Wasn't this summer fantastic? Because of all of the football we were able to see during Euro 2012, the Olympics and the MLS regular season, time just flew by. As a Manchester United fan, I didn't mind that quick summer, as last season didn't end on the best note. Yes, the Blues won the league, and while United choked it away the last few weeks of the season, it's fair to say that City were the best team in the league and probably deservedly won the title. Starting this Saturday, the new season will begin and every team and fan base will be rejuvenated for the long haul of the Premier League. With some transfer deals to still be finalized, these predictions are subject to change, but as of now I will make my picks the upcoming year:
Champions: Manchester United. After missing out on the league on goal difference, the Reds will be back strong. With signings of Kagawa and Van Persie, as well as the recovery of Vidic from injury, United will add some depth in key positions. In the midfield, the return of Tom Cleverley from a season full of injuries, could be crucial as a pairing with Scholes or Carrick in the center of the park. The combination of experience and young talent will be important as United look to reclaim the title.
Champions League Spots (2nd, 3rd, 4th): Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea. City will fight to the death as they did last season, but will come up just short to United. Liverpool will have a good season, with Suarez and Gerrard leading the team back into the Champions League. Chelsea will not be able to match the great season they had by winning the Cup double, but will return again to the Champions League. Pending the sale of Modric to Real Madrid, which looks certain to happen, and Van Persie's sale to United, Spurs and Arsenal will be missing out on the Champions League and be looking to the Europa League next season.
FA Cup (finalist): Manchester United (Manchester City).
Capital One Cup (finalist): Liverpool (Chelsea).
Champions League (finalist): Real Madrid (Barcelona).
As always with predictions, we are usually more wrong than right, so don't expect this to be spot on. However, I think all football fans are excited to watch this all play out. It will also be fun to watch Madrid and Barcelona do battle again in Spain and Paris Saint-Germain look to rise to the top in France as they made some big money signings. To end the prediction fun, let's throw a little MLS around a bit:
Supporters' Shield: San Jose.
MLS Cup (finalist): Real Salt Lake (New York Red Bull).
Yes, you read that right. RSL will return to glory and lift the cup. Believe.