To Know The Game: The Story So Far (Part 3)

Having already looked at the best signings of the summer and the top three surprises of the Premier League season so far, the guys from To Know The Game are back with the third and final part of their trilogy for Yirma.

Here, they look at who they believe are the contenders for both a top four finish and for the Premier League title.

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The Race for 4th

4 wins in a row for Spurs;  an impressive defensive start for Arsenal; a team from Merseyside that usually finishes strong has started brightly (Everton) and the chance that Newcastle will build on their impressive finish from last year – the race for 4th spot already looks like it will be a close call.

Fans of all 4 teams can truly say that their team will only get better.

Spurs will look forward to Adebayor regaining full fitness and competing with Defoe while the new signings of Dempsey, Sigurdsson and Dembele will settle in and get better. Ekotto should return soon meaning Vertonghen can play in his preferred role as CB and the team will adapt to AVB’s methods. TKTG has already covered Spurs chances for success this season and fans can be excited about their chances to finish in the top 4.

Arsenal will point to the fact that they look a better defensive unit this season – their biggest issue last year. Against Chelsea (their first loss) they conceded 2 set piece goals against an attacking unit (Torres, Mata, Hazard, Oscar) that was assembled at a cost of over £100 million. Szczesny and Sagna will return soon adding more defensive steel and of course there is the return of Jack Wilshere. A decent defence; a midfield of Santi, Arteta, Wilshere and Podolski, Giroud, Gervinhio, Walcott and The Ox…. top 4 or higher?

Everton are notoriously slow starters. Not this season! With 4 wins in 7, Everton seem like an outside bet for the top 4. Usually lacking a decent, fit striker, this year David Moyes has 3 attackers to share the load – Jelavic, Mirallas and Naismith and along with their impressive midfield and solid defenders they can certainly make a run for the top 4. Also, they usually finish strong….

Newcastle finished in 5th spot last year and their fans will be thinking “Why not one better?”. Players should be more familiar with the premiership and their team mates and they have stability with their coach who signed an 8 year deal.  If they can put forward a solid run of results in the next 3 months they could be looking to improve on last years’ position. Just don’t mention Mike Ashley to any of their fans.

Current odds make Arsenal favourites at 1/2; followed by Spurs 2/1, Everton 11/2 and then Liverpool 15/2. Newcastle are 25/1 finish in the top 4. (Odds taken from Bet365.com)

 

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Who will be Champions?

Chelsea have collected 19 points from a possible 21. Not only are they the best defensive team in the premiership so far (only 4 goals conceded) but as we have written in the past their forward line looks very promising. 

Their biggest problem besides John Terry and Ashley Cole will be their lack of squad depth in the striker department. How will they cope with a suspension (or worse an injury) to Fernando Toress? Sturridge and the unproven Lucas Piazon are the only options or perhaps play the Spanish formation of 4-6-0? Can Sturridge really be the main man of a Premiership winning team? Expect them to buy in the January window but by then it may be too late…

Manchester United’s problems in midfield are well documented. Could Wayne Rooney playing in midfield solve their problems? Along with their injury plagued defenders and lack of defensive cover, can United aim to win another title or are 2 defeats in the league already an issue? Money seems to be short at United so don’t expect any major signings in Jan – United fans hope that we are wrong and that they can acquire a world class CB, LB and CM soon! Is Rooney the answer to United’s midfield and 20th title?

Manchester City were champions last year but this time around they look slightly confused. It’s never easy winning back-to-back titles and not having a settled 11 does not help. Supporters may say that flexibility is key to City this year which in theory seems great but it is not translating to results. Currently on 15 points (same as United), City seem to have another issue – Is Mario Balotelli this year’s Tevez? Seven games into the season and “Super” Mario has already thrown a tantrum – a few more and will Tevez join in as well?

We have the rest of the season to find out… In the meantime, share your thoughts with us

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For more great articles like this one visit the guys at toknowthegame.com, whilst you can follow them on Twitter at @toknowthegame.

Posted on 14 Oct 2012, in Player Selection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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