The waiting is finally over - praise the Lord
Published 16/08/2014 | 00:00
OH, the weather outside is frightful. But the fire is so delightful. And since we've no place to go. Let the Premier League begin!
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout - I'm telling you why! Agony, ecstasy, heartbreak, delight, misery and euphoria are coming to town! And they'll be coming in 38 90-minute instalments.
It is so close that I can taste it. It has been three long, hard months since Vincent Kompany raised the Premier League trophy above his oblong head and in approximately 100 hours, the class of 2014-'15 will commence.
Who will be the teacher's pet? Who will flunk out? What players will flourish and what new signings will be discarded like leftover morning-after pizza?
There are so many ifs and buts attached to this season's title race, it is unbelievable.
As always, it is nigh-on impossible to predict what wonderful events will unfold between now and the start of next summer but that hasn't stopped this eejit from having a crack at it nonetheless (no doubt the majority will come back to bite me on my peachy bum but if you don't shoot, you don't score).
I have plumped for Chelsea to scoop the grand prize. They've strengthened in all areas and most importantly, seem to have added goals in the form of Diego Costa and Didier Drogba.
The latter may be past his sell by date but he's still a brute and will pose more threat than Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o, and the addition of Cesc Fabregas leaves them with a midfield that's juicier than an apple orchard.
The champions will of course fancy themselves to defend their crown.
They have added some new faces but nobody of the eye-catching variety - not that they needed more reinforcements. Frank Lampard's loan switch is an interesting one but his arrival at the Etihad will have no bearing on the destination of this year's title.
The same cannot be said of Luis Suarez. Love him or loathe him, the guy is an outrageous talent and is threatening to burst the bubble of the seemingly untouchable duo of Messi and Ronaldo. Brendan Rodgers has wasted no time in trying to plug the hole the Uruguayan has left behind but one fears that no amount of square pegs can fill his round hole (careful now).
Arsenal have had a most un-Arsenal like transfer market. Want-away defender Bacary Sagna got his wish and was swiftly replaced by two better options, and Arsene Wenger found his Christmas wishes fulfilled as Chilean ace Alexis Sanchez touched down and he is a man that will take the league by storm.
Manchester United may not be to everyone's liking but they too have recruited wisely this summer. Having discarded all their deadwood, Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw were snapped up and the Red Devils will now look to drink from the fountain of youth. The jury will be out on Herrera for quite a while and the fee paid for Shaw is ridiculous but nevertheless, it's an improvement. Improvement enough to propel them back into title contention? I think not, but the top four should definitely be in their sights.
Spurs and Everton will be reading this (of course they will) wondering why they haven't been mentioned yet. Well, here ye are. There is something thoroughly unlikeable about the Londoners. Maybe it's their fans. Maybe it was Harry Redknapp's droopy heroism. Maybe it was the sickening love-in for Scott Parker every time he took to the pitch at White Hart Lane. Whatever it was, I don't like them. Last season will go down as a transitional one for them and although I expect a marked improvement from them this term, they'll still be a few cents short of a euro.
Everton put their cards firmly on the table when they splashed £28,000,000 on Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has a point to prove to show the world that Jose Maureen-ee-oh was wrong to write him off. I miss Lukaku's Bosco hair but he is a man-mountain and potentially an absolute dominant force that could fire Everton to Europe.
The mid-table muddlers can feck off. If you're not first you're last so we shall now fast forward to the race to avoid the wooden spoon.
As always, the new boys will be labelled with the favourites for the drop. Burnley, Leicester City and QPR will be written off by many before a ball has even been kicked.
I would not be so lazy as to take the simple option so instead of predicting peril for those three, I'll withdraw QPR and cast aspersions on Aston Villa instead.
They've been clinging on for dear life in the past few seasons and I think their time is up, so they'll be joining Burnley and Leicester in the second tier next term.
* Disclaimer: The transfer window is still open so on the off chance that I don't get all six predictions right, then it is entirely down to subsequent transfers not known at the time of writing and it is not due to a lack of expertise.
PS: As a Liverpool fan, I've got a fierce attraction for Coutinho and Sterling this year.
Top Four: Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool.
Relegated: Leicester City, Aston Villa, Burnley.
Player of the Year: Eden Hazard.
Young Player of the Year: Raheem Stering.
Top Goalscorer: Daniel Sturridge.