Here is how I see the EPL Standing ending up. The season kicks off tomorrow and my team the Citizens of Man City debut Sunday versus two time reigning champ Chelsea.
5. Man United
9. West Ham
10. Aston Villa
15. Man City
18. Sheffield United
Let me get right to what the most likely criticism of my picks will be. Yes, I am devout Man city fan (almost as devout as Oasis I may add) and thus I must be showing my bias by picking Man United 5th, and out of the Champions League, right? WRONG!
Alex Ferguson is one of the great managers of our time but I am beginning to think "Sir" Fergie has reached the end of his shelf life at Old Tratford. Man United now seems to be making the classic blunders that other clubs that have fallen from the top of their respective leagues have made (clubs like Ajax and Real Madrid) by spending too much on mediocre players (like Michael Carrick) and running off Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy among others.
Tottenham Hotspur, on the other hand I have picked 3rd in the table because they seem to have comparable young talent to what Leeds United had in the 1999-2001 time frame and unlike Leeds the club won't bankrupt themselves due to mismanagement. The world got a great look Aaron Lennon during the World Cup, but he is far from only superb youngster that will have a major impact on Spurs chances this season. Attacker Jermain Defoe has been cited by Frank Lampard as a player England should have selected for Germany 2006. Add in the veteran savvy of Robbie Keane, the ball skills of Jermaine Jenas and the fine two way quality of Didier Zokora and you have a budding title contender for years to come.
Now to Fulham, whom I have picked to be relegated. I assume this will be a very controversial pick. But Fulham has done little in the player transfer market to improve itself the past few years and seems to have had the life sucked out of the club by neighboring Chelsea's run of the past few seasons. Chris Coleman who in my opinion is a mediocre manager has kept his job despite the club's poor performances. Besides, a promoted team almost always stays up the following year and I believe Reading will stick, so somebody has to go down. The two weakest returning EPL sides are Fulham and Charlton, but the Addicks boast Darren Bent, one of the best attacking players in England's player pool (Another attacker like DeFoe that Sven should have taken to Germany instead of Theo Wolcott and the injury plagued Michael Owen) and that alone should be enough to avoid relegation.
If you have questions about my analysis of any team, please ask in comments!