Your 2013-14 EPL Preview (Take One)

We’ll probably need to do this again in a few weeks.

The EPL season is upon us, and there are still so many unanswered questions. Will Real Madrid, in a last-ditch effort to extract Bale from Spurs, drive a dump truck full of money to Daniel Levy’s house? Will Manchester United continue its summer-long quest for Cesc? Is Yaya Sanogo really the splashy big-name signing Arsenal had in mind? Who’s going to take advantage of the Anzhi fire sale? And, where, oh, where, is Luis Suarez going to snack next?

With all these important questions to be determined in the last few weeks of the transfer window, we went with what we had, and made some bold, start-of-the-season predictions, including what will be, for many of us, a season-long celebration of Stoke’s impending relegation. (We believe in Mark Hughes!)

From a lot of your FourFiveTwo staff, along with team affiliations, so you can get acquainted with us all over again:

Keith, who was first in with his picks (Villa)

The Table:

Manchester City
Arsenal
Manchester United
Chelsea
—————–
Liverpool
Spurs
Swansea
West Ham United
Villa
Norwich City
West Bromwich Albion
Southampton
Fulham
Everton
Crystal Palace
Sunderland
Cardiff City
———————-
Newcastle United
Stoke City
Hull City Tigers (lol)

Other predictions and notes:

FA Cup final – Villa vs. Chelsea, Chelsea win 3-2
League Cup final – Manchester United vs. Arsenal, United win 2-1
PotY – Yaya Toure
YPotY – Benteke

I’m looking forward to:

The Kinnear/Pardiola implosion, which will result in Keegan Mark III.

Holloway back in the prem.

Swansea continuing to play its fun football under Laudrup.

The combined lack of fucks given by Taraabt and Berba (and now Bent! Martin Jol is trying to shoot kill Maarten Stekelenberg, Brede Hangeland and Sascha Riether) for Fulham.

“You just put WHO in front of me?”

And, of course, I’m very much looking forward to watching Villa play this year. I’m tempering my optimism on the rough first week (at L’Arse, at Chelsea, hosting Liverpool in 7 days) of the season and the fact that this is very much a confidence team. But on its day our strikeforce can bang with anyone, we have a top five keeper, and the backline looks much strengthened by the additions of Antonio Luna and Jores Okore. Hell, if other results had broke right on the run-in, we could have taken 9th last year. This year, I think the possibility is much stronger for a top-half finish, without the fretting of last Winter.

Sheilah, who submitted her entry in Comic Sans (United)

The Table:

Chelsea
United
City
Arsenal
—————–
Spurs
Liverpool
West Ham
Villa
Everton
Fulham
Norwich
West Brom
Newcastle
Swansea
Crystal Palace
Cardiff City
—————–
Sunderland
Stoke
Hull

Other predictions and notes:

PotY – Van Persie
YPotY – Benteke

I want there to be underdog teams in the FA & League Cup finals. QPR looks strong, as does Charlton at the moment. But it’s still early, so Leyton Orient will be my sentimental favorite for the League Cup this year.

*DISCLAIMER: This was done with the possibilities of Suarez, Baines, Fellaini, and Bale leaving their respective clubs.  And the Comic Sans was a joke…because you know.

Lorber, who put his entire submission in an actual table (Spurs)

The Table:

Chelsea
City
Spurs
Arsenal
———————-
United
Liverpool
Swansea
West Ham
Aston Villa
Everton
Southampton
Newcastle
West Brom
Fulham
Cardiff
Norwich
Sunderland
———————-
Crystal Palace
Stoke
Hull

Other predictions and notes:

POTY Bale
Top Scorer Bale
YPOTY Coutinho

Nate, who’s hardly ever here (Everton)

The Table:

Chelsea
City
United
Arsenal
———————-
Spurs
Liverpool
Everton
Norwich
Sunderland
Newcastle
Fulham
Swansea
Villa
West Ham
Cardiff
Southampton
Crystal Palace
———————-
West Brom
Stoke
Hull

Jeremiah, aka Loserkid18, who snapped a photo of a hand-scrawled list and emailed it over two hours after this originally published (United)

The Table:

Chelsea (FML)
Arsenal (FML x 2)
United
City
—————–
Spurs
West Ham
Liverpool Everton
Liverpool
Villa
Fulham
Newcastle
West Brom
Swansea
Norwich
Crystal Palace
Sunderland
———————-
Stoke
Cardiff
Hull

Other predictions and notes:

POTY: van Persie
YPOTY: Zaha

Phil, aka Soccer Apologist, who waited for Arsenal’s eighteenth consecutive attempted summer signing to fail before submitting his picks (Arsenal)

The Table:

Chelsea
City
Arsenal
United
—————–
Spurs
Liverpool
Swansea
Villa
West Ham
West Brom
Everton
Sunderland
Fulham
Norwich City
Newcastle
Cardiff City
Southampton
———————-
Stoke City
Hull
Crystal Palace

Other predictions and notes:

POTY: Hazard
YPOTY: Coutinho

FA Cup Final: Arsenal over City, 2-1 (There will be a trophy, damn it!)
League Cup Final: Chelsea over Villa, 3-1

What I’m looking forward to: The Stoke relegation party I’ll be having, either doubling down on my Suarez hatred or learning to embrace evil and grabbing the proverbial popcorn to see him in the Arsenal system, the Liverpool away kits and third kits in action, Wynalda-free EPL telecasts (though I fear that NBCSN might be a big ol’ boredom train), and the inevitable moment when United gets shorted on injury time and we’ll know that the Fergie Era is indeed over.

And, as for Arsenal: They looked fantastic against City in their last pre-season tuneup, and I should be optimistic about the form of Kos, Ramsey, and even Giroud, but the failure to sign Higuain, Jovetic, Grenier, Lars Bender, Luis Gustavo, Capoue, Bernard (or, as we’d taken to calling him on The Short Fuse, “Nard Dog”), Suarez, or any of the other players we’ve supposedly been in for (Fellaini, Rooney, Kondogbia, Ashley Williams, Julio Cesar — or, as I like to call him, Chunky J) is frightening. Flamini’s training with Arsenal and we’re not even signing him. Arsene seems particularly commitment-averse this year, and it’ll be fannnnnntastic to talk about matches again. (We’re buying a keg for Deadline Day, just in case.)

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