Alan Shearer on top Premier League clubs
In the latest of a series of interviews with our very own Simon Clare, Coral football ambassador Alan Shearer spoke about all the top clubs and their Premier League chances this season.
“Even before they had the injuries, before pre-season, I still felt they lacked two or three top players to take them to where their fans want them to be, which is ultimately challenging for the Premier League,” stated Shearer.
“Because of the fierce competition now in the Premier League you’d have to ask yourself: Is this gonna be the season where they actually don’t get into that top four?”
Shearer added that he doesn’t think the Gunners squad is big or good enough to go on and win the league, and spoke about the differences between owner and fan expectations for Arsene Wenger.
“They’ve signed two big players in [Michy] Batshuayi and [N’Golo] Kante, with a new manager [Antonio Conte] coming in and new styles,” said Shearer of 2014/15 winners Chelsea.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the new manager copes with the Premier League. They will improve on what we saw last year.”
Shearer also spoke of the doubts surrounding Diego Costa and whether the Stamford Bridge side will sign another centre forward.
“Well you’ve also got to look at Leicester and think they’ve now got the demands of Champions League football, which they didn’t have last year”, said Shearer of the Foxes’ chances of retaining the Premier League title.
“It was just an unbelievable success story last year, everything sort of went their way.
“So, no. I’d be absolutely staggered and amazed if Leicester were to do again what they did last year.”
However, when asked if he would do a Gary Lineker and wear his underwear on Match of the Day if Claudio Ranieri’s men did pull off the impossible, Shearer resisted being caught in the same trap as the show’s host!
“I think Liverpool will do well this year. I know they’ve signed [Sadio] Mane, they’ve signed [Georginio] Wijnaldum and so I just have a funny feeling with Jurgen Klopp… I’ve a feeling that Liverpool might have a good season,” Shearer told Coral.
The former England international added that German coach Klopp may upset rival managers with his touchline antics but that he should prove entertaining for the neutrals.
“Very much like Manchester United, they didn’t perform to the standards last year that people expected,” added Shearer when asked about Manchester City.
“Pep Guardiola has spent a lot of money on players. He’s a serial winner, but I’m looking forward to seeing how he copes with the Premier League because in Spain the vast majority of clubs all want to play football.
“Germany is similar, but that isn’t the case in the Premier League. It’s very different. You can go to teams where they can try to rough you up and be physical, sit deep, kick the ball long.
Shearer also thinks the clash of styles between new managerial faces such as Conte and Guardiola will renew interest in the Premier League.
While, of Man City’s rivals Man Utd, Shearer said he was expecting “A huge improvement,” as “[they] made a big statement in the transfer market, backed Mourinho so much so that they’ve now got the world’s most expensive player there [Paul Pogba].
“I think without doubt they’ll improve and I think they’ll be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. Got some good players in there, also some experienced players.
“[Zlatan] Ibrahimovic he’s brought in, I’m really looking forward to seeing how he copes with the Premier League… he’ll bring an experience to that team, he’ll bring an arrogance to the team, which isn’t a bad thing.”
On new Man Utd manager Mourinho, Shearer thinks the Portuguese coach will have learned from mistakes at Chelsea and could be a better coach for it.
“They’ve got a young squad who will want to come back and try and prove a point. Really, the European Championship where their players, like many other England players, didn’t perform. But, for the main part they were brilliant last season.
“Premier League I don’t think so? But I think they’ll be challenging for maybe third or fourth place,” added ex-England international Shearer of Tottenham’s title aspirations.
As for Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino, Shearer believes there were signs that the pressure got to the relatively inexperienced Argentine at the end of last season, which translated to the players, and that they must learn from it.
As for hometown club Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship, Magpies legend Shearer said he is hoping for: “Promotion. That’s what they have to achieve, at the first time of asking.”
“I don’t think it’ll be as easy as everyone thinks,” Shearer continued, regarding Newcastle’s status as favourites for the second tier title.
“It was brilliant that they were able to hold of Rafa Benitez despite being relegated and a guy of his stature… he won’t want to be there for long.”
Former striker Shearer added he thinks the Tyneside team look lightweight up front and might have trouble adapting to the weekly physical rigours of the Championship.
You can follow Shearer’s thoughts on the football season by keeping tabs on the England hero’s Coral blog page!