Premier League 2014/15 Preview

30 Jul 2014

The start of the new Premier League season is just over two weeks away and after a World Cup full of action, drama and despair, it is hard not to think that we are in for similar instalments of such drama offered up from the best teams across England’s top tier.

Many managers have bought shrewdly this summer transfer window, using the World Cup tournament in Brazil as a guiding light as to where to spend their money and which players deserve to be invested in, but few can argue that “The Special One” Jose Mourinho and his beloved Chelsea have spent most wisely so far.

Mourinho is running out of tactical excuses at Stamford Bridge now having finally signed his man, Diego Costa. The Spaniard was at the top of Chelsea’s wish list despite a less than stellar World Cup, as Mourinho made clear during the course of last season that he was less than impressed with the striking options he had inherited. Pair Costa with fellow Spanish international Cesc Fabregas, former Atletico teammate Felipe Luis and the return home of Didier Drogba and it is hard to argue that Mourinho has had anything less than a perfect window as he builds for the coming season.

Chelsea’s odds of Premier League glory with leading bookmakers have been slashed to reflect this and the betfair sports-book have even gone so far as to make Mourinho’s men heavy favourites for the title this season, at a price of 15/8.

Man City aren’t too far away however, as they are a closely priced second favourite at 9/4 – also with Betfair - and while Manuel Pellegrini is yet to invest heavily in his side, they have enough depth within the squad to worry enough Premier League defences and retain their much-coveted Premier League crown. Bacary Sagna has arrived on a free, Willy Caballero has arrived from Pellegrini’s former side Malaga and Fernando has joined to undoubtedly strengthen the midfied, but City’s biggest coup this summer has been the ability to retain the services of Yaya Toure – who has failed to have a disappointing season since he moved to the Etihad in 2010.

While last year’s winners managed to retain their star man, the same cannot be said about the league runners-up, Liverpool, who finally lost their battle to keep Luis Suarez after several years of speculation. Suarez left for a blockbuster fee as he headed to Catalan giants Barcelona, but it is unclear if the players purchased in the Uruguayan’s absence will be able to live up the billing. Brendan Rogers has invested in youngsters such as Lazar Markovic and Emre Can whilst all but ripping the spine out of fellow Premier League side Southampton with the arrivals of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, but can they replace the thirty-plus goals of Luis Suarez?

Well, the bookies don’t think so, as they have priced last season’s underdogs as fifth-favourites for the Premier League this season at a price of 10/1 with betfair, although it could be a mistake on their part, should all of their new arrivals perform.

Elsewhere in the League, new Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal is getting to grips with his new Manchester United side after guiding Holland to the semi-finals of the World Cup. Van Gaal has already bemoaned how the squad he inherited is heavily flawed and has even forced new signing Luke Shaw to train on his own with a separate fitness regime after accusing the Englishman of returning from the World Cup unfit.

This hasn’t stopped the bookmakers from believing LVG is the man to take United back to their former glories though, as they are currently priced as third-favourites at 5/1 to lift the title in May, despite the absences of several influential figures at the club such as Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic, who have all since departed the club.

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger closely follow in the outright betting in fourth place at just 6/1, indicating that there is not much between the men from the Emirates and the Old Trafford giants. The acquisition of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona has no doubt played some part in Arsenal heading Liverpool in the betting, while the signings of Callum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy are both justified and progressive by the professor that is Arsene Wenger as he looks to build his squad.

Mesut Ozil was last year’s bumper signing for the Londoners and it ultimately proved to be a shrewd one, as they ultimately won last season’s FA cup win to end a phenomenal trophy drought at Arsenal. They will no doubt be hoping that they can now push on and go one better than the label of the “nearly men” that they have so valiantly attained in the past.