Arsenal

The Top 7 Come May …From A City Fan

George Caveney? Of course, he is the one they call 'That Crazy Kid Caveney', no?

Wild, ill thought out, and completely bereft of any supporting evidence or convincing argument.

Is it City’s spending? No. Well, yes, but not in this context.

Because I’ve already stated the case for not reading into any Premiership results for at least another fortnight, it seems now would be the perfect time to predict the top seven come May 2011. Villa’s capitulation to Newcastle, Chelsea’s 12 goals in two games, Hughes’ Fulham holding United, etc. All absolutely meaningless in the greater scheme of things, and of no portentous significance whatsoever.

Great! Here goes then. Let’s fast-forward nine months… who’s where, and why – or rather – why not?

1st – Chelsea. I think Ancelotti runs a tight ship of happy players. They seemed to be enjoying themselves last season, and one guesses they’re on a bit of a roll. Confidence in an established drill and knowing everything’s in good working order is half the victory. The other half is slotting twelve goals and conceding none in just 180 minutes. I don’t see the juggernaut slowing unless there are injuries or backroom shenanigans. If anything, I reckon it’ll be a runaway.

2nd – Man United. Sure, I’m a City fan. I would put Chelsea on top. Maybe, but no-one can deny United aren’t quite the force they have been. Hmmm… but then no-one can deny they’re a miserly bunch of cheating scrapers when it comes to the crunch. Runners-up is as good as it gets for anyone, based on what’s not worth reading into yet. I suppose it’s worth mentioning they often play astonishing football, and Berbatov might just blossom this season (into an even bigger nonce).

3rd – Man City. Sure, I’m a City fan. I would put City here. Maybe. But I’m not daft enough to suggest we can run away with the league or much else for that matter. As a determined believer, I have to bank on some return on investment. If it gels – and I think it will – we’ve enough top players to bulldoze our way into the top four.

[Based on Monday’s display against Liverpool, I think it’s fair to say ‘when we’re good we’re very, very good – and that Robbie Savage is a turbocharged repetitive drivel machine who shouldn’t be allowed on the radio – for his own sake.]

4th – Liverpool. Ooohh! Yes, folks. I believe in Roy, the floppy-faced old sauce to ensure Liverpool stop the rot that so many predict will set in. It’s a weird, slightly fragmented club these days, but there’s still plenty at Roy’s disposal to make them consistently good enough for CL spot no.4. I expect a good cup run, too.

[Take no notice of their humbling at Eastlands. When they settle, they’ll be fine.]

5th – Spurs. Out of the Champions League early enough to rescue a respectable league finish. It is a case of either/or, based on available resources (depth and breadth of talent), and I don’t think the CL will happen for them. They’re a formidable domestic side, and I think this will be clear as a bell come the spring.

6th – Arsenal. Sorry Gunners. I think it’s time for a change. I don’t think Wenger’s game is adaptable. It’s predictable, to say the least. When there weren’t so many candidates for third to seventh, life was a little easier. But there’s so little margin for error now, and I honestly don’t think Arsene has what it takes in this new context, regardless of resources. Some convincing results, and they’ll slap the yo-yo teams around a bit. Maybe a cup run. That’s all. Maybe.

7th – Newcastle. No, it’s not based on a shock drubbing of Villa, who you’d maybe expect to feature here, or higher. It’s based on nothing. It’s fun. Don’t get indignant. O’Neill’s way of doing things worked. He’s a brilliant, unique character who forged great form out of old socks and empty crisp packets – and he’s going to take some replacing. Newcastle are back, and I don’t see them flirting with relegation again for some time. When you bounce back with a gritty, determined squad that’s stuck with you through a very difficult league, you tend to do alright. It’ll be messy, but I predict they’ll get some momentum and the glory will slowly return. And I know absolutely nothing. Nor do you.

Over to you for unnecessary abuse and criticism – and no doubt some grammarless exasperated ranting.

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