Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Prediction Time - Premier League

For those of you who missed the first 3 parts of our season previews on the podcast (the final part 4 will be covered this week), I'm going to run through how I think the season will finish.
  1. Manchester United - a league winning squad with added strength in depth from the acquisitions of Nani, Anderson, Hargreaves and Tevez. Questions surround their fitting into the team, but United's squad is a lot stronger than last season and should have enough to beat the teams from 5th to 20th comfortably, with draws against the Pool, the Arse and Chelsea
  2. Chelsea - the injury excuse has already been trotted out by Jose but even at full fitness there is still an appalling lack of creativity in the squad. There is also an over-reliance on Drogba & Lamps to score, poor form could scupper their chances. The summer signings have been underwhelming if necessary for squad depth, with only Malouda seeming to be a top player.
  3. Liverpool - not this season though there should be an improvement on previous years. Benitez's squad is unbalanced in midfield (5 central midfielders), though he has finally signed some good players in Babel and Torres. More worrying is Torres' partner in attack - Kuyt seems unlikely to put away more chances, Voronin has a poor record in Germany, and like Kuyt, was unimpressive at the last World Cup. Crouchigol is a cult hero and a player I rate highly but the impression is he won't score 20
  4. Tottenham - I'm taking a risk here to liven up the table a bit. Neutrals will want a new entrant in the top four and the CL and Spurs have the ability. Darren Bent is quality and will prove to be good value, otherwise they have strengthened the squad in important areas. The younger players should benefit from extra maturity, and Zokora has had a season to adapt to England.
  5. Arsenal - they will be close to 4th, but you get the impression that Van Persie & Eduardo need to stick a lot of goals away to be certain of CL. Their weaknesses at centre back haven't been addressed and Hleb and Rosicky are not wingers. Lehmann is a walking cliche of the erratic goalkeeper.
  6. Everton - another risk, as their squad is very thin, but Moyes is an excellent manager and their first 11 is very strong. Rumours of 2 additions to the squad bode well for the season. Arteta is the key.
  7. Newcastle - Big Sam has bought well in defense and attack and has enough quality players to grab a Uefa cup place
  8. Blackburn - will no doubt feel the heat of their big spending rivals, but consistency and a quality first 11 will see them into the top half of the table.
  9. Portsmouth - a decent bet for a higher position but I have a feeling they may tail off. Last seasons squad was very good, and the additions of Utaka, Nugent and the excellent Muntari bode well for this one.
  10. Bolton - could finish anywhere but Sammy Lee has a good reputation and he has a strong squad to work with. Rumours of dressing room disquiet, if true, will probably see them finish lower.
  11. West Ham - they are amassing a curious collection of players but the returning Ashton will be key. Curbs needs to keep all the egos in check, a tall task.
  12. Aston Villa - strong, if a bit unbalanced team. O'Neill has cleared out a lot of squad players this summer, but they now have a lack of depth. Signings needed to break into the top half. Their purchases so far have not been value for money - Petrov, Carew & Young. That must change.
  13. Man City - likely to be some crazy entertainment here, Sven has brought in many players and will likely suffer from them trying to form a proper team at the start of the season. Quality additions such as Elano and Petrov will make the following season very interesting but it will be too tough this one.
  14. Reading - over-achieved last season, the loss of Sidwell is a blow but Doyle and Lita should score enough goals to keep the Royals comfortable.
  15. Middlesbrough - decent but uninspiring, Yakubu is quality but unsettled, some good young players coming through but overall seem to be in danger at the bottom
  16. Sunderland - Keane's quality as a manager will be stretched, but an emphasis on good football should be enough to keep Sunderland up. Richardson and Edwards will be instrumental.
  17. Fulham - if only for the fact that Sanchez seems to be a good manager, if old fashioned. His Norn Iron enclave should work hard for him but it will be close
  18. Birmingham - I don't rate Bruce as much of a manager and that's why I back them to go down. The squad is OK, considering they were promoted but Bruce will find a way... A manager change mid-season could see them survive
  19. Wigan - almost impossible to be optimistic here, a novice manager, poor signings into a poor squad who got lucky last year
  20. Derby - the popular choice for the drop, Earnshaw is limited at this level and a lot of pressure on Barnes. Not enough quality, though Davies is a good manager.

So there it is, I've tried to marry fairness with optimism, what are your thoughts?



Mal said...

I don't agree that Veronin has a poor record in Germany as he scored 32 in 92 games for Leverkusen.

Mark said...

maybe poor was a bit harsh on him, but it's hardly good:

14 goals last season, and the 7 teh season before. Leverkusen ahs declined rapidly in recent years, and the Ukraine are hardly good, I admit

JJ said...

I think for a fourth striker he'll give more than Fowler did last year and that's good enough for me. A player willing to be a squad member is alwasy a bonus, something luis garcia always had going for him and hopefully benayoun will too.

I'd see the league panning out in fairly similar style and will stick up my predictions tomorrow

Mal said...

I think that 32 league goals in 92 league games is a good enough return for someone who was generally playing as the second striker. A polish mate of mine who's a big bundesliga fan rates him highly. We'll soon find out what he's like in England but I agree with JJ that his acceptance of squad status is handy.

I'm going to stick my neck out and say the top four will be Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. I might be overly optimistic in saying that we'll finish second but I think that we have the ability to pip Chelsea if we can improve our away form. Hard to argue with Utd as winners, unfortunately.

Mr C said...

I still think Arsenal will finish top 4, I really do. If anything, Wenger has the opportunity to bring through some of his much heralded youth team for a change. Spurs also look ready to break through, although they still need a really good left-winger and I think they missed out on Petrov (who Berbatov recommended at one point), who is actually really, really good. If Liverpool aren’t not careful, 3rd might even be beyond them unless they start treating backwater league game like those big European nights Rafa likes to talk about. We'll see how Torres takes to the league but if he doesn't it might be tough, we'll see. Man Utd and Chelsea will decide 1st and 2nd and I suspect that the former based largely on my prejudice that Lampard is a cunt.

Derby will be relegated but will demonstrate copious amounts of pluck in the Watford role. Wigan are a shoe-in. Then it’s any one of Fulham, Birmingham and M'boro (if Yakuba does leave and Schwarzer does go through with his threat and leaves).

I don't think Newcastle will do 'that' well or Man City 'that' bad. Allardyce may well not be tolerated by the Newcastle faithful to play long-ball tactics week-in-week-out after three years of Souness and Roeder. Sven is a reasonably classily manager and has access to a transfer kitty that allows him to go out and buy a number of new 1st team players that he wants and can build a team around, which is more then what Big Sam has.

Mark said...

mr c - yea, I wondered a lot about newcastle, it may be a bit much for them to get 7th, but their squad is now top quality, and I think Sam is a good manager, so I said I'd take a risk on them

Spurs could do with a left winger, though young Tarrabt (sp?) is highly rated. The battle with Arsenal should be fun. Spurs are genrally awful in the big games, (didn't henry and the Arse never lose when he played?) United tonked them last season (dodgy peno aside)

(as an aside, Arsenal are tough to predict next year, certainly they have quality in the ranks but...)

Mal - Liverpool could be good this season, second is possible but i think that involves Chelsea and/or United not getting 90 points this season. maybe with all the money in the league we'll see the mid table teams take more points off the big boys, now that'd be a great league

Anyway, it's just my feeling about this season,lets band together tomorrow and take the piss outta JJ's selection!
if you wanna email your tables to or post them here, give us a shout

Parrotbait said...

1. Manchester United - Good signings combined with what was already there will help secure the title again for Man U.
2. Chelsea - Not much change in personnel from last season so don't see much change in their position in the league.
3. Liverpool - Maintain without pushing forward in particular. Don't think Torres will be as good as hoped for. Vorinin looks decent but nothing world-beating. Feel another disappointing year for Benitez on the horizon unfortunately.
4. Tottenham - Two out of Bent, Keane, Berbatov and Defoe sounds good to me. Add to that steel in defence with King, Dawson, that French dude and they've got a handy looking team.
5. Man City - Controversial call!I don't like Sven but he's spent a lot of money and has proven himself previously to do well with crazy owners who give him money.
6. Arsenal - Sold their best players in the last couple of seasons and taking a risk with Eduardo.Everyone raves about his good signings but for every Henry there's a Jeffers. Their team is still young and I think they could come short.
7. West Ham - As much as I hate them, they've signed good players and fancy them to do well especially if Ashton lives to his promise and can see him and Bellers forming a good partnership.
8. Newcastle - Big Sam's brand of boring route one football to take the Geordies by storm in a relatively uneventful season!
9. Blackburn - Good strikers and with Pederson providing the service I see Blackburn moving into the top 10.
10. Everton - I don't share the optimism for Everton, they haven't added much to their team and if they get a couple of injuries(especially to Arteta) they will come short of an UEFA place.
11. Portsmouth - With all Redknapps signings a few always work out every year so mid-table obscurity for Portsmouth.
12. Reading - Should be fine again this season if Lita and Doyle don't get injured.
13. Sunderland - Keano should survive and think there is also a chance for him to buy in January so should be able to add a few faces should it get dodgy.
14. Bolton - Sammy Lee could suffer from the I'm a good coach but rubbish manager but again Anelka is good for a few goals for them so safety, just about.
15. Middlesbrough - Southgate has to be found out at some stage.Yakubu alone could keep them up but without the goals of Viduka and without any major signings up front and an aging/dodgy defence I think they will also struggle.
16. Aston Villa - I honestly believe Villa will struggle this season. They've always had a thread-bare squad and have only bought Harewood and Reo-I'm not a mercenary-Coker. Got rid of Ridgewell who actually played decent enough last season and a couple more have left. O'Neill has been giving out about the lack of players but he has the money and if he doesn't sign a few soon, give them a few injuries and they're buggered.
17. Birmingham - They've bought a few players, nothing spectacular but should just about stay up.
18. Fulham - Think that Sanchez is a bit of an plonker, buying Northern Irish players isn't the best idea considering they're not very good are they?That said they're above us in the world rankings!Think that Birmingham will have more leeway in January for signings so that may edge it for me.
19. Derby - Have bought shag all and badly when they have.Going down, going down, going down.
20. Wigan - Crap. Sold one of, if not their best players for peanuts(considering Bale cost 10mil).Hutchings and Whelan are idiots and so their club will struggle and go down.

Mark said...

parrotbait - very optimistic for west ham and man city! teh mid table battle is very hard to predict, will interesting to see how it pans out

Parrotbait said...

Well its not 'optimistic' that sounds like I want them to do well! Yeah dunno why I think Man City and the Hammers are going to do well but think that they've signed a few good players, possibly better than rivals, time will tell!So many teams have signed unknown players and much more than normal due to the extra money so it very hard to predict where they're is going to end up, you never know Healy might score 20 for fulham and get them into the UEFA cup!

JD said...

Should there be a Salary Cap in Football?
Personally I think there should be! It’s just getting to be stupid money in football at the top of the premiership!
It’s always the same teams at the top proving that football success is based purely on money which ruins the idea of it being a sport! They’ve done it in rugby, basketball, hockey and American football and it makes the sports more competitive and better to watch!
I like to Bet on Football from time to time and most matches don’t hold much surprise who is going to win, its boring! Football Betting would be so much better if you saw a team at the bottom pulling off an amazing season and beating last season winners in a close fought battle for the title!
Make things fair! It shouldn’t be about money!

col said...

Wow! Arsenal got killed last night! Anybody see it?
The fans must have been furious! 5 – 1, I mean Tottenham played very well but Arsenal fielded barely any first team players, what were they thinking!? The Fans have every right to be annoyed! When you travel to see your team play you expect them to at least try! Whoever did a little football spread betting on Arsenal losing will be laughing all the way to work this morning! Maybe I Should start spread betting and see if I can win a few bets! I want to laugh on the way to work!

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