Invisible Man

Invisible Man

Saturday, 14 May 2011

King Kenny's return sparks Premier League 'Game of Thrones'

So with ‘King Kenny’ being etched back on to the managers door at Anfield, and John W Henry seemingly ready to splash the cash, could next seasons title race be the most exciting yet?
Lets have a look at the five main reasons each team could win the title;

1) Alex Ferguson – Even with a potential Champions League and League double on the horizon, the canny old Scot has no intention of throwing the towel and has inexplicably created another team capable of ruling the roost for the next five years.
2) Ryan Giggs/Paul Scholes – Despite their ‘Peter Pan-like’ fitness and timeless reading of the game, it could well be next year is the last we see the mercurial mid-fielders grace Old Trafford. Will they want to go out on a high? You can count on it.
3) Rafael/Fabio – Everybody said Ferguson could never find two players as versatile and combative as the Neville brothers. How wrong were we? He went one better and found a pair which are identical.
4) Javier Hernandez – 20 goals in his debut season, and a bargain at £8 million. Next season will be a massive one in the development of the Mexican, but if Manchester United are going to win the title then goals likeHernandez‘s against Chelsea will be massive.
5) Darren Fletcher – Manchester United have somewhat missed the drive and big-game mentality of Fletcher. With Fletcher in mid-field United would almost certainly be in the FA Cup final. The Scot will be massive if United want to beat Barcelona in a fortnights time.
1) The price of oil – With a £70 million plus outlay in January on Torres and David Luiz any lingering doubts Abramovich was losing interest in the Blues have soon been dispelled. Will almost certainly look to spend more to end Champions League misery.
2) Insert manager here – With Carlo Ancellotti set to be shown the door, the man Chelsea bring in will be key to whether they challenge for the title or not. Guus Hiddink is the preferred target. Talk of Zola is just madness.
3) Fernando Torres – The Spaniard will no doubt spend his summer shopping for a new pair of shooting boots. With rumours of Drogba and Anelka on the way out, Torres will have to be at his best. When he’s good, he is very very good – just ask Liverpool Fans.
4) Frank Lampard – Was sorely missed in early part of season with a hernia injury, and took a while to find his form again. His goals from mid-field have been key in all of Chelsea past successes.
5) Champions League Draws - Abramovich’s long standing dream. Be under no illusion what ever manager comes in their main goal will be to secure Europe’s main piece of silverware (in particular if Manchester United Win it again).
1) A goalkeeper - Must surely be top of Wenger’s shopping list. Talk of Ben Foster is madness. He didn’t make the grade at United, and they know a few things about goalkeepers.
2) A centreback - After browsing the goalkeeping isle Wenger will most likely shuffle to the defender section of the transfer market. Has never really ever replaced Gallas, Campbell or Adams. How Arsenal have gone so long without replacing such key players is remarkable.
3) Robin Van Persie – When the Dutchman is fit and firing there aren’t many strikers in Europe let alone the Premiership who are much better. Must sort out his fitness issues.
4) Thomas Vermaelen – It is hard to remember the big Belgian actually plays for Arsenal. The lack of his physical presence at set-pieces has been so often Arsenal’s downfall (a casing point is the loss against Bolton).
5) The fans – Arsenal have not quite got back into gear following the move from Highbury. If the fans can turn their ground into the fortress they will certainly be in contention. Don’t forget Manchester United’s away form has been questionable, but nobody can hold a candle to the Champions elect home form.
Manchester City
1) The never ending depth of Sheikh Mansours pockets - With Champions League Qualification secured the money will start rolling again. Expect high profiling signings.
2) Roberto Mancini - Despite a successful season, all to often Mancini’s defensive tactics on the road have led to key losses against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and at home to Arsenal. No doubt Mancini will be aware of the phrase ‘if you want to be the best you have the beat the best’.
3) Carlos Tevez - If he leaves Manchester City then they will need to find somebody else to supply those goals.
4) Edin Dzeko – Could he be that somebody?
5) The Champions League – Just take evidence from Tottenham this season of the effects of competing at Europe top table.
1) Kenny Dalglish - Is he the main to restore the glory days to The Kop? Or will second season-syndrome kick in early?
2) Andy Carroll/Luis Suarez – Have shown massive potential in several games this season – including against Manchester City. If they can fire together then the sky may be the limit.
3) Europa League – Even with a star studded squad, competing Thursday-Sunday and sustaining a push for the title is impossible. Just ask Roberto Mancini.
4) Steven Gerrard – The talismanic mid-fielder has struggled with injury this season. Will be instrumental next season under ‘King Kenny’ as it may represent his last chance to push for the league title.
5) John W Henry – Will he spend big this summer and back the manager as promised? Although so far so good for the Americans, this summer will be a big test of their commitment at Liverpool.
1) Harry Redknapp – The canny old manager has been unfortunate with injuries this season, but even so has persisted with attractive attacking football and won some big games. Experience against Europe’s elite will only benefit. Conversely he may just plod along until being given the keys to the England team bus.
2) Luka Modric – Although Gareth Bale has been the poster boy of the season, this man makes them tick.
3) Gareth Bale – Aforementioned poster boy, but is only going to get better from here on in.
4) Money – Without Champions League Qualification there will have to be some assessment of certain players on big wages, and will have to rethink some transfer policies.
5) Key Transfers – Spurs need to strengthened in some key areas;
(i) A goal keeper – they cannot go on with Gomes and his high profile gaffs. They. Just. Can’t.
(ii) Centre back – I don’t think pinning hopes on chronically injured Woodgate and King is the way forward
(iii) Strikers – Lack of goals from Crouch and Defoe in particular has led to too many draws. Why did they sell Bent?

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