Football Comment: Mourinho can bring the title back to Chelsea

 
Trevor Steven
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THE JURY’S out on how David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini will perform at United and City, but Jose Mourinho brings with him a certainty to Chelsea and that is a very big positive.

He’s been there and done it before, he’s got a good young squad and they might have the edge.

However, I think this is the most unpredictable Premier League season to date and it will be easier to assess once the transfer window closes.

Some teams have not done enough yet. Manchester United will be disappointed not to get new faces in and they have the Moyes factor, which is a complete unknown.

If he wins the Premier League it will be one of the most fantastic managerial performances.

Then there’s the Wayne Rooney uncertainty. I don’t think he’ll leave. I don’t know what he’s hanging on for though. I just don’t get why he’d want to move to Chelsea from one of the biggest clubs in the world.

I’ve been impressed by Pellegrini. He communicates very well, his English is very good and they have gone into the market early and bought some real quality.

I think they will find it easier this year without the pressure of having to defend their Premier League title. They seem to have quietly gone about their business. I will be interested to see how they play, but I think they will have a storming start to the season and be up there with Chelsea.

For Arsenal to be in with a chance they need to land Luis Suarez. They haven’t had a genuine match-winner since Robin van Persie left. They need a proven goalscorer.

Arsene Wenger has toed the party line and said the right things as far as the board are concerned for years. But he must be getting itchy because how much longer will he go on for?

He’s maybe looking at three or four more chances, but there’s no time like the present. Suarez’s off-field antics and this ban he has to serve are what goes against him. Arsenal could be six points behind by the time they have Suarez available and they will have paid £40m. It wouldn’t surprise me if he goes there though.

The order of the teams at the bottom is just as unpredictable, but I think Crystal Palace are in for a really tough season. Ian Holloway is going to have to ask his team to play in a cup final every week.

I like what Steve Bruce has done at Hull, getting in Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore from Tottenham, so I think they are going to be okay.

I’d put Sunderland down there too. Ten players have come in to an already large squad. How do you get a team out of all that?

Newcastle’s start is vital too, because the knives will be out for Joe Kinnear if they struggle early on.

TREVOR’S TAKE ON THE NEW PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON

Champions
■ CHELSEA. The Jose Mourinho factor is vital. Maybe Wayne Rooney’s dilemma over leaving Manchester United is who will win the league? But I don’t think if Rafael Benitez or any other were Chelsea manager that Rooney would even be considering moving, it’s the Mourinho element. He’s already got Frank Lampard looking lean and a few years younger and I’m sure John Terry will be the same.

Relegated
■ The only club really under pressure from the off is CRYSTAL PALACE. They just do not have enough quality. I think CARDIFF will be in trouble as well and SUNDERLAND might well join them in the Championship. Jozy Altidore intrigues me. He scored three goals for USA on Wednesday and has been terrific in the last 18 months. He could be the difference in Sunderland going down or staying up.

Top goalscorer
■ ROBIN VAN PERSIE has such quality in front of goal. He scored 26 goals in the Premier League last season and it’s hard to look past him. I think Alvaro Negredo will get a lot of goals for Manchester City this year, as will Roberto Soldado at Tottenham.

Surprise package
■ Paul Lambert did a really good job as manager of Norwich. Then he went to ASTON VILLA, reduced the wage bill, put the emphasis on young players and came through respectably. I think Everton might drop out of the top seven and Villa will take their place.

Best business
■ I like what MANCHESTER CITY have done. Fernandinho is excellent and Stevan Jovetic will light up the Premier League. They’ve added a lot of pace and trickery and I think they will play some great football.

Player to watch
■ STEVAN JOVETIC has been great for Fiorentina for the last three years, I’m interested to see how he settles in.

Arsenal

LAST SEASON 4th

NET SPEND -£10.0m

MAJOR INS Yaya Sanogo, pictured (Auxerre, free)

MAJOR OUTS
Gervinho (Roma, £8m) Vito Mannone (Sunderland, £2m) Denilson (Sao Paulo, free) Andre Santos (Flamengo, free) Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace, free) Andrey Arshavin (released) Sebastien Squillaci (released) Johan Djourou (Hamberg, loan)

TREVOR’S VERDICT
I cannot see Arsene Wenger’s team mounting a serious push for the title – unless of course they sign Luis Suarez, but even then they will have to make do without him for the first 10 games. However, I don’t think they will have any problems finishing in the top four.

Crystal Palace

LAST SEASON PROMOTED

NET SPEND £6.25m

MAJOR INS
Dwight Gayle, pictured (Peterborough, £4.5m) Jose Campana (Sevilla, £1.75m) Stephen Dobbie (Brighton, undisclosed) Jerome Thomas (West Brom, free) Elliot Grandin (Blackpool, free) Marouane Chamakh (Arsenal, free)

MAJOR OUTS
Jermaine Easter (Millwall, free) Alex Marrow (Blackburn, undisclosed) Andre Moritz (Bolton, free)

TREVOR’S VERDICT
Ian Holloway’s men are in for a long hard season. They have added very little proven Premier League quality and while they do have some talented youngsters I cannot see them finishing anywhere other than the bottom three.

Tottenham

LAST SEASON 5th

NET SPEND £46m

MAJOR INS
Roberto Soldado, pictured (Valencia, £26m) Paulinho (Corinthians, £17m) Etienne Capoue (Toulouse, £9m) Nacer Chadli (FC Twente £7m)

MAJOR OUTS
Steven Caulker (Cardiff, £8m) Tom Huddlestone (Hull, £5m) Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders, undisclosed), William Gallas (released) David Bentley (released) Jake Livermore (Hull, loan)

TREVOR’S VERDICT
Whether Gareth Bale stays or goes and therefore the late business Spurs may do will affect their season. But, at the moment, I can’t see them cracking the top four. I’m not sure about them defensively, Michael Dawson is not the answer.

Chelsea

LAST SEASON 3rd

NET SPEND £27.5m

MAJOR INS
Andre Schurrle, pictured (Bayer Leverkusen, £18m) Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse Arnhem, £9m) Cristian Cuevas (O’Higgins, £3m) Mark Schwarzer (Fulham, free)

MAJOR OUTS
Jeffrey Bruma (PSV, £2.5) Ross Turnbull (Doncaster, free) Yossi Benayoun (released) Florent Malouda (released) Marko Marin (Sevilla, loan) Oriol Romeu (Valencia, loan) Cristian Cuevas (Vitesse Arnhem, loan)

TREVOR’S VERDICT
Champions. They have all the quality required and may even end up adding Wayne Rooney to that. But most importantly they have a manager who is a proven winner.

Fulham

LAST SEASON 12th

NET SPEND £1.3m

MAJOR INS
Sascha Riether (Cologne, £1.3m) Maarten Stekelenburg (Roma, undisclosed) Derek Boateng (Dnipro, free) Fernando Amorebieta (Athletic Bilbao, free) Ange-Freddy Plumain (Lens, free) Adel Taarabt, pictured (QPR, loan)

MAJOR OUTS
Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea, free) Chris Baird (released) Simon Davies (released) Mahamadou Diarra (released) Mladen Petric (released)

TREVOR’S VERDICT
Fulham’s home form always gets them enough points and I don’t think a serious battle against relegation will be on the agenda this season for Martin Jol’s team. I think they’ll finish 12th.

West Ham

LAST SEASON 10th

NET SPEND £21.5m

MAJOR INS
Andy Carroll, pictured (Liverpool, £15.5m) Stewart Downing (Liverpool, £6m) Razvan Rat (Shakhtar Donetsk, free) Adrian (Real Betis, free)

MAJOR OUTS
Gary O’Neil (QPR, free) Carlton Cole (released)

TREVOR’S VERDICT
West Ham will finish in mid-table. I still think they are a little bit light on numbers in the centre of midfield and Sam Allardyce has hinted he may leave it late in the window to make his next move. Whether or not Andy Carroll can stay fit is the biggest problem they may have and that’s why they’re keen on Demba Ba.