect) to Kolarov to Toure to Tevez. It is a new look to the Manc's. However, they will take time to gel as shown by their pre season results.

The coordination of the team lies in the manager's hands at the moment and how they do that will decide on how they finish in the table. Mancini also faces the 25-man rule, Citeh have to cut down 7 to 8 players to fall within the rules. The likes of WC finalist De Jong, To! go striker Adebayor, Kompany and Craig Bellamy already feel the axe hanging near their necks. How they will be sold in the market with their current wage demands would be interesting to see.

Prediction- they will come good this season, they'll do a Chelsea and buy the trophy - but not this year, they will take their time to get their games going, while the other big teams will have a comfortable leeway to bank on. They'll get the elusive top 4 spot this season. But they are a team to watch out for in the future!

Liverpool - The Insolvents as they are called these days are taken over by the Manager of the season 2009-2010 Roy Hodgson. He has started with the signing of Joe Cole on a free transfer. He is pretty much a like-for-like replacement for Yossi Benayoun with a slightly higher affinity towards the treatment table.

Liverpool have the futures of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres decided and they will provide adequate fire power along with a healthy Alberto Aquilani. New Scottish addition 18 year old Danny Wilson will provide cover to the Reds defence. However, they risk losing Argentine Captain Javier Mascherano to the lure of Rafa Benitez from Italy.

Negative as this may be, this might be a new light for Liverpool as Gerrard can slot in with a more box-to-box role while Aquilani or Joe Cole can push higher up the pitch with Lucas sitting ! at the top of the back four. It's a big year for Dirk Kuyt, David Ngog and Ryan Babel as they will be required to perform when El Nino is not available.

Prediction - They will require an injury free year to Gerrard and Torres to break in to the top four again. It looks highly likely that they'll be battling with Manchester City for the fourth spot. Roy Hodgson will do well and with the Chinese proposition coming along, he'll get money to add to the squad either before Sept 1st or in January transfer market. It' s either Fourth or Fifth for the Reds this season.

Article submitted by Sriram Iyer




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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday August 9 2010

Time: 9:06AM

Your Comments

Sriram Iyer - Your chosen article title was slightly to big to fit in our headliner so I had to change it slightly, I hope that is ok!
Rocky7
Funny how you think Spurs dont have a big enough squad but u dont seem to think liverpool have any such problem. our squad has way more depth than liverpool's
Yid_from_India
Rocky 7, thanks for publishing it, I know it is 4000 words! But the original was around 12000 words! Anyway, Yid, I mention about the Spurs lack of depth because they play in the UCL and not Liverpool, if you don't want me to give attention to your European adventure, then fine!
Sriram Iyer
I agree with your prediction, i think City will overtake us. But your reasons imo are lame, a low yield under 21 squad? We have 1 of the youngest squads in the prem, but i wont be too hard on you, it is hard to criticise us these days. :)
HuddersfieldYiddo
But didn't your manager tell to BBC that he will be forced to leave Jonathan Woodgate out and how many Under 21's in your squad get in to the first team? Comparatively you have a thinner squad and I brought the depth of the squad into focus as you play extra games in the CL. Again, if you don't want European attention, then we can't help :P
Sriram Iyer
Who are The Spurs?
shewore
I agree with those predicitons Rocky, the top three will remain the same, Liverpool and Citeh will battle it out for fourth. Spurs could possibly challenge for fourth if they avoid the CL groupstages. But that's unlikely and they will find it too difficult to balance the EPL and the CL in their first season in the competition.
gronedrone
Not my predictions Gronedrone! Sriram Iyer submitted the article, I just posted it :)
Rocky7
Oh sorry.
gronedrone
@Gronedrone- Thanks for agreeing with me! Exactly my point, the CL will take its toll on the Spurs!
Sriram Iyer
Those with dodgy back four's and smallish squads shouldn't cast stones.
Clive 49
Smallish squads! Have a laugh! Back four will be sorted out! Wait and watch!
Sriram Iyer
we have 2 top class goal keepers in Gomes and Cudicini ( and a 3rd one on his way in the form of Pletikosa)... Defence- King, Woodgate,Dawson,Bassong, Kaboul, Corluka, Hutton, Ekotto, Bale (and youngsters like Naughton , Walker, dervitte in reserve).... Midfield- Palacios, Huddlestone, Jenas, Modric, Kranjcar, Sandro, Lennon, Benltey ( and youngsters like Rose ,O hara and Bostok)....... strike force - Pavlyuchenco, Crouch, Keane , Defoe and Giovani dos santos..... that to me is plenty of strength in depth
Yid_from_India
Id have to agree my Indian friend. Only missining ingredient imo is an absolute world beater. We have plenty of top quality players, and the 4th best team in the country - but that very top quality we have none. Think Modric or Bale if they scored 20 a season. Possibly only the octopus comes close to that bracket. On the contrast Man Utd have about 4, Chelsea have a good 4/5, Arsenal have 2, Liverpool have 2. City have Tevez.
HuddersfieldYiddo
That sounded a bit wrong, but you know what im getting at.
HuddersfieldYiddo
@Yid from India- Yes, I agree, but King is like our version of Sol, can't play two games a week (with the CL you'll have that problem) Woodgate- injured- maybe left out of the squad. The others are good accepted but will they be able to handle the rigours of both leagues, is a question of perspective! Last season, you had the same lot, but you suffered defensive lapses. Under 21's, tell me who has had a lot of first team appearances in your team. If they have, I haven't noticed. Midfield is packed but you don't have a player who can stand up and beat a team on their day. Strike force- Wasn't Keane in talks of a possible transfer? Defoe is a neat finisher, Crouch is good. Pavlyuchenko has to step up- he wasn';t in the picture till January last year remember. While Giovani is rarely ever been seen in a Spurs shirt. Anyway, my point is UCL and Premier League in the same week, will take the juice out of your team and fitness will be key. If they are jaded, they'll lose points. @Hudd- you seem to agree with my point on the Midfield section!
Sriram Iyer
 

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