With the start of the season this Saturday I have to get my picks in for the 2011-2012 EPL Season. I’m selecting the Top 4 and those unlucky 3 who will be relegated into nothing-ness….

I really struggled with these picks as it’s difficult to predict; the transfer window has been extremely quiet and hardly complete.  So bear in mind these picks are done without any final transfers that may occur involving Sneijder, Nasri or Fabregas.

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Before I pick the team winners, I’m going out on these limbs:

A. Chicharito has more off-sides calls than goals this year (clearly a joke but not really)

B. Darren Bent will lead the EPL in goals.

C. Hart from City will lead the EPL in clean sheets.

D. Sturridge will emerge as a cult icon for Chelsea fans, he will also be invited to the English National Team as their performance in recent years has been laughable.

E. Totty will be lost as they spent no money this off-season and have zero sense of direction.

F. Peter Odemwingie will emerge as one of my least favorite EPL players next to: Van Persie, Milner, Hart, Song, Crouch and Bale.

1. Manchester United:  They have two of the best goal scorers in the league with Rooney and Hernandez.  They have excellent wingers in Nani, Valencia and Young coupled with a defense that at times can be the best in the league led by Vidic and Ferdinand.  Sir Alex is Sir Alex, no details needed there. But they have the intangibles that allow them to win games they should and pull out games they shouldn’t.  Berbatov and De Gea are the X-Factors to me.  They can really put Man United far ahead or bring them back down to the pack.

2. Chelsea: I’m biased with this pick as I am a Chelsea fan but it’s hard to ignore the names on their roster.  Chelsea to me is that team that can beat you down 4-0 or make you completely wonder how they hell they tied 0-0.  I mean look at this roster, it resembles a FIFA 11 Ultimate Team: Drogba, Torres, Anelka, Malouda, Lampard, Terry, Cech, Cole, Ivanovic, Luiz and Sturridge. The key is going to be how new manager Andre Villas-Boas pulls this team together.  At times they don’t play well as a unit and he is going to have to find a rotation with the strikers.  I’m begging Torres please earn your keep.

3. Manchester City: Another team that is tough to predict, partly because we don’t know the future of Carlos Tevez.  They did bring in Sergio Aguero, the young Argentinian striker from Atletico, but there are still questions to be answered.  City was able to win the FA Cup last season knocking off Manchester United on the way to the finale, but can City maintain the intensity for an entire season.  Yaya Toure has emerged as one of my favorite players to watch, as you rarely see an attacking midfielder at that size.  I don’t like Mancini’s style and I don’t care for many of the players on City, they remind me of the Boston Red Sox.  I think they will be in the hunt for a while then falter like they always do.

4. Liverpool: How can a team with all midfielders finish 4th in the EPL? Good question, not sure I have the answer yet.  I think Liverpool gets this spot by default really.  I don’t trust Arsenal, and I don’t think they will have Nasri or Fabregas when it comes down to it.  I don’t think Everton is good enough, Fulham isn’t good enough, so it really has to be Liverpool.  They still have Reina, Gerrard (hopefully returning from injury) and new addition Suarez for a full season.   I think the offense will come for Liverpool, but their defense this pre-season has been MLS-ish.  They need to work on that back line or else they might be hovering around the 6th spot.

Those that need to make reservations at the heart-break hotel next May…

Swansea City: Easy come, easy go for these recently promoted Swans. I don’t really know anything about them except for their nickname is the Swans, so yes the only place to go is an ugly duckling joke.

Norwich: This team is going to light the EPL on fire with their green and yellow kits.  Something that I haven’t seen in many years. I think I read some stat that of the 3 teams promoted each year at least 2 are dropped back down like 90% of the time.  Sorry Norwich you lost the coin flip, and I think Queens Park might be better than Wolverhampton this year.

Wigan Athletic: Sorry Roberto Martinez but you escaped last year on the final day and I don’t think you are going to be that lucky again.  Oh yeah they also lost their best player Charles N’Zogbia.