Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Premiership Predictions

The new season is nearly upon us so it is time for this blog to make some bold predictions as to the finishing places for the coming season and the rationale behind it. As the transfer window is still open, this may be tweaked in the coming weeks if any major signings subsequently occur.

Champions, ManYoo. Without a major tournament this summer, aching limbs will have been soothed for those such as Rooney, Ferdinand, Evra and Vidic. The further arrival of some young prime talent will supplement an already excellent squad. Much may depend on how their new Spanish goalkeeper settles in and they still look short of quality in the middle of the park (Wesley Sneijder would be an excellent addition should they move for him). They should however be too good for the rest,

Runners Up, Manchester City. The noisy neighbours should post a real title challenge this season having kept Mancini and avoided major upheaval to their squad this Summer. Aguero adds yet more class up front and if David Silva improves on his excellent debut season they will be a real force.

3rd, Chelsea. Little has been done to address their ageing squad in the short term and without the arrival of much needed creativity in midfield, many of last seasons' issues will re-emerge. Luiz and Torres should be better for having bedded in last season but Essien's long term prospects look a huge concern. Luca Modric would do much to enhance their prospects.

4th, Arsenal. It will be another long season for the Gunners with little true hope of winning the title and constant looking over their shoulders at those coveting their Champions League status. Whether Fabregas stays or goes may have little bearing as he seems disillusioned about staying and should they sell him, it is unlikely they can replace him with the same quality. The jury is definitely out on Gervinho who looks much more Chamakh than Henry from first impressions.

5th, Liverpool. The Anfield side are still a long way short on quality but have made some decent additions to the squad and narrowly missed out on 5th place last year despite their appalling first half of the season. Stuart Downing is no Marc Overmars but his and Adam's delivery in to the box for Andy Carroll will be crucial. Depending on theirs and Arsenal's transfer activity between now and Sep 1st, they may make a push for 4th place.

6th, Spurs. Finishing 6th will be no disgrace for the club, they are hamstrung by a small ground and a lack of income. Predictably Redknapp will complain bitterly all season about the riches of those clubs above him. He will be comforted when he resigns in the Summer to take over the England team after they get knocked out of the European Championship on penalties to much gnashing of teeth. They would do well to sell the unhappy Modric and invest the money in quality at centre half and up front. Van Der Vaart can easily fill his role.

7th, Sunderland. This blog is not a particular fan of Steve Bruce but having survived the sale of Darren Bent, the additions of O'Shea and Brown at the back will add some much needed know how, if their other new signings bed in and they avoid their usual mid season collapse, it could be a proud season for the Wearsiders.

8th, Everton. David Moyes has done an excellent job at Everton but with a threadbare squad and a predictable appaling start to every season, they cannot keep expecting to challenge for Europe every season. Another top half finish but little else.

9th, Aston Villa. Another season of mediocrity beckons for a club that has seemingly reached its' own level. The twin losses of Downing and Young will be felt but the purchase of N'Zogbia should be a good one. Given will prove a good piece of business although it will be tough to better the job that Friedel had done. McLeish will endure a rough ride from the Holt End should he get off to a sticky start. It will not be a happy season.

10th, Stoke City. Last season was an excellent one for their fans with their fantastic run to the FA Cup final. This however did prove a distraction as their late season league form fell away. There remains that danger with the UEFA Cup this season but with a lack of quality around them, they should be good enough for a top half finish this time around.

11th. Fulham. With Mark Hughes having voluntarily jettisoned himself into managerial oblivion, Martin Jol will take on the job at the Cottage with little chance of improving on last year's finish.

12th, Bolton. Owen Coyle continues the tradition of management excellence hailing from Glasgow. If Coyle can motivate and rejuvenate Reo Coker, he may be a very shrewd acquisition. A couple of decent loan signings this coming month and we could well see them improve on last year's 14th place finish.

13th, Wolves. A bold prediction possibly but they were only 6 points from this position last season and have invested well with the acquisition of Roger Johnson from Birmingham. Goals as ever will be a problem for the Molineux men and finding a way to integrate Fletcher into the side along the side the non scoring but otherwise excellent Hunt could be key. There is some confidence starting to emanate from McCarthy who is possibly finally and belatedly finding his feet in the Premiership.

14th, West Brom. Nothing of note in the transfer market but the managerial nous of Roy Hodgson will ensure another season of Premiership football for the Baggies.

15th, Newcastle. There is nothing to suggest that the core of this club is anything other than rotten. Club captain Kevin Nolan was sold to West Ham and Joey Barton has been staggeringly released on a free transfer. The money from the Andy Carroll sale has not resurfaced with a trio of French speakers the only replacements. Alan Pardew offers only cronyism with Mike Ashley and certainly little inspiration in the dugout. Relegation is not out of the question and in Ashley's case much deserved.

16th, Blackburn. Venkys the owners have offered Steve Kean nothing in terms of funds despite repeated comments about Champions League football. Should they lose Samba before the end of the transfer window, survival could be tough especially if they continue to insist on his monthly visits to Pune.

17th, Norwich. A bright young manager and a fairly busy summer of transfer activity means that the Carrow Road side could achieve their minimum of Premiership survival. Home form for the Canaries will be crucial if they are indeed to stay up.

18th (R), Wigan. Having survived by the skin of their teeth last season, investment was required this Summer. Instead there has been none and their best player Charles N'Zogbia has been sold. Martinez remains hugely likeable but that will not be enough to keep them in the division.

19th (R), QPR. A sad prediction for the supposedly richest club in the world but with an utter lack of investment and a manager with a decidedly chequered record in the Premiership little else can be predicted. Warnock enjoys a prickly relationship at best with the board and could be a good each way bet for the first Premiership managerial casualty, the Loftus Road faithful will be back to paying less again for their season tickets come next Summer.

20th (R), Swansea. Police forces all over the country will give a collective sigh of relief when the Welsh side are dispatched back to whence they came. Nowhere near enough quality for this division.