Christmas is routinely a time of review and assessment of the Premiership. So here’s my predictions on how it’ll all come out in the wash – come the summer.
This season as Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out in The Independent, has seen the balance of power not so much shift but certainly look very fidgety on occasion. So no huge shockers here, but hopefully a reasonable take on what’s to come.
Fifth – Manchester City
And this is purely on the basis that the teams beneath them are even more inconsistent. Many City fans became very protective about their beloved Club as the inevitable jibes flew in. When Chelsea went out and bought players willy nilly they actually created a machine – love it or hate it – that worked.
But Mancini is really struggling to shape this lot up as a team, let alone serious Title contenders. A year in to his reign at Eastlands and it seems each week throws up another ‘teething’ problem.
Fourth – Arsenal
There are so many positives surrounding this side, but even die hard Gooners will have to admit that the negatives just outweigh them.
Arsenal’s focus on youth has generated some cracking players with seriously good technical ability. But complaints about playing surfaces and endless fouling have made Arsenal look too much like whingers and a lot less like likely winners.
Arsene looks unlikely to strengthen next month so therefore he needs to squeeze more out what he has. He needs a goal keeper, a good old fashioned CB and someone to sit down with Arshavin and tell him to find another gear.
3rd – Tottenham
Spurs are a born again. Which is to say fewer people than ever before are pointing and laughing at them.
They have a decent squad with a smattering of sort after players and a refreshed mentality that has seen them prepared to fight and beat big sides. One time hero Robbie Keane can’t make the first team anymore.
So far, they are looking worth their place in the Champions League. Their two 5th place finishes under Martin Jol were desperate affairs but this season they look far more accomplished.
2nd – Chelsea
Chelsea have been dropping points like Anne Widdecombe on Strictly. They have however a damn fine squad and the injuries that have plagued them seem to be lessening.
The Blues problems seem to be off the field. Abramovich is rumoured to have stuck his beak in again. Wilkins was sacked suddenly and Ancelotti has looked a bit lost since it happened.
Drogba has been playing up and the Terry gene pool appears to have some real muck floating in it.
Chelsea used to be formidable. They need to lose the paste tense and fast.
1st – Manchester United
You don’t spend 25 years at the top by chance. Whatever distractions Sir Alex might be facing off the field he certainly doesn’t appear to be bothered by them. Rooney ended up making a fool of himself and of all the top sides he looks perhaps least in need of reinforcements.
What he does need is for players to demonstrate their best form and nail their weak away form. Not his finest start to a season, but United do tend to bloom in the Spring.