The Premier League schedule is released tomorrow at 9am BST. Does that mean you’re staying up until 3am CST to find out when your favorite PL team plays its games for the 2013/2014 season? Probably not.
But that won’t stop you (or me for that matter) from being giddy with excitement – like a schoolgirl on the first day – of finding out what dates are home to the fixtures of local derbies and the biggest rival matches.
While most people are knowledgeable about most of the teams already in the Premier League, including Arsenal, both Manchester teams, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Newcastle, entering this year’s Premier League – up from the Championship – are three teams you may not be as familiar with: Cardiff, Crystal Palace, and Hull.
This is the first time Cardiff City Football Club will be playing in the top flight league after starting and continuing play throughout their history in the Championship, League One or League Two (or the equivalent). Welsh neighbors Swansea City look to be one of Cardiff’s inaugural Premier League rivals with Swansea finishing quite strong last year on the table, ending in the ninth spot of the twenty teams in the PL. Cardiff and Hull were promoted based on placing first and second, respectively, in the Championship – with this promotion Hull will be showcased in the Premier League fixture list for the second time (the first promotion for Hull was in 2008 when they played the 2008-2009 season as well as the 2009-2010 season in the PL) – while Crystal Palace was promoted from the Championship playoffs.
Regardless of the new faces to THE Barclays Premier League, there will be some mighty fine games this season with a few surprises – I believe – in the standings at the end of the 2013/2014 season. Here is how I predict the team breakdown based on table standings (Yes, I know the teams have yet to receive their fixture list or the full team with incoming and outgoing transfers or possible different managers, etc., but why the heck not?!):
1. Chelsea (With Mourinho as Manager, he’ll have to prove to everyone he really is ‘The Special One,’ or ‘The Happy One,’ or ‘The Delusional One.’ <– Okay, I made that last one up.)
2. Manchester United (Because, even with new – and previous Everton – manager at the helm, David Moyes will bring United to the Champions League.)
3. Tottenham (I almost put them as Premier League champs, but I figured I might as well be more realistic than fantastical right now. And, I’m a bit biased, but with AVB in his second season, and Bale (hopefully) staying, Dempsey coming into his own, and Jan ‘the Man’ Vertonghen bossing the defense, I believe it could be a great year for the Lilywhites.)
4. Manchester City (The ‘noisy neighbors’ wavered a bit last year, but I think they could still land in the Champions League.)
5. Arsenal (Bahaha…)
6. Everton (Good ‘blue-collar’ Everton will be a dark-horse again this year, hopefully with as strong a start as last season.)
7. Liverpool (Brendan Rogers will still keep them up near where they want to be, but not quite where they actually strive to be.)
8. Fulham (No Dempsey again this year, so they’ll have to find a competent goalscorer – probably in Berbatov or Bryan Ruiz.)
9. Swansea (Good, solid mid-table team.)
10.Norwich (Placed 11th on the table last year. Why not bump them up one place?)
11. Stoke City (These mid-table teams are really bad for me, so I decided to switch these ones up. Stoke City last year were in 13th. This year, I’m boosting them to 11th.)
12. Southampton (I like them. Scrappy, little team from the south shore who, I think, deserve to continue in the Premier League. I think they’ll have a good run this year.)
13. West Ham (They will be 13th. Not sure why I’m guessing this, but look for some good London derbies.)
14. Cardiff (Finished first in the Championship, so therefore, they will be placing above the other two teams – Hull and Crystal Palace – that were promoted.)
15. Aston Villa (Brad Guzan will be a boss again this year in goal and could, again, save their season as he did last year.)
16. Newcastle (God bless ’em. The Geordies, though they had a hot streak two years ago, and though they’ll stay up in the PL, Nouveauchateau (sorry, Newcastle) – won’t be as strong.)
17. Sunderland (They’re just squeak by this year. The team is not filled with glitzy and showy players, but they fight tooth and nail and will stay in the PL.)
18. Hull (Will be relegated after some great games. They could be similar to a Reading, in which most people want them to stay up because they have the heart for it, but not the bank account to bring in bigger players.)
19. West Brom (I just don’t see them in the Premier League. Sorry.)
20. Crystal Palace (Eh. Even with their Malaysian owner pumping in money, it won’t be enough.)
Also, if you’re looking for some records to be broken, make sure to take a gander at this page of different lists such as top opening-day goalscorers or biggest opening match day win.