United likely to feel the Blues

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The English Premier League kicks off this weekend in what promises to be the most significant season for years because of all the managerial challenges. 

Sir Alex Ferguson has finally abdicated at Manchester United and been succeeded by David Moyes. Manchester City have a new manager in Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho has returned for a second spell at Chelsea.  

In football circles around the Cayman Islands, debates are raging over who will be kings this time. 

United won the Premiership comfortably last term, regaining it from neighbours City. Chelsea finished strongly after a turbulent season when Roberto Di Matteo was sacked only months after finally bringing home the coveted Champions League.  

At least Chelsea won the Europa League as a consolation, despite the constant hostility towards interim manager Rafa Benitez.  

Arsenal promised to buy big this summer to strengthen an always depleted side that often threatens early in the season but fizzles out because their squad is too small. They inevitably barely make a Champions League place, fighting it out for the fourth spot with arch-rivals Spurs.  

Arsene Wenger’s seven-year barren spell looks certain to continue, particularly if he does not sign bad boy Luis Suarez from Liverpool.  

For all his faults and erratic behaviour, Suarez’s brilliance on the pitch is undeniable and a move to north London could help replace the void never filled by Robin van Persie’s departure to Old Trafford last year. 

Oneil Taylor is captain of West Bay side Scholars International in Cayman. The Jamaican midfielder is a Liverpool supporter but can only dream of his team capturing the Premiership – even if Suarez stays.  

Taylor said, “Competition for the Premier League title is going to be much tougher than last season.  

“Chelsea in pre-season are much stronger. Arsenal too. United have a new manager and the same crop of players. They will feel it. Wayne Rooney wants to leave. If he prefers to go, they should let him. If he stays, then he won’t have his heart in it.” 

Taylor’s pick: Chelsea 

Miguel Pitta keeps goal for George Town. “I’m a huge Manchester United fan. It doesn’t look like Rooney is coming back and we still need his presence on the pitch. City could threaten and I think it is out of those two.  

“Chelsea dropped off a lot since they lost Didier Drogba. He was their main asset. I’m still going to stick with United.” 

Pitta’s pick: Manchester United  

Ramon Sealy is goalkeeper for double champs Bodden Town who won the Premier League title for the first time along with the FA Cup.  

A devoted Chelsea supporter he said: “Mourinho’s return makes it really interesting and I think he’ll win the title again. United won’t be much of a factor. Van Persie is vital for them to retain it.  

“Pellegrini is a good coach, he has proven himself in Spain with Real Madrid and Malaga and he has some quality players at City.” 

Sealy’s pick: Chelsea 

Former Scholars International forward Nikolai Hill has always backed the Gunners but, unless Wenger signs a bunch of world-class players before the 31 August deadline, he sees the title going to their west London neighbours.  

“I believe in Mourinho,” Hill said. “I thought Chelsea were good enough last season but they didn’t make it, although they should have given Roberto Di Matteo more of a chance.  

“Chelsea’s influx was good. Players like Eden Hazard and Oscar I like and they needed time to bed in. I think Juan Mata will become the best player in the Premiership this season.  

“Frank Lampard is still going strong and their back line is solid. Petr Cech is still one of the best keepers in the world.  

“Arsenal haven’t got anybody. We finally got rid of Gervinho. We haven’t signed Suarez yet. I want him but he may go to Chelsea where he would be better than Fernando Torres and Demba Ba put together.”  

Hill’s pick: Chelsea 

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Oneil Taylor hopes Liverpool can do it.
Photo: Ron Shillingford

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