The hype and the expectation will soon be over – the Premier League kicks off tomorrow. Here we go again, then. As a Liverpool supporter I have already braced myself for another season of dissapointment, essentially playing a trick on myself to save heartache further into the season, and to make any sort of success a nice surprise.
So, beyond wall-to-wall football, what am I actually looking forward to?
Well, I think we could be looking at an even closer title battle. Last season showed just how narrow the margins of error are. Liverpool lost only two games, but didn’t win the title. It wasn’t the ‘big four’ games that decided the title, it was winning week-in, week-out against the smaller teams. So, essentially, every game matters from day one. This could be the most competitive title race yet.
How Manchester City progress should be fascinating. I’m not convinced they will gel right away, but Mark Hughes has done a good job of bringing in some proven Premier League would should settle soon enough, so they do seem the great unknown quantity.
The relegation fight could be fiercer than ever too. Hull and Stoke showed last year that you just can’t write off any team coming up. And Newcastle showed anyone can do down. And this year there are so many clubs who conceivably could get relegated. Taking a quick look at the Paddy Power site, seven teams are 4-1 or worse (down to odds-on) for the drop. There are probably ten or eleven clubs who will be looking at getting the mythical forty-points-for-safety before worrying about getting into Europe or anything fancy like that.
Finally, World Cup year. Everyone is going to be out to impress.
So, I’m strangely optimistic about this season. Hopefully no one team will run away with it, and no team will stay rooted to the bottom, and things will stay interesting. How do you think this season will pan out?