Posted by: Pete Robertson | August 12, 2011

Premier League Preview: Top 6

Manchester United

Last Season: 1st.

Transfers: Sir Alex Ferguson acted very swiftly in the summer, completing several transfers before anyone else had even thought about bringing in new faces. In Phil Jones, United have snatched one of the most highly rated young defenders in the country, while big money moves for Spain under-21 goalkeeper David De Gea and Aston Villa winger Ashley Young have also caught the eye.

The Season Ahead: Clearly Sir Alex and his team will be looking to secure their 20th league title, and in doing so show the likes of Chelsea and their city rivals that this evolving Man United team is just as strong as the one that topped the pile last time around. United will also have Champions League ambitions, having just lost out last season to Barcelona.

Predition: United look stronger and more together than their closest competitors, and I see this team lifting the Premier League trophy in May once again. 1st.

Chelsea

Last Season: 2nd

Transfers: More changes to the backroom staff than the players at Stamford Bridge over the summer with the appointment of manager Andre Villas-Boas, but the youngest manager in the league has been busy in the close season. His pursuit of Luka Modric will continue until the final day of the transfer window, but the confirmed addition of Belgian teenage striker Romelu Lukaku will be an encouraging sign of things to come for the Blues, and there may be more young players coming to the club before the end of August.

The Season Ahead: Plenty of questions for Chelsea to overcome in the coming campaign, and the biggest challenge for the new manager will be the club’s away form, which was not good enough last season for them to realistically compete for honours. Villas-Boas must act quickly, and Champions League success is the only goal for owner Roman Abramovich.

Prediction: The Blues will begin to show their age and Villas-Boas must breathe new life and energy into the squad. Champions League will be seen as more important than league success. 3rd.

Manchester City

Last Season: 3rd

Transfers: For the first time in a while its the players leaving the club that have been grabbing the headlines. The Carlos Tevez saga has run all summer, with the player seemingly desperate to leave. However, to replace their captain City have signed Argentine ace Sergio Aguero for a club record £38m. Add to that the now almost definite capture of Samir Nasri and Roberto Mancini’s men will feel they have enough fire power to top their City rivals without last year’s leading goalscorer.

The Season Ahead: More trophy’s are the only aim for City, with their manager Mancini admitting that the Premier League may be another year away. They will target the Champions League as an arena to show off their considerable financial muscle against the very best in Europe, and a good run here will show the clubs owners a continued growth of the team.

Prediction: This is undoubtedly a truly world class team, but still require some time to gel before they top the league. 2nd

Arsenal

 Last Season: 4th

Transfers: It looks like two of the longest running transfer speculations of the summer may be coming to an end, with only the final details to conclude the sales of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and Samir Nasri to Man City. However, with nearly £60m now to spend, it looks as if Arsenal may be leaving it late before bringing in any big names. Striker Gervinho and youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have already been added to the squad though, but surely a defender must now be top of the managers wish list.

The Season Ahead: Fitness has been the problem at Arsenal in recent years, and any hopes of success this season coming will be dictated by whether or not Arsene Wenger can put out a regular eleven week after week. The likes of Robin Van Persie will be especially key, but another season without a trophy would be stretching the patience of players who expect success, and the board who expect the manager to deliver it.

Prediction: Arsenal have been left behind in the transfer window, selling key players and the only team in the top 4 not to re-invest. Could struggle. 5th

Tottenham

Last Season: 5th

Transfers: All quiet on the transfer front for Harry Redknapp and his side this summer. The biggest story coming out of White Hart Lane is their resolute rejection of the advances for Chelsea for midfielder Luka Modric, but the need for a top class striker is clear. With stories linking Peter Crouch with a move away, Redknapp will have to move in the transfer market and may choose to leave it late, as he has done in the last few transfer windows.

The Season Ahead: With no Champions League to concentrate on this campaign, the league will return as Tottenham’s primary focus. That said, without any new players coming through the door Spurs will struggle to keep up with the top 4 and a battle for the Europa League spot may be as good as it gets for the North Londoners this season.

Prediction: Without any new signings Tottenham will be relying too heavily on one or two key players to perform, which is too much to ask for the entire season. 6th

Liverpool

Last Season: 6th

Transfers: Of the top 6 teams, it is Liverpool who have been the busiest over the summer in the transfer market. Manager Kenny Dalglish has heavily bolstered his midfield with the likes of Charlie Adam, Stuart Downing and Jordan Henderson, while also filling the problematic left back spot with Spaniard Jose Enrique. The owners have clearly showed that they have the funds to push the top 4 and reclaim a place in the Champions League.

The Season Ahead: In the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, “Liverpool are back in the game”. The squad looks very strong having been added to both over the summer but also in January, and, providing the new players gel and their talisman Steven Gerrard can stay fit, they have every chance of breaking back into the Champions League places.

Prediction: A revitalised Liverpool will score plenty of goals, and could push the league leaders right to the very end. 4th.

Do you agree with the top 6? Is there a team that should be included? Feel free to have your say below…

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