It is August now, which means the EPL is kicking off later this month! After an amazing finish last season, can things get any more exciting this season? I say yes! Sir Alex will be craving a title, City will try and prove they are a threat for the long run, and Chelsea will field a relatively new squad. I had the privilege of speaking with Fox Sport’s Marc Serber who helped me answer some key questions about the upcoming season.
Raphael Gellar: Will Man City be able to repeat last year’s championship run?
Marc Serber: City still has all their important pieces and there is no reason that last year’s experience hasn’t made them stronger as a group.
RG: Where do you expect Luka Modric to end up, if anywhere?
MS: I think he will eventually be sold to Real Madrid but it will be an 11th hour kind of thing unless Tottenham’s intention is to not sell him. I think you can say Modric is going to be a bloody battle to the end. Either Real Madrid is going to get him at the end for more than they wanted to spend or Tottenham has been planing all along to draw this out and keep him.
RG: How will Andre Villas-Boras do with the Spurs?
MS: Villas-Boas will do well with the Spurs because he has the players capable of fitting into his philosophy. The other two things is that he isn’t dealing with the same kind of player power that he did at Chelsea, and even if this year doesn’t go according to plan, Daniel Levy will have a bit more patience than Abromovic. Of course an 8 year old has more patience than Abromovic.
RG: How do you expect Chelsea to respond to legend Drogba bolting for China?
MS: I think Chelsea will struggle for goals and leadership up top. Since Torres has lost his confidence he has become a different player in terms of his work rate, movement, and ability to defend, but we have only seen that sensational goal-scoring touch and instincts in glimpses. You can’t tell me that when you see him on a breakaway you are a 100% sure that he is going to score. There is still that doubt. Unless he finds his form from Liverpool, I no longer think he can get you 15-20 goals a season. Hazard is a huge signing and so is Marin who can provide assists, but for Chelsea to be successful, they will need to spread around the scoring. With all that said, anything other than a top 3 finish for Chelsea will be a failure.
RG: Can Newcastle contend for the top 5?
MS: Newcastle can definitely contend for the top 5. Especially if Baand Cissee continue to bang in the goals. The thing to be weary of is that if Senegal make it to the Africa Cup of Nations, they will potentially be without those players for January- early February, and that is a busy period where Newcastle must find a new source of goals. The question is who?
RG: Who will finish in the top four of the table?
MS: Man City, Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal/Newcastle for that final spot.
RG: Is the Man City-Man U a legit rivalry?
MS:VERY LEGIT! Used to be a great city rivalry but now like Boca/River (except for last few years), Celtic/Rangers, Real/Barca, Milan/Inter, there are title implications. I believe twice as many people WORLDWIDE watched the final Man U/City game last season than they did the Superbowl.
RG: Who will be the top goal scorer next year in the EPL?
MS: Oh tricky!!! Let’s go with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.