For those of you who are in the know, then you’ll know the name Kunal Torres. If you don’t, you will very soon. For those of you who don’t know JAT – he is a writer down here at the World of Arsenal HQ – and a massive Gooner. Kunal Torres, as you may have guessed is a Liverpool supporter and proclaims to be one of the biggest in the land – and in a bit of a twist, I’ve got them both in front of me and primed for a WOA exclusive interview.
We’ll start with the easy ones…
Who do you think will get relegated this season and why?
KT: Blackpool, simply because they won’t be strong enough to survive… West Brom because again, they just don’t have the strength and my random tip is Fulham – with their star manager now at my very own Liverpool, and without being able to attract a decent manager after the failed attempt of getting Jol in, I can just see doom and gloom for them.
JAT: Blackpool and West Brom for definite – the other teams that we down there at the end of the season have strengthened, the likes of West Ham and Sunderland have recruited well. One team I feel is running out of steam is Wigan – Martinez was on the end of some difficult losses, some crushing defeats and there hasn’t been much quality in.
Who do you think will win the Premiership and why? (You can’t choose your own team)
KT: I think it’s going to be the most open season yet – it’s hard to tell. Arsenal, United and Chelsea will always be up there – the latter two have been dominant in the last few years. As a Liverpool supporter, it pains me not to consider ourselves in the title race, but it’ll take a year or two to get back into the groove of things. Man City do look good and have some decent signings, but for me, with Essien back in the squad, my tip has to be Chelsea.
JAT: Okay, so I can’t choose Arsenal right? Definitely? Okay, then for me, it’s between United and Chelsea – United haven’t done much to strengthen and Scholes and Giggs will not be the players they have been recently. Smalling looks very shakey, as did Evans, Brown and O’Shea last season, and there is too much emphasis on Rooney to score – something you can carry for one season, but not for season after season. Chelsea meanwhile have strengthened where they needed too and with Drogba back and fit, Essien desperate to get back into the game and the little spark of Benayoun and their strength in depth will set them on their way.
How do you [honestly] think Liverpool will do?
KT: I think we’ll surprise everyone and finish in the top four. With a combo of Joe Cole, Gerrard and Torres as an attacking axis – all with different styles and skills, we’ll definitely get a good number of goals. Our other signing Jovanovic is a very good striker too and should have an impact on the season.
JAT: I think top four is pushing it – especially with such a disheartened squad. I’m glad we dodged the Joe Cole bullet, as for me, we have enough small, skillful, injury prone players. They haven’t improved on last season and may even get weaker if Mascherano leaves – but top six is achievable and with Hodgson at the helm, very realistic.
How do you [honestly] think Arsenal will do?
KT: For Arsenal, it all comes down to whether their star players can stay injury free. If Van Persie can remain fit and get back to form, they’ll be challenging. Maroune Chamakh looks like an interesting signing – at one point, I thought he may coming to Anfield – but it will take time for him to settle in. If Arsenal don’t sign a keeper then they will struggle to top the table, but we’ll see how it pans out – I’d definitely say Arsenal were in a much better position than Liverpool.
JAT: At the moment, without the signings I wanted at the beginning of the season, it’s hard to say I am confident that we will win the title. I think we’ll fair similar to last season, a top three finish – I can’t see how we’ve strengthened out team over last season – Eduardo out, Chamakh in – the whole heap of defenders out and only Koscielny in. Like KT said, we’ve been notorious for big injuries to key players and if that is something we can avoid, then we will have a chance. If we can strengthen in defence and GK, then I’ll feel more confident.
Which player will you be watching out for this season? (You can’t choose your own team)
KT: I’ll be interested to see how David Silva fairs this season up at Man City – he’s been a very good and consistent performer in La Liga, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fairs.
JAT: I would have chosen Chamakh, as I think he’s got something about him – obviously watching Cesc at his brilliant best is awesome – but if I can’t choose an Arsenal player, then it will have to be Hernandez, the new Mexican player just signed for Man United – he looked good in the World Cup and I think he will prove a good foil for Rooney.
Finally, a random, but interesting one – if you could sign a former player of your team, who would be your pick?
KT: I’d bring Xabi Alonso back in a flash – we all saw the effect he had when he wasn’t playing for us last season; he was one of the most under-rated Liverpool players under Benetiz’s reign. He’d definitely be the one I’d bring back.
JAT: It’s a difficult one, we’ve had a few decent players who are still playing – like Flamini, Diarra etc, but I’ve struggled with this one. The likes of Henry and Pires are obviously past their prime now. The more I think about it, it has to Flamini. He had an excellent partnership with Cesc and also had some trickery about him too.