Friday, 12 August 2011

A one horse race?

Title Race

There's a saying in football these days, finish above Manchester United then you win the league.  Last season I didn't particularly think that that would be the case - even though I predicted them to win it I thought it would be really tight and I wasn't that confident.  This season however I look at the respective squads and teams and I think they are just the best (at the time of writing) irrespective of whether or not they sign Sneijder - although if €ity add a few more marque signing (Nasri is likely) then they may put up a good fight.  Their problem seems to be the lack of team spirit, it takes more than just money to win the league.  Chelski could have a really bad season, Torres didn't fit last year so their new manager has a big job on his hands and some of their players are coming towards the end of their careers.  That said it'd be foolish to rule them out.

European Places

Now I expect a good title race but I think the battle for fourth place will be even tighter.  Either Arsenal or Liverpool could be expecting to finish higher than third even.  Liverpool have spent well and have built a well balanced team, good width, talent in the centre and what is likely to be the league's most potent strike partnership.  Arsenal will still play the best football in the league even if they lose (as is likely) Nasri and Fabrigas but by selling them it will still seem like they are looking five years into the future.  This as such is a big year for Arsene, his team should be coming good but it could be another season without silverware.  Spurs appear to have done good business by keeping their best players, if they keep Modric then they still have a good team - they are just sort of a really top quality striker.

Relegation Battle

I don't tend to do too well with these predictions, last year I just predicted Blackpool going down, although I did think West Ham would be fourth bottom - Birmingham I thought would sneak into the top half.  I always seem to predict Wigan going down and this year's no different.  I think at least one of the promoted clubs will go down.  Unfortunately I don't know enough about them.  Both Swansea and Norwich play good football but that is often risky for promoted clubs.  West Brom were struggling with it last year until they appointed Roy Hodgson and Blackpool played well but in the end it wasn't good.  

So here's this year:

1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea
3. Manchester City
4. Liverpool
5. Arsenal
6. Tottenham Hotspur
7. Everton
8. Aston Villa
9. Stoke City
10. Fulham
11. Bolton Wanderers
12. Sunderland
13. West Bromwich Albion
14. Newcastle
15. Wolverhampton Wanderers
16. Queens Park Rangers
17. Blackburn Rovers
18. Swansea City
19. Wigan
20. Norwich City

Last year I predicted United winning, the top 4 were all good (I thought Arsenal for second was a good call until their collapse).  Spurs handled the pressure of playing in Europe better than I thought - although the purchase of Van Der Vaat helped with that.  The real surprise for me was Brum's poor performance and the way WBA pulled away.  

Lets hope it's a good season anyway.

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