Soccer Saturday expert backs Mourinho's men but lacks faith in the promoted trio
Tuesday 12 August 2014 13:31, UK
The new Premier League season is just days away - and we've been asking the Soccer Saturday boys how they think it will pan out.
As ever, the likes of Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Matt Le Tissier and Charlie Nicholas will join Jeff Stelling on Sky Sports News on Saturday afternoons throughout the campaign to cast their eye - and have their say - on proceedings.
But who do they think will be 2014/15 title winners? Which player will be top scorer? And which players should we be looking out for?
Here's Phil Thompson’s predictions for the new season...
Phil: Chelsea. I think Jose Mourinho’s strengthened specific areas without signing too many players. Cesc Fabregas gets him more goals because he realised he didn’t get enough. With Frank Lampard going, there’s a dearth of goals and now he’s got someone to replace him. Diego Costa was well sought after and he has a good attitude so you know he won’t give you a problem in the lesser games where some people aren’t up for it. He will be up for it as he’s a grafter and he puts himself about.
Phil: Chelsea and Man City will be joined by Liverpool and Arsenal. I see massive improvement in Manchester United but at this moment, because they haven’t strengthened defensively, I couldn’t yet say that they’ll gate-crash the top four. It’ll be easier without European competition (you saw Liverpool last season) but defensively Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling showed their susceptibility last season.
Phil: It’s very difficult to see anything other than the three coming up, Leicester, Burnley and QPR. It’s particularly difficult to predict with the transfer window still open because the signings can change your mind. But so far, they haven’t done enough with their signings.
Phil: If he remains fit, Sergio Aguero. I can see several players having a good season, including Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney. Robin Van Persie's tally will depend on his fitness, while Olivier Giroud will score his fair share - but will Alexis Sanchez find it easy to score in the Premier League?
Phil: Romelu Lukaku was a big statement for Everton because people think they haven’t got the money. You’d think they’re a good team who work within a certain budget but they’ve really pushed the boat out. It shows that they mean business and shows that Bill Kenwright, as well as Roberto Martinez, thinks they can do it. It shows big commitment. But someone could come up with a real humdinger in the next few days!
Phil: The attitude and commitment of Didier Drogba, even when he’s not playing. He’s a winner. There’s no problem with bringing him back as they’ve still got a few young players. Chelsea promised lots last season and delivered nothing. You know Drogba’s not going to be as quick but he’s got a winning attitude which rubs off onto the players who didn’t do enough last season.