Tony Cottee: Chelsea will be back on top thanks to Carlo Ancelotti

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:42 05 October 2010

Tony Cottee names Chelsea as the team to beat in his exclusive team-by-team breakdown ahead of the new Premier League season

The Premier League returns this weekend and I think it's shaping up to be the most exciting season in years.

There are three teams battling for the title, another four fighting for a Champions League spot, a handful bidding for Europe and what looks to be an almighty relegation scrap.

Here's how I see it all shaking out...


They were lucky to finish in the top four last year and Arsenal face an even tougher season this time. Jack Wilshere is a rare talent, but can he cover the losses of Adebayor and Kolo Toure?

Key man: Cesc Fabregas Prediction: 5th


I'm a big fan or Martin O'Neill and it's great to see a manager committed to buying British players. Stewart Downing and Fabian Delph are good additions, but I think they might have to settle for the Europa League again.

Key man: Ashley Young Prediction: 6th


I can only see a season of struggle for Birmingham. They've brought in a few players and Joe Hart is a good signing, but £9m striker Christian Benitez is a massive gamble - it could be a year before he adapts to English football.

Key man: Joe Hart Prediction: 18th


They've got a fantastic manager in Sam Allardyce and my old team-mate Scott McDonald as No2, but it's difficult to see what they can achieve. They'll be safe in mid-table, but with no money that's all they can hope for.

Key man: Benni McCarthy Prediction: 12th


Gary Megson is another manager who believes in a core of British players and he's done a great job at Bolton. Gary Cahill is one of the best young centre-halves in the Premier League and could earn a World Cup place.

Key man: Kevin Davies Prediction: 13th


I've got a feeling they can pull it off and escape the drop. They proved in the Carling Cup last year that they can give the top sides a game and I know from experience that Turf Moor can be a very hostile place to play.

Key man: Wade Elliott Prediction: 17th


The team to catch. The problem last year was Scolari and instability behind the scenes, but Carlo Ancelotti will change all that. The front two of Anelka and Drogba could be electric and a fit Michael Essien is a big boost.

Key man: Michael Essien Prediction: 1st


What a fantastic season. To reach the FA Cup final and finish fifth was a remarkable feat. They might struggle to match it this year, but could do it again if Yakubu and Saha stay fit.

Key man: Yakubu Prediction: 7th


They overachieved last year and it was a great effort to get into Europe, but I don't think they'll stay in the Europa League for long. Their squad is too thin and mid-table looks likely.

Key man: Danny Murphy Prediction: 11th


A great achievement to stay up, but they need to get someone in to score them 10 league goals a season or they could be in danger again. Experience of last year should be enough though.

Key man: Jimmy Bullard Prediction: 16th


It's do-or-die for Liverpool and Rafa Benitez this year. It's 20 years since they last won the league and in the five years under Benitez, they've only won two trophies - both on penalties. That's not a great record and needs to improve.

Key man: Fernando Torres Prediction: 2nd


Mark Hughes will be under pressure, but he's done a great job in signing the right kind of players. They went for Kaka too early. This summer they've brought in proven Premier League performers who won't let them down.

Key man: Stephen Ireland Prediction: 4th


I'm a huge fan of Michael Owen - he'll be a great signing and I desperately hope he finishes as top-scorer. But the fact remains that United have lost two of their best players in Ronaldo and Tevez and Owen can't replace them both.

Key man: Wayne Rooney Prediction: 3rd


Pompey are in big trouble. They've got a very small squad, players fighting among themselves and a takeover that's dragging on for months - we know how damaging that was at West Ham and it could doom Portsmouth.

Key man: Sol Campbell Prediction: 19th


Tony Pulis was my manager of the season in the Advertiser for doing such a fantastic job at Stoke and I can see more of the same from them this year. They'll be strong at home, Beattie and Fuller will score goals and they'll outmuscle teams.

Key man: James Beattie Prediction: 15th


They've certainly given Steve Bruce plenty of money to spend. Darren Bent is sure to score goals and with Frazier Campbell and Kenwyne Jones, they've got a £25m strikeforce that's more than good enough to keep them up.

Key man: Darren Bent Prediction: 10th


I watched them out in China and Harry Redknapp's got a very, very talented squad. They've got big defensive problems at the moment, but Bassong is a good signing and if they can avoid a slow start, they'll be up there challenging.

Key man: Jermain Defoe Prediction: 8th


It's important to keep things in perspective - we've not spent any money this summer, our rivals have strengthened and it will be tough to beat last season's position. But if we can improve on our cup runs, we can still enjoy a good year.

Key man: Carlton Cole Prediction: 9th


I always think they'll be involved in a relegation scrap, but they always seem to prove me wrong. Roberto Martinez will get them playing football and Jason Scotland will be a real handful for Premier League defences.

Key man: Jason Scotland Prediction: 14th


One of the teams to go down. They've got some talented young players in Kightly, Ebanks-Blake and Jarvis, but they're just too weak defensively.

Key man: Michael Kightly Prediction: 20th

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 20:30

West Ham midfield duo Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice were the stand-outs with energetic performances in their 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.

Premier League: West Ham United 1 Manchester United 3

Yesterday, 16:38

League Two: Scunthorpe United 2 Leyton Orient 0

Fri, 15:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton knows they have to wary of Scunthorpe United and their recent form despite a slow start to the season.

Fri, 13:15

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton has been delighted with the goal and assist contributions throughout the team of course with Danny Johnson and Conor Wilkinson leading the way.

Thu, 12:49

The Premier League and the EFL have agreed a rescue package to protect lower-league clubs from going under amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thu, 12:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton says he is now focused on building on recent fortunes after his side climbed into the League Two play-off places ahead of their Scunthorpe United clash.

Tue, 17:01

The RFU has welcomed the news that government has given the green light for 15-a-side contact rugby union to return at grassroots level, subject to adaptations.


Hopes for a return to more normal lives for all have soared with news of the vaccine roll-out. Here, medical experts unite in their reassurance to the public that vaccines meet strict standards of safety and effectiveness.

From January 1, 2021 the way the UK trades with the EU will change. Businesses need to act now! This is true for retail, those trading in consumer goods, services and investment, construction and housing as well as vehicle and haulier firms.

Let’s get physical! One of the dangers of lockdown is to be lulled into laziness, watching too many box sets, and eating and drinking too much, but there is no excuse to not start exercising to get fit and stay healthy.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Latest from the East London Advertiser