This post could go up to 3000 words for all i know as i am going to go through each team that will fight for placings next season in the Premier League. I give my opinions on where i think they’ll finish aswell as other major talking points for the side. So without waiting, in alphabetical order, sit back and relax towards the build-up for the new English Domestic Season….
Arsenal: What can you say about Arsene Wenger? Some hate him and some love him. Whatever you think about the experienced French Coach everyone knows that he did a very decent job last year with the resources he had. But all Arsenal fans are asking the question, Why don’t you buy a PROVEN goalscorer? You thought he would have learnt from Robin Van Persie being out the whole of last season, almost, with an injury. But will Wenger prove everyone wrong and guide them to a first silverwere for 6 years? If he is to do so the one to watch is Van Persie, for sure. Had an injury strewn campaign last time round, I think he could turn up the heat on Arsenals title hopes. But for me I think Arsenal will finish 4th. I really believe that they dont have enough threat upfront and will get found out away from home, even with van persie, and possibly without fabregas playing to his full potential, not wanting to be there.
Aston Villa: Aston Villa. Finished 6th the last 3 seasons and Martin O’Neil calls this sides performances since 2006 as a”satisfying improvement” because last season, they gained 2 points to there tally than 3 years ago. For me to become a big club you need to do more than that. When i sore them play us (tottenham) at white hart lane, they played for a draw and got what they came for. But surely to do what we did and finish in the top 4 you need to go for results away. We event went to Old Trafford to win and set up 4 4 2 but O’neil likes 4 5 1 which I’m not convinced about. My guy to watch would be Stewart Downing. Much like Van Persie, Downing had an injury prone season and so will be fresh and chomping at the bit to get into the England squad for the Euro’s. As for Villa themselves I think that there not good enough for a top 4 but i can still see them coming top 8 or 9. I’m going to go with 9th for Villa.
Birmingham: This farely unknown Birmingham side, 1 year ago, were expected to be in a fight to the finish for relegation but instead Alex McLeish did the impossible and got them into the top half of the table and stayed there for the entire season. Can he do it this time round? I dont think he can because the dreaded second season is always a challenger, just look at hull who were flying and then all of a sudden, a year later, find themselves in the Championship. I’m sitting on the fence with Birmingham’s relegation hopes. I’m going to say that they will be one of the 2 or 3 sides that stay up by the skin of there teeth. 17th is my prediction.
Blackburn: In my opinion Sam Allyardyce has done a fantastic job at Blackburn, like he does at most clubs. He did it at Bolton. I wouldn’t want to watch Tottenham play like they do but Rovers fans have to except the fact that thats how Sam likes to play. Bully the opposition off of the ball. And lets be honest, it works. So i dont think there should be any suprises for Rovers supporters next season, a very respectable bottom of the top half for Blackburn. 10th.
Bolton: Here is my suprise for the season. Bolton. When Owen Coyle came to Bolton in January everyone had written Wanderers off, “they were going down” was the word going round. And yet Coyle produced a brilliant turn of events and guided them to way above the relegation zone. I think he’ll do an excellent job this season. He has no real stars although I think the man to definately keep an eye on would be Matt Taylor who scores plenty of goals from midfield and alongside the ever reliable Kevin Davies, almost all of the playmaking comes from them. So my truly bold statement is that i am going to go 8th for the Wanderers. Yes 8th. And I also think OC will become Manager of the Year 2011.
Blackpool: Apologies, I do realise that Bolton are behind Blackpool in the alphabet but i accidentally skipped the tangerines out. Anyway, the dream for Blackpool has been realised, there in the top flight, an amazing run at the end of last season put them here but what will they do now they are in the Prem. I would love to say, with all my heart, that Blackpool will defy the odds and finish mid-table. But unfortunately i cannot see that happening. I think they will go down in bottom position. I adore the way the tangerines play there football, but quality and finishing has to play a part. If you needed any convincing that Ian Holloway’s side were not quite ready for the big stage then you need look no further than that there opening day fixture against a possible relegation rival Wigan has been moved to an away game due to Blackpool’s unfinished stadium. I dont think that’s ever happened before has it? Despite the negatives i do think Charlie Adam and Brett Ormerod could net a few goals, consolation ones though (going back to negative!) as I see them finishing rock bottom. 20th.
Chelsea: The current Premier League Champions will go into the upcoming season as favourites to retain there crown. But will they succeed? I seemedto believe that they would. Thats was until I watched the Community Shield in which they got battered from pillar to post by Fergie’s side. And suprisingly I have completely changed my ways. I’m going for Man Utd to lift the trophy by a margain of 3 or 4 points. The Chelsea side havnt really had to many additions to there squad with the exception of Ramirez who much like Shevchenko, Ballack and Deco, I can’t see doing much to be quite honest. And so I can see there side being a bit weaker. United’s side has if anything got stronger so for Chelsea it’s a not so sweet 2nd.
Everton: I’m not sure about anyone else but i thought that there were very very encouraging signs for Everton last year despite coming 8th. OK, the first few months were poor but that was a blip. Mikel Arteta is now back and I think he could have a tremendous season . We all know by now and knew a long time ago that David Moyes is one of if not THE best manager in the country. With the resources he has, he should be finishing mid-table, like a Blackburn, Fulham etc. Instead i am so convinced by the Toffees that last season i would have put them in the top 4 but this season I do think that it is going to be tougher. Everton dont have as bigger squad as Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham etc and so I’m going to put them into another Europa League place. 7th.
Fulham: Writing this at the moment I have no clue who is going to become the next manager of Fulham so i can’t really give an indication of how the manager will set up this hard working side. However I don’t realisticly think that the manager will have the same impact as Roy Hodgson did. I think fans of Fulham F.C will have to lower there expectations quite a bit for the new season and look no further than a mid-table finish. Despite this, I think, if fit, Andrew Johnson could be the main striker this season as i am going to assume that the expectations will be to high on Bobby Zamora. 13th.
Liverpool: 2 weeks ago I would have said to you, “Liverpool are in a right old mess.” But now after Hodgson coming in and completely re-shaping the team. With Fernanado and Stevie G looking relitavely happy at the club now and with the signings of Joe Cole and Christian Poulsen. Now, Poulsen, I think could be a very vitle signing for Liverpool. 2 Poulsen’s were at the World Cup and I definately think he was the better one of the 2. A very good player who could change The Scousers top 4 challenge into a reality. The only way I see that Torres and Gerrard have stayed is via Roy saying to them ” look, stay with us one more season, because I believe we can make the top 4. But if we don’t then I am willing to let you go at the end of the Season.” And for that reason I’m sticking them in the top 6 but not top 4. 6th.
Manchester City: As expected City are the biggest spenders in this years transfer market, but i do pose the question that are any of them actually world class? I mean look at the 3 biggest signings so far. David Silva. Probably the best of the lot although paying nearly 30 million for a player who is not in the same league as Gerrard, Lampard, fabregas etc. Also, like most of the players who have joined City now, do any of them have the desire to win considering on paper it looks like there only going there for the money? Which, lets be honest, is the only reason why players such as Yaya Toure and David Silva would leave clubs such as Valencia and Barcelona. Toure is a bit different in the way that he wasn’t being played and his brother is there so you can see the thinking behind it. But really, is he that great? I didnt even notice him playing for the Ivory Coast in the World Cup. But by far the weirdest signing of the lot is Jerome Boateng. The German left back although looking at him, that is the last place you would put him on a football field. He is a tall, mixed race German and I thought he was the only weakness to Germanys side at the WC and Pedro caused him havock in the semi. I would say despite the poor signings the team as a starting Xl will generally stay the same and so I think this could be the season they gel as a team instead of individuals. If i was Mancini I wouldn’t have brought many new faces in and let the team gel but even so I think they will comfortably finish inside the top 4 and possibly higher. 3rd.
Manchester United: You know, I take a look at United’s side and I really can’t understand how Ferguson manages to keep his team in the title race every single year. I thought this at the start of last season aswell. I mean how can a team with Valencia and Nni on the wings even come close to a 3 man midfield of Chelsea’s with Deco, Lampard and Malouda lining up. But the one thing you should never do is write Fergie and The Red Devils off. I still wasnt convinced that they would win the league, (as I said in Chelsea’s paragraphy), but then at the Community Shield, they really did look World Class. Rooney, Berbatov, Valencia and Fletcher in my opinion are all the World’s best in there positions ,n there day. And so if I am correct United will end the 2 year long wait to overhaul Liverpool for the most Championship Victories and finally overtake them. On another note Valencia and D Fletcher look a very good bet to be United’s players of the season.
Newcastle: Possibly the most unpredictable team in the Division in the 2010/11 season. Many think they will go straight back down again without a fight. Others think they will struggle but somehow survive. I think there is 10 teams this year who are all in the boat to avoid relegation. Those being West Ham, Newcastle, Fulham, Stoke, Sunderland, Wigan, Wolves, Blackpool, West Brom and Birmingham. These teams, I presume will be in there own mini-league. ( a.k.a the bottom half of the table). Despite the Black and White Army not having the resources or players to stay up, I do believe that once in a blue moon, spirit and belief can play a part and The Jordi’s have brilliant fans in my eyes whichever way you want to look at them. 12th is there position for me. I also have a feeling Andy Carroll may bag 10-12 goals this season and become there key man upfront.
Stoke: I never had any doubts that for this season and Stoke’s chances of staying up, that was, until a few games from the end of last season. Because of the style of football that they play, the throw-in, the set pieces etc, they mostly relied on there home form to see them through the season and were rarely beaten at the Brittania. But defeats, at home, near the end of the season to Tottenham and Bolton have given me my doubts. However Tony pulis is a good manager and if there is any doubt that they will be playing 2nd flight football next season, i think he is the man to get them out of it. 14th.
Sunderland: Steve Bruce has a funny record with premier league clubs. He has done a farely good job with Sunderland. But with previous clubs such as Wigan, he has done not so well with. I do believe that he will keep them up this season but not by much. The potential lose of Kenwyn Jones is a big worry but they still have 2 strikers who can score goals in Frazier Campbell and Darren Bent. I do expect Campbell especially to produce 10-12 goals this forthcoming season. I think Bruce will guide his side to a 16th place finish. I would also like to add that I think they have a top class Goalkeeper in Craig Gordon.
Tottenham: My club. I am going to be unbyast with Spurs. I do think that the distraction of Champions League football will pay dividence to them this season in the PL. I don’t think their League form will go completely out the window; however I can’t see them making the top 4 because, aswell, with City spending, Liverpool strengthening and Everton who will always be up there, I’m predicting a 6th place finish for the Lilywhites. In saying that, the 3 players i see becoming Tottenham’s stand out stars are Michael Dawson who I can see having another fantastic season.Aaron Lennon, who had a very disapointing World Cup and so will want to show Capello what he is capable of against the bigger teams which he failed to do last season. But the one player who I can see being there player of the year is Luka Modric. He showed bits of genius last season. The flick to Peter Crouch against Fulham and goal against Burnely spring to mind. But this season i can not only see him setting up some brilliant moves. But also scoring 12 or 14 goals himself which was arguably the 1 part of his game that was missing from last season. 5th.
West Brom: West Brom are probably the most unpopular team out of the 3 that have come up from the Championship, Blackpool are respected because it’s a fairytale story that they have made it to the premier league. Newcastle, because they have and always are known as a big club with great fans. West Brom, well, most neutral fans who support clubs who don’t really have any great emotion towards the club itself are starting to get bored of the fact that they keep coming up, knowing that in one year, they’ll be straight back down again! Graham Dorrans is the only player that has given me a slight hope that Albion will stay up but to be quite frank I think he’ll be gone by January. Having there already been interest from other Premier League clubs including West Ham. I think West Brom will struggle undoubtully this season. The trouble is, other teams fighting for relegation usually get there points at Home anyway. But The Hawthorns is no Fortress for Albion. 19th and relegation……again.
West Ham: With the exception of Manchester City and Liverpool, the Hammers have definately bought the most players in the Transfer Market as of so far. I can’t see them being relegated, and as it always seems to be with West Ham, they have a season fighting for relegation and then a season were they comfortably finish mid-table. The are a decent side, just the goals upfront let them down. Scott Parker is obviously a leader and should atleast be called up to the England squad so he can show what he can do. Fredrice Piquionne, I think could change things upfront. I think he is a very good goalscorer and was unable to show his full potential last year as he was playing for a dramatically bad Portsmouth side who only got the ball up to him once or twice a game at most. He has shown, with goals against the lieks of Liverpool, that he can finish. And of course you cannot disregard the brilliant fanbase that Utd have. The Pretty Bubbles faithful, I believe can have a mid-table finish in the 2010/11 season.
Wigan: A very odd side to say the least. Can be beating Chelsea one minute and then losing 9-1 the next. I really do think that Roberto Martinez is a decent manager. Not in the same class as Hodgson, Ferguson, Moyes, O’Neil and Redknapp but a good manager none the less. I think he will keep them up. But by the skin of his teeth. I mean, Hugo Rodallega and Victor Moses as a strike force is not one to be scared of as a defender but they do have some goals coming from midfield in Scharner and Koumas so they always do stay up, some how. 15th, but possibly only 3 points from being relegated.
Wolves: Mick McCarthy is a decent manager. He did a good job with his resources last year but, with the premier league getting tougher this time round, and with a very thin WW squad I can’t see them staying up in all honesty. I think they will be in the thick of the relegation battle and with, in my op, 8 teams of very similar standard, Wolves could come 12th this year, or 19th, its that unpredictable. Kevin Doyle carried them last year and, even though he will be fresh as he was not involved in a World Cup, I cannot see them staying up because without him last year they would have gone down. I can’t see him having the same season this term. So as unpredictable and probably regretably i relegate Wolves and Mick McCarthy. 18th
So thats it, 2 days before the Premier League Season, they are my predictions for each team. If all of my predictions ARE correct, which of course they wont be! then this is what the table will look like.
Thank you for reading. Each week I will give my verdict on the upcoming fixtures for those weekend games