THIS season, more than any I can remember anticipating, is a hard one to call.
The top three teams from last season, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, all have new men at the helm.
Arsenal underperformed last season – but then, Arsenal have underperformed for a good few years now – while Spurs and Liverpool could both be facing up to life without their star men next season.
I can’t see any other team seriously breaking into the top four, but which of these six elite squads will is a hard call.
There’s my disclaimer out of the way.
But neck on the line I find it hard to see past Mourinho’s Chelsea for the title.
His team has a strength in depth matched only by Manchester City, with some real creative talent in the form of Hazard, Mata and Oscar – plus if anyone can hit the ground running it’s the Special One, a manager adept at settling into new clubs, with the benefit of having been here and done it before.
It’s this that gives him the edge over Pellegrini’s star-studded legions of Manchester City, who I’m placing second come May.
Last season, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal gave themselves a mountain to climb, and they climbed it admirably during the second half of the season. If they come out of the traps in the same form as they finished last time around, I can see them overhauling David Moyes and Manchester United’s defending champions, who’ll have to settle for fourth place.
Liverpool and Spurs I see missing out, without the depth in their squad to maintain a season-long campaign – although I will tip the Lilywhites’ new boy Roberto Soldado for the Golden Boot.
Tomorrow, I’m going to have a look at the other half of the table and predict who’ll be relegated…
QPR seem to have jumped the queue to sign monobrowed defender and winger Bosingwa – what a coup.
The swift defender, released by Chelsea this summer, had been courted by Inter Milan, Anzhi Makhachkala and Monaco – but the Portugal international has chosen to stay in London.
Another fine piece of sumer business by Mark Hughes, whose squad will surely avoid a relegation battle this season.
NEW Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas should have stayed at Porto – that’s according to both his bank manager and his family.
When the Portuguese – who paid his own 15m Euro release clause in order to move to England – was asked about the amount Chelsea were paying him, he said: “I can assure you that Porto could beat that offer.
“They were ready to make a competitive offer for me to stay, but I took the challenge.”
In addition to the financial ‘hit’, he said that his own family were against the move.
He told reporters: “I’ve made some very difficult moves in my life. One of them was leaving a crazy salary at Inter Milan, as an assistant, to join the bottom club in Portugal, Academica.
“So I just felt it inside me that I should take the opportunity and the move.
“Against the will of everybody, against the will of my family, I took that.
“We have spent seven years moving around from London to Milan to Coimbra to Porto and now to London. This causes an emotional instability in any family.
“Let’s see if we’re speaking when I get back. Maybe my bags will be waiting for me at the door…”
THE increasingly-slapheaded Wayne Rooney is reportedly having secret hair treatments to his exposed pate as he plots to become a footballing hairo.
Rooney has been outed in today’s tabloids as heading to a London clinic.
The Manchester United and England striker has had hair taken from where it is most abundent – the back of his head, people, yuck – and implanted into the dead follicles on top of his balding bonce.
It may not turn him into a regular George Berry, but if it stops Owen calling him a grandpa then it’s probably worth it…
HE MAY belong to Jesus, but it’s looking increasingly likely that Brazilian footballer Kaka will belong to Chelsea next season.
Why, I hear you ask?
Because his dear old mum posted that they were heading to London next season – adding weight to the long-standing rumour of a move to Stamford Bridge.
She did take the post down pretty sharpish, but not before causing rumours to move throughout Blues fans.
That is unless, of course, that fellow Londoners QPR are looking to splash out after securing promotion…
LAST close season Brazilian wonderkid Neymar was heavily linked with a Â£25m move to Chelsea – and now it looks highly likely the Santos striker will head to Stamford Bridge this Summer.
Despite rival bidders around Europe, Neymar dropped hints he enjoyed visiting London after scoring a brace against Scotland.
Neymar said: “I also want this level of team and I want to play in Europe.
“It is a dream which will come true but I don’t yet know when. It is up to Santos to decide.
“But here in London I could even walk in peace in the streets.”
Pencil in a forward line of Torres and Neymar for Chelsea next season, then.