Who will win the Barclays English Premier League for the 2012-2013 season?
Here are my picks for the outcomes of the 2012/13 English Premier League Season:
Top 4 teams:
1. Manchester United
2. Manchester City
Bottom 3 teams:
West Bromwich Albion
Player of the Year: Robin van Persie – Manchester United
Young Player of the Year: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Arsenal
FA Cup Winner: Tottenham Hotspur
Capitol One Cup Winner: Manchester United
I believe that Manchester United has the talent and the team to be able to win the title as well a pull off another Premier League/League Cup Double. The top 2 places will most likely be separated by a slight margin yet again, though not as dramatic as last season. Chelsea will most likely put a lot of focus on the Champions League to get that elusive repeat, but in doing so will once again neglect their Premier League form (expect to see a new manager in the second half of the season as well). Tottenham and Arsenal will be able to take advantage of Chelsea’s dip and take the 3 and 4 spots. I have debated giving the 4 spot to either Newcastle United or Liverpool, but feel that Newcastle is not longer a surprise underdog and Liverpool will spend some time adjusting to Brendan Rodgers. The 5-7 spots are definitely up for grabs by Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle and even Everton or Fulham.
At the bottom of the table expect Wigan to finally get the drop. They have been close for years, but I think now is the time. With Moses most likely moving on they do not have the talent available to avoid relegation for another season. With the loss of Roy Hodgson I think West Bromwich Albion is going to struggle to keep themselves up. The last spot I believe will go to Southampton. They did well to come through the Championship last season, but in the end were somewhat lucky to make it out and gain promotion. Picking these three isn’t nearly as cut and dry as last season. QPR is always a threat to drop, but with new manager Mark Hughes there to start the season and bring in new faces I believe they can avoid going down. Reading, Norwich City, and West Ham United are also possibilities but I think they all have the ability to keep themselves up, at least for one more season anyway.
As for the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, if van Persie is able to stay fit through the season I believe that he will be a major catalyst for Manchester United’s 20th league title. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be able to thrive and get the playing time necessary to give him the Young Player of the Year award as well as helping Arsenal to stay in the top 4 for yet another season.