Thursday, 9 August 2007

Prediction Time: Part Deux


JJ here,

Right well after Mark’s table yesterday and the banter on the blog, I know I’m on to a loser trying to predict anything but fuck it. I’m not gonna turn into that fence sitting fuckwit Lawro (by the way have ye seen his new brooding picture on the BBC website? Somehow I think he’ll be the same camp repetition machine as last season and the season before and the season before and… well you get the idea). God if only all predictions were as easy as that.

1. Man Utd – There can be only one logical choice. The champions have improved their squad so what else are we supposed to predict? There will be problems – Scholes and Giggs retaining their sharpness (though I’d imagine many said that 12 months ago) but also United had some heavy doses of luck last year with Chelsea’s injuries, last minute goals at Fulham and Liverpool, and Everton’s keeper not being able to hold onto a ball. They should have more than enough to win again though.
2. Chelsea – They will batter their way through smaller opposition and a draw with Liverpool next week will be the start of what is always a decent record against the top sides. Malouda looks a good buy, Sidwell is a solid back up option and surely Sheva can’t be that bad again?
3. Liverpool – As a lifelong Liverpool fan there is one element of them that has continually frustrated me throughout the seasons when they’re expected to do ‘big things’. They always have a bad patch. In the nineties it used to be in November, or even as far as March but it always came. While now it’s the start of the season that gives them problems, even if they overcome that they will have one lean month or six weeks. While United and Chelsea will also have dodgy periods one suspects they won’t drop as many points as the Pool will. Third by a distance though and closer to the top two.
4. Tottenham – Please, please, please, let me get what I want. Lord knows it would be the first time. Yay! A Smiths quote in at last. I really want Spurs to do well this year. They have a class manager and some top players. While the concern on the blog was about their left side yesterday that’s ignoring that Jol’s preferred tactic is to have three central midfielders shifting play over to one winger who switches sides during the game. Maybe it’s too predictable and they need something else, but at this stage no Spurs fan should look at their side and think they are inferior to the ‘Billy Gallas Sunshine Band’ across North London. Come on you Spurs!
5. Arsenal – Speaking of whom… I think Arsenal will have a few bad periods this season but close out to finish in the top five as those behind them slip away after a hard season. They’ll miss out on the Champions League though, while still playing some of the best football going. The fact that this particular brand of football leads to very few goals will once again be a problem.
6. Newcastle – Fat Sam got Bolton to this position before and he can certainly get Newcastle here. They have a great frontline, a decent midfield and once the defence is organised they can’t be anywhere near as poor as last year’s lot. It might not be pretty but it’ll be interesting to watch their season progress. I hope that Duffer has a decent season too.
7. Blackburn – They played better football than most gave them credit for last year and if McCarthy stays they will have an excellent strikeforce. With no Neill at the back though this may prove a problem. All in all they’ll beat most of the sides around them so that’s why I’ve put them this high.
8. Man City – When I sat down a few weeks ago and made up a table in around ten minutes I had Everton here and City in tenth. I’ve swapped them around as Moyes looks like he’s panic buying and Sven looks like he’s as relaxed as a very relaxed man with a special reason to be relaxed. He’s got a good squad and some players that might actually be able to hold on to the ball. So no English ones then.
9. West Ham – I wish they would end up fighting relegation again but they’ll do okay this year. Next season though, once a few of the mercenaries are getting on (or thinking about a sign-on fee in America or anywhere else that will match their wages) they may have issues.
10. Everton – Carsley is getting older, Howard never looks particularly safe and should they lose Johnson they could be screwed. Their style might suit Yakubu if he arrives there but if not I see a fairly average year for Everton.
11. Sunderland – Sticking my neck out here but I think Sunderland will be safe by Christmas. I’d say they’ll hit the ground running, maybe get a draw at Spurs then put away Birmingham and Wigan. Then they can get games against Liverpool and Man United out of the way and be sitting on seven or eight points (they could draw against either of the big boys) with five games gone. Decent enough and comparable to Reading last year. The rest of the season awaits but if they keep a good home record they’ll stay up no problem and out of a tight bunch I’d say they’ll finish above these other teams listed below.
12. Portsmouth – Great side to watch and prone to bouts of excellent form. Also prone to crap performances against sides they should beat.
13. Aston Villa – I’ll make no excuses. I hate Villa. I hope to watch them suffer this year. Martin O’Neill could get them a cup win and even get them higher than this but playing the brand of football they did last season won’t get them very far. Brutal to watch and after they play Liverpool on Saturday it’ll have to be a very bad night on TV for me to watch them again.
14. Bolton – Another atrocious side to watch (their home game against Chelsea last season was woeful stuff). Sammy Lee will do enough to keep them up but if Anelka goes then they could struggle for goals. With the squad he has this would be a respectable finish then maybe he’ll be trusted with funds next year.
15. Middlesbrough – On Saturday 22 September they host Sunderland in one of the games that will show why Boro are a team constantly stuck in second gear and why Sunderland are going places. Southgate might get lucky and Aliadiere will turn out to be a great buy but we’ll have to wait to see on that. Woodgate needs to stay fit.
16. Reading – They’ll start well again this year but some of the games they ended up winning last year might turn into draws this season. Seol wants to leave and Sidwell is already gone. There could be trouble ahead but I still think they’ll be in the Premiership come the 2008/09 season.
17. Fulham – Barely, barely avoid relegation again. If only because they have enough hoofers and hard tacklers to win the ‘six point’ games.
18. Wigan – A manager with a track record of defeat and Mario Melchiot picking up a cheque while not giving a shit each week. Doomed.
19. Birmingham – Bruce might be the first manager to go should they have a bad start. Either way, I see them going down and being in a fairly bad way by Christmas.
20. Derby – Like United at the top, there can be only one choice at the bottom. At least they’re not managed by Aidy Boothroyd. Small mercies.

Mock away!

8 comments:

Mark said...

Seol, although good, didn't play much for Reading last year.

also, United's luck last year was no more than any league winning team gets, such as late winners, penos,etc. Chelsea had a lot of it the previous 2 seasons. United had a fair few injuries themselves, at various points in the season - vidic, silvestre, rio, neville, evra, giggs, saha and park come to mind

everton - howard is a good, solid keeper, not a top keeper in the league, but certainly good enough for everton.

Mark said...

by the way, some videos here of Adel Taarabt
http://ie.youtube.com/results?search_query=Adel+Taarabt

compilation from last season: http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=1tLLSpyxkL4

JJ said...

On the united injury front there was a blog on these pages way back last season where that theory was kind of blown out of the water if I recall correctly. It affected them in Europe while they were fine playing Sheffield United (a weakended one at that) back in the prem.

Howard... good enough for a team in tenth. If Taarabt is good over the season then Spurs will almost certainly finish above the arse.

JJ said...

Above the arse... my turn of phrase gets better week after week.

Mark said...

at least you didn't say "come above the Arse"

Anonymous said...

SPURS, IN FOURTH! GO GET YER HEAD EXAMINED SIR. SUNDERLAND DOWN BY CHRISTMAS, KEANE TO BE FOUND OUT

JJ said...

I'd keep my name anonymous too if I was slagging roy keane. Did your wife tell ya to write that;o)

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