English Premier League: A look ahead at what is sure to be an interesting 2013-14
By Thomas Atzenhoffer
The 2013-14 English Premier League campaign already looks like a year of great change despite being months from the opening kick off.
What a strange and twisting web of intrigue this summer entails ahead of another English Premier League season. After what many would say was an expected but unexpected retirement in Sir Alex Ferguson, the entire league in many ways looks up for grabs for clubs that had been written off this past season.
Suddenly Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic and Sunderland are all rebuilding. Liverpool continues to build and are a year ahead, but years behind because of having fallen off the face of European football. Tottenham looks a club to beat in many ways, but if they fail to hold onto Gareth Bale and fail to add a decent long term striker to the mix they are in just as big of trouble as anyone.
Last but not least there is also Manchester City, a club that were just not quite up to it in their title defense campaign and their manager paid the price. With some of the final remnants of Mark Hughes’ dead weight finally falling off with the departures of Wayne Bridge and Roque Santa Cruz, a new manager once again will be pulling the strings on the blue side of Manchester with almost a clean slate.
So what is to come next season? Honestly it is a wide open realm of possibility that for once should baffle the minds of everyone.
One of the most interesting dynamics is that of the return of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea and the fact that the now, “Happy One,” comes back to the league while two of his former assistants are now his rivals. Andre Villas-Boas with Tottenham and Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool.
The always outspoken Portuguese manager has never failed to support both of his former right hands in their careers, but how will things fair when master faces his former employees?
Likewise is the merry-go round of managers in the northwest as David Moyes is now the leader of Manchester United after ten years with Everton, as if Liverpool fans did not loathe the Scottish manager enough. However, can the new Red Devil leader end the Wayne Rooney stand off and stamp his mark on Old Trafford, or will the biggest shoes to fill in English Football history be too much for Moyes to handle.
But then you must not forget the appointment of Roberto Martinez to the Everton post. Last season he wasn’t what was desired for Liverpool, now he has the chance to put the knife in the side of Fenway Sports Group no less than twice a year in a way that only fate would have it happen.
Manchester City look to hire Manuel Pellegrini as the replacement for Roberto Mancini, nothing like trading one financially malfunctioning and overspending club for another.
Arsenal are finally starting to clear out the mess of overpriced, underachieving transfer debacles that have plagued Arsene Wenger for the last three or four seasons. Finally, tossing out the waste and admitting to screwing a few things up, eating the financial headache and starting over. For Arsenal fans I am sure it is about time, the Emirates trophy cabinet does not want to go much longer without its own piece of silverware.
And then there are the clubs in the lower half left to fight their way through the mire of mid table mediocrity to make ends meet. Stoke City have went on a limb to hire Mark Hughes, but given the fact that he has to work on a budget the way he did with Blackburn Rovers and Fulham means he might actually have been the right choice.
Sunderland are about to be cleaned out and revamped, but will Paolo Di Canio’s strange antics make him a hero or hindrance to the Black Cats after what was an implosion of a 2012-13 campaign.
The league lost a legend in the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, but for once it looks like the parody of the Premier League’s top half is truly back to full tilt. Despite their triumph in the league, the Red Devils are not likely to be the anticipated favorite.
Chelsea at the moment will be favored as Mourinho is anticipated to take full advantage of his greatest EPL advisory having left his roost. Tottenham and Arsenal will look to make a favored other duo to the trio of impressive London sides and their high expectations.
The Northwest looks a completely new landscape as four of the top seven are all controlled by new managers save Rodgers’ one year Liverpool career.
From a neutral point of view there is nothing better than the new possibilities that now abide in the English Premier League. No one would have ever thought that the departure of one legend, Sir Alex Ferguson, could have set in motion a chain of events and possibilities that could potentially reshape the entire top seven of the league.
With every single major money club in the midst of complete transition and change, this is certain to be one heck of a 2013-14 campaign.