Bold Predictions for the 2013/14 European Football Season
One effective TEAM to overcome 20 superstars. Atletico Madrid to finish above city rivals Real Madrid.
As you look at this bold statement, 99% will probably laugh and say 'no chance', but let me explain why this is more than capable of happening.
Under the Argentine Diego Simone, Atletico have been changed from your average La Liga team to now been widely regarded as Spain's third best. So why should they stop at third? that's exactly what Simone is thinking. Having won the Europa league two seasons ago, proving to be among Europe's elite clubs, then then finished third with a big gap to fourth and outclassed bitter rivals Real in the Copa Del Rey final to become victorious.
Some may have thought losing Radamel Falcao may have took them back a step, but Spain's all time goalscorer David Villa was brought in for a bargain price £4 million. Villa has already scored important goals alongside his powerhouse centre forward partner Diego Costa.
They have started this season just as they finished their last, winning all four opening league games and also their first Champions League group game. Their team has a strong defensive unit and are extremely hard to break down. They are quick on the counter attack and play some sublime football.
Another showcase of how good they now are was proved wen they faced champions Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup at the start of the season. Atletico managed a 1-1 draw at home and a 0-0 at the Nou Camp, which shows even the might of Barcelona struggled to break them down. The tie was lost but only on away goals.
Obviously Real Madrid have an abundance of world class talent having spent £130 million euros over the summer to add to what they already have. Madrid's start to the season has been quite spectacular also, gaining three league wins and one draw, along with demolishing Galatasary in their first CL clash.
One reason I feel Atletico will finish higher is because of how they work as a team, with no player doing it for their ego. Having watched all the matches both teams have played this season, Real have been a lot less convincing in their league victories. Against Villarreal where there was an astonishing £340 million worth of talent in their starting eleven, they looked like players who were just chasing the ball around, lacking team shape unity. With their starting eleven having a few new players integrated, mostly attacking midfielders, I think Carlo Ancelotti may struggle in his first season to find the right team balance.
Premier Leagues Best Ever Climax
My prediction is that on the final day of the Premier League season, there will be no less than three teams all with a chance of been champions!
This season already looks set to be one of the toughest campaigns Premier League clubs have ever faced. A record amount of money was spent this summer as clubs all fight to bring in talent, hoping to better themselves from the previous year.
There are six teams I believe could put up a realistic challenge for the title which are Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal finished fourth last year and have brought in only one notable signing, albeit one of world footballs greatest players, Mesut Özil. Usually slow starters to the season with a strong finish, they have won three of their opening four games meaning a more consistent season could see them challenge for the title.
Chelsea secured a third spot last season which was blighted by hatred for their interim manager Rafael Benítez. An overhaul of new players and manager alike, Jose Mourinho, Chelsea have more than it take to be up there with the best.
Liverpool are looking to be a new force this season gaining ten points from their opening four games. Suspension for Luis Suarez has allowed Daniel Sturridge to flourish scoring in all four games. When Suarez returns, presuming he and Sturridge work well together, there's a good chance the title could be within their grasp.
Manchester city came in at second last season and have also made a number of signings totalling close to the £100 million mark. Their start to the season has been indifferent, however you would be foolish to think they wont be in and around top spot come may.
Manchester United, the current champions. Only one big signing this summer, but probably where they needed it most in centre midfield (Marouane Fellaini). Even under new manager David Moyes its been a typical start to the season for United, ups and downs. Notoriously strong finishers to the season, expect their name near the top of the table come final match day.
Tottenham Hotspur have spent more than any other Premier League club this summer spending £100 million. They players they have bought are mainly 'big names' and represent good quality. There starting lineup will see as little as six changes from last season, where they narrowly finished fifth. Don't be surprised is Spurs appear at the top come end of may.