Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blue Ribbons on the Premiership Trophy?

This summer has proven to be a huge phony war with the biggest 'transfers' looking to be non starters. Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez, Cesc Fabregas and Gareth Bale are all still with their employers of last term. Many newspapers have effectively been sold debating nothing at all it would seem whilst no one seems to be asking who is going to win?

For good order, we are going to dispense with the sponsors' fueled PC notion that six clubs are in contention. There are only three, one of which resides in the posh part of London and the other two from Manchester.

For the champions it has been a largely unsatisfactory summer. It was always going to be a case of after the Lord Mayor's show after 'Sir' left the building - or at least moved office - but the lack of movement in the transfer market must be a concern for fans of the Reds.

The coming of Fabregas was much trumpeted and he would have surely been a superb capture but ultimately an entirely impossible one. ManYoo romped to the title last season but more due to the deficiencies of their competitors rather than this being a vintage team. They remain a side with an ageing defence and a sub standard midfield.

Their biggest transfer story has revolved around a player wishing to depart the club instead. Poor little rich kid Wayne Rooney who badly wishes to fly the nest having been supplanted by RVP. He was oft overlooked by Fergie last season, the Real Madrid match proving the breaking point we are told.

This of course has been music to Chelsea's ears where the newly styled happy one is back where he belongs on the Kings Road. Never one to miss an opportunity to disrupt the opposition, Mourinho hasn't wasted a second in testing Moyes' mettle with two bids for the unsettled Reds No10.

Moyes and ManYoo have so far stood firm and whilst they run the risk of his value plummeting as his contract runs down there appears to be no prospect of them changing their stance.

Chelsea themselves have spent modestly versus last Summer and with less upheaval to their squad and a proven trophy winner returning at the helm they look well placed to challenge for the title again. Hazard and Oscar will be better for a season in the Premiership and Mata has remained. One must also suspect that David Luiz will be the better for Mourinho shining and taking the rough edges off what undoubtedly is an unpolished diamond.

Chelsea however have not addressed last seasons' deficiencies either with questions remaining in central midfield and at centre forward. Marco Van Ginkel has arrived to bolster the midfield but this has been offset by the slightly curious loan move of Oriel Romeu. It is clear Mourinho retains much faith in a fit again Michael Essien, once a mighty force at Stamford Bridge.

Fernando Torres remains and remains an enigma for Chelsea. It could have been expected that Mourinho would have jettisoned him but the owner appears to wish to persevere and it must be a huge temptation for a manager to be the one who revives his career.

Whilst Rooney now appears to be an unlikely arrival, the answer to their problems may be the returning Romelu Lukaku who netted 17 league goals for mid table West Brom last season. He has excelled in pre season and appears to be exactly the type of centre forward that Mourinho craves. If he has a big season then Chelsea may well indeed be true title challengers.

Whilst all around them have pontificated and postured about buying players, Manchester City have simply written the cheques. Like Chelsea they have suffered previously from absurd decision making up top.

Their decisiveness in the transfer market this time around has betrayed their lack of faith in Roberto Mancini last Summer. It begs the question why they extended his contract in the first place? A last gasp Sergio Aguero goal is not the grounds to base your forward strategy on and shows how inexperienced they remain as a club.

In removing Balotelli, Tevez and Mancini they have dispensed with three of the most combustible and negative elements and in Manuel Pellegrini they appear to have brought in an articulate and highly intelligent coach. They also - at at first glance - appear to have bought very well during the Summer although Fernandinho will have to do much to justify his transfer fee.

Losing Sir Alex and with no new players to speak off, ManYoo would appear to have gone backwards. Chelsea will certainly be stronger but it Manchester City who appear to have stolen a march and for that reason we are picking them for the title - No Nonsense.