Some thoughts ahead of the new season

The time we have been waiting for is finally here! After almost 3 months of boring weekends, the Barclays Premier League is back in full swing! This season will definitely be one of the most interesting in decades. Mainly due to the fact that for the first time in 20 or so years, Manchester United will be without Sir Alex Ferguson (chewing gum sales are expected to drop this season). In addition to that, we have the return of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea. How long will he stay - or be allowed to stay - this time? We'll have to wait and see. This season also ushers in a new era of technology in the game with the addition of goal-line technology. How will it perform? And then of course we have the whole title race to talk about. With the three strongest clubs in England having new managers (Mourinho can be considered "new"), which team will gel the fastest and be the most impressive throughout the season? There's definitely a lot to look forward to this season, and here's a quick round-up of my thoughts as we approach kick-off in just one more day.

The Top 3
There has been a slight power shift in the Premier League these past few seasons. Clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool have become more like Europa League candidates rather than Premier League contenders. The Top 4 of Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea have now become a Top 3 in my book, consisting of Man United, Chelsea and Man City. I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe that Arsenal and Liverpool will do any better this season than they did last season. Arsenal haven't won anything in almost 10 years, and the last time Liverpool won the league, De Gea wasn't even born yet! Man United are current champions, Chelsea will definitely improve with Mourinho back, and Man City will always be a threat with their bank account. So this year I expect the race to the top to be a three-horse race. 

Mourinho will bring Chelsea back to the top
When Mourinho was at Chelsea during his first stint, Chelsea were almost invincible. Their record at Stamford Bridge was impeccable, and was the foundation with which they built their championship winning seasons on. After his departure, Chelsea just weren't the same. Now that he's back though, I expect Chelsea to be back to their best. It might take some time, he did after all inherit a team which has seen 8 different managers since his departure six years ago. One thing's for sure, I will definitely be slightly more anxious than before when his team visit Old Trafford on the 26th of August.
The Special One returns. Image: Huffington Post
Moyes can expect criticism at every turn
How do you fill in the shoes of the greatest manager of all time? You can't. That's the hard truth that Moyes can expect as Sir Alex's successor. He has already received some criticism for his shortcomings in the transfer window thus far, and if Man United get off to a rocky start to the campaign, you can expect he will be on the end of a barrage of criticism as the season progresses. I have faith in him and the club as I always have. I hope Man United can prove to the rest of the league that given the appropriate amount of time (and resources), any club can be successful. I hope he gets enough time to make his mark at a club who has only known the ways of Sir Alex for the past 20 years. But if you were to ever bet against Man United, now might be the best time to do so.

Goal-line technology
One of the most demanded additions to the sport over the past few years has finally been added. With goals being the deciding factor between teams, it's almost a no-brainer as to why so many people wanted this technology. And with the league being decided on goal difference two seasons ago, you can see just how important goals are in the sport. I can't wait to see this technology be called into play for the first time this season, whenever that may be. Last season, there were 31 goal-line incidents throughout the season. But of those, only three were mistakenly judged by the officials. So it might be a while before we actually see goal-line technology be useful. But the more important question I think, is where do we go from here? Officials are already communicating with each other with headsets, we now have goal-line technology. Will we see instant replays soon? Will handballs and penalty decisions be aided by a quick 15-second replay? Who knows. This season will definitely be a turning point when it comes to the use of modern technology in the sport. 
This hopefully won't be a problem this season. Image: Daily Mail
Predictions
I'm not into predictions. Match day predictions are OK, but season predictions are mostly just guesses. I doubt anybody predicted Man United would win last season after Man City won the year before. But a preview would be incomplete without a prediction, so here it goes. As much as my heart wishes United will retain the title, I feel Chelsea might be a bit too strong with Mourinho back at the helm. This is one time where I hope I'm dead wrong with my prediction. Man United and Man City to make up the top three, with Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool completing the top 6. Southampton, Sunderland and Crystal Palace to be relegated. Again, this is basically just a random guess.

So there you have it. Some thoughts of mine before the season gets underway. What are you looking forward to the most from the new season? And who do you think will walk away in May the champions of England?

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