The Premier League is back!!!!

My heavily biased 2011/12 predictions

It was a long wait, but thank Jeebus we finally get to watch football every weekend.
Three months of trying in vain to justify trips to the pub on a Sunday has finally come to an end. Guilt free pints are the last bastion of manliness.

So, in honour of our recently returned distraction, here I go with my predictions for the top few teams, in no particular order, and without much basis in truth or fact. It’s my article, so I can do whatever I want. Might start looking ahead to the 2012 Cheltenham Festival too!!

Arsenal

What the feck is going on here then? Wenger seems unwilling to admit his failed philosophy, and just splash the cash on some experienced and recognised quality. Eden Hazard could be good, but he’s not exactly what they need right now, and therein lies the problem. I can’t see Arsenal claiming a Champions League spot this year, last Saturday’s game against Liverpool seems to support this. The Reds are clearly their direct challengers for fourth, and we’ve already seen how short Arsenal are in many positions. I think Arsenal will finish fifth, behind Liverpool, but ahead of Spurs.

Chelsea

NOOOO!!!! NOT MATA!!!!!

Damn. I was certain Chelsea’s reign as main challengers could be halted this season, with Man City and possibly Liverpool staking a claim, but they have strengthened in a vital position, the wings, with the addition of Mata, who by all standards and definitions, has the ability to become world class, and from what I’ve seen of Valencia in recent years, he’s on a par with City’s David Silva. This could be the final piece of Villas Boas’ expensive jigsaw, which will also be helped with the return to form that Spanish lad I used to worship, can’t remember his name at the moment. It was a long time ago…..

My prediction, oddly enough, is that Chelsea will win the Premier League this year. In a two horse race (I still don’t think City have the mental strength and in-house cohesion) I fancy Chelsea’s strength in depth and new style of play to help them pip an injury-riddled Man United. If they’re top at Christmas, I can’t see anyone catching them.

Man City

Interesting to say the least….

So many have written them off in pre-season. “They’ll need a few years to gel”, “too many egos” and such and such. But, so far they’ve played like title contenders, and in Sergio Aguero, they have a true match winner, and possible Top Scorer. However, I still have reservations about the morale and togetherness of the team. They’ve a reputation for only signing dickheads, and while this may be somewhat harsh an assessment, it certainly holds some truth. Can anyone really claim to have joined City because of their illustrious past and their huge worldwide fanbase?

Perhaps I’m living in the past, and football has moved on a lot more than I’d care to admit, but I’ll stubbornly stick to my beliefs here. Third is my prediction.

Too many dickheads spoils the soup, as they say.

Man United - Champions 2010-11

Man United

A month ago, I’d have put my house on this lot strolling to another title. However, recent injuries have shown a touch of weakness in the squad. After all, how do you replace Scholes? You don’t. You simply try to move on.

Adding to this, Rio and Vidic are now injured for a few weeks – although not the end of the world, a 5 or 6 point head start for Chelsea or Man City (and even Liverpool) might mean catch up for Ferguson and his boys, which could quickly turn into settling for Champions League qualification. As unlikely as this is, I just don’t feel United are as strong as they’ve been in the last 5/6 years. Ashley Young can do a job, but is he really any better than Valencia? Phil Jones, while certainly a potential regular, was not intended to be thrust into the starting squad this early, but instead learn off the hugely experienced and classy Vidic.

Obviously, United will surge to a huge points lead and prove me wrong as they do every year, but this year I’ll be a little more surprised than usual, so my prediction is second place.

Liverpool

Ahh…..here comes my bias.

Not really, I also hate Liverpool fans who give us all a bad name with their “our year” nonsense. But, in saying that, we’ll surely be better than last year, and in fact we’ve already shown enough to suggest a top four finish is the minimum expectation.

Paying Too Much

So what?? It’s not my money, and it’s not added to any outstanding loans, so fuck it? Drop those dollars ya’ll like it ain’t no thang.

Downing is excellent value, already showing why we splashed so much cash. Carroll could take an entire season to begin repaying his pricetag, let alone justifying it, but I won’t write him off just yet. Adam, although looking a little portly and tired near the end of games, is pure class and is certainly one of the best purchases of the summer. Henderson – the jury will remain out for a little while longer, and so far he’d appear to be the dud – but again, it’s too early to confirm one way or another.

There’s a tricky situation involving Meireles developing too – surely we shouldn’t sell him? Let alone to Chelsea? He’s pure class, played very well in an unfamiliar position last season and seems the type of guy every team needs in their squad. He doesn’t complain, doesn’t go bitching to the media and works his pants off each and every week, regardless of where he starts (more often than not on the bench). Keep this lad, sell Aquilani (unfortunately) and get on with it.

Buying another centreback to take the place of an aging Carragher is also important. Although Jamie still has a lot to offer, it’s not fair, nor clever, to rely on him to play 90 minutes twice a week for the next 9 months.

We’ll certainly not win it, but I think Champions League qualification is a must. And, I do think it will happen. For me, Liverpool will finish fourth behind the obvious three.

So, here’s my final table – I don’t think it’s biased in any way, despite my heart yearning for a Liverpool title challenge, I’ll resist, until I think it’s possible.

1st – Chelsea
2nd – Man United
3rd – Man City
4th – Liverpool
5th – Arsenal
6th – Spurs
7th – Fulham
8th – Sunderland
9th – Everton
10th – Wolves
11th – Bolton
12th – Newcastle
13th – Aston Villa
14th – Stoke
15th – Wigan
16th – QPR
17th – Blackburn
18th – West Brom
19th – Swansea (unfortunately!)
20th – Morwich

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