The Blog

Unpredictability Still Leads to Predictability

I might as well be honest with you right from the start: this article will contradict itself. It will set off by being one thing but in the end will turn out to be something else, in many ways similar to a Premier League season.

I might as well be honest with you right from the start: this article will contradict itself. It will set off by being one thing but in the end will turn out to be something else, in many ways similar to a Premier League season.

We are on the verge of the Barclays Premier League 2013/14 and 'unpredictability' is what we are all hoping for. Well, actual football is also what we are hoping for so that we can stop the endless, repetitive discussions on Rooney, Bale and Suarez. Discussions that have been going nowhere for weeks, much like the three protagonists themselves.

You have to go back to a time before the Premier League (yes, younger readers, football did exist pre-1992) to discover when the top three clubs all changed their managers at the end of a season.

Now, on the eve of this campaign, the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea all have different men in charge. All three have question marks of varying degrees over them. The smallest one will be over Mourinho; a man with a reputation for success but also a man with a reputation for the odd argument and display of volatility. Will he stay calm within the Chelsea hierarchical structure and will he be able to recreate the trophy laden days of his first spell at Stamford Bridge. Manuel Pellegrini arrives at Manchester City as a man who gets his teams to play attractive football, a man who his flexible with his tactics, a man who has managed big clubs and a man who gets his team to the latter stages of European competitions. He is also man who spent 9 years managing in Spain without delivering a major title. As for David Moyes, there is one simple question, how can he follow Sir Alex Ferguson? In his first season at least, every time he does something, says something, looks at his watch, throws out a piece of chewing gum, someone, somewhere will ask 'would Sir Alex have done it like that?'.

As fascinating as it will be to watch how those three clubs all perform under their new chiefs, I find myself increasingly drawn to other clubs in the division. It is very difficult to come up with a collective noun to describe them all, mainly because in doing that you will offend fans of some clubs if not all club, so instead I will say these are the clubs who could finish anywhere from fifth to 20th!

So many of these clubs have had a 'really good go' in the transfer market this summer. Norwich have spent over £13million pounds to get goals from Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper plus another £3million on young English talent Nathan Redmond. Cardiff have smashed their transfer record three times this summer already, it currently stands at £11m. Southampton went to £12million to bring in Victor Wanyama from Celtic, Swansea spending the same amount on Wilfried Bony. West Ham went to Liverpool twice to recruit Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing. Some of these players will be more familiar to you than others and history tells us that a big price tag does not always bring success, but it does illustrate that the Premier League clubs have more money, thanks to the new TV deals, and are prepared to give it a go. This influx of talent outside of the usual big four or five will add to the unpredictability of the coming season. Unfortunately, it also highlights the problem for England at a national level. It is rare to find Premier League clubs buying in young home-grown players from the lower leagues.

The clubs still have plenty of time to add to their squads. Ridiculously, the transfer window doesn't close until 2 September. Managers will still be hopeful of adding to their overgrown squads, yet fearful that their better players could still be cherry picked by money laden suitors. This, again, adds to the unpredictability of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season. But, at the end of the day (a phrase I plan to ban the MOTD2 pundits from using) we may still have more transfers to come, we may have so many more clubs splashing the cash on exciting young players giving them a better chance of rising up the table and we may have new mangers with things to prove at the top three clubs, ask any expert who will win the title this season and they will tell you it will be one of three clubs: Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City.

The usual suspects.

The unpredictability still leads to predictability.

I told you it would be a contradiction.