Premier League Predictions
Science is overrated
Collective excitement is at an annual peak among football fans, as the Premier League gets under way in less than 24 hours.
Four6Zero.com returns with predictions for the new season from contributors to the site. Our website designer, Robert Ingram continues his enigmatic presence on the site with a string of one word answers. I’ve added some first names to up his word count.
Enjoy, and please feel free to add your own opinions in the comment box underneath. Its good to be back!
As always with predictions I’m gonna try and be clever with certain bets. And inevitably lose.
1) Man City. If they can get over the loss of Wayne Bridge they will be a force. The biggest thing going for them is that Mancini is NOT their manager anymore. Mancini has got away with more pants mismanagement than Ryan Giggs. Pellegrini has done excellent things in tougher circumstances. City can fulfil their potential as winners and entertainers. Doubts over how they will incorporate all their new signings but if the sum of their parts add up they should win the league and challenge in Europe. Plus Pablo Zabaleta will continue to be Pablo Zabaleta.
2) Chelsea. The return of Jose will bring the club together. At least for a while. But I’m sceptical if his magic is still there to the same extent. Not wowed by their signings yet but I am looking forward to the return of Lukaku (I’ve changed my tune on him in the last 12 months) even though it sounds like they are not ready to fully trust him yet. Plus they will continue to waste time trying to find the old Fernando Torres. Central midfield still needs strengthening. Jose is a control freak and how he gets on with his creative players will affect their chances. Trust them and Mata could get his player of the year award. Stifle them and John Terry could be their next manager.
3) Tottenham. This is based on their decent additions and Bale not going after all. If the saga ends in stalemate then there will be some very giddy coysies out there. Even if he goes, a top 4 finish is very achievable. If Scott Parker can return to the form that won him Footballer Of the Year it will not improve this side one bit. Sandro was a big miss when injured last year and will prove it. Adebayor will play well once in ten and Super Jan Vertonghen will play well 10 in 10. A better sqaud should mean less reliance on Bale scoring from 25 yards every week.
4) Man Utd. Do not underestimate the rabbits Fergie was pulling out of his arse in the last few years. With a midfield full of holes last season he stormed away with the league and almost knocked Madrid out of the Champs Lge. It’s always been my opinion that following in his footsteps is a terrible job to get and David Moyes has had a tough start in pre season. Not sure what his vision for this side is either. Ironic considering THOSE eyes. They are overdue a slide from the top. A tough start and pressure will be on. Vacating the No 7 for no one at the moment doesn’t get enough attention.
5) Arsenal. A brilliant transfer window so far as 14 players have left to be replaced by a young free transfer. Still they will finish top of the Financial Fair Play League and go out in the first CL knockout phase. Dreamland. An improved defensive line last season was largely overlooked. But so was the ever more boring football. When they kick off by booting the ball to Walcott you know the “Wenger Philosophy” has run out of steam. Like a lot of the clothes in my wardrobe he was better many seasons ago. Players used to get better under Arsene. Now they do not. Abou Diaby to be out for the rest of the season at some point.
6 ) Liverpool. David Brentan Rodgers will galvanise the side by taking them to the pub for some lunchtime drinks despite those gigs being the worst. A lot of deadwood has left Anfield. The fact they recouped £15m for Carroll and tricked Swansea into Shelvey is genius. It will be funny to watch the Suarez apologists turn on him as No 7 surprisingly looks after No 1 but should he stay then he could propel them even higher. If Coutinho continues to give me throughballgasms then they can finish wherever theylike.
Stoke: giving Hughes another chance having messed it up spectacularly at QPR is a real gamble. At least they knew the brand of shit they were gonna get under Pulis. This has potential to be even worse. Just think to the way QPR were playing at the end of the Hughes era.
Hull City: they will fight, Steve Bruce will share jokes with ex pro pundits, he will be upset at decisions that go against them, his nose will be against him but ultimately can’t see them winning enough games. At least they will conquer the US market with their name change.
Crystal Palace: everyone’s second team. Will not be Crystal Palace. Promoted too soon even though they only have to be the 4th worse team in the league, can’t see them doing it. Selhurst Park will always look like a scene from Premier League Years. And you too will be disappointed when Atillo Lombardo doesn’t turn up.
Player Of The Season: Sergio Aguero. My eggs are firmly in the City basket with these predictions and if they entertain and win the league, he’ll get 30 goals in style whilst looking like a dreamboat.
Manager Of The Season: Manuel Pellegrini. As his side win the league playing slick football Sheikh Mansour will wonder what the hell he was doing all this time and those who doubted him because he hasn’t really won anything will look like tits. Or I will if it goes wrong.
Best Signing: Arouna Kone at Everton looks like a great deal. Good player, likely to get goals. Will keep Everton doing well and maybe even winning a cup. If he continues to wear no 2 up front all accolades should be removed.
Worst Signing: Loic Remy. Surely if he ends up in jail this will look massively stupid. Unless there is some sort of release clause in his contract. Not one that frees him every Saturday to play for 90mins before returning to his cell. If he misbehaves inside will at least learn to play in the hole. I could go on.
Bargain: Adel Taarabt on loan could easily win Fulham 9 points on his own before falling out with the manager and not been seen for 3 months. Still good business.
First Managerial Casualty: Mark Hughes – they will struggle but will do the impossible and make people want to see the return of Pulis. They will look to get someone in who “knows this level”. Someone like Dave Bassett.
Overachieving: Southampton - Secondseasonitis has been cured by good smart football, a good coach and evolution. Like Swansea, will grow this season.
Underachieving: Chelsea – although Arsenal and United can also be accused of this Chelsea strike me as the strongest in the transfer market and their failure to fill the gaps in the squad such as central midfield and up front could cost them progression. Why they do not go for Suarez is beyond me. Probably because they’ve always been so image conscious.
Champions: Chelsea - As Sir Alex Ferguson has shown, especially in recent times, you simply can’t overstate the importance of having a quality manager. Chelsea have gone and got the best in the business. I believe Jose will prevent Eden Hazard from being player of the season this year, but he will steer Roman Abramovich’s team back to the top
Runners Up: Manchester City - The only excuse I have for not picking them to win it is I struggle to see Mourinho ending up in second. I do expect a very close two horse race though.
3rd: Manchester United – I don’t know if its my scouse-tinted glasses but I think this is finally the year. No, not the year where my team achieves anything of note, but at least the I’ll be able to take bitter pleasure in United finally failing to punch above their weight in terms of quality. There will be more egg on my face than usual come May when Nemanja lifts the crown!
4th: Tottenham – I’m grinding my teeth harder and harder with every addition Baldini and AVB make. They are evolving from an entertaining, naive team full of potential, into a powerful, efficient unit, which I am no longer excited to watch. Sorry Coys, a backhanded compliment is the best you’re gonna get right now.
5th: Arsenal - I must agree with an opinion expressed further down the page. The lack of progression, or ambition, or transfer activity, whatever you want to call it, will catch up with Arsene Wenger this year.
6th: Liverpool – My eternal optimism at the Rodgers regime remains. Liverpool will continue to entertain, whilst consistency will improve by fractions.
18th: Sunderland – Paolo Di Canio was a brave appointment. I’m not sure how deserved it was, however. The Italian is striking me as a manager who’s playing style is slightly conflicted. It would appear that he is not interested in replicating the style he brought to the pitch as a player. The signing of awkward American, Jozy Altidore reinforces my opinion that Sunderland are going to struggle.
19th: Hull City – Promoted sides have done surprisingly well in recent years. I can’t see it this time around. All three still need strengthening as of August 17th. At present, the Tigers will have problems scoring enough goals.
20th: Crystal Palace – Ian Holloway almost pulled off a miracle with Blackpool a few years back. I don’t see this Palace team putting up such a fight.
Player of the season: Phillipe Coutinho – admittedly this is a very biased prediction.
Manager of the season: Jose Mourinho – he’s the best. There are still a few weaknesses in this Chelsea team. I expect him to win the title despite those. That is how good he is.
Signing of the season: Arouna Kone – I really feel bigger clubs have missed a trick here. It is rare to find a pacey striker who links as well as Kone.
Bargain of the summer: Marco van Ginkel – Should bring a lot of missing quality to the Chelsea midfield from the little I’ve seen. Special mention to Alejandro Pozuela bought for half a million by Swansea.
Biggest flop of the season: Alvaro Negredo – this is a really difficult category to pick. You never know when a move isn’t going to work out. I’m going more on the fact that I like the other three forwards more and I see them commanding more game time through their performances.
First managerial casualty: Alan Pardew – the ink is finally starting to dry on that eight year contract. Things don’t seem to be as rosey as they once were between ‘Pards’ and Mike Ashley.
Overachieving team: Southampton – Pochettino has his team pressing as well as any in the division. Top eight for me.
Underachieving team: Everton – I really like Martinez but this will be a difficult adjustment in approach for many of Moyes’ squad.
1st: Manchester United
3rd: Manchester City
18th: Hull City
19th: Stoke City
20th: Crystal Palace
Player of the season: Sergio Aguero
Manager of the season: David Moyes
Signing of the season: Wilfried Bony
Bargain of the summer: Jonjo Shelvey
Biggest flop of the season: Stevan Jovetic
First managerial casualty: Paolo Di Canio
Overachieving team: West Ham
Underachieving team: Liverpool
1. Man City – Pellegrini won’t fuck around and the team is already much more balanced compared to last season. I think they will miss Tevez but Aguero will improve on last season’s showing. Their strike force is the best in the league and Dzeko will continue to decide games for them, despite being fourth choice. When your fourth choice can decide games for you, you know the rest are in trouble. Hopefully we will see more of Navas and less of Nasri. Yaya Toure and Kompany are animals, two of the best in their positions and will be invigorated by the new manager.
2. Chelsea – Daddy, as 30 year old Essien continues to call him (cringe), is back and that can only mean one thing – winning lots of games. He will continue to solidify the defensive shape of the team, but the lack of a top central midfielder and the presence of Fernando Torres will cost the team when it matters. Fast, technical, attacking midfielders, especially Hazard and Mata, are going to be a joy to watch but don’t be surprised when Chelsea bore you. This is Mourinho after all. On top of this, Rodgers and Clarke will do everything in their power to take points off their mentor’s rivals, much like we’ve seen from the ex-United contingent in the past for Fergie.
3. Man Utd – If their lack of transfer activity continues, I’m tempted to put them fourth for bants. But let’s be honest, RVP is going to score shit loads again, Rooney will score hatricks against Hull and Sunderland, and The Little Pea will continue to piss everyone else but United fans off by bagging winners away to Everton and West Brom. It is going to be a difficult first season for Moyes, but he has got the ghost (or literal presence) of Fergie to hold his hand. Rio and Carrick were immense last season and will need to replicate their respective form. Look out for Evra getting merked by Navas in the Manchester derbies.
4. Tottenham – COYSIES!! IF Arsenal sign no one, then this could be the season when we finally see Arsenal fans really #mindthegap. Some solid signings by AVB, and Bale hasn’t gone anywhere yet. If Bale stays then Spurs should look up rather than down. Another year’s worth of experience will hold AVB in good stead, but they need another centre back. In saying that, Vertonghen is only going to get better.
5. Arsenal – Oh Arsenal. Buy someone, anyone. Preferably men who aren’t going to hide. You need more Jack Wilsheres, and that includes Jack Wilshere himself. Stay out of the treatment room and he will decide many a game for Arsenal. I don’t like betting against Wenger because the man is a genius and the fact he has managed to consistently stay in the Champion’s League despite the declining ability of his squad is testament to that fact. Hopefully Carl Jenkinson will kick on and will mean the end of Boring Bacary Sagna. Theo Walcott is rubbish but will score against Chelsea.
6. Liverpool – I don’t care if he nibbled on my boy Branislav (as if that rock of a man was reaalllly bothered), Luis Suarez is the best player in the league and would start for every team in world football. He is going to be vital to Liverpool, and this will be clear when he misses half the season through racism, diving and calling Moyes’ mum a slag. If Coutinho continues to grow, Sturridge doesn’t mope, and Suarez plays some games, then maybe fifth is harsh. Lucas Leiva needs to rediscover the form that changed people’s opinion of him and Jonjo Shelvey… hold on Jonjo is gone?! LIVERPOOL TO WIN THE LEAGUE.
18. Sunderland - Di Canio is mental. He hardly steadied the ship last season and had Wigan actually been bothered to win 7 out their last 9 as they usually do, then that would have been that. Sessegnon needs to be better but I will continue to have the tissues out when Seb Larsson stands over his dead balls. What?
19. Hull City – I don’t like Steve Bruce and I don’t like Hull City’s colour scheme. I do like the fact that they are now called Hull City Tigers and this will probably make the players incredibly depressed, leading to poor performance.
20. Crystal Palace – Holloway will entertain, and Kevin Phillips will score some goals which will be delightful for everyone. It’s a shame they are going to be in a 4-1 home defeat to Spurs and a 5-2 away defeat to Swansea.
Player of the season – Juan Fucking Mata. Because I love him. Because everyone loves him. Because he deserves it. And because everyone thinks it will be Hazard. Not that I mind if it is Hazard.
Manager of the season – Michael Laudrup. Will continue to build on the success of the last few seasons. I expect him to take over a bigger club (oh are you offended) next season.
Signing of the season – Darren Bent. I’ve never been a huge fan, but his presence in the Fulham team will stretch opposition defences, leaving more space for the trio of Ruiz, Taarabt and King Berbatov to kill teams. Berbatov is going to slip him in for fun and let’s face it, Darren Bent scores goals. Lots of them.
Bargain of the summer – Free transfer Mark Schwarzer. Perhaps some bias here, but I was genuinely excited when we signed him. Despite his mistake in pre season, still a top quality keeper who is happy to be back up in the twilight of his career. Exactly what is needed.
Biggest flop of the season – Fernando Torres. Don’t argue with me. He will continue to be shit.
First managerial casualty – Alan Pardew. Listen, Joe Kinnear can pick up the phone and talk to any manager in the world. So what’s the point in keeping Pardew there if you have someone at the club with that kind of pulling power. Remy is going to prison and Cisse doesn’t score great goals anymore. Cabaye and Tiote have looked BOVVERED for a while.
Overachieving team – West Ham United – Ugly ugly football, and headers from Andy Carroll, are going to propel them into 8th probably.
Underachieving team – Arsenal – Anything less than fourth is tragic underachievement, despite all the points that have been raised. I do hope I am proved wrong.
Match Made in Heaven – Mark Hughes and Stoke. Piss off Stoke. Piss off Mark Hughes. Need I say more?
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1 Man City. Significantly strengthened in crucial areas, which seems to have gone slightly unnoticed, bizarrely
2 Chelsea. Will push City very, very close – but Jose hasn’t put his stamp on the squad yet
3 Man United. City and Chelsea will be better. Without Fergie and no big signings, United will be at least 10 points worse
4 Spurs. As long as they stop being stupidly stubborn and cash in on Bale now, they can move on and improve
5 Arsenal. Same old, same old. The lack of investment HAS to catch up with them eventually
6 Liverpool. Will make the top six not so much because of their own achievements – more because there is so little quality elsewhere in the division
18 Stoke. Their fans fell into the classic ‘grass is greener’ trap with Pulis. Now he’s gone – and with Hughes likely to try and tinker with his formula, despite not having the squad to do so – they’re about to find out it isn’t
19 Hull.1 Just not ready as a club. Some reasonably good signings mean they’ll get some good results, but it won’t be enough
20 Crystal Palace. Probably would have gone down if they still had Zaha. Without him, they’ll struggle to get to 25 points
Player of the season
Eden Hazard. But for a perhaps understandable slump during his first long English winter, he would probably have been in contention for the award last season. With the tricky debut year out of the way and a new manager who is only going to improve him as a player, watch him fly this year.
Manager of the season
Manuel Pelligrini. Likely to be a lot more popular than Mancini (if not with the fans, then certainly with the players), and a league title plus a decent Champions League run looks to be on the cards.
Best summer signing as of now
Paulinho. Makes me sick to say it, but he’s exactly what Spurs missed last season. Will give them some much needed control in their midfield.
bargain of the summer
Darren Bent. Make this guy feel loved, get him him playing regularly and he will score goals – that’s a proven fact. Getting him on loan is a masterstroke for Fulham
Biggest flop of the season
Fernandinho. Not sure he’ll be a flop in the true 50m-quid-on-a-busted-Torres sense, but £35m? He looked like a player in some of Shakhtar’s Champions League games, but not sure he’ll be able to step out of Yaya’s rather sizeable shadow in the City midfield.
First managerial casualty
Paulo Di Canio. Not necessarily because I think Sunderland will do THAT badly. More because he’s likely to throw his toys out of the pram at some point and resign over his secretary ordering the wrong type of pens.
Fulham. Signed a top replacement for Schwarzer in Stekelenburg, and a front three of Taarabt, Berbatov and Bent looks seriously tasty – so long as Jol can make sure they don’t throw too many strops. Could easily go pear-shaped, but if the man management is right, could yet be an exciting season.
West Brom. Great season last year, but a lot of that was built around Lukaku, and they don’t appear to have kicked on this summer. Anelka will always get a few goals, but could be a tricky second season for Steve Clarke.
2nd: Manchester City
3rd: Manchester United
18th: Crystal Palace
19th: Hull City
Manager of the season: Jose Mourinho
Player of the season: Eden Hazard
Best summer signing: Roberto Soldado
Bargain of the summer: Darren Bent on loan to Fulham. I don’t rate him as a footballer but will score goals.
Biggest flop of the season: Fernandinho
First managerial casualty: Alan Pardew
Overachieiving team: Southampton and Swansea
Underachieiving team: Arsenal