IT'S FINALLY HERE!!! After a long summer of boring football, the European season is about to kickoff (and some leagues even kicked off last weekend). The Premier League starts this weekend, and in the next few weeks, Serie A and La Liga will follow. While City will try to take the title away from United, and the regular challengers like Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool attempt to do the same, there will be lots to play for this season in England. On a European front, Barcelona look to continue not only their dominance in Spain, but also their dominance of Europe. They will be yet another team that will try and be the first to win back to back European Cups since Milan won it in 1989 and 1990, and looking to be the first to do it since it changed to the new Champions League format. Here are my predictions for the upcoming season:
Champions: Manchester United. They are too strong this season for the rest of England. While they went out and picked up a few key signings this summer (David De Gea, Ashley Young, Phil Jones), most of their rivals stayed with their current squads, when they could have brought in a few big names. United's depth will be very important as they look to claim their 20th top flight title.
Champions League Spots (2nd, 3rd, 4th): Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool. It will be a fight at the end of the season for that 4th spot between Liverpool and Arsenal, but as in many past years, Arsenal will struggle down the stretch and this year will miss out on the Champions League. Liverpool will get back to the Champions League for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Relegated (18th, 19th, 20th): Blackburn, Norwich City, QPR. Premier League new boys, QPR, will finish last by quite a few points, but Blackburn and Norwich will also fall in the late stages of the league as Swansea, Wigan and Wolves will beat them out for the last few spots in the league.
FA Cup (finalist): Manchester United (Chelsea).
Carling Cup (finalist) : Manchester City (Arsenal)
Champions League (finalist): Manchester United (Real Madrid) - further predictions to come when the group stages are finalized, and knockout matchups are announced later in the year.
For those that know I am a United fan, you may think these picks are very ambitious. However, I have a good feeling United will be gunning for the competitions more than the Premier League this season. Having not won the FA Cup since 2004, and losing in the Champions League Final last year, United will look to achieve glory. Could the Treble be on again? I think so.