Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Predictions

In this site's previous blog we reviewed 2010, now it's time to make some sporting predictions for 2011, we'll kick off with the league winners around the various countries in football.

In England, ManYoo will lift the title but will be run close for the first time in years by Arsenal. In Spain, Real Madrid will beat Barcelona in the return fixture at the Bernabeu and in the process pip (pun intended) Guardiola to the title. In Germany, Borussia Dortmund will hold on to win their first title in over a decade whilst in Scotland, Walter Smith's experience will see him through in his final season as Rangers manager. In Serie A, AC Milan will wrest the title back from the blue half of the San Siro and thus maintain Ibrahimovic's incredible sequence of league title wins. France is an incredibly close run league this season but we will plump for Marseille to come through the pack there. PSV should be too strong for the rest in the Eredivise.

Whilst we have controversially picked Real to beat Barcelona to the title in Spain, that is not to say that Barcelona are not the finest team in Europe and they will duly be crowned as such when they win the Champions League this season.

Managerial casualties are inevitable each year and 2011 will be no different. Liverpool will dispense of Roy Hodgson's services after (if not before) a disappointing and uninspiring season. He will be replaced by Martin O'Neil who will ultimately prove a failure also. Carson Yeung will fire Alex McLeish for no good reason. Carlo Ancelotti will survive as Abramovich will know it is his own fault for not investing in the team and will need a scapegoat. Roberto Mancini will also survive as Man City will pick up a Champions League place. Likewise, there will be no axe swung in the direction of Alan Pardew as cronyism runs free at St James Park.

Blackburn Rovers will relieve Steve Kean of his duties as he returns to be an assistant and they will inevitably hire someone less qualified than Allardyce was in the first place - both they and Birmingham should realise that mid table is as good as it gets for them. Wolves and Fulham will be relegated along with Blackpool who will go into freefall in the second half of the season. Mark Hughes remarkable fall from grace will be crowned by his sacking after relegation. Ian Holloway's rants will continue in the Championship however.

In other sports, David Haye will beat either or both of the Klitschko brothers who have lived too many years fighting hand picked opponents in a woeful heavyweight division. Haye will be too quick and too good for either of them especially Vitali who is well past his prime. If he then sticks to his promise of retirement, he will have had a short but excellent heavyweight career.

In golf, it is the biggest year of Tiger's career as he attempts to regain the aura that has been destroyed by all his high jinx away from the game. That aura may have indeed gone but he will be rested and the newly tweaked swing will start to click in the Spring. If he can get the putter to warm up, he could be a formidable force once again and we pick him to win at least one Major, probably the US Open which tends to be the ultimate leveller.

The early part of the year will see the Cricket World Cup held on the sub continent. A talented but ageing India side will try their hardest but the pressure will prove too great. England will build on their recent one day improvement but the trophy will ultimately go to South Africa.

The Rugby World Cup in New Zealand will provide interesting fare once the pointless early rounds are dispensed with. The All Blacks will be favourites and rightly so but the pressure of trying to win a tournament that they have not since 1987 and on home soil will prove too much for them. It is hard to see a Northern Hemisphere team winning in New Zealand, particularly when they are all currently so mediocre so the title will be won by either South Africa or Australia. We will plump for Australia who would just love to win that trophy on Kiwi soil.

In other sports, we have no idea who will win the Superbowl. The Tour De France will be won by the cyclist with the doctor with the best knowledge of the newest masking agents. Andy Murray will fail to win a Grand Slam yet again and we will boldly predict here that he never will.

We'll finish up the predictions with a return to football and some transfer speculation for next season. Cesc Fabregas will go to Barcelona in the Summer in exactly the same way that Ronaldo left for Madrid one season after declaring openly that he wanted to go. Don't be surprised to see Mascherano coming the other way as part exchange.

Steven Gerrard will stay at Liverpool and will sit at home and reflect on a career of misplaced loyalty that will never earn him (what a travesty for such a great player) a Premiership medal and will realise that Joe Cole was not after all the answer to his prayers. Fernando Torres will however leave Liverpool in the Summer and will move to Chelsea.

Manchester City will provide the best theatre as they try to offload a variety of centre forwards with bad attitudes which will intriguingly leave room for Andy Carroll to join them.

2011 will once again provide many surprises which means many of these predictions will ultimately be wrong. No Nonsense.