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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 00:18   #1
Deffeh
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Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Oh my. He didnt just bring back the premiership predictions thread, did he?

For the 6th year running.

2002/2003

2003/2004

2004/2005

2005/2006

2006/2007

Last Year :

Code:
My Predicted Table      Final Table             Difference

01. Chelsea		Man Utd		        DOWN 1
02. Liverpool		Chelsea			DOWN 1
03. Man Utd		Liverpool		UP 2
04. Arsenal		Arsenal			CORRECT
05. Tottenham		Tottenham		CORRECT
06. Everton		Everton			CORRECT
07. Blackburn		Bolton			DOWN 3
08. West Ham		Reading			DOWN 7
09. Newcastle		Portsmouth		DOWN 4
10. Aston Villa		Blackburn		DOWN 1
11. Man City		Aston Villa		DOWN 3
12. Bolton		Middlesborough		UP 5
13. Portsmouth		Newcastle		UP 4
14. Charlton		Man City		DOWN 5
15. Fulham		West Ham		DOWN 1
16. Middlesborough	Fulham			UP 4
17. Reading		Wigan			UP 9
18. Wigan		Sheffield United	UP 1
19. Watford		Charlton		DOWN 1
20. Sheffield United	Watford			UP 2
3 CORRECTS - one down on the last 2 years.

Overall score this year : 54

(For those who dont remember or can't be bothered reading the previous threads; the Score is your margin of error - add a point for every place you were out for every team, total it up)

2005/2006 score = 62
2006/2007 score = 58

Aiming for 50 this year

So on to this year. I reserve the right to change any prediction up until the first kick off

--------------------------------------

01. Chelsea

I wish i didnt have to predict this or praise them but the fact remains they have the best squad of footballers in England. Probably the only way they won't win the league is if they have numerous flops and failings, or a huge injury crisis - which wont matter so much this year because of the size of their first team squad. They lost last year because they had bad injuries to Cech (and cudicini) and more importantly Terry without having any significant competent back up. This year as well as having 2 goalkeepers knocked unconscious they will need to lose 3 of Terry, Carvahlo, Alex, and Ben Haim to injury before Essien - who is a competent if not spectacular defender - has to play a bit part there. Never mind playing the odd reserve or youth team player which mourinho doesn't seem to understand isnt a crime. The team is built from the back and strong right throughout - workrates of Lampard, Ballack, Shevchenko dont matter very much when you only need to score once probably thanks to your defence, and with the amount of talent on the field, the laws of inevitability say its going to happen. The only weak area in the entire team is at right back, and i'm sure by the time i post this they'll probably conclude a deal for Daniel Alves and then everyone's ****ed for sure. Another possible weakness would be if they fail to find a winning formation this year as they failed to do last year. If they go 4-3-3 / 4-5-1 as they did early on in Mourinho's Chelsea management, its hard to see them being beat, as the central midfield trio will utilise their strength in depth of central midfielders, give their creative players free license on the wings. There is also the possiblity as he is wont to do that Mourinho could damage their chances with his reasonably consistent (and oft overlooked) overmanagement of his team; bad subsitutions, bad formations; inexplicable negativity and a plan B that goes no deeper than 'throw another striker on'.

Main Man - Didier Drogba
Drogba last year was the difference between Chelsea and 3rd - 5th. His general hold up play and link up play was exceptional and not only the quantity and quality of his goals - but the timing of them - won games that looked lost on their own. Irreplacable, and an injury to him would force a major tactical rethink.

02. Man Utd

Man Utd have strengthened and strengthened in the right areas. Ironically i think this is a better team than last season's championship winning team. Giggs waned towards the end of last season and i suspect this year he will begin the season as a starter, but will gradually hand over his position on the wing to Nani. Michael Carrick is not a Manchester United player and should in all feasibility be fazed out and sold at the end of the year after being replaced by Owen Hargreaves in the holding role. The fear of course is that Hargreaves will replace Scholes rather than carrick, which would be a fundamental mistake given Scholes pivotal role in the team - Anderson is a more likely direct swap, but this will probably be a transition that takes 2 or more years (rather than the giggs/nani 1 year i suspect). Ronaldo has grown spectacularly as a player; and with the reliable fletcher as versatile cover; man utd's midfield has more options to it than it has in some 4-5 years. Defensively their first choice line up of neville/ferdinand/vidic/evra is solid, dynamic, and vidic brings goals to the table too, but outside of Wes Brown (underrated) they lack depth - however, this presumes of course, than Ferguson isnt prepared to bleed the likes of Craig Cathcart, a strategy which has served the club for so long. With Kuszak, Van Der Sar, and Foster, they have an unfair depth in goalkeeping. However, their main problem in my opinion, is up front. Rooney is a fantastic talent and a guarenteed starter but a difficult player to play with - and who should? Saha? Questionable merits. Solskjaer? Past it. Rossi, Smith, and Larsson have gone. They are putting all their eggs in the Carlos Tevez basket - a player that will cost an absolute packet, that has been found wanting on big occassions internationally, a player that may not even get to Man Utd before the end of the transfer window, and probably most importantly, a player that doesnt look like a natural strike partner for Wayne Rooney. Both like to drop deep, and neither are really known for scoring crap goals - Tevez isn't exactly Van Nistelrooy, which doesnt mean he's a bad player - but it does mean in my opinion, he's not what man utd truly need.

Main Man - Paul Scholes
Despite not being as dynamic in an attacking sense as often as in the past, scholes's reinvention as a footballer after his eye injury has been extraordinary - i admit i wrote him off - when Rooney came to united and started playing in the hole that Scholes had made his own, Scholes looked lost - but rather than complaining, he has adapted to become a deeper, and arguably, a more complete midfielder - and the only English midfielder that actually knows how to accomodate Wayne Rooney. Even in bad man utd games last year he was easily the best player on the field.


03. Liverpool

Liverpool have signed big this summer, but despite Mourinho's jibes, its not been big enough as of this prediction for me to be convinced of them as title challengers. Its not impossible, but too many maybes have to become definites before in a prediction you could be possibly sure of them winning the premiership. Reina came on strong towards the end of last year and is a very good keeper. Finnan has resigned and continues to be the second best right back in the league. Carragher needs no write up. Agger is good - but still too raw to be the definite starter that he is, and he cant deal with the cross ball - one of liverpools main defensive weaknesses. Hyypia can still do 'a job' but he remains the only true backup in central defence, a weakness which has so far not been plugged. Riise is an exceptional left back with an array of attacking talents. Arbeloa/Aurelio provide decent full back coverage. Now on to the interesting part - i suspect liverpool may go 4-3-3 this season (or at least i hope they do.) The biggest problem with going 4-3-3 in England is finding strikers that are able to play wide competently - but both Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel grew up as players doing exactly this in Holland - with them wide, and Torres playing through the middle, liverpool might be more potent in attack than they have been for many years. The 4-3-3 formation solves 2 of liverpool's other biggest dilemmas - 1/ No (4-4-2 english style) wingers of any note - babel calls himself a striker, kewell is a sack of shit, benayoun is a bit of a wanderer - pennant fits the bill best, and his crossing is excellent - i felt he came on brilliantly in the second half of the season - but when he's your premier wide player in a 4-4-2 you have no chance of winning the league. 2/ A central-midfield heavy squad which usually resorts in Gerrard being pushed out onto the right, and being under utilized. Being able to play 3 rather than 2 central midfielders allows liverpool to utilise the box to box Gerrard, gives more room for Alonso to spray balls wide, allows you to play a holding (Mascherano) or a battling (Sissoko) defensive midfielder behind them to give them more freedom, and i wouldnt suprised to see Lucas (brazil u21 captain) get a few games towards the back end of the year. However, for liverpool to win the league, they need to go 4-3-3, they need Torres to score 20 goals, Kuyt 10, and Gerrard 10, they need another center half, and they need to stop conceding goals from set pieces - if they do all this, they have a genuine chance of the league; but it just seems ever so slightly out of their reach to me, sadly.

Main Man - Steven Gerrard
When utilized properly he's pretty much the most invaluable player in world football. Can get everyone around him playing better and there are so many admirable aspects to his game both offensively and defensively.

04. Arsenal

This is being billed as a big season of change for Arsenal but personally i see it being more of the same. Want to know what an Henry-less arsenal will look like? Look at the majority of last season. No team is based around one player; Arsenal are built around a style and a core of key players, and i expect them to do just fine this year too without really challenging the top 2 (and probably not liverpool either.) Goalkeeping stability might be an issue - Lehmann has showed no signs of slowing down until now but may feel under pressure from Fabianski. Defensively they are solid and have reasonable depth. The central midfield pairing of Gilberto and Fabregas is pivotal to the way the entire team plays, offensively and defensively. But i feel they lack genuine consistent quality on the wings - rosicky, hleb, flamini strike me as misfits with some positive qualities but not enough for anything other than a european finish. Theo walcott isnt a winger just because he's fast, and any time i watch him i'm struck by his complete lack of an end product. Up front, Adebayor and Van Persie looks like a reasonably good natural strike pairing - i'm unwilling to comment on Da Silva or any of arsenals new signings because i know absolutely nothing about them - but if Wenger signed them, they'll be alright.

Main Man - Robin Van Persie
Looks ready to step into the shoes of the man he supposedly didnt get on very well with. A dangerous striker; and a good bet for Premiership top scorer this year.

05. Tottenham

Its the off-season, so Tottenham as usual have an unbelievable amount of media and fan hype behind them. Its not without reason, mind. For all the 16.5m signing of Darren Bent has been laughed at, if you forget about value for money, then its probably a pretty good signing. The only issue is its very difficult to know how Spurs are going to line up offensively - Berbatov is one of the best 5 strikers in the league easily, and Keane is the vice captain and a long serving player - so have Spurs spent 16.5m on a subsitute? Or are they going to change formation? (this seems less likely as it would under-utilise lennon, a natural 4-4-2 winger). This is even forgetting Jermaine Defoe and Mido - the latter they cant wait to ship out, and the former i think has been found out to a certain degree by top defences - i suspect he could still do a job elsewhere, but not for a club pushing on champions league football. My issue with spurs is the midfield, which contains a lot of talent, but absolutely no consistency whatsoever. When spurs start losing a game, a few games, it always seems to be because theyve lost the midfield battle and lost all self belief. Could a tottenham fan please stand up and tell me what their best midfield 4 is? I couldnt even begin to guess. Defensively they're really solid though; Bale/Dawson/King/Chimbonda is an excellent first choice defense with some back up too, and Robinson despite his weight is still a good keeper.

Main Man - Dimitar Berbatov
Exceptional in everything he did last year with a passive ease that suggests the best is yet to come.

06. Newcastle

They blow their own trumpet enough, and Allardyce is a dislikeable human being, but it would be extremely foolish to overlook that the barcodes actually have a good squad this year. Given is still an excellent goalkeeper. And for once, Newcastle didnt have to start QUITE from scratch rebuilding their defence in the off season - steven taylor looks like a cracking (if still raw) young center half, and solano has been a reasonably decent convert to right back. Geremi and Rozenhal should be good additions to the team; and with Big Sam at the helm i would be very suprised to see Newcastle be as leaky defensively as they have been for the last 10 years. The reliable Parker for the dynamic Barton seems to be a statement of intent in the middle of the field, and provided they can keep him out of jail Barton will do well - alongside the excellent James milner. Butt had a great season for them last year; and he seems exactly the sort of player that Allardyce will want to work with - and if he could get the best out of Damien Duff too, that would be an excellent midfield. Their options up front are impressive too - inconsistent but explosive Martins, inconsistent but incredibly gifted viduka, Alan smith - a bargain at 6m - who will want to be pushing for the england squad - and well, Michael Owen (too injury prone, his day has passed). I wouldnt even write off Luque (after good pre season form) and Ameobi (good last year before his injury) to make an impression this year either. All in all, both Newcastle and Allardyce will be looking to shake off the 'boring' tag that has dogged them in recent times and this looks like the squad to do it.

Main Man - Shay Given
Difficult one to call with all the upheaval at the club; but when in doubt, i'd single out Newcastle's consistently excellent keeper, who with all the praise on Cech/Foster et al, often gets overlooked in discussions about premiership's best keeper.

07. Everton

Everton fans will be kicking themselves that their management and board havent kicked on and signed any significant number of players this summer - because they have an excellent manager and the core of an excellent squad - which if more attacking flair was added to it - could genuinely in my opinion challenge both for the UEFA cup and for a potential champions league spot. Andy Johnson is an excellent striker - Anichebe and Vaughan (injured) behind him in the queue are great prospects, but too raw for Everton's ambitions and league position - McFadden is an enigma, sublime on his day, but too often indifferent. Its hard not to be impressed by their midfield however - Arteta was unbelievable last year - Cahill is the best out and out attacking midfielder in the league (injured though) - Fernandes showed glimpses of amazing strength and skill - Osman is turning into a very well rounded premiership midfielder - and Phil Neville has done a brilliant job reinventing himself in the holding role. They do lack a bit of strength in depth though - Van Der Meyde hasnt done much since his move - Carsley is on the verge of being shipped out. Perhaps Steven Pienaar will do a job, but his confidence will be low after a crap last season. Defensively Everton are solid - a couple of high profile mistakes aside, Lescott had a good first season - Yobo has long been sought by Wenger - and Stubbs is still doing a job despite all logic. Howard is good between the sticks. However the problem with Everton isnt their first team - its their unadventurous style of play, and lack of squad depth - i expect to see them remedy it before the transfer window shuts but this might mean panic buys.

Main Man - Mikel Arteta
Without doubt the best set piece man in the premiership just now - from corners and free kicks his delivery is exceptional, and it fits right into Everton's 'clog it out' strategy - arguably in team of the year last year.

08. Aston Villa

Another club who were expected to push on more than they have done, but have been strangely inactive in the transfer market. However, on closer inspection, it appears they have at least the core of a very good team if some players kick on and improve, and if they play an adventurous 4-3-3 or even fluid 4-2-2-2 formation they could get the most out of their attacking options. Carew settled very fast in England and will play the target man for the quicker strikers - and although the transfer was ridiculed, as his rotational partner, marlon harewood should do a fine stand in job. With the pace of Young/Maloney/Moore/Agbonlahor playing alonside, or on the wings Aston Villa have a large number of different attacking options to resort to. The middle of the field is less clear cut - who plays alongside Barry? (Incidentally, a 4-3-3 would more likely suit Barry better than a 4-4-2 as he doesnt have the pace to play left wing but his talent is best served in the midfield). Petrov flopped badly, Berger is aging - which puts a lot of Pressure on the under fire new signing Nigel Reo-Coker - this is his career year, and will determine whether he is actually worthy of the amount of praise heaped on him 2 years ago, or whether he's quickly become one of the whiniest frauds in premiership history. The defence is average if not exceptional, Bouma probably being the pick of the bunch in front of Sorenson, but Cahill has come on as a player too. For me they are a very light squad though and will be found out by teams who win the midfield battle against them.

Main Man - Gareth Barry
Basically because he's about the only constant in the team, and the villa fans love him so he'll give his all. Not good enough for england though.

09. Blackburn

Blackburn have had a relatively quiet summer, which i guess in many ways will suit them just fine. Theyve kept McCarthy just now, which many thought they wouldnt do, and added Santa Cruz and the impressive dutch u21 winger Rigters. I actually quite like blackburn - the way they play, and the way Hughes conducts himself. They play hard, and they dont always play fair - but theres a large number of reasons to continue to watch them - alongside McCarthy you have the injury prone (but still very useful : see wigan two seasons ago) Jason Roberts, and the brilliant Matt Derbyshire who had an amazing season last year and has just the right attitude towards football. The midfield is both solid and Dynamic - rigters joins Pedersen and Bentley - great competition on the wings and great entertainment - And with savage coming back from injury, blackburn will have their steel back. Nelsen/Warnock are excellent defenders, the rest - well, maybe less so - but with Friedel behind them, they'll be alright. A very well organised and disciplined team who could even creep into europe - however, overall squad depth isnt great, and there is a few too many iffy players still in the squad - the likes of ooijer, dunn etc.

Main Man - Benni McCarthy
Not many mid table teams have a 15 goal a season striker in their squad, it makes a huge difference.


10. Bolton

Wherever i predict bolton, they always finish higher. So i might as well predict them low to leave me greater scope for compromised dissapointment. Rather than any transfer details the biggest thing obviously to happen to Bolton this year is the loss of Fat Sam Allardyce. This is Sammy Lee's first season in charge and theres nothing about him that suggests to me he will be anything other than totally out of his depth. I dont see them getting in Europe. The squad still looks good - Jaaskaleinen is an excellent goalie, Meite a great defender, Campo still gets by - who knows about cid and michalak? They seem like Allardyce rather than Lee signings though so they'll probably do a job. Alongside Kevin Nolan and Stelios in the middle of the field they have a lot of options - Diouf can play on the wing, Speed still does a job in the middle, and the likes of Faye and Tal get a lot of playing time - who knows what alonso jr. or dzemalli will do? Between Davies and Wilhelmsson they should find someone to grab a few goals alongside Anelka - who seems set to stay at the Reebok (i wouldnt have predicted that)

Main Man - Kevin Nolan
A Genuinely dynamic 2 way central midfielder. Epitomises the way Bolton play, and unlucky not to be in England squads.

11. Man City
A difficult team to predict because of the amount of players they are signing on an almost dailly basis now; must be careful not to become the Hearts of England. You need to remember that Sven might have a shit load of contacts as manager, but his tactical nous is questionable at best and he's still trying to gel together a large number of different nationalities in about, 8 days, and thats not generally the best way to develop understanding or team spirit. I'm going to keep this short because it would be stupid of me to say 'oh x has good form in the bulgarian leagues' because frankly, ive never seen them play. What i will say though, is aside from Stephen Ireland, Micah Richards, and Emile Mpenza (and Barton obviously), their whole team last year was pure Gladys Knight and how they didnt get relegated last year under Pearce is just absolutely astounding. Therefore, signing an entirely new team to me seems like a pretty good idea. A complete wildcard, could finish ****ing anywhere.

Main Man - Elano
Now theres a player i actually have heard of and know about - especially with the departure of Barton they'll need him to live up to his hype and play to his international form if they're to have some stability in the middle of the field.

12. West Ham

This is about the very highest i see West Ham finishing - losing Tevez, and Benayoun - blows. Reo-coker wasnt great last year but you still need to replace them - and signing parker isnt exactly a statement of attacking intent, to be honest - though its probably stability that West Ham need this season - lets not sugar coat this - what West Ham need to do this year is play as a team, and successfully avoid being pulled into a relegation scrap, because the wheels could come off at any moment - they survived last season purely on Tevez's brilliance, and many fans/pundits have already forgotten how abject the rest of the team were. Green is a decent keeper, and hopefully from their point of view Upson and Neill will get a chance to play a bit of football this year - and Ferdinand will stop being an idiot. The midfield looks competent if not outstanding - Parker will play deep, Etherington will be looking to regain some form, Bowyer will be needed to replace Reo-Coker's energy, Boa Morte will have to contribute more goals than he did in a dissapointing first season as a hammer - Faubert? Who knows - he misses the first half of the season anyway. The one bright spot in the midfield will probably be Mark Noble, his energy and determination was impressive last year, and he has the fans on board. Up front, replacing tevez isnt easy (or possible) but Zamora did really well last season - and with Dean Aston returning alongside the newly signed Craig Bellamy, they have at least a few attacking options. Team morale is going to be crucial - as this is a side that could go any way.

Main Man - Craig Bellamy
Theres a Tevez shaped hole at Upton park in the team and in the fans hearts as well. If he can rediscover his newcastle/blackburn form and chip in with 10-15 goals then Bellamy will be a hit here - he seems to do better as the big fish in the small pond.

13. Portsmouth

I don't mean to be horrible but i just cant care about portsmouth. i have little or no emotional attachment to them as a football club in the premier league which is partly due to the dismal football i've been subjected to whenever i bother to watch the last match on match of the day. Defensively they are excellent - naturally - with James, Campbell, Lauren and Primus making 4 excellent players in a back 5 - the left back is pretty much unimportant. The rest of the team reeks of indifference to me - flashes of brilliance from Mendes, Taylor etc - Krancjar is a good player, and i'm reliably informed the new guy Muntari is meant to be a very good midfielder - but i wouldnt know, really. Up front you have 4 strikers at different stages in their careers - Lualua is in his prime but has hit a slump - Kanu got a lot of goals with pretty bad performances - Benjani put in good performances without being prolific - and Nugent - well, what has happened to his momentum? Both Everton and Sunderland passed him up, Portsmouth fans have their reservations, and he seems sluggish. Is he another fluke? I'd predict them lower but a good defence will see you right throughout the course of a season.

Main Man - David James
An exceptional influence, the much maligned James was probably the best english keeper in the league last season and theres no reason to suggest he wont be this year too.

14. Reading

This could just be me showing a bit of ignorance - showing disrespect to Readings achievements last year by placing them so much lower. Coppell is a great manager and has kept together the majority of his team - minus sidwell, of course - presumably because he doesnt want to tinker with a formula that worked so well. The reality is though, sophmore syndrome does exist, and Reading are going to seriously struggle to maintain their position of last year as they havent strengthened their team enough whereas teams that finished below them last season, have. Mid table in the premiership is so tight that 3 wins can be equal to about 5 or 6 positions come the end of the year, so perhaps predicting them this low isnt as dramatic as it looks. Shorey is the best defender they have - Hanemahn / Bikey / Ingimarsson / De La Cruz are all flawed in different ways, and shipping goals could be a serious problem this season against most reinforced premiership attacks. The midfield could best be described as 'enthusiastic', with convey and hunt likely to be lively - but it isnt clear that anyone is ready to step up and take Sidwell's role in the team. Upfront they do have options - Lita/Doyle/Kitson all bring different skills to the table - and they'll need to. Coppell will bring out the best in this team, but i wouldnt rule them out as potential relegation candidates either.

Main Man - Kevin Doyle
His goal return last season was fantastic, and it'll need to be similar this year if Reading are to stay out of trouble.

15. Middlesborough

Make no mistake about it, Boro are going to be dreadful this year. The defence is pretty good - Schwarzer sits behind Young / Woodgate / Huth / Taylor, so that should probably keep them safe. The problems will start when Woodgate gets injured (inevitable) and they have to get someone else to perform hilariously awesome heroics for them. The midfield isnt terrible by any means - but its just a little ordinary - Downing is essentially the attacking star - which is a real, real problem. Cattermole/Arca/Boateng do jobs, but with the improvement in quality in the Premiership you have to wonder whether this is enough. In terms of striking options though, alongside Yakubu (who needs to regain his form) they have either the consistently underachieving Aliadiere, Dong Gook, and Tuncay - who should do well, but has a lot of pressure on him to perform. Middlesborough just arent very dynamic and chance creation is going to be really difficult for them you feel. The #1 problem they have as well is the manager, Southgate hasnt demonstrated any level of competency to make you convinced that he knows what hes doing. I suspect he'll be out the door by Christmas and Boro will make a late season recovery that sees them pull just clear - this year, anyway.

Main Man - Jonathan Woodgate
Easily their best player, and well worthy of his England place - saved games for Boro on Bravery alone last season.

16. Fulham

It seems a lot of people are tipping fulham for the drop: something which has seemed like a case of when rather than if for a large number of seasons now - but i dont agree. I think Lawrie Sanchez has taken a conservative strategy of bringing in known quantities. Niemi is a good but waning keeper, and his defence looks a little ropey to me - Baird, and in particular, Konchesky look like solid acquisitions to strengthen things up. The midfield is unspectacular and lacking a bit of genuine flair - but what people are forgetting is that last years big signing for Fulham - Jimmy Bullard - will finally get to play his first full season for them after starring for Wigan. Alongside Smertin this should be a decent midfield combination - but the lack of genuine exciting wingers is going to be an issue. Up front, despite being thrown in, Healy and Kamara should do well, alongside the ultimate pro, Brian McBride. It isnt a particularly deep squad, or great first team, but Sanchez knows the players hes working with and will get the best out of them to avoid relegation after a dogfight.

Main Man - Jimmy Bullard
Difficult to call him the Main man given his limited time in a Fulham shirt, but hes really the best of a very inexperienced and average team - good driving runs, good energy.


17. Sunderland

A lot of people are going over the top about Roy Keane. Yeah, he did a fantastic job last season - but im not convinced as of yet that Sunderland are bollocks. This is a team who the last 2 times they were in the premiership scored 19 and then 15 points. That 2 year combined total of 34 would have relegated them last season. Lets not forget that last time they came up they were runaway champions, too. As for Keane's management - i think maybe people are presuming that because he was a great player, battler, and shouter, he'll make a similar manager - i seem to recall about this time last year stuart pearce had just shouted his way to a successful first season as manager and he was blessed with the same characteristics as Keane. I am just playing devils advocate here - im not saying hes a crap manager - im saying people are counting their chickens too fast before looking at the cold facts. If i gave a manager £10.5 million to spend i'd really hope he'd come back with something a little better than Michael Chopra + Kieran Richardson. I'd also hope he signed Russell Anderson as a center half rather than a right back - this isnt clear. The acquisition of Gordon will make a major difference as he is ready to prove he is a world class keeper - lets just hope he doesnt shine in the same way Foster shined for Watford - in a losing effort. There isnt a lot to pick between many of their players - hardly any of them are what you would call genuine premiership class. I would not be suprised at all to see them go down.

Main Man - David Connolly

When in doubt and out of options, pick the top goalscorer. He will need to be firing on all cyllinders if they want to have a chance.

18. Birmingham

Impressed everyone by trashing Newcastle at Barcode Park last year, then fell away terribly. But the core of a team threatening to be competent still exists. Despite losing Upson the defence isnt as terrible as it could be - Quedrue is a very good addition - Jaidi is a solid center half - Tebily i remember being terrible at Celtic but has come on - and they have adequate if not amazing back up. The midfield is a bit weak, but Kapo Larsson and Muamba could suprise a few people if they build a solid partnership. Upfront, there are a lot of players with question marks surrounding them - Vine, McSheffrey, Jerome, have all underperformed since hyped moves - personally, i really want to see Garry O'Connor make a starting berth his own as i think he can develop into a very complete center forward (and boy do Scotland need a complete center forward). There is potential in the team, but very very fragile potential, and it really could go any way. More strengthening needs to be done, to the wings especially if they are to stay clear of danger. I think they have a fighting chance though.

Main Man - Raidi Jaidi
This is just a shot in the air really. I dont know too much about the stability of their squad so i just picked a massive defender who might get them a few goals as well.

19. Wigan

I'm angry that they are still up and angry that i have to predict them to go down for a third year in a row because im going to look like an idiot if they dont. Looking at their first team i actually think its not as bad as a few of the teams above them - but im remembering the quality of football they played last year and its making me cry. They dont have any center halfs worth noting (bramble), and have 4 keepers of dubious qualities. Scharner is a very good jagielka-esque utility player, and Heskey (yes, emile) still does a job for a team in Wigan's situation - so should Henri Camara. Koumas is meant to be a decent player, though at a vastle inflated fee, and i guess Valencia and Landzaat are decent enough midfielders, but nothing special. Sibierski / Todorov are more players youd expect to be 'doing a job' as the 4th choice striker at a club with options, rather than glamorous summer signings. I dont know much about their new boys, but with Leighton Baines on his way soon, i'd say Wigan will be on their way too.

Main Man - Paul Scharner
Only because of his versatility and ability to get goals from anywhere on the field. Reliable too; unlike most of this tripe.

20. Derby

So i had a look at their team and its not as bad as i thought. Its merely terrible. I dont think they really want to stay in the league. Theres a few SPL rejects (and i mean rejects rather than they just happened to play in the SPL) - gary teale, bob malcolm, mo camara, stephen pearson (although i still hold affinity for his performances against barcelona in the uefa cup) - and a few players like todd, griffen, and macken, that have had their day / never had a day. I guess the most promising thing you can say for them is they havent spent big so they wont suffer too badly if they go back down - and keeping the same team together might end up with them gelling better than some of the teams who have flooded with new recruits. Still - i dont see them lasting more than 1 season this time around.

Main Man - Giles Barnes
Because i heard he's good and that a lot depends on his fitness. Which probably means a january transfer window move to a fellow struggler looking to buy their way out (boro maybe?).

--------------------------------------
01. Chelsea
_____________
02. Man Utd
03. Liverpool
04. Arsenal
-----------------------
05. Tottenham
06. Newcastle
07. Everton
-----------------------
08. Aston Villa
09. Bolton
10. Man City
11. Blackburn
12. West Ham
13. Portsmouth
14. Reading
15. Middlesborough
16. Fulham
17. Sunderland
_____________
18. Birmingham
19. Wigan
20. Derby
---------------------------------------
And thats it.

My final thought would be that i really hope this is an excellent season, being as ive never found the football off season as long as i did this summer - it was horrible. Most teams seem to have been adventurous and attack minded with their signings and have used the extra TV money well and it could be an amazing season.

What would really make it for me (objectively) would be if this season saw a winner with a points total closer to 80 than 90 points. The domination of the big 2, and big 4 has been pretty ****ing boring, and when i looked at the squad lists this year i thought to myself that there really isnt any easy games. I want away games in the premiership to be difficult and 3 points gained on the road to be awesome, rather than routine - a premiership where Chelsea are supposed to go to ewood and anything less than 3 points is a disaster - similar for man utd at eastlands, or arsenal at upton park etc - is not good watching, and spoils the game and the league - the best example of this is Scotland, where if you are a rangers or celtic fan, european games are the only ones you feel any sort of positive emotional investment in because theres actually something to win as well as something to lose - not just shame and embarrassment because you cant be seen celebrating a win over St Mirren.

I'm interested in any comments and i want to see your own tables too given how much work i've put into this.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 00:56   #2
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

i'll follow up with additional text later (i probably won't), but here's my 20:

1. Chelsea
2. Manchester United
3. Liverpool
4. Tottenham Hotspurs
5. Arsenal
6. Everton
7. Newcastle United
8. Manchester City
9. Aston Villa
10. Blackburn Rovers
11. Bolton Wanderers
12. Portsmouth
13. West Ham
14. Sunderland
15. Fulham
16. Middlesborough
17. Reading
18. Birmingham City
19. Wigan Athletic
20. Derby County


1. Chelsea
-- apparently they're switching back to a more free flowing system, aka 4-3-3/4-5-1. they're also now consisting of even more depth in their defence which they lacked last season, and once robben goes for daniel alves' inclusion they'll be pretty much set into being awesome everywhere.

hot shot; terry/drogba. these two are the stand out pins at either side of the pitch that drive the team forward and will continue to do so with no doubt, this season.

look out for; jon obi mikel. i intensely dislike this guy after the whole man utd/chelsea saga to sign him, but the strides of progress he made through last season make him a definite world class prospect in an already brimming with class in central midfield for chelsea.


2. Manchester United-- i wouldn't mind them to win it again at all, but they didn't exactly win with ease last season and it was more a case of chelsea letting up than a rampant surge ahead. i'm definitely expecting a close case here, but it's still going to be chasing chelsea rather than manchester united being the team to beat here.

hot shots; ronaldo/tevez/scholes/rooney - take your pick.

look out for; anderson. he seems to have the potential to be a bastard lovechild of scholes and ronaldinho. not bad football genes to inherit from.


3. Liverpool-- should be closer to the top 2 than last season, there's definite progress with the reasonable work in the transfer market though they could have done with a better winger (say, Quaresma) than benayoun. this may not matter if babel can live up to his hype, but all in all still not in the class of the top two but this season should be about making up the inches.

hot shots; carragher/gerrard. the rocks behind the team.

look out for; lucas. praised by pretty much everyone who's seen him play so far, a box to box type with class and the temperament to make himself formidable apparently. worth noting.


4. Tottenham-- my first risky call here. we've bought expensively, and somewhat impressively in the sense that we've got now several top u21 youths of various promising nations in our first team looking to stake their claim like fabregas and ronaldo have (though i doubt any of our youths have as much potential as either of the two aforementioned) for their respective teams. weakness lies in the lack of a consistent midfield as mentioned by deffeh and a good left wing still but bale is promising if he's good as his word.

hot shot; berbatov, easily one of the top 10 strikers in the world.

look out for; bale, he's got a lot of hype to him as the next ryan giggs and what not. which is pretty weird for someone usually stationed at left back, but i've got hopes mostly through bias i admit but here's to a top british player coming through!


5. Arsenal-- henry leaving was probably the best transfer move for tottenham this season. gooners keep falling back on the fact that henry didn't play a big role in arsenal ending above spurs last season but it must be said, spurs' second half of the season was considerably stronger than arsenal and if we can keep that stride going we can surely edge it over our main rivals here. nothing to rule these guys out however though, there's every chance they could gel together and prove to be title challengers first and foremost looking at some of their players' tendencies to grow from barely premiership standard to world class (toure for example)

hot shot; fabregas. he's been looking to add goals to his near complete ability and once he does, he'll surely be a machine that keeps the arsenal system churning out goals and top football.


6. Everton-- i don't really have much to say about these guys except arteta and cahill are ****ing awesome.

hot shots; cahill/arteta. definitely enough said.

look out for; james vaughan/victor anichebe, these two have played together up front at every level for everton, both show a little bit of promise that surely must at some point collate together into what it is that's kept them together.


7. Newcastle United-- steve given, belozoglu emre, obafemi martins, michael owen, damien duff, mark viduka. a lot of good names, a lot of attacking flair which will require their most influential signing that i haven't mentioned yet to put his proven skills to use

hot shot; sam allardyce. if newcastle's defence is shaped up (and the mere ejection of bramble goes a great deal in helping this) they are definitely going to challenge for a reasonable place and i'm placing my eggs with this man to do that.


8. Manchester City-- for all of sven's criticisms, there's no denying that he's pretty successful on the club scene whenever he's had a lot of money to forge a team (heh.) there's a ridiculous overload of offence in their squad which seems to represent the total wild card these lot will be this year, but somehow i suspect sven goran cautiousson will instill some sort of stability in the line up and salvage a top half finish.

hot shots; geovanni/elano. the former was at one point one of the world's greatest prospects at barcelona, but he'd disappeared since £11m move to benfica, i can't imagine all his talents dried up magically. elano is a similar offensive midfielder who has been a regular for brazil recently, a more consistent geovanni perhaps, both will be to watch for.

look out for; bojinov / sturridge, both are noted as top strikers in the making, both are huge hotshots in FM (!) it'll be interesting if either get a game amongst a 9 striker squad, their level of impact will be equally interesting.


9. Aston Villa-- they'll be part of the chase for a UEFA cup spot, but i don't expect too much of them simply because the team seems even more mediocre than the teams i've rated above them, however there's no definites here Martin O'Neill may be able to get them to better themselves.

hot shot; agbonlahor. he's a terrible footballer but he's got bags of pace and will only get better with his composure in putting balls into the back of the net. should get a few useful goals for villa for sure.

10. Blackburn Rovers-- they're a solid side from the back up but there's undeniable quality in the midfield/forward set up of bentley/pedersen/santa cruz/mccarthy which may trouble quite a few defences this season. not convinced how useful santa cruz will be, but he's a good one to play along side the excellent mid table side player mccarthy.

hot shots; bentley/pedersen. these two are the engine of this team, for all of mccarthy's goals, they need the creativity provided by these two midfielders to create them.


11. Bolton Wanderers-- immense squad in numbers of average at best players, surely able to grit it out for a reasonable finish yet again. can't care enough about them to talk any more, terribly boring.

hot shots; campo/nolan/anelka. a good nucleus there to carve out results.


12. Portsmouth-- another amazingly uninteresting football team but able to pull the results through when needed. fantastic defence, desperately requiring a bit of flair that may come through with kranjcar as he keeps progressing.

hot shot; david james.


13. West Ham-- they've shown enough promise and committment in rebuilding to save themselves from a complete season of relegation dogfight.

hot shot; noble. very promising central midfielder, seems to be in the marks of fabregas and should hopefully live up to take that charge this season.


14. Sunderland-- 14th might possibly be a bit too high for these guys, but this is placing a lot of faith on roy keane and the power of motivation and sheer determination over well, mere footballing skills.

hot shot; roy keane.


15. Fulham-- here begins the relegation dogfight. they will be saved mostly due to the fact that jimmy bullard is a wonderful person.

hot shot; jimmy bullard.


16. Middlesborough
-- they've got too many good players to just let themselves go down. they need a better manager and a yakubu that isn't so lazy to progress further than a relegation avoider side though.

hot shot; woodgate. the core of the side as the rock behind the defence.


17. Reading-- i really did want to place them higher, but i can't see them avoiding a bit of a second season slump. still should manage to survive though.

hot shot; shorey. excellent defender.


18. Birmingham City-- they've bought reasonably well, but i don't think it's enough to survive.

hot shot; olivier kapo/frank queudrue - bringing some vague form of class to the side.


19. Wigan Athletic-- christ they're awful.

hot shot; baines perhaps, but really no one who's playing for wigan can be described as a hot or a shot, let alone a hot shot.


20. Derby County-- oh dear

see wigan

Last edited by jerome; 4 Aug 2007 at 14:12.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 01:28   #3
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

1: Man Utd - Not as solid at the back as Chelsea, but could have the most entertaining attack seen in English football (yet again). If Scholes plays as he did last season and Hargreaves/Nani settle in well (which Nani seems to have done), Man Utd are going to be THE team to beat. Main Man: Wayne Rooney - I don't think C. Ronaldo will deliver quite as many goals this term, so can Rooney fill up his boots?

2: Chelsea - A solid, if boring, side - Chelsea will once again be placed in the top 2 and, I feel, will once again get pipped to the title by Man Utd. The problem I have with Chelsea is their attack. Drogba is THE threat - and that's it. If Pizarro settles well then maybe they could sneak 1st, but I feel they'll struggle against teams who have a solid back line. Main Man: Didier Drogba - He's strong, quick and consistent. Drogba will need to maintain this if Chelsea are to have major success this season.

3: Liverpool - Some interesting (yet risky) signings this summer are going to make Liverpool a team to watch. Will certainly be "in the mix", but I doubt they'll be able to beat Man Utd or Chelsea into the top 2. Main Man: Jamie Carragher - There's a lot of hype surrounding Torres at the club and we know Gerrard runs the show at the worst of times, but Carragher is a massively influencial figure at the back. If Liverpool are to have a good season, their defence needs to be rock solid once again.

4: Tottenham - This year promises so much for Spurs fans and I think it will deliver. Spurs boast, arguably, the best attack in the Premiership and, if they can keep all 4 big boys happy, this will go a long way. Main Man: Darren Bent - Berbatov did it last season and I expect him to again, but I think Bent will play a massive part in Spurs' season and they'll be relying on him to score regularly. Pre-season suggests this won't be an issue.

5: Arsenal - Losing Henry is a huge blow to the club. Yes, Van Persie is good; yes, Wenger has brought in a replacement yet; no, neither player is Thierry Henry. Another big signing may occur and Eduardo seems handy but Spurs have far superior firepower to their rivals this season, and I believe that will be very apparent. Main Man: Cesc Fabregas - Arsenal's midfield will be key this season and young Cesc is the man to run the show. His creativity and vision will be vital if Arsenal are to achieve anywhere near their usual standards this season.

6: Newcastle - I'm going to back Deffeh - Newcastle are ones to watch this season. An impressive strike force on paper has been backed up with good investment at the back (where, let's face it, Newcastle have been shit before). Given is an outstanding keeper and maybe, just maybe, it's time for Newcastle's "big club" status to finally be realized. Main Man: Mark Viduka - He's going to start this season and you know he's got the class to score plenty - but he needs to.

7: Blackburn - My "surprise" pick in the Premiership this season are Blackburn. McCarthy was outstanding last season and Santa Cruz is a fantastic coup. Derbyshire is promising upfront as well and Gamst Pedersen & Bentley/Emerson will cause wing backs problems. Main Man: Benny McCarthy - It's got to be. He's the main threat in Blackburn's team and a season as good as last would be exceptional.

8: Everton - All-round, one of the most solid teams in the Premiership. Unspectacular generally, but if Arteta/Cahill/Johnson play, then Everton are an enjoyable team to watch and a hard team to beat. Main Man: Mikel Arteta - His midfield wizardry is often a joy to behold and Everton have a true star amongst the ranks in this guy.

9: Aston Villa - I must admit, this hurts slightly to predict my team outside the top 7. However, Villa simply haven't purchased anywhere near the amount of players needed whilst shipping out 6 or 7. A lot will be made of Reo-Coker this season and he needs to prove he's worth the dolla. Without more summer signings though, Villa win once again be located in mid-table obscurity. Main Man: Martin Laursen - A major boost in defence when fit, the experienced ex-AC Milan defender did not experience a loss in the 14 games he played last season and that's exactly what Villa will need this time around.

10: Portsmouth - Harry's team has recently won the Barclays Asia trophy (or something?!) and, whilst it doesn't really mean anything pre-season, a goalless draw against Liverpool showed exactly what Pompey are all about. If the attack can get it right this season, they may push on, but I can realistically see them finishing 10th. Main Man: Sol Campbell - Reaching the latter stages of his career, Sol is the rock in Pompey's defence and his communication with James and Primus (which have previously been excellent) will need to be solid once again.

The other mid table teams are harder to place and uninspiring to write major parts about. However;

11: Bolton - Good players, but not the same without big Sam. A major decline this season. Main Man: Nicolas Anelka - Nolan is consistently hard working at Bolton but if Anelka can shine, Bolton will be on the up.

12: West Ham - I hate them and the Tevez thing is an absolute joke, but they've made some decent signings this summer and, despite losing Reo-Coker, will improve on last seasons' effort. Main Man: Mark Noble - Exciting glimpses of the youngster last season and I'm expecting him to become key this season. Passionate, hard working and gifted - Noble is exactly the kind of player to spur West Ham to greater things.

13: Reading - Whilst they've lost Sidwell, Reading will continue to be a hard team to beat in the Premiership this season. Unfortunately, it's just not going to be the same. Main Man: Nicky Shorey - An exceptional first season in the top flight, Shorey's hunger as well as his pinpoint deliveries will have a lot to do with where Reading finish.

14: Fulham - Sanchez' ambition to rebuild the Northern Ireland team at Fulham is well underway, but they're not going to be a force at all this season. A predictable, solid and unspectacular 14th is the best they can hope for, but I think they'll get it. Main Man: David Healy - Been talked about for ages now, but he looks a decent player and is going to be the major threat from Fulham all season long.

15: Middlesborough - I love Gareth, but Middlesborough are pretty poor. 3 star players will be the focus of their team (namely Woodgate, Downing and Yakubu) and, unless someone else performs, this simply isn't going to get them anywhere. Main Man: Jonathan Woodgate - If he plays well, Boro will stay up. If he doesn't, they may not.

16: Sunderland - The highest placed of the newly-promoteds' - Sunderland have been reinvigorated by Keane's appointment and seem like a club that (unfortunately) may hang around for a while. Main Man: Kieran Richardson - He's the obvious choice, but he'll definately have a prominent role to play this season. Has the ability to score, is quick and can cross fairly decently as well.

17: Man City - Pearce out, Sven in. However, buying strikers only does not mean you have a strong squad. They were poor last season and they'll be worse this time around. Main Man: Valery Bojinov - He's been hype central across Europe for a few seasons now and England finally gets to see what it's all about. Let's hope it's worth it!

18: Birmingham - I hate them, you hate them - we all hate them (at least I hope we do). I actually think Bruce has done alright in the transfer market this summer but I don't think Blues quite have what it takes to survive. It'll be close, but I think (hope) they'll drop. Main Man: Fabrice Muamba - An interesting but (I think) solid signing from Arsenal and a rock in the midfield last season. If he copes with the Premierships' pace, he'll be a needed force in a weak midfield for Blues.

19: Derby - Billy Davies did a remarkable job last season and Derby fully deserve to be in the Premiership ahead of the Championships' big boys - however, at the end of the day, they're simply not good enough. Main Man: Giles Barnes - I watched him play a few times last season and I liked what I saw. He's arrogant, but he backs it up with pace, intelligent runs and a knack for getting in the box. Could well be subject of a substantial move in the near future.

20: Wigan - They deserved to go down last season - this season they will. Enough said really. Main Man: John Filan - If he's still in goal, Wigan will be needing every save if they're to have any chance of surviving.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 02:01   #4
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

1. Man Utd
They're a proven striker and a dependable young right back away from having the best squad in the league, and free of injuries I can't see them being beaten over 90 minutes. There's no parallel universe in which Man Utd succeeding is something I want to see, but I can't see them losing it. I can see Ronaldo slumping pretty quick though.

2. Chelsea
It's going to be close. Carvalho finally made good last season and has cover behind him now, and the front half of the park has a ridiculous amount going for it; Ballack and Sheva will be benchwarmers for most of the season if Abramovich and Mourinho really have made up. They'll be drawing for no good reason far too often to win it, but I really can see them making the CL final.

3. Spurs
There's every chance they'll opt for the traditional springtime collapse but if they don't I can see an excellent and persistent challenge. Jol is one of the best managers in the division and this is a team with no Achilles heel - Kaboul will surprise a lot of people and Bent might just put Keane onto the left wing. Nowhere near a title, but it's in their hands to do well.

4. Liverpool
They're going to depend on Torres. If he stays fit and produces, they'll finish third. If he doesn't, they'll stagger into fourth. It's pretty much that simple.

5. Arsenal
Arsenal are so far away from world class it's laughable, but between Fabregas, Toure and Van Persie they've got too many match-winners to finish midtable.

6. Man City
If Mr Human Rights 2007 has any sense Eriksson will be punted on September 1; regardless of the Sven factor, though, he's most of the way through assembling a high-class, professional and above all balanced squad - Chiellini, Bojinov, Richards and Corluka playing with and learning from Dunne, Hamann, Petrov and Elano is the sort of thing Allardyce at Bolton could only dream of and if this team doesn't make it into Europe with room to spare I'll be shocked.

7. Blackburn
McCarthy and Santa Cruz ahead of Pedersen and Bentley will score for fun and finish high. If not seventh, then still high.

8. Newcastle
Too many top-half players to underachieve badly, and Allardyce has a real winning mentality. They'll do okay.

9. Everton
I don't really rate Everton, but between Moyes and a settled team they'll still make a comfortable top-half finish, missing out on Europe in April.

10. West Ham
I'm assuming a left back will appear from somewhere soon. If they do, there's enough consistency and quality at the club to make top half safely.

11. Villa
I don't buy into hype about O'Neill and I don't rate the squad as a whole, but midtable feels like a certainty.

12. Sunderland
I'm not sure about this one, at all, but ive got a gut feeling they'll surprise a lot of people. Can't really say why. Gordon is crucial though.

13. Pompey
The squad is deep enough to avoid getting sucked into a relegation battle. Muntari will do well. Other than that, not much to say.

14. Fulham
Lawrie Sanchez is a good manager and he'll nick enough home draws and away wins against bigger sides to keep a middling squad out of trouble.

15. Reading
Hahnemann at one end, Doyle at the other. An injury to either and a mediocre team is in trouble. No Sidwell will cripple them.

16. Bolton
No squad depth and Sammy Lee won't last a season. That said, if Anelka's still there they'll stay up. Shrewd signings in January will be vital.

17. Boro
Schwarzer, Huth, Woodgate and the Yak can't afford to miss twenty games between them. Southgate is clueless and the team runs out of quality before you get to eleven. Up against it this season.

18. Birmingham
O'Connor could do the business for them with a season to settle into the team. He doesn't have it. They'll go down. Simple as.

19. Wigan
Koumas and Landzaat won't be there on July 2nd. Trust in that.

20. Derby
I really can't add to what Deff said. Awful, awful. Less quality than Watford had last year and as soon as Barnes leaves they're ****ed. The money will have them back up, and strongly, under Davies in a few years though.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 03:26   #5
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

i've updated my post with my top 10, the rest will follow at some point in the next couple of days. (i really, really don't want to do 10-15 )

there's also some things i'd like to discuss with others' posts on this thread.
Deffeh:
1/ Manchester United have improved their depth in their defense by recalling Gerard Pique, who has been a tremendous success at Real Zaragoza last season to their first team squad for this coming season, it's definitely not as weak as suspected by Deffeh i feel.
2/ Birmingham over Sunderland?!

Bobzy:
1/ kieran richardson as a main man?
2/ Wigan to end below derby and birmingham?!
3/ kieran richardson as a main man?!?
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 08:33   #6
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerome
i've updated my post with my top 10, the rest will follow at some point in the next couple of days. (i really, really don't want to do 10-15 )

there's also some things i'd like to discuss with others' posts on this thread.
Deffeh:
1/ Manchester United have improved their depth in their defense by recalling Gerard Pique, who has been a tremendous success at Real Zaragoza last season to their first team squad for this coming season, it's definitely not as weak as suspected by Deffeh i feel.
2/ Birmingham over Sunderland?!

1. Pique has been linked with a move away pretty consistently and im not sure Ferguson rates him. Either way the likelihood is with the 'favourites' system at old trafford that Brown/Silvestre/O'Shea will get the nod anywhere accross the back line before Pique/Cathcart do. I actually genuinely rate Wes Brown as a player - think hes a very good center half, if not for man utd - but he isnt a right back.

Given the kind of football man utd are so used to playing - 4-4-2, competent ball players, good passing, attacking full backs - for me without neville and to a lesser extent evra, they look considerably less potent down the flanks. I think this was pretty evident for a lot of the games last season; when neville got injured and ronaldo seemed like an isolated figure (the milan away game, for one).

Its another one of the reasons i think they'll lack a penalty box striker, so much of their game is based on wide penetration (well, you're hardly going to get it from carrick or hargreaves, and scholes isnt that sort of player as often any more - rooney will give you some central penetration but then who's in front of him?) so it seems to me a little that their flanks attacks will lack final options.


2/ Birmingham played better football at their best than Sunderland did last year. I really dont think Sunderland have signed well at all in the transfer window, if you go to the BBC Sport squad selector - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/foot...or/default.stm - you see what a really weak team it is at the moment. Obviously with these sort of things, theres usually only a couple of points in it either way so seeing sunderland finish ahead of birmingham wouldnt shock me to the core, but i think birmingham have the better side.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 08:44   #7
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phang

2. Chelsea



You've said an awful lot positive about them but havent given a reason why theyre not going to win the league?



3. Spurs
Jol is one of the best managers in the division



Personally, tactically, i think hes one of the weaker managers in the league. He's got contacts and signs reasonably well but i dont see him as a motivator nor someone whos ever changed the course of a game with a subsitution. Tottenham very often struggle to get up for the big games against the top 4 too which is a serious problem - this is pretty much the main reason i dont think they'll make the CL - the winning mentality isnt quite there, they fall into the dreaded ' on their day' category


5. Arsenal
Ive seen arsenal teams with unknown toures, fabregas's, etc etc be written off before. Whats important about arsenal is they are the most complete unit in the premiership and if anything losing a star will reinforce that. It was only last christmas people were wanking on about how arsenal's youth team was better than liverpools first team (and nearly chelsea in the Carling cup final) - that was bollocks, of course - but i think people have now gone too far the other way.


6. Man City
though, he's most of the way through assembling a high-class, professional and above all balanced squad -


I dont know if you just meant age wise but i cant agree with this - the squad has 9 strikers, and Sven never really did attack very well


12. Sunderland
I'm not sure about this one, at all, but ive got a gut feeling they'll surprise a lot of people. Can't really say why. Gordon is crucial though.

Name me 5 premiership quality sunderland players. Keane may be a folk hero but his squad is folking shite.

16. Bolton
No squad depth and Sammy Lee won't last a season. That said, if Anelka's still there they'll stay up. Shrewd signings in January will be vital.

again, sadly you'll have to look at their squad and eat your words. I tried to predict them low too, but when i had a closer look i just couldnt bring myself to do it. but wishful thinking is cool too i guess
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 09:19   #8
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Thumbs down Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deff

2. Chelsea
You've said an awful lot positive about them but havent given a reason why theyre not going to win the league?

Because they'll draw games United will win.

3. Spurs
Personally, tactically, i think hes one of the weaker managers in the league. He's got contacts and signs reasonably well but i dont see him as a motivator nor someone whos ever changed the course of a game with a subsitution. Tottenham very often struggle to get up for the big games against the top 4 too which is a serious problem - this is pretty much the main reason i dont think they'll make the CL - the winning mentality isnt quite there, they fall into the dreaded ' on their day' category

well, we'll see. I think you underestimate Jol, though, and overrate motivators. Jol usually picks his eleven for the side he's facing better than other managers in the league so of course his subs won't be as effective.

5. Arsenal
Ive seen arsenal teams with unknown toures, fabregas's, etc etc be written off before. Whats important about arsenal is they are the most complete unit in the premiership and if anything losing a star will reinforce that. It was only last christmas people were wanking on about how arsenal's youth team was better than liverpools first team (and nearly chelsea in the Carling cup final) - that was bollocks, of course - but i think people have now gone too far the other way.

They're better than Middlesborough. They're not as good as the teams above them.

6. Man City
I dont know if you just meant age wise but i cant agree with this - the squad has 9 strikers, and Sven never really did attack very well

i meant both. And Dickov and Corradi won't be playing first team footall.

12. Sunderland
Name me 5 premiership quality sunderland players. Keane may be a folk hero but his squad is folking shite.

[Gordon], Collins, Halford, Anderson, McShane, Richardson, Whitehead, Hysen, Kavanagh, Chopra, Connolly. Hey look! (I dont know if this is the Sunderland XI of choice, but they're all good enough to stay in the division)

16. Bolton
again, sadly you'll have to look at their squad and eat your words. I tried to predict them low too, but when i had a closer look i just couldnt bring myself to do it. but wishful thinking is cool too i guess


Hibs 3-0 against a good chunk of first team players tells me Sammy Lee isn't up to it. And I can't add that squad up to eleven players good enough to thrive in spite of, rather than due to, the manager.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 09:30   #9
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Kav's probably on his way out, and Hysen's wife is homesick.

I also think you'll all find you mean to refer to England International Kieron Richardson.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 10:08   #10
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Every year I see you create a whole paragraph about why you think a given team will finish 13th in the League and every year I still can't believe it.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 10:09   #11
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deffeh
1. Pique has been linked with a move away pretty consistently and im not sure Ferguson rates him. Either way the likelihood is with the 'favourites' system at old trafford that Brown/Silvestre/O'Shea will get the nod anywhere accross the back line before Pique/Cathcart do. I actually genuinely rate Wes Brown as a player - think hes a very good center half, if not for man utd - but he isnt a right back.

Given the kind of football man utd are so used to playing - 4-4-2, competent ball players, good passing, attacking full backs - for me without neville and to a lesser extent evra, they look considerably less potent down the flanks. I think this was pretty evident for a lot of the games last season; when neville got injured and ronaldo seemed like an isolated figure (the milan away game, for one).

Its another one of the reasons i think they'll lack a penalty box striker, so much of their game is based on wide penetration (well, you're hardly going to get it from carrick or hargreaves, and scholes isnt that sort of player as often any more - rooney will give you some central penetration but then who's in front of him?) so it seems to me a little that their flanks attacks will lack final options.
i've never even seen or know anything about cathcart really, but brown and o'shea are reasonably competent right backs and silvestre and heinze as left backs. brown and pique are good cover for centre halves. but i do see your point, especially if heinze leaves but it's only a single player thin; not a huge problem in my opinion. also, whilst pique's been linked to many, both he and ferguson have categorically stated a return to the premiership this season. then again, there were such hints for giuseppe rossi as well i guess.

as far as their offence goes, theoretically manchester united have the makings of a fluid and versatile offence just as barcelona do and have had for the past couple of seasons. perhaps it's wishful thinking in expecting beautiful goals galore, but i certainly can't see their entire offence being able to be tracked down and stopped. note that their blueprint for their attack has been based on real madrid's raul, who on his day is completely untrackable, as mentioned by ferguson some time during last season when discussing a need for the RVN type striker. a team full of raul type attackers they can all play on either wing or in the centre, drop deep to collect the ball or acquire space or even keep up the pressure on the opposition defence is pretty frightening in my opinion.


Quote:
2/ Birmingham played better football at their best than Sunderland did last year. I really dont think Sunderland have signed well at all in the transfer window, if you go to the BBC Sport squad selector - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/foot...or/default.stm - you see what a really weak team it is at the moment. Obviously with these sort of things, theres usually only a couple of points in it either way so seeing sunderland finish ahead of birmingham wouldnt shock me to the core, but i think birmingham have the better side.
birmingham played at their best about twice last year though, sunderland i've got a real feeling that they'll be able to consistently play at a better level than birmingham. this is probably due to placing extra credit for roy keane, but we'll see.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 10:27   #12
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

This isn't really on topic but

ATHLETICS
Peerless Gay claims 100m victory


has been sitting on the BBC Sport front page for some time now and I'm curious as to how much fun the headline writers must have
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 11:42   #13
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Right this season I am being brave and wading in.

1. Chelsea

Last season's defensive injury crisis simply can't happen again. They have strengthened extremely well and spent very wisely indeed. Ben Haim will be an asset to the defence, Sidwell is a canny acquisition and Pizarro is a pretty dependable striker. Malouda is their only money purchase as yet and it seems he will only benefit their ranks with the speed and skill that a team so reliant on dominance like Chelsea need. The result is that Shevchenko and Ballack are now players that don't need to be relied upon as starters and Robben's injury record is less of a worry, if he stays. The return to a 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 is welcome, simply because it's always been their best formation.

The only concern is right back, where the likes of Glen Johnson, Ferreira and Diarra at a push don't really get the juices flowing. I agree that if Alves comes, they will be a frightening prospect. Put simply, they are the most relentless, most driven team around and I fully expect them to be in for the title come May, but it will be close.

Key Man: Michael Essien

The driving force behind this team. His work rate and energy levels are just super human and he has the ability to defend and drive the team forward. Chelsea's game is all about winning the midfield by force and he is going to be vital to that.

2. Manchester United

Manchester United are another exceptional team, who play prettier football.

Towards the end of last season their defence looked hopeless without Vidic, who has clearly become the keystone to their game. Ferdinand can look a little bit lost, Neville is a stalwart and dependable (but is he a great right back?) while Evra's attacking nature can leave them open. Van Der Sar is actually starting to look old too. But with Vidic holding it all together, what I've written might sound a bit dramatic - I just think he is that important. And with him, United are defensively strong.

The other issue is with the changing of the guard in midfield. Scholes and Giggs have been wonderful servants to United and the premier league and it seems this season will be the beginning of them being phased out. Nani and Anderson are probably the best buys United could have hoped for. The question is whether that £30M is going to pay off and I think we will see one hit, one miss. Ronaldo is obviously the exceptional talent in this team and no more need be said about him. Hargreaves will clearly step to the fore in the harder games, while Carrick will continue to do what he does best, which is dispose of teams with players who aren't that brilliant. I can't see the chopping and changing in midfield that looks inevitable helping United.

Up front, all looks rosy in garden. The arrival of Tevez to play with Rooney will put them in a very strong position while Saha and Solskjaer are no mugs either. Giggs can obviously join up front.

Key Man: Nemanja Vidic - simply the bedrock of the team. Without him, especially away from home, opposition teams will scent a chance, get their foot in at the midfield and lump it forward. Vidic is the best defender in the Premiership and will be key to keeping them in the hunt.

3. Liverpool


Liverpool have spent and not spent very well. Their best signing for this season was arguably in January when Mascherano gave their central midfield the look of not just one that strangles a game shut but one where the ball can be distributed very efficiently. Benitez has spent big money on a top spanish striker, he just bought the wrong one (should have bought Villa) because Liverpool needed a goalscorer, not another all round striker to go with Kuyt and Crouch. Babel and Benayoun feel like another attempt to sign decent wide players, but really Benitez could have saved his time and spent the £13.2M it would have taken to get Simao. Voronin seems to be irrelevant (famous last words if ever there was)

But defence good, central midfield very good, wingers/strikers maybe not in terms of the title.

Main man: Steven Gerrard - doesn't speak Spanish but still plays for Liverpool. An achievement in itself. I also hear he's good at football.

4. Arsenal

Why aren't Tottenham here you might ask. Because Arsenal without Henry and despite Tottenham's spending (which I shall come on to shortly) are still a very good side. Sagna has come in to replace the defensively woeful Eboue at right back and Eboue looks set to start the season on the right side of midfield, which I think is the best place for him. So that's one hole plugged. Clichy, Toure, Gallas, Lehmann. I like em all. Midfield can pass like mentalists, maybe lacking that killer instinct in the tackle but they still created a shedload of chances last season. Up top, Robin Van Persie is about to score a shedload of goals and Eduardo is a striker with good pedigree, I rate him. With Adebayor to come off the bench, Arsenal are still a frightening prospect when on song, because they have pace to burn. Lightweightness and maybe lack of depth is going to be a problem though.

Main man: Robin Van Persie. He must score goals at the rate of last season and make Arsenal's football pay off, or Wenger will have failed. In the cups I can't see a more dangerous team than this bunch, as in terms of one off performances, Arsenal are probably the best team.

5. Tottenham

Ah, good but not great club spends big, moves sideways, we've seen it all before. So lets look at that spending

Ins: Gareth Bale (Southampton, £5m), Adel Taarabt (Lens, undisclosed), Yuri Berchiche (Athletic Bilbao, undisclosed), Darren Bent (Charlton £16.5m), Younes Kaboul (Auxerre, £8m), Danny Rose (Leeds, undisclosed), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Hertha Berlin, undisclosed).

Spurs now have a left back. Box ticked. But left back while being very good on the ball is a bit shaky defensively and one might suspect his attacking play is going to paper over the cracks somewhat. Regardless, Bale will succeed. Taarabt, Berchiche are presumably going to be peripheral, so we'll pass over them for now. Darren Bent, another striker who will get them as many goals as Defoe or Keane probably would at a truly absurd price. Kaboul will probably improve the defence. Rose must be some kind of english child they have bought. Boateng is interesting and is highly regarded in Germany. I'm not sure if they have bought another of those 'almost' players like Jenas. As for the incumbent players - Robinson overrated but good, King fantastic, Chimbonda great, Lennon hot and cold, Jenas hot and cold, Berbatov world class, Keane excellent, Defoe white hot or arctic chill.

Basically their midfield still hasn't been sorted out in my mind, it's still full of 'almost players' they've only got an improvement in terms of a new left back so they are going to go sideways.

Key Man: Dimitar Berbatov - first touch and awareness to die for.

6. Newcastle

Big Sam may have the resources to deliver with this team, as much as it seems to be Newcastle's role to fail at any opportunity. Cacapa, this spanish bloke, Rozhenal and Geremi are all pretty useful. Viduka/Martins/Owen/Ameobi look good up front, the midfield for Newcastle has always been good (it just used to collapse on a hopeless defence) and with Allardyce's penchant for substance over style, Newcastle will get results. Obviously I might be wrong and Newcastle get mass injuries, have a bad start to the season, Allardyce is out on his ear within 6 months after the massed protests at Saint James Park and it all collapses and this particular prediction might be a fantastic troll but I am trying to be objective here.

Key Man: Joey Barton - he might be scum but on the pitch he has the right attitude and takes no prisoners.

7. Everton


David Moyes has adopted an 'if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality this season. Jagielka and Pienaar have boosted his options but haven't really moved the side on. But I respect his point of view, simply because he's chosen to stay out of a market that is obviously inflated. Everton are solid but unspectacular but they have a formula of being solid first and foremost and at Goodison will have no problems whatsoever.

Key Man: Mikel Arteta - came to the fore last season, all play will be pretty much dictated by him again.

8. Blackburn


I like Blackburn. I think they are good to watch while having that nasty edge to them and they are probably what a Premiership team should look like. I think Europe might take toll its again and they haven't really strengthened in light of that. Santa Cruz at £3.5M is good value, the rest we all know about. Pedersen is highly regarded amongst us all, Bentley is growing into a good player, McCarthy and Roberts are more than adequate up front. Matt Derbyshire is also a player I hold in very high regard.

Key Man: Benni McCarthy - will need his goals to equal last season's efforts.

9. Man City

Manchester City have bought big, bought reasonably but look as if they lack that British steel that might make them anything other than an average Premiership team. This is one where really we need to look at the acquisitions in depth, as apart from Richards and Dunne, a new team is being built here.

Ins:

Geovanni (Cruzeiro, free)

Geovanni was on trial with us and did quite well. He is a decent player, but not exactly a top player and Sven decided to take the risk. He is a squad player more than anything.

Rolando Bianchi (Reggina, £8.8m)

Pierluigi Casiraghi scored 20 goals + for quite a few seasons in Serie A only to come to the Premiership and look terrible. Bianchi has that weight of pressure upon him. It's a massive gamble for that kind of fee and you can bet Sven will play him whatever, simply because he has paid so much for him.

Gelson Fernandes (FC Sion, undisclosed)

A nice tidy young prospect in the middle, who shouldn't have much problem getting to grips with things.

Javier Garrido (Real Sociedad, £1.5m)

When you buy a defender from a team that got relegated in Spain, I don't know about you but my alarm bells are ringing. Maybe he'll be good.

Vedran Corluka (Dinamo Zagreb, undisclosed)

The current Croatian team is very good indeed, with a good manager to boot (Slaven Bilic) and Corluka is in that team. With Dunne as someone to look after him, I think he'll be fine.

Elano (Shakhtar Donetsk, £8m)

Great transfer. Smashing little player, good skills, absolutely destroyed the Argies along with Kaka when they got stuffed 3-0 at the Emirates.

Valeriy Bojinov (Fiorentina £5.5M)

Has pedigree with an excellent spell at Lecce, failed at Juventus.

This is why I think Sven will do average. He's simply building the same team he would at any other club. It will be decent, but not set the world alight until he gets world class players to do it with.

Key Man: Elano - simply the player with the best pedigree City have bought in years.

10. Portsmouth

Obviously, my own club will be a very long scribble indeed.

Am I overrating our performance next season? Quite probably yes, but sadly I envisage the sides below us being worse, because there is a lot of shit in this league. And we are one of the shit. The difference between us and the rest of the shit is that we have David James, Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin which means that we can play rubbish and still draw/win, as the Asian Cup proved on a grand scale.

Our main strength (which for a Harry Redknapp side is plain bizarre) is our defence. Apart from James in goal we have:

Sol Campbell Sylvain Distin, Linvoy Primus, Lauren, Dejan Stefanovic, Herman Hreidarsson, Noe Pamarot, Martin Crainie, Djimi Traore (who as cover, is not that terrible). Put simply, we can play 2 back 4's that are more than adequate. We can even play Taylor at left back if we wanted.

Our midfield will not get the pulses racing in many of you. Gary O'Neil and Matthew Taylor are all about their work rate rather than the flashy stuff and they are very vital simply because they give us balance between defence and attack. Muntari looks as if it is an attempt by Harry to get someone who can dominate the midfield and pull the strings, but we will see (I think he is a good buy). Mendes has always been good on the ball, Davis is a passable midfielder at this level. The one we scratch our heads about most is Kranjcar. He is obviously a very talented player. But where does he play exactly? Can he get fit enough to play in the middle of a 4-4-2. Is he not a bit wasted out wide left? Shouldn't Taylor be there? If he can adapt (and this is still a work in progress) then the £2.5M we paid for him will look like loose change. But like many of you I agree, the jury is still out.

Up front, we lack a goal scorer of distinction. Benjani is a guaranteed start, his hard work, support play and endeavour are appreciated by all at Fratton because it means we defend from the front as teams are always uneasy with him running around at them. The question is who will play with him.

David Nugent: As of yet, looks a bit fat and championship for this level for whatever £4.5 to 6M. I think he is a big risk, Harry has said he is a risk and he really wasn't joking. I want him to succeed, he's just not looked very good.

Lua Lua: In the past year or so, Lomana has been nothing short of a complete twat. Selfish on the ball, problems off the pitch and outbursts that are just plain crazy. The reason he can be disliked is that it's obvious he has talent, he just doesn't use it very well. Preseason has shown that just maybe, he might be sorting his head out for a few weeks - he has scored goals and played well consistently and this is cause for optimism, until he gets carried away with himself. If Harry can keep him hungry with his feet on the ground, he might be useful.

Kanu: looks set to sign his one year deal. It comes as no surprise that he's waited until preseason is over to get signed up, someone might find out his real age. The master of rubbish goals (and OK a couple of very good ones) is fantastic at holding it up and his touch is also noticeably good. But he is not a goal threat.

Utaka: I know little about him, he has allegedly impressed in the short periods he's played, any information would be appreciated.

In my opinion, we need to move mountains and sign Yakubu, as quite simply Harry can get the best out of him and make him into the fearsome player he looked that he was going to be in late 2004. With Benjani I have no doubt he would be absolutely frightening and we should do everything to get him. Because if we did, we would probably finish top half guaranteed. As such, we might scrape into it if we're lucky.

Key Man: David James - he's just not human, really he can't be.

11. Villa

Martin O'Neill is bizarre. He has a small squad, sells players, then only brings 2 players in. One of whom simply adds an option off the bench in Harewood (is he better than Carew, Luke Moore or Agbonlahor? no). The other is Reo Coker who can be very good but had some real stinkers last season. Maybe he has something to prove this time round and he'll do well for Villa. But the squad is so thin i can't predict anything other than a load of draws and a slump when the injuries and suspensions bite. Villa's first XI are better than 11th, their squad drags them down into mediocrity.

Key Man: Luke Moore - one of the most underrated players by people who aren't Villa fans. He's a good player.

12. West Ham

Ins: Scott Parker (Newcastle, £7m), Julien Faubert (Bordeaux, £6.1m), Richard Wright (Everton, free), Craig Bellamy (Liverpool, £7.5m), Freddie Ljungberg (West Ham, £3m).

Should Dyer join them, this looks like a recipe for an underperforming season. Bellamy is the best signing of the lot, he is a small club player and will get goals. Scott Parker is presumably a straight swap for Reo Coker but will be pretty much on his own in the middle of the park. He may improve because of Curbishley and that's a factor to consider. But the defence is still poor, one of the signings is already out for 6 months and Ljungberg is a bit washed up by all accounts. Bringing Dyer closer to his favourite nightclubs and more importantly, Lee Bowyer is not going to help. Flashes of talent, but lightweight.

Even so, they shouldn't be in this list.

Key Man: Dean Ashton - if he gets fit and scoring, we'll be seeing a few 'appy 'ammers

13. Sunderland

Roy Keane reminds me of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Like S.P.E.C.T.R.E. he doesn't tolerate failure and i would be frightened to let him down. I expect a Roy Keane side to play with commitment as a minimum. Signings have been mixed:

Ins:

Dickson Etuhu (Norwich, £1.5m)
A good player at Championship level, but perhaps a bit too rough and ready for liking.

Kieran Richardson (Manchester United, undisclosed)
The only top-flight player I've seen laughed off the field. He's not very good to be honest.

Greg Halford (Reading, £2.5m)
Never really played for Reading, mainly because they were doing so well. Could be decent.

Russell Anderson (Aberdeen, £1m)
A good defender.

Michael Chopra (Cardiff City, £5m)
Overpriced, bit fat to be a success in the prem.

Paul McShane (West Brom, £2.5m).
Excellent buy, was fantastic for the Baggies last season

Key Man: Roy Keane - his whole career is resting on this season.

14. Fulham

Northern Ireland have spent big this season, occasionally doing the age old trick of getting a foreigner in cos their gran once went on an orange march. There is a long list and they are all solid, if unspectacular signings. Don't expect great things from them, don't expect them to be too woeful either. 14th is pretty much the Fulham position.

Key man: David Healy - has to prove that he can transfer his international form to the league.

15. Middlesborough

Look to be quite weak, but Woodgate will save them as he is their one top quality player. The defence and keeper aren't too bad, the midfield isn't exactly adventurous but up top there are massive worries if Tuncay don't cut it and near cataclysm should Yakubu move.

Key Man: George Boateng - without him their form is woeful, he holds the team together, they can't live without him. Woodgate they can probably manager, not Boat though.

16. Reading

I nearly forgot about Reading, such is their irrelevance as a club. Yes the Rumblestix are back again for another season, with all those happy people from the thames valley having a lovely day out. Such is their lack of adventure they have sat on their arse and done pretty much nothing apart from sign 2 central midfield players. 2nd season syndrome has to be a bit of a worry, but with Steve Coppell and the likes of kitson/lita/doyle/long up top, they've got enough about them to survive just about.

Key Man: Dave Kitson - easily their best player.

17. Birmingham

Have bought well but with someone as incompetent as Steve Bruce in charge you never know. After peeing money at the team last season in Championship terms he only just managed to get them promoted. Yet again, the same seems to have occurred in the hope survival will follow. I think it will. Kapo, De Ridder, O'Connor, Ridgewell, Quedrue and Muamba are all good enough so they'll get there just. But there's still plenty of rubbish in their squad, which will take time to clear out. Plus their best player from last season (Bendtner) has gone.

Key Man: Gary O'Connor - made the grade at every other level, so why not this one.

18. Bolton

Sammy Lee is a fat **** who shouts encouragement at people and barks when they don't get something right. This makes you a coach, not a manager. There are quite a few Allardyce signings who must wonder why they are at Bolton consider who they came for has now gone. This can only end in tears. Ben Haim, their bedrock has gone, McCann and Samuel can't make much of a difference and I can't see Anelka or Diouf staying long. I'm sure they will get homesick very soon and be on the first plane to Lyon or somewhere very quickly indeed.

Key Man: Anelka - only person capable of single handedly saving this team.

19. Wigan

Chris Hutchings has a terrible record, Heskey can't score goals, Bramble can only be trouble, Sibierski is another support striker, Koumas is good if he can be accomodated, De Zeeuw is gone, McCulloch is gone, Brown is shit, Melchiot has been bad enough to get relegated before and the majority of the team are a bunch of cloggers. Even Baines wants out.

Key Man: Paul Scharner - underrated, very versatile, very handy player. Wouldn't be disappointed if he signed for my club and that's probably quite true for many clubs.

20. Derby

Despite the fact they are stuffing us next week, Derby are shit. Earnshaw scores goals but means you are effectively playing with 10 men, Andy Todd won't keep you up on his own and 2 right backs in Mears and Andy Griffin is just plain weird. Releasing Seth Johnson, their best player in the playoffs also seems to be a big mistake. I can't see anything but woe for this team. Worse still for the sheep, they could be replaced by Leicester come May.

Key Man: Giles Barnes - any bets for a January move to Tottenham if it all goes tits up anyone?

All in all this is going to be a very tough season. Many teams have spent big and it's difficult to predict, simply because you don't know which signings are going to pay off. The amount spent this summer has disgusted me totally and I've been quite disillusioned that player value has been totally ignored. Even so, I'm looking forward for the season to start. Saturdays are pretty boring at the moment (although we only have one 3pm kick off at Fratton until December). The gap between the top 5 will certainly get smaller, there will be small mini league for Europe and the bottom 10-11 teams can all spend their time worrying about relegation again.

p.s. Deffeh thread
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 12:34   #14
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Key Man: Gary O'Connor - made the grade at every other level, so why not this one.
oddly enough, this is one of the bits that really stuck out for me.

Garry O'Connor was a splendid player for Hibs, and his/Riordan's absence at Hibs was just barely masked by a vastly-improved midfield feeding a penalty box striker. However, he isn't a complex player. He turns defences not through stepovers but by being steady on his feet, accelerating in bursts, dropping his marker before runs, and keeping the ball close. Doing this to Premiership defences is a bigger ask than against St Mirren, or Spartak Nalchik, or the Faroe Islands...

GOC could well make it, but there's no guarantee: Relying on him from the start may be the biggest mistake Birmingham could make. Hope I'm wrong.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 14:08   #15
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

took me a while, but i've finally finished with a good few switching around in the bottom half of the league.


my obscure calls for the season - abgonhlbaradlsaldsada (the young black guy who plays for villa, with bags of pace but a shit touch) and van persie will be up there for top goal scorers this season.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 15:29   #16
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrL_JaKiri
Kav's probably on his way out, and Hysen's wife is homesick.

I also think you'll all find you mean to refer to England International Kieron Richardson.
Stick yo neck out and predict, faggot
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 15:57   #17
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Last Year :

Code:
My Predicted Table      Final Table             Difference

01. Chelsea		Man Utd		        DOWN 1
02. Liverpool		Chelsea			DOWN 1
03. Man Utd		Liverpool		UP 2
04. Arsenal		Arsenal			CORRECT
05. Tottenham		Tottenham		CORRECT
06. Newcastle		Everton			DOWN 7
07. Blackburn		Bolton			DOWN 3
08. West Ham		Reading			DOWN 7
09. Wigan		Portsmouth		DOWN 8
10. Bolton		Blackburn		UP 3
11. Everton		Aston Villa		UP 5
12. Aston Villa		Middlesborough		UP 1
13. Charlton		Newcastle		DOWN 6
14. Portsmouth		Man City		UP 5
15. Man City		West Ham		UP 1
16. Middlesborough	Fulham			UP 4
17. Reading		Wigan			UP 9
18. Sheffield United	Sheffield United	CORRECT
19. Fulham		Charlton		UP 3
20. Watford		Watford			CORRECT
Four correct teams, although all were relative gimmies. Some teams really surprised me this year (Reading, Everton, Pompey) whereas West Ham, Wigan and Charlton all plummeted. Irritatingly Fulham survived again, but with any luck they'll go down this year. A score of 66 which is so appalling that I refuse to believe that it won't be improved on this year.


1st - Chelsea - and so the Chelsea tank keeps rolling on despite a hiccup last season. They were missing the best goalkeeper in the world and their top-class back-up keeper, leaving Hilario in goal. Add to that the loss of their inspirational captain and you really have to admire how well they actually performed when many other teams would have crumbled. Their squad is phenomenal with a continental-class player as backup in every position. Players such as Carvalho, Essien and Joe Cole are easily taken for granted, yet would be the first name on the team-sheet in many other teams. Unless United have another stormer then Chelsea will steamroll their way to the title. Mourinho wants to play attacking football this year - and with the resources he has, god help us.

2nd - Man Utd - I don't like predicting Man United as 2nd - I supported them over Chelsea for the title last season - but unless their entire team puts in superlative performances again, the Chelsea engine will just take it on points. The club doesn't lack in self-confidence, but I'm just not feeling the victory this season. United were a little lucky last season in winning certain fixtures and that won't necessarily happen this season.

3rd - Arsenal - I haven't got a hope of being unbiased here, so I won't even pretend to try. Henry has gone, leaving Arsenal one galactio short. However, we played for a lot of last season without him and still came 4th - so anyone pretending that Arsenal will miss out on Europe is going to have a rather rude wake-up call. Wenger has been molding a young squad for the last few years and it's now time for it to come to fruition (see Diaby, Denilson and Djourou). Star players such as Fabregas and Van Persie will have to carry the team at times, which is a lot of responsibility on their young shoulders. What I do like is the strong core running through the team - Lehmann, Toure, Gilberto and Van Persie are all mentally strong and perhaps will be able to stop the team being dominated by the pettiness that characterised Henry's play.

There have been a lot of changes to the team despite few personnel changes: Eboue is now a right winger and will play in front of the solid Sagna, while Hleb will play behind a lone striker whenever we decide to go 4-5-1. This is the position Hleb played in the Bundesliga, so perhaps Arsene has seen sense and accepted that he'll never be a proper winger. He's also adapted the team's style of play from "give the ball to Henry" to "don't just give it to one player, pass it around into the gaps". This is where the frustrating play that characterised Arsenal last season has come from - no player showed the willingness to step up and take the shot. Wenger is known to have worked on this over the summer, but on the evidence of the superb Emirates Cup it still hasn't been cured. However, we do seem to have learnt how to score ugly goals.

Has Henry been replaced? Van Persie will score 20+ goals, Eduardo will score 10+ goals. Adebayor....god knows, he has great games and then he has terrible games. Bendtner has looked good in pre-season but is very raw. Walcott isn't ready to play up front yet - Wenger isn't trying to convert him to a winger, I think he's just trying to blood him. As I've said before, he belongs out on loan for a season at a solid Premiership club such as Blackburn.

Finally, we need to make one more signing: a top-class winger. Quaresma is the name quietly being mentioned by bloggers but as with Eduardo, I doubt we'll know a thing until they put pen to paper. Wenger hasn't indicated that he's not buying for the rest of the summer, which tells me that he has one more player to move for.


4th - Liverpool - I'm not convinced by Torres. Defences are going to be sitting deeper than they do in Spain and defenders have much more of a physical presence - if he can adapt to this quickly then I'd be surprised. Liverpool may have signed a goal-scorer, but in my eyes they're still lacking the midfield cutting edge that is needed to slice defences open. Players such as Alonso and Gerrard don't thrive on the pacy counter-attack a la Arsenal, they put balls in behind defences and this is something that Premiership centre-backs are used to playing against week-in week-out. A team that shuts up shop will do well against Liverpool and this is why I don't see them challenging for the title.

5th - Tottenham - Spurs have spent freely over the summer, signing Bent and Bale in particular, but perhaps haven't strengthened as some might have hoped. Robinson is a good keeper but not international-class. Defence is strong, especially with the signing of Kaboul, although lacking in quality depth. Up front Spurs have obvious depth, even with Mido (probably) leaving, but only two of their strikers can play at any one time. If Berbatov gets injured for any serious length of time then they definitely won't be pushing for a Champions League spot. Most importantly, I'm concerned about their ability in midfield: Lennon is superb but Zokora didn't take his chance last season, Jenas is incredibly average at every part of the game and Huddlestone is too green. Malbranque is experienced but lacks the cutting edge he once had. Kevin-Prince Boateng, on the other hand, may be an excellent replacement for Jenas if Martin Jol has the guts to play a German over an Englishman.

6th - Newcastle - the signing of Joey Barton is looking worse and worse these days - Parker hardly set the world alight but at least he wasn't banged up in prison. Barton's been charged with ABH for his assault on Dabo and I'd be surprised if a judge chose to suspend his sentence given the 'outrage' that would undoubtedly ensue. Such a waste of talent, I don't want to see him going down the same route as Lee Bowyer but it doesn't look unlikely. Turning to the rest of the team, Bramble is gone (hurrah), Given is still there and Newcastle have a great team of strikers up-front. However, if Dyer leaves then the creative spark will be lacking in midfield, so I'm wondering where the assists will be coming from.

7th - Blackburn - one giant 'meh'. A very solid team with no real weaknesses, and with Derbyshire and Santa Cruz competing for a place alongside McCarthy they could make Europe this season. Then again, Friedel and Nelsen are the only bright spots in a fairly weak defence which was reflected in their 'For' and 'Against' columns last season. It's likely that they'll be involved in a few high-scoring matches this season.

8th - Everton - Deffeh was pretty spot on about Everton - great base to the team, no attacking flair. If they can grind out repeated 1-0s as they did in 2005/6, they'll make Europe, but Mikel Arteta does not a team make. David Moyes has probably got the club as far as he can and it may be time for a bright young manager such as Aidy Boothroyd to be brought in to spark things up. They have a lot of effective (but boring) players, so they shouldn't have to concern themselves about relegation.

9th - West Ham - West Ham have brought in several players of the quality that belong in the top half of the table - Bellamy, Ljungberg, Parker and Faubert (injured). Their team - Wright/Green; Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney; Ljungberg, Parker, Noble, Boa Morte; Ashton, Bellamy. That's a team for the top half of the table, and Curbishley is a good enough manager to get them all working well together. With the club now settled in the post-Argentinean era and the Iceman able to bankroll them out of any trouble, I see no reason why West Ham can't finish in the top half of the table. Upton Park is a superb home ground, but one where the Hammers will need to pick up a lot of points since they're going to have a difficult time on the road this season in front of opposition fans.

10th - Aston Villa - for Villa to have a good season, they'll need to avoid the terrible mid-season lapse of form that ruined their last campaign. Typically Villa start a season strongly, tail off as the weather turns cold and then perk up again in the last few months. You don't get into Europe that way. Looking at their squad they haven't added much over the summer aside from a couple of ex-Hammers who will have very different seasons: Reo-Coker will fulfil his potential (prediction 1) and Harewood will spend the season on the subs bench (prediction 2).

11th - Bolton - Bungdyce is gone and with the assistant manager brought in to take over, I'm going to confidently predict them to finish outside of a European spot this season. Lee hasn't exactly been wheeling and dealing; with the rock that is Tal Ben-Haim gone, Jaaskelainen will be tested much more often this season. Kevin Nolan was once touted as a future England star, but after an appalling last season he'll need to pull his finger out to prove his worth to the team. Nevertheless, Wilhelmsson and Braathen are good signings for the flanks (who will be the Rommadal and who the Gamst Pedersen?) and if they can regularly lob balls at Kevin Davies then goals will come. Anelka and Stelios both still remain at the club which must be a relief for any Bolton fan, with Anelka as the team's only true match-winner.

12th - Man City - they had a terrible team last season but it's all change at Eastlands. I know **** all about their new signings other than their names and price-tags, and so I can't go into much detail on them. Besides, they still have half a team to buy unless they intend to play 1-1-8. They won't make Europe, they won't be looking at relegation. Safe mid-table with Eriksson expected to make Europe by 2008/9.

13th - Portsmouth - unlikely to repeat their heroics of last season, yet their defence is strong enough to prevent relegation. Forty points will be the initial target I think, and then we'll see what Redknapp can do from there. Some good summer signings (Muntari and Nugent) along with skilled first-team members (Taylor, Mendes, Krancjar) but what they're really lacking is an experienced striker to partner Nugent. Someone like Jermaine Defoe would be a good player for Pompey.

14th - Reading - a virtuoso performance last season, but little strengthening over the summer has meant that Reading may be left behind by both the 'solid Premiership clubs' and the clubs with sugar-daddies. I don't think they're ready for relegation just yet, but forty points as a target and then go from there. Sidwell is a major loss, there's no doubt about it, and although I'm eagerly awaiting Leroy Lita's first season as a guaranteed starter, I'm not sure where the ball's going to come from. Doyle will remain a vital player and if they lose him in January, it could be curtains for them.

15th - Sunderland - it's tough to distinguish between the facts and hyperbole when you talk about Sunderland, and perhaps they're one of those clubs that you either love or you hate. Their record counts against them - completely unable to stay up the last two times they've been promoted - but it's a choice of cliche really, whether you want to go for 'third time lucky' or 'bad things come in threes'. Edwards, Kavanagh and new signing Richardson are all Premiership-quality players, but the rest are fairly average and Keane will need to work wonders both in the dressing room and in January to make sure that Sunderland don't go down.

16th - Birmingham City - I have a soft spot for Birmingham - they had three Arsenal youngsters on loan last season, two of whom signed permanent deals. They have the makings of a surviving team like Reading last year, but I don't see a match-winner along the lines of a Kevin Doyle. Forssell and O'Connor could be a very good strike partnership though, so I'm not ready to condemn them to relegation instantaneously. Their first team is full of players with Premiership experience, but they're worryingly lacking in depth and an injury crisis would spell the end for their season competitively.

17th - Middlesbrough - Gareth Southgate has not yet shown that he's a Premiership-quality manager: in fact, I think he'll be first to go this season after a terrible start to the season. Woodgate keeps the defence running in front of Schwartzer, but Aliadiare is a terrible replacement for Viduka and I don't see Tuncay adapting to the Premiership or the North-East especially quickly. Definite relegation candidates, and once Southgate is gone it'll depend on the ability of his replacement as to whether or they stay up. Graeme Souness anyone?


18th - Fulham - **** off you complete and utter losers. Lawrie Sanchez may be bringing in half of Northern Ireland but their survival for the last couple of seasons has been by sheer fluke, and I don't see anything changing. Their team will be good enough to avoid last season's relegation battle, but everyone's improved this season and with two relegation spots to avoid, I refuse to accept that Fulham won't be occupying one of them.

19th - Wigan - experience of working for JJB Sports means that I hate Dave Whelan with a passion, and with his appointment of Chris Hutchings as manager to replace the relegation saviour that is Paul Jewell I see no reason how Wigan can finish any higher than 19th. Their big summer signing has been Titus Bramble - a player that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Any talent they have left at the start of the season (Baines, Scharner) will be bought in January by a team that has a chance of staying up, and it's only because Derby are so weak that I'm not predicting them the wooden spoon.

20th - Derby - this season's Watford. Giles Barnes even fits the bill as this season's Ashley Young, so I assume that he'll be bought in January by a struggling sugardaddy-funded side. We'll have him, actually. Honestly Derby stand no chance, but at least financially they'll be sorted for the next few years without breaking a sweat.



Code:
1.  Chelsea
2.  Man United
3.  Arsenal
4.  Liverpool
5.  Tottenham
6.  Newcastle
7.  Blackburn
8.  Everton
9.  West Ham
10. Aston Villa
11. Bolton
12. Man City
13. Portsmouth
14. Reading
15. Sunderland
16. Birmingham City
17. Middlesborough
18. Fulham
19. Wigan
20. Derby

I did contemplate writing out a points table with each team given a points total rounded to the nearest 5. However, it proved impractical and so I'll settle for predicting a few of them. Both Chelsea and Man United will have over 90 points this season. Arsenal will be around 20 points behind Man United, who would completely dominate in a sans-Chelsea era, but the gap between Arsenal and Liverpool will be less than 5 points (the two teams are impossible to choose between) and the gap between Arsenal (3rd) and Spurs (5th) will be less than 15 points. The remaining UEFA Cup spots won't be decided until the last day of the season, and it won't be until Portsmouth in 13rd that we see any real daylight between the teams. The relegation battle is half decided already with both Wigan and Derby looking good for the drop, but it'll be a case of picking one from four to decide who'll occupy the other spot.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 16:49   #18
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

I'll might fill in the data at some other point, but seeing as I have only a few minutes of internet time every day I doubt it.

1) Chelsea
2) Manchester United
3) Liverpool
4) Arsenal
5) Tottenham Hotspur
6) Blackburn
7) Bolton
8) Everton
9) Birmingham
10) Aston Villa
11) Portsmouth
12) Manchester City
13) Middlesbrorugh
14) Reading
15) West Ham United
16) Sunderland
17) Newcastle United
18) Fulham
19) Derby
20) Wigan
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 16:55   #19
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

ASG - why Birmingham City so high and Newcastle and West Ham so low?
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 17:00   #20
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by furball
ASG - why Birmingham City so high and Newcastle and West Ham so low?
It's not quite finished yet. Addmitedly, Birmingham do seem a bit high. I've been moving West Ham up and up but it just seems like such a strong league this season. Also, Newcastle are shit and I would like them to get some humiity* and realise they aren't a good club and havn't even been a decent one for many years.

*relegated
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 18:42   #21
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Last Year :
Code:
My Predicted Table      Difference

1. Chelsea            Down 1
2. Liverpool           Down 1
3. Arsenal             Down 1
4. Man Utd           Up 3
5. Tottenham        Correct
6. West Ham        Down 9
7. Everton           Up 1
8. Newcastle        Down 5
9. Aston Villa        Down 2
10. Bolton            Up 3
11. Man City         Down 3
12. Wigan            Down 5
13. Middlesborough Up 1
14. Blackburn        Up 4
15. Charlton         Down 4
16. Fulham           Correct
17. Portsmouth     Up 8
18. Reading          Up 10
19. Watford         Down 1
20. Shef Utd        Up 2
This Year:


1) Manchester United
2) Chelsea
3) Liverpool
4) Arsenal
5) Tottenham Hotspur
6) Blackburn
7) Aston Villa
8) Everton
9) Newcastle United
10) Portsmouth
11) Bolton
12) Manchester City
13) Middlesborough
14) Reading
15) West Ham United
16) Sunderland
17) Birmingham
18) Fulham
19) Wigan
20) Derby
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 20:50   #22
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Code:
My Predicted Table      Final Table             Difference

01. Chelsea		Man Utd		        DOWN 1
02. Liverpool		Chelsea			DOWN 1
03. Arsenal		Liverpool		DOWN 1
04. Man U		Arsenal			UP 3
05. Tottenham		Tottenham		CORRECT
06. Blackburn		Everton			DOWN 4
07. Everton		Bolton			UP 1
08. Newcastle		Reading			DOWN 5
09. West Ham		Portsmouth		DOWN 6
10. Bolton		Blackburn		UP 3
11. Man City		Aston Villa		DOWN 3
12. Portsmouth		Middlesborough		UP 3
13. Charlton		Newcastle		DOWN 6
14. Aston Villa         Man City		UP 3
15. Fulham		West Ham		DOWN 1
16. Middlesborough	Fulham			UP 4
17. Reading		Wigan			UP 9
18. Wigan		Sheffield United	UP 1
19. Sheffield United	Charlton		DOWN 1
20. Watford	        Watford			CORRECT
Two corrects and a score of 56 somehow considering how badly some of those were.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 21:29   #23
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

1. Chelsea - While they wont have an injury list like last season they probably wont have so many last minute wonder strikes to save the day. New signings should see help regain the title.

2. Man United - New signings and passing of the torch some what sees them slip to second.

3. Arsenal - With Henry gone, RVP should step out of the shadows and prove how good he is. Bendtner looks like that season at Birmingham really did him good, looks hungry and good in the air, but still a bit raw. Eduardo seems okay but too early to say since he hasn't played too many of the friendlies yet. Sagna seems solid but nothing special but Eboue to right midfield seems ingenious, I don't know why noone thought of it before, he's given us real drive on the right in every pre season game. This has meant Hleb can play behind the lone striker, apparently his best position. Clichy looks great as ever, and Traore is actually giving him a run for his money. Gallas looks to have stopped moaning now he's CB with Toure, but Senderos has gotten closer to Champions League 05/06 form rather than Pascal Cygan 1974-2006. If anything happened to Lehmann, I have no worries with Almunia coming in, while Fabianski I can't tell after a few half games. I'm genuinely excited about this season.

4. Liverpool - Like most of their big money buys, and nearly everything thats Spanish, I see Torres being a flop, while Gerrard won't be able to carry Liverpool to third for another season.

5. Tottenham - Par for the course.

6. Blackburn - Some dangerous players, McCarthy and Bentley in particular shoud see them into Europe.

7. Newcastle - While I hate them and Bungdyce, noone else really stands out to displace them.

8. Aston Villa - Only ahead of Everton because they've had a slightly better transfer window

9. Everton - Jagielka will help but not enough.

10. Reading - Will struggle to repeat last year.

11. Manchester City - Sven is/was a good club manager. His new signings will either go tits up or swimmingly.

12. Portsmouth - Haven't bought any more ex-arsenal players = moving down the table.

13. Bolton - Little Sam or whoever that other one is wont do jack shit with the side he's got.

14. Middlesborough - Probably should be lower down...

15. Sunderland - Survival or death by Keane, the squad choose survival.

16. West Ham United - While got some new signings, see what happened last year when they did that.

17. Birmingham - Should survive because next three are worse not because they deserve to.

18. Wigan - Not surviving again

19. Fulham - Just get ****ing relegated.

20. Derby - Say no more.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 21:48   #24
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Oh and Eboue, I wonder what the betting is for him to be the player involved in the most bookings/sendings off (for and against) He's like this seasons Ronaldo, what with the diving, people going to hate him and useless shooting.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 23:14   #25
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannon_Fodder
Oh and Eboue, I wonder what the betting is for him to be the player involved in the most bookings/sendings off (for and against) He's like this seasons Ronaldo, what with the diving, people going to hate him and useless shooting.
On the merits of tonight's win against Ajax, Eboue isn't a good enough midfielder to deserve a place in the first team. Unfortunately he's a true wing-back - great going forward for a full-back, but not a good enough passer to be a winger. He was a **** tonight too, he should have been sent off along with Vermaelen and Heitinga in what was an appallingly refereed match. The Ajax defence kicked seven bells out of Van Persie and Hleb in particular, and while the referee was happy to blow for the foul he consistently refused to send players off or tell teams to substitute players to avoid red cards. It won't suprise anyone that Flamini, Eboue and Van Persie ended up responding in kind, with the latter two the closest to being sent off on the Arsenal side.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 23:27   #26
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by furball
On the merits of tonight's win against Ajax, Eboue isn't a good enough midfielder to deserve a place in the first team. Unfortunately he's a true wing-back - great going forward for a full-back, but not a good enough passer to be a winger. He was a **** tonight too, he should have been sent off along with Vermaelen and Heitinga in what was an appallingly refereed match. The Ajax defence kicked seven bells out of Van Persie and Hleb in particular, and while the referee was happy to blow for the foul he consistently refused to send players off or tell teams to substitute players to avoid red cards. It won't suprise anyone that Flamini, Eboue and Van Persie ended up responding in kind, with the latter two the closest to being sent off on the Arsenal side.
I can only assume that Ajax defender who was last man didnt get sent off because it was a friendly, but how the others didn't is beyond me. I think it's best a match that is forgotten quickly, bad refereeing, awful ajax and Flamini/RVP/Gallas moaning at the referee every 5 seconds. At least RVP isnt injured.

Eboue didn't have a good match, the Inter one was hugely better. He isnt a brilliant passer, but a good crosser, and his runs often got him into crossing positions. It's an option anyway.

Heitinga was a ****ing shitbag though.
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Unread 4 Aug 2007, 23:42   #27
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannon_Fodder
Eboue didn't have a good match, the Inter one was hugely better. He isnt a brilliant passer, but a good crosser, and his runs often got him into crossing positions. It's an option anyway.
I was at the Inter match, and his passing wasn't great then. He just doesn't combine with the other midfielders well enough, he's too selfish and doesn't suit the Arsenal style as practised by everyone else in the Arsenal midfield. It's not exposed when you're a full-back, but as a midfielder he just doesn't fit.
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 00:18   #28
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

so you're saying he's a 5-3-2 player?

Im suprised he isnt making it as right mid; thats basically what i said he is in last years write up . At least i said he isnt a right back, i guess.

Also Flamini? I thought he was going?
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 00:29   #29
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deffeh
so you're saying he's a 5-3-2 player?
I guess so. He's not a good enough defender to be a top class full-back, but he's not a complete enough midfielder to be a top class winger. His best attribute is charging forward on runs working with the player in front or behind him (so playing with Hleb (RM) last year and Sagna (RB) this year). However, he doesn't have a good enough touch to play in strikers or to pass it to the central midfielders - all he seems able to do is run at the opposition.


It's a bit sad really, even if he is a ****.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deffeh
Im suprised he isnt making it as right mid; thats basically what i said he is in last years write up . At least i said he isnt a right back, i guess.
He started pre-season well in this position, but as the quality of the opposition ramped up his defects as a midfielder have become more and more exposed. It's not as if he's an appalling player but he's not Champions League quality in the right midfield position.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deffeh
Also Flamini? I thought he was going?
Basically he hardly got any games last season and so threatened to buy out his contract. Fans were generally accepting of this since he was a hard worker but didn't have the quality to play for the first-team on a regular basis. It seems that Wenger sat down with him and told him that he'd have more first-team opportunities this season, so he's decided to stay.


Unfortunately I'm hoping that Wenger is pulling the wool over his eyes. Fabregas, Gilberto, Diaby and Denilson are all superior players and although I'd choose Flamini over Alex Song (seriously why is he still at the club) I certainly wouldn't give him first-team football.
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 01:14   #30
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

1. Man Utd - They're on a roll after last season, can't bet against them
2. Chelsea - Close, but although I'm sure Drogba and Terry will carry them I just don't quite see them doing it
3. Liverpool - as much as it pains me to place us here, I can't see us getting top 2
4. Arsenal - still lacking that final edge
5. Spurs - Really solid squad of young players.
6. Everton - They have an annoying habit of getting around here each year for no apparent reason
7. Aston Villa - O'Neil will drag them up
8. Man City - Sven might show he's a semi decent manager. Don't expect anything for the first month
9. Newcastle - I think that Sam will pull them up.
10. Blackburn - Pretty solid squad but just won't quite make it
11. Portsmouth - Start well (but not as well as last 2 seasons) then drop as the season goes on
12. Reading - They might be higher than this, but I don't seem them doing as well as last season
13. Bolton - Sammy Lee is no replacement for Big Sam
14. West Ham - transfers have been positive (thanks furball ) but the midtable is so packed that the middle 10 teams could all be in pretty much any order depending upon injuries, jan transfer window, and luck.
15. Middlesbrough - They probably won't be this low but who knows.
16. Sunderland - I can see them staying up, but none of this uefa cup rubbish
17. Birmingham - Bruce will just keep them up
18. Fulham - They've been pretty close last season
19. Wigan - Wanted them to go down last season
20. Derby - Does anyone think they'll end higher than 20th?

In general I think any of my bottom 5 teams could go down (Derby are this season's given for being bottom).
The whole of the midtable stuff is a blur. Man City (and Villa) are most likely to finish lower, and Middlesbrough higher.
Out of the 3 teams promoted, Sunderland are most likely to "do a Reading".

I have no idea how it's going to go tbh. It might be as much sense to take them all in alphabetical order and see how that works; it could be closer!
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 01:45   #31
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Appocomaster
16. West Ham - Not a great squad, but they'll pull through somehow

I don't get how you can predict them this low, not at all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by furball
West Ham have brought in several players of the quality that belong in the top half of the table - Bellamy, Ljungberg, Parker and Faubert (injured). Their team - Wright/Green; Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney; Ljungberg, Parker, Noble, Boa Morte; Ashton, Bellamy. That's a team for the top half of the table, and Curbishley is a good enough manager to get them all working well together.
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 02:02   #32
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Well, ok :/ I was thinking of the fact they'd sold a few people. They're more part of the midtable mashup, but I'm not sure I'd top 10 them. It's getting quite competitive in the middle ranks now

Edit: changed
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 04:03   #33
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Sorry I just read Inter Milan, so I thought I would point out Villa beat them 3-0 today!
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 07:58   #34
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

I'm bad when it comes to predicting the table, I have got it wrong for 2 years now and that was just general who will finish top 5 and bottom 5 with friends heh. Bets I lost :/

I'm mainly interested in Arsenal. I saw Arsenal against Ajax match. I rememeber saying a long time ago on here that Van Persie is going to be awesome. Another star in the making was Justin Hoyte so I'll be interested to see how he performs.

Btw why is it that (in general) Arsenal's defence is coloured (exceptions: senderos) and midfield with upfront consisting of non-coloured? It's not meant to be offensive but Gallas, Toure, Diaby, Eboue, Traore, Sagna & Senderos as defenders. Not a single english man either.

I didn't even know about the Quaresma rumour. Been looking at quite extensively. The top three rumours according to Sky Sports are: [SOURCE]

Quote:
Ricardo Quaresma has said that he would relish the chance to join arsenal. So Arsene Wenger will place a bid to lure the wing wizard to the emirates to slove hes wing problems
Azar Hussain - Birmingham

Arsenal assistant physio Colin Lewin (brother of Gary) lives just round the corner from me and has advised me that arsenal are on the brink of signing Ricardo Quaresma of FC Porto for a fee of around 12 million with Matthieu Flamini going the opposite direction.
Jack Newins - Essex

Ricardo Quaresma of Porto will join Arsenal for £15m over the weekend and become Arsene Wenger's major signing of summer 2007
david malandain - worthing, west sussex
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 08:14   #35
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

01. Chelsea
02. Man Utd
03. Arsenal
04. Liverpool
05. Man City
06. Tottenham
07. Everton
08. Aston Villa
09. Bolton
10. Newcastle
11. Blackburn
12. West Ham
13. Middlesboro
14. Reading
15. Portsmouth
16. Fulham
17. Sunderland
18. Birmingham
19. Wigan
20. Derby


And this concludes the votes from the Kargoolian jury.

I recon the only thing that needs commenting is the high position of Man City. I belive that Svennis is one of the best clubmanagers around, and if anyone can sort out a defence on a manager level, its him, he has also made the club stronger forward, so I really think that City will be set to shine.
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 15:52   #36
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by furball
I guess so. He's not a good enough defender to be a top class full-back, but he's not a complete enough midfielder to be a top class winger. His best attribute is charging forward on runs working with the player in front or behind him (so playing with Hleb (RM) last year and Sagna (RB) this year). However, he doesn't have a good enough touch to play in strikers or to pass it to the central midfielders - all he seems able to do is run at the opposition.
He is a good crosser though, and I see him winning a lot of free kicks in dangerous areas.

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I honest to god don't know and pray every day he gets hit by lightning.
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Unread 5 Aug 2007, 16:51   #37
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannon_Fodder
He is a good crosser though, and I see him winning a lot of free kicks in dangerous areas.
Given that he's as good as Tony Hawk at taking air, I wouldn't be suprised to see him trying the 900 soon.
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 12:09   #38
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea
3. Liverpool
4. Arsenal
5. Newcastle
6. Tottenham
7. Everton
8. Manchester City
9. Bolton
10. Aston Villa
11. Blackburn
12. West Ham
13. Middlesborough
14. Sunderland
15. Portsmouth
16. Reading
17. Derby
18. Fulham
19. Wigan
20. Birmingham

I suppose I'm going to have to justify a couple things there...
The top 4 won't change as far as I'm concerned, Man U have made some good signings and Chelsea have been dormant and look less than inspiring, so I believe Man U will win the league. Liverpool will come a very close 3rd making it a 3 horse race i think, as they have made some excellent signings.
arsenal will do ok, not too well, but hang onto their champions league spot thorugh stubbornness. newcastle have a good manager and a good side combined with a fit owen will almost feel like another 'new signing' - and i think it's their time to return to europe. the race for 4th will probably be more interesting than the race for 1st i think as you have arsenal tottenham newcastle and everton all vying for it, but i dont think tottenham will get their 3rd 4th in a row. I say 5th.
In the relegation battle i think keane will do sunderland proud (so i doubt they'll be involved), and west ham will have a much better season. biggest shock will be derby - despite what everyone else thinks i believe that derby will somehow scrape their way our of the relegation zone - maybe on the last day after a dogged season but billy davies does not like losing (which will result in him saving the club, or leaving them when the first prem job vacancy appears) - if the latter derby go down, if not i think he can save them.
goodbye to wigan and fulham, and brum will go back down again with an uninspiring innings i think.

so yeah, the things which i guess people will have a hard time seeing might be the race for 1st (Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool), 4th (Arsenal, Newcastle, Tottenham, Everton), and Derby's survival in the relegation battle.

Everything inbetween is purely incidental.
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 12:28   #39
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Derby don't stand a chance - have you even seen their team? They're this season's Watford, simple as. Aidy Boothroyd didn't like losing either, but guess what - it happened anyway.

You also underestimate Arsenal and overrate Everton (pre-Luis Gonzalez/Leighton Baines), but I'm not complaining.
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 16:35   #40
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

I could have sworn I did this last year, apparently not though.

Will fill in some reasons later when I get home.

1) Man Utd
2) Chelsea
3) Liverpool
4) Spurs
5) Arsenal
6) Everton
7) West Ham
8) Blackburn
9) Man City
10) Bolton
11) Portsmouth
12) Newcastle
13) Reading
14) Aston Villa
15) Sunderland
16) Middlesborough
17) Fulham
18) Birmingham
19) Wigan
20) Derby
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 19:05   #41
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

1)Man Utd - Some great signings
2)Chelsea - Will push United all the way
3)Liverpool - Much better attacking options this season
4)Tottenham - The best strikeforce in the premiership
5)Arsenal - Inexperienced but very skillfull players
6)Portsmouth - Improved squad and good competition for places
7)Blackburn - Some talented individuals i.e. McCarthy and MG Pedersen
8)Newcastle - Allardyce will push them up the table
9)Everton - UEFA Cup will take its toll but still a top 10 finish
10)Man City - So many signings will take time to blend but some good signings
11)West Ham - Spend too much on average players but will be ok
12)Aston Villa - Good as a defensive unit but more draws than wins
13)Bolton - will drop down the table without Allardyce
14)Middlesborough - Inexperienced manager and will struggle for goals (with the exeption of Yakubu, cant rely soley on him though)
15)Fulham - Team spirit will be high nearly everyone in the team knows each other from playing for N Ireland
16)Sunderland - Roy Keane is a good judge of player, they will carry on the success of last season
17)Birmingham - Strong team, although will be in the bottom of the table almost all season
18)Reading - Second season syndrome
19)Wigan - depending on how they approach the season and if their are any more signings to come they will struggle against most teams
20)Derby - Not enough prem quality players, maybe they'll supprise us and finish slightly higher up the table. Who knows?
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 19:49   #42
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by furball
Derby don't stand a chance - have you even seen their team? They're this season's Watford, simple as. Aidy Boothroyd didn't like losing either, but guess what - it happened anyway.

You also underestimate Arsenal and overrate Everton (pre-Luis Gonzalez/Leighton Baines), but I'm not complaining.
he's overrating everton at 7th? and underestimating arsenal at 4th?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tux
but i dont think tottenham will get their 3rd 4th in a row. I say 5th.
you realise we've ended 5th for the past 2 seasons right?

i'm also reasonably amused by everyone's assumption that west ham will have a 'much better' season when their team is definitely worse on paper than at the start of last season
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 20:21   #43
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

I am not to sure why people see Villa in a mere 10th-12th.

We are fitter, stronger and more of a team this season. A couple of quality signings to come, and at this stage better than Man City, Newcastle and West Ham.
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 20:22   #44
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

I put them 7th!
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 20:30   #45
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerome
he's overrating everton at 7th? and underestimating arsenal at 4th?
Quote:
Originally Posted by tux
Liverpool will come a very close 3rd making it a 3 horse race i think, as they have made some excellent signings.
arsenal will do ok, not too well, but hang onto their champions league spot thorugh stubbornness.

...

so yeah, the things which i guess people will have a hard time seeing might be the race for 1st (Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool), 4th (Arsenal, Newcastle, Tottenham, Everton), and Derby's survival in the relegation battle.
That's why he's under-estimating Arsenal - because I'd say we're at the level of Liverpool. I'd say Spurs aren't far from that level either, for clarification. I still see this season as a two-horse race with a three-horse race for the other two CL spots. Everton will still be looking at a UEFA Cup spot and there'll be at least 10 points between the 5th and 6th placed teams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerome
i'm also reasonably amused by everyone's assumption that west ham will have a 'much better' season when their team is definitely worse on paper than at the start of last season
I predicted them to finish upper-mid-table last season before they signed the Argies. Not much has changed in the in-between times. We'll see.
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 20:33   #46
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

I'll write about the only bits anyone sane gives a shit about.


United will retain the title ahead of chelsea. Chelsea strengthened pretty well this year but they're still losing 5 players for a good month after christmas for the ongo bongo cup. Players like robben and ballack are not just going to be content to sit on the bench when they know they could play for a top-class team in another country with a sane manager. The defence is solid now, especially if they get alves but with an ageing makele I don't rate their midfield as highly as previous years. Drogba was excellent last year but in previous years he played some laughably bad football so it'll be interesting to see if he keeps at those standards. Malouda's good but is he really an improvement on robben? He probably fits into chelsea's style better though so he should help the team overall.

However if you look at United they've got the same team as last year pretty much if they want it. Judging by the charity shield giggs hasn't exactly gone off the boil and with the new arrivals they've got a bit of strength and ability to win more of those games where they needlessly dropped points last year. Evra's still a bit suspect for me and snoop dogg isn't much of a central defender without vidic but they're really just going to outscore teams fairly badly. They can put together a huge variety of attacking variations up front and unlike previous years when moving to different formations cost them they seem to have the players to do so now. Tevez and rooney together is an interesting combination and a lot depends on them but even if it's not working they've still got last year's title-winning side together and chelsea, while they did improve depth didn't improve the first team much. A lot could come down to injuries, how much chelsea miss drogba et al in january and small things that really don't deserve to decide a league but I'd give the edge to united. Anyone who thinks liverpool can win the league is insane and should never be allowed to comment on football ever again.

Arsenal or spurs for the fourth place is a close one. Spurs, and Jol in particular, seem to think that money might be going out of style and therefore decided to spend 16 million on darren bent. It's difficult to imagine a worse buy for that amount of money into a team which had a perfectly good strikeforce in keane and berbatov with perfectly good back-up. Someone needs to just buy jol a copy of football manager so he can splurge on mediocre players in there. The defence looks decent but there is an appalling lack of cover and a lot of fairly suspect players when you think about it. Let's face it, ledley king will be injured again soon (he's probably injured now anyways) and that spurs defence couldn't keep a clean sheet in so many games against dire teams last year it's funny. **** knows what will happen in midfield.

Arsenal lost a good player in henry but he wasn't exactly up to much last year. It's difficult to know what to make of them, turnover has been incredible (nobody left from the 38 not out guys now) but there are good players in there in toure, fabregas and van persie. Most of their signings I know dick nothing about so it's hard to judge but I saw them in some crap tournament the other day and they seemed to be able to play the arsenal way. If the eastern european brazilian they signed up front is good at finding the night they'll take fourth definitely. If they wander about like headless chickens and attempt to pass the ball around on the opponent's penalty area they'll lose fourth if spurs pull together right.

I'd just like to mention in passing that manchester city are a complete lottery ticket, west ham will finish 15th or something, blackburn look like a really competent team and if boro haven't fired southgate by christmas they'll probably go down. I don't actually include them in my relegation candidates because I'm so confident he'll be gone in time for a real manager to come in and make a couple of signings in january and get a better outfit than wigan, derby and fulham can put out.

Going down will be another accomplishment this year. It's virtually impossible to see a team as bad as derby staying up. The premiership should probably just give them 30 million and send them back down to play in division one. They've probably got fewer premiership quality players than any other team and probably by a good distance too. Sunderland and Birmingham haven't exactly spent well but they seem to have enough quality in their squads to stay up ahead of Fulham and Wigan. Wigan are beyond bad. It's not even funny. How they've stayed in the premiership is a testament to the dross that manages to finish behind them each year. I've never even heard of their manager this year and their star player is emile heskey. Fulham I just don't like because a) I think lawrie sanchez, despite his success with northern ireland knows less about football than I do and b) he managed to spend 22 million on some of the most mediocre players I can think of. If I was the fulham chairman I'd be crying over my wasted money right now.

Edit: Pig's irrationally wild optimism about aston villa all the time really makes me put him down as the stereotypical english football fan. That and the fact I reckon he's eaten more pie than I could fit in my bedroom.
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 20:39   #47
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Quote:
Originally Posted by furball
That's why he's under-estimating Arsenal - because I'd say we're at the level of Liverpool.
lolz
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 20:43   #48
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Arsenal are rancidly bad compared to liverpool. I reckon they'd get fabregas, toure and maybe van persie into liverpool's team.
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 21:33   #49
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

1) Arsenal
2) Liverpool
3) Chelsea
4) Manchester United
5) Tottenham Hotspur
6) Newcastle
7) Sunderland
8) West Ham
9) Aston Villa
10) Blackburn
11) Bolton
12) Portsmouth
13) Man City
14) Middlesborough
15) Fulham
16) Everton
17) Reading
18) Derby
19) Wigan
20) Birmingham

Arsenal will win, Liverpool as a close second.
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Unread 6 Aug 2007, 21:45   #50
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Re: Premiership Predictions 2007/2008

Stoom, have you forgotten to take your medication again?

Arsenal and Liverpool, really?
Birmingham below Derby?
Newcastle in the top half of the table?
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