The English Premier League is only two weeks away from kicking its first ball in anger. Over those two weeks, I will be writing a comprehensive preview of what I think the league will look like throughout the season. I will break the teams up into five categories.
5. Relegation Fodder. These clubs will be at or near the bottom all season. Some of them may survive, barely, but their fans will be biting their fingernails all the way into May.
4. Established in the top flight. These clubs have been in the Premier League for a while, are relatively stable, and should remain that way. They will be inconsistent, and may have a poor run in March or April that has their supporters scared, but they will end up somewhere between 10th and 14th, with little chance of moving into the battle for Europa League spots, and little chance of going down.
3. Europa League hopefuls. These clubs will almost certainly be in the top half of the table, and likely will be fighting for the fifth, sixth, and possibly seventh spots, which might provide European games in 2012.
2. Champions League hopefuls. These are the clubs with a realistic chance of finishing in the top four, but not enough experience, talent or depth to make a run at the league title.
1. Title contenders. The big boy's club, and they may be inducting a new member this season.