How will the 2012-2013 season end? Trying to do a bit more than guess, we’re assuming that Manchester City repeat in the English Premier League, Juventus repeat in the Italian Serie A, Barcelona go back to their major title winning ways in the La Liga while Bayern Munich get the better of Dortmund after two disappointing years.
English Premier League – Manchester City
Not signing anyone isn’t necessarily bad. If it ain’t wrong, don’t fix it. City weren’t perfect last season, but if Mancini has a more figured out way about him and roster this season, less changes and tinkering with whatever it is that one them the title won’t be a problem this season as well. In Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, who will probably be the three forwards getting most of the time this season, he has the best front unit in England. The midfield was the best last season and will continue to dominate in most of their matches while the defense should be as good as long as Vincnet Kompany and Joe Hart stay healthy.
The rest? Manchester United will be right up there, once again, with the fantastic signings of Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie. But De Gea isn’t a solid force between the posts, Robin van Persie won’t be as good as he was for Arsenal and they’re still just a bit less deep and talented than their city rivals. Chelsea made expensive young signings that won’t make them the best in England, Arsenal will be easy on the eyes but easy to beat in big matches, like always, while Tottenham will remain a beat behind. Liverpool might also find themselves, figuring everything comes together (and usually it never works 100%), in the running for a Champions League spot.
Spanish La Liga – FC Barcelona
Just flip the coin – Real Madrid or Barcelona. This year, the coin falls back on the Catalan side in my opinion. Real haven’t made any upgrades yet, but it seems Luka Modric is on the way, which might offer an interesting change to the tactics Mourinho is planning, but also means that the middle might grow a bit softer, although a bit more graceful and technical.
Jordi Alba is the latest addition to Barcelona, who probably missed out on the league title and Champions League because of two things – Injuries to the back four and David Villa missing, also an injury. Not using Lionel Messi as the only scoring option with a bit more stability defensively, while Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano have a year of experience of playing as centre backs behind them means the machine will be clicking a bit more efficiently this season, and not be completely reliant on Lionel Messi.
German Bundesliga – Bayern Munich
Again, like in Spain, this is a two way coin flip, not like previous season in which a few options were always on the table. Dortmund have done everything right the last few years, leading them to two titles and beating Bayern Munich in every meeting. The tide is turning? Maybe. Bayern were the better side during their 2-1 win over Dortmund in the German Super Cup, but not by much, while Mario Gotze got to play only 20 minutes. His combo with Marco Reus could be one of the more enjoyable in European football this season.
Still, Bayern have a fantastic squad that got stronger by the addition of Mario Mandzukic, finally giving Mario Gomez a top notch partner or sub, while a still potent Claudio Pizarro returned to add depth. Dante will make it a bit more easier for Manuel Neuer in the back while Xherdan Shaqiri won’t make his big breakthrough this year, but he won’t disappoint.
Italian Serie A – Juventus FC
No other option really. Despite losing Antonio Conte and two more players (not yet, but coming), and let’s not forget Alessandro Del Piero retiring, Juventus are the only team in the Serie A who made the moves to set them for a title. Maybe that means more pressure, but they’re deeper and pretty much better than everyone else, including AC Milan and Inter, in every way except for the striking crew, which might limit them in goal scoring once again and their Champions League ambitions, but their midfield and defense will be more than enough to make up for it against most teams.