Since Manchester City became the richest club in the world, Manchester has become a focal point for football in this country, with both clubs finding themselves 19 points clear of the nearest team, Arsenal, last season. It will be some time before we can refer to Manchester as Milan, given their inability to progress in the Champions League last season, but it’s hard to look past these two clubs occupying the same positions in the Premier League against next season.
Mark Ogden, The Telegraph‘s Northern Football Correspondent, talks about whether his colleagues in London are jealous that he gets to cover football in the North West.
“You need to ask them!” he said. “Still, West Ham are back, so they will keep everyone busy in usual fashion. If West Ham were from Birmingham, you would never see them in the paper, but they don’t go short on coverage for a club with little to shout about for the last 50 years.”
Arsenal will probably lose Robin van Persie, Tottenham Hotspur have sacked their manager and replaced him with last season’s biggest failure, Andre Villas-Boas, whilst Chelsea have lost their match-winner, Didier Drogba. Does this mean it will be between City and United again?
“I think it will be a toss up between them again,” he said. “I can’t call it yet because I suspect there will be more ins and outs at both clubs before the end if August and whoever does the best business will win it.”
Had Chelsea not won in Munich last season, Spurs would be playing Champions League football next season. Redknapp has been linked to the Russia job but after turning Spurs in to a top four club, he’s out of work. Was the decision to sack him a good one?
“I don’t have an issue with it,” Ogden said. “Spurs were title challengers in January and finished fourth in May. On its own, that’s not enough to justify his sacking, but if Daniel Levy felt it was time for a change, then who can argue? Not convinced by Villas-Boas as his replacement, though. I think he’s done well to get a top job so soon after making a mess of things at Chelsea. If I had a choice, I’d have Redknapp ahead of Villas-Boas.”
Finally, looking to the bottom of the table, Reading, Southampton and West Ham have all returned to the Premier League this season, with just three points separating them at the top of the Championship table last season.
“Bottom half will be the best any can hope for,” he said. “I think Southampton might be the best of the three because they have money behind them, but I’m not expecting them to emulate Swansea or Norwich.”