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Let battle commence for Premiership crown

Let battle commence for Premiership crown

Aug 9 2007

The Daily Post Sports writers give their tips for the new season

Liverpool Daily Post

Ian Doyle

TITLE CHELSEA: Last season I said anyone but Chelsea would win the league, but this season I believe Jose Mourinho's side will have the bit between their teeth to regain their crown.

Manchester United are great to watch but had fortune on their side somewhat last season, and quite where they'll put all their attacking players is anyone's guess. Liverpool? Good, but not right. Yet.

SURPRISE PACKAGE MANCHESTER CITY: Sven-Goran Eriksson came in for some serious flak during his last year in charge at England, but given the mess Steve McClaren's making most people would welcome the Swede back.

Instead, he's at 'Citeh' where, backed by dubious millions but millions nonetheless, he's splashed out big time. If only half of their new players are a success, they'll have a good season.

ONE TO WATCH ANDY TODD: Heavy-handed defender past his best + Derby team destined for thumpings x 38 games = worth seeing.

GOING DOWN Even before a ball is kicked it's obvious which teams will struggle.

Wigan were a bit lucky to stay up last time, Middlesbrough are simply poor, Reading have little chance of replicating their debut season while Sunderland, despite Roy Keane, lack quality.

They will all escape, Birmingham will not. And Derby will go straight back down, do not pass go, do not collect £200. Fulham - Lawrie 'Larry' Sanchez will guide an abject side to the drop.

Chris Beesley

TITLE MANCHESTER UNITED: After his failed attempts to convert Alan Smith into a midfielder, Sir Alex Ferguson has finally landed a creditable replacement for Roy Keane.

Former Ingerlund whipping boy Owen Hargreaves at long last gets his chance to play in the Premier League and show why he was his national side's most effective player during last year's World Cup finals.

Add another protracted signing Carlos Tevez into the mix and the Red Devils will successfully defend their title for the first time since 2001.

SURPRISE PACKAGE NEWCASTLE UNITED: I see few surprises in the Premier League this year but Sam Allardyce might finally get Newcastle to pull their weight while simultaneously getting them to play ugly.

Meanwhile, newly-promoted Derby County, the team the bookies reckon are dead certs to go straight back down might not be as bad as many experts reckon as they'll be well-drilled under Billy Davies's stewardship.

ONE TO WATCH FERNANDO TORRES: The blond bombshell from Madrid will be eager to show that he's not another Morientes.

He'll be determined to start hitting the scores net on a regular basis as Reds look to fire out of the blocks sharpish in the title race after last season's sluggish start.

GOING DOWN FULHAM, MIDDLESBROUGH, WIGAN: Home form could save Boro but Mark Viduka is a big loss in more ways than one.

As for Wigan, Chris Hutchings also replaced Paul Jewell at Bradford and looked what happened to them.

Fulham have recruited substantially of late but Lawrie Sanchez struggled in the league at Wycombe.

Nick Smith

TITLE MANCHESTER UNITED: Far too many match-winners for the rest to cope with. Unlike Chelsea last year, United have strengthened to the point where the side won't be overwhelmed by expensive newcomers.

Sir Alex will break the new boys in gently but retain last year's core which will be key to following up with a 10th Premiership crown. This is something Chelsea were unable to do last year due to the disruption caused by new arrivals. Jose Mourinho's real problems however came with injuries and this is set to plague him again in the early weeks.

It means Liverpool could seriously challenge for second but there's still far too many unknowns for them to be tipped for the title.

SURPRISE PACKAGE FULHAM: In that it will be a surprise if they say up. But the likes of Healy and Davis turning it on for Lawrie Sanchez in the same strange way they did for Northern Ireland - plus Diomantsy Kamara - should see them do that.

ONE TO WATCH ROBIN VAN PERSIE: Arsenal have no choice but to rely on the Dutchman to deliver this season. Fortunately, he's the closest thing to Thierry Henry and Denis Bergkamp rolled into one that Arsene Wenger could wish for. Expect greatness.

GOING DOWN BIRMINGHAM, DERBY, WIGAN: Wigan won't cope without Paul Jewell. Derby are, well, just Derby and Birmingham are panicking about being without Rafael Schmitz, Mat Sadler (and Damien Johnson) - say no more.


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