The 2009/10 Preview: The Premier League

It says a lot for the priorities of the major news outlets in this country that, for them at least, the “real” football season hasn’t started. Still, there’s not long for them to wait now. The Premier League season starts this weekend and there is a chance that it may be more interesting than it has been for some years. None of the self-perpetuating Champions League Four are, at the time of writing, noticeably stronger than they were last year, and a couple of them seem to be slightly weaker. Manchester United have lost Ronaldo and Tevez. Arsenal have lost Toure and Adebayor. Perhaps the gap between the biggest clubs and the rest is so great that they don’t feel that they need to strengthen – it feels like a risky strategy, though. At the bottom of the table, meanwhile, the temptation is to suggest – as ever – that the newly-promoted clubs will sink like stones back to from whence they came, but things may be more complex than that. Wolves looked eerily efficient in winning the Championship, and even play-off winners Burnley beat Fulham, Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal in the cups, losing narrowly to Spurs in the League Cup semi-final, a tie in which they won the second leg but were sunk in extra-time over the two legs. While the Premier League also-rans have been...

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