The Community Shield is settled, our fantasy football teams have been tweaked to perfection, so it’s time to start thinking about the real deal. With the opening fixtures of the Premier League season just days away, many of you will be thinking about where your team will end up.
I’m no Nostradamus, but allow me to indulge in a bit of prophesising myself. And of course, if you want to rant and rave about how wrong I am, be my guest! Here we go…
Champions – Man City
Yes, that’s right – Man City. They may have lost in dramatic fashion to their rivals in yesterday’s Community Shield, but surely the time is ripe for Mancini’s men? Many of you will be thinking that it takes time to mould a collection of overpaid stars into a team, and you’re right.
But City showed last year how quickly they could adapt, and with the addition of several class players, notably Aguero, I can see them ousting the Red Devils in the tussle for the Championship. The most exciting title race in years is well and truly on the cards.
Runners-up – Man Utd
I can’t help feeling that Utd are entering a transitional period. They’ll push City all the way, but the absence of Van der Sar and Scholes could be the difference, particularly because De Gea and Ashley Young will take time in settling in. City will profit from this, so no 20th League title for the Red Devils this year I’m afraid. If, however, Fergie could lure Luka Modric from Tottenham or Samir Nasri from Arsenal, the story could be different.
Champions League (3rd and 4th) – Chelsea and Liverpool, respectively.
Andres Villas-Boas will rejuvenate that aging Chelsea team, but not sufficiently for a title tilt. The Blues are well into their own transitional period, and will soon come out of it. In the ex-Porto chief Abramovic has got himself a top boss with an illustrious career ahead of him. I expect to see a well-oiled machine towards the end of the campaign and going in to the next.
There’s been a lot of talk about King Kenny’s summer signings and whether they’re good enough to drag Liverpool back into the big time. Personally, I’m not so sure they are. But no matter, because it’s last season’s January additions that’ll fire for the Reds, especially Suarez, who’ll get a bag full at the start of the campaign and drop off towards the end when fatigue kicks in. Even so, the little Uruguayan will finish top scorer. Torres who?
Europa League Place (5th) – Arsenal
Sorry Gunners fans, but for the first time in donkey’s years you won’t be in the top four. But at least you’ll have some consolation in knowing Spurs haven’t got there either. In fact, you’ll be fighting them for the poisoned chalice…the Europa League Playoff.
With all the issues surrounding Nasri, Fabregas and Modric, there’s a cloud hanging over North London and it’s bound to affect the two teams heading into the new season. That’s particularly bad news for Tottenham, who face a tricky start with Everton, Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool and Arsenal in their first seven games. It’s likely to be a disappointing final season for Harry before he leaves White Hart Lane to become the England manager.
Relegation – Norwich, Newcastle, Wolves
Mick McCarthy’s Wolves only just survived last season, and I expect them to struggle again this term. There’s just an absence of quality players, and the same can be said for Norwich City, who did exceptionally well to get promoted again. The gulf from the Championship to the Premiership is much wider, however, so I can only see the Canaries finishing rock bottom. I’m just dreading more emotional oratory from Delia!
Well well well, Newcastle. Just when I thought the club had turned a corner, it implodes in spectacular fashion once again. I had originally thought that the Magpies might be in line for a top-seven finish, but the only way seems to be down after a dreadful pre-season. Ten flights in as many days is no way to prepare for the campaign, and in a spat with Joey Barton you’re not likely to come out on top, even if you have the moral high ground. A close tussle with QPR for survival, but Adel Taraabt will save the Hoops.
So what do you think? Are my predictions absurd?
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