Friday, August 15, 2008

Keane tips Chelsea to win title: Has the Wearside smog affected his vision?

United legend Roy Keane has tipped rivals Chelsea to win the title, when saying that they have a new manager and there's no African Cup of Nations distraction to worry about. It was probably a throwaway line, but it was one that will have bemused United supporters on the eve of another Premier League season.

Keane says that if United sign Berbatov they will have a chance, he could well be proved right because it's doubtful that Ronaldo will score anywhere near as many goals this coming season. Rooney has vowed to improve in front of goal and of course United have Tevez, Campbell and maybe Manucho to call upon too. The widely expected addition of Dimitar Berbatov will do United's chances of retaining the title no harm at all.

While Chelsea will undoubtedly be a threat they didn't look anything like as potent sans the "special one", so it remains to be seen how they will perform under Big Phil Scolari. Chelsea haven't made any really significant signings this summer and so a lot will depend on Scolari's ability to get the very best from what is arguably still the strongest squad in the league.

As for the other title contenders, Arsenal could prove to be the biggest threat to United and Chelsea providing they steer clear of the awful injuries that plagued them last time out, but without Hleb and Flamini in midfield there's bound to be some question marks about the Gunners ability to go the distance. Hleb was one of the most underrated players in the League during his relatively short stint in England and his industry was at the heart of much that was good about Arsenal's play, he will take some replacing.

For their part and going off their midweek Champions League qualifier with Standard Liege, the Merseyside Reds looked terrible and are lucky to be still in the competition. Going off that performance Liverpool will be lucky to finish in the top five. If Liverpool lose Gerrard to injury for any length of time, then the wheels will fall off in short order.

Manchester City supporters were feeling pretty good about their prospects of finishing in the "top six" after beating a rapidly ageing AC Milan, but against FC Midtjylland they were simply outclassed by the Danes. I have already heard Man City fans making comparisons with the appointment of another United legend Steve Coppell who only last 33 days as manager of the Citizens, Hughes has already gone beyond that particular milestone but should City go out of Europe with a whimper and start the season badly then Sparky could soon be looking at the situations vacant columns.

I'm wondering if Aston Villa could be one of the surprise teams of the season, they have a decent manager and there's a degree of stability at the club, it wouldn't surprise me if they finished above Liverpool.

I hope Keano has a good season up at Sunderland, they were a bit unlucky in some games last season. I'm also wishing Steve Bruce well at Wigan. Let the battle commence.

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