Wednesday, 5 August 2009

09/10 Season Predictions

With the season now less than a week away for most teams (it starts this Saturday), here are my predictions which are now infamous with my friends for being so laughably wrong. So here are my predictions for the English Football League and Scottish Premiership. Don't worry if I think your club will be going down, it will probably be the opposite way round, again.


Champions -- Liverpool - There I said it, I don't like Liverpool as a club or most of their fans, but to me, they seem the best bet out of the Top 4 to take the title. Torres should easily score 20+ and they have a solid back line to help keep the goals out. However, weaknesses remain, with the sale of Xabi Alonso there appears to be no real 'World Class' passer and it remains to be seen if Alberto Aquilani is up to that task. Also, an injury to Torres or Gerrard and its game over.

The Others -- Whilst managed by Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester Utd cannot be written off, although the loss of Christiano Ronaldo is a huge blow which cannot be swept under the rug. Owen and Valencia are not good enough to score enough and with Rooney now looking fat and off form, Berbatov seemingly not wanting to play that leaves 17 year old Macheda as their main form of attack. Chelsea could be the dark horses, with Carlo Ancelotti as boss, clearly the Champions League will be the main event for them, but the problem of lack of width looks to be over with the signing of Yuri Zhirkov, the return to form of Florent Malouda and the return to fitness of Jole Cole. Arsenal need to avoid injuries which they haven't already with Sami Nasri breaking his shin, caused by his own player, otherwise a nothing season of claiming 4th looks to be on the cards. Avoid any other injuries and a quiet title challenge could be there.

Relegation -- Burnley - While getting here was a great achievement, they needn't had bothered. A poor squad, poor attendances and not much money means a return to the Championship very quickly. If your main source of attack is the one footed Steven Fletcher then you know you're in for a struggle.

Hull City - Only survived last season with a poor 35 points is because amazingly, there were another 3 teams worse than them. They won't be so lucky this season. Need a striker quickly and Jozy Altidore is a class signing, sadly need more though.

Portsmouth - Selling all of your class players and not replacing them can only lead to one thing - relegation. Even a protracted takeover may not save them as they will need 10 new players to stay up.

Dark Horses (the teams that could do well, or quite easily do bad)

Sunderland - Steve Bruce has a £40m warchest and so far seems to have bought exceptionally well. I am extremely looking forward to seeing Lorik Cana in the Premiership.

Wigan - While promising to play attacking football is good. Roberto Martinez may find out that playing it on a crap rugby pitch is not. A massive £2m gamble on Jason Scotland could also see them right down there in the relegation battle.


Champions -- Middlesbrough - By keeping the majority of a squad that shouldn't have been relegated from the Premiership in tact, Boro look good to go right back up. Alfonso Alves should also find his level here, surely.

Promoted -- Reading - Brendan Rodgers already has a reputation for being a good manager despite being in this position for less than a year. A good squad that isn't expected to be promoted automatically could easily play their way to promotion this season.

Ipswich - Could have been a number of teams in this final promotion place but the Keane factor with a decent squad could see them up.

Relegated -- Blackpool - A poor squad that will need to rely on loan signings looks a good bet for relegation. Charlie Adam picking Plymouth over Blackpool speaks volumes about their plight. Ian Holloway has already spoken about how difficult this role will be. Could be even harder in League 1 next season.

Scunthorpe - Poor squad, no money. No chance. Sorry

Coventry City - A surprising choice but a simple one. Losing two out of your four best players would hurt any team. Given that Coventry only finished 17th with these players suggests a struggle is on this season. Keiren Westwood will be a busy man and Aron Gunnarsson needs to drive in midfield. Either of those players go without an adequate replacement and its cheerio.

Dark horses -- Peterborough Utd - Who knows what Fergie Jnr's team will do in the Championship. The drive and passion of his young players could quite easily romp it in a bigger league but could also be a big fat fail. I think the former. A play-off place looks a good bet.

Newcastle Utd - Hear me out. The team is in a mess. The players want to leave. No manager and no real pre-season programme. Low confidence battered further with their raping at Leyton Orient (lost 6-1), this season could be another of struggle against teams who will really want to beat them.

League 1

Champions -- Norwich City - While a major questionmark remains over rookie boss Bryan Gunn, he has signed players who will be hungry to succeed at this level such as Matt Gill from Exeter and Grant Holt from Shrewsbury, it should be a successful attempt to bounce straight back up.

Promoted -- Leeds Utd - Finally should be able to manage the pressure with the drop of 3 other 'large' teams in this division. Simon Grayson should get the team playing well and Elland Road could be a fortress this season. Although with Fabian Delph already departed to Villa, the loss of Jermaine Beckford could be costly this season.

Huddlesfield Town - Big spending Huddlesfield are now under pressure to deliver after some big signings over the close season. Lee Clark now knows he needs to deliver and the help of a big home crowd this season could see them achieve that.

Relegated -- Stockport County - The easiest decision to make this season. They lack a squad, money and have a rookie manager in Gary Ablett who has been thrown right into the deep end. An achievement this season would be to have not been relegated by Easter. 24th.

Yeovil Town - Last season Yeovil looked doomed until new boss Terry Skiverton took over and brought in top loan signings that helped them to finish 17th. Was this a fluke though? With those loan saviours now gone, Skiverton needs to work prove this was no fluke again this season. I doubt he will.

Exeter City - The trouble with a surprise promotion is that the club would then be expected to struggle the next season. I saw Exeter twice last year and still cannot believe they actually managed to achieve promotion with such an average squad. Now that two main players have left in the form of Dean Moxey and Matt Gill, Exeter look doomed and will need to hope manager Paul Tisdale can work more magic.

Carlisle Utd - It would appear that their last day escape last season looks to be just delaying the inevitable. Losing strikers and not replacing them or being unable to replace them. Then losing goalkeeper Ben Williams who looked to be regaining form will not help either. Also a questionmark over boss Greg Abbott. Relegation looks likely I'm afraid.

Dark horses -- Gillingham - Simeon Jackson's last minute winner to get the Gills promoted showed that the Gills could compete fitness wise till the end of the season under Mark Stimpson. They also carry an important factor in football, momentum. That could easily rocket them towards the play-offs or further this season.

Tranmere Rovers - A strange choice from the Tranmere directors to allow John Barnes to manage the club, years after a shocking spell at Celtic. Worrying, Jamaica also allowed him to leave with ease after his short spell managing the national side. Looks like the decision could backfire badly. Its Barnes last chance in management, one more fail and surely no other club will take him on again.

League 2

Champions -- Rotherham Utd - Points deductions have held this club back for the past few years which can now be forgotten and a proper promotion push can now be launched at the weakest looking League 2 in years. Should romp to Champs.

Promoted -- Notts County - Now being backed by a large takeover and a big pile of money, the club have set a goal of being in the Championship by their 150th anniversary in 3 years time. That looks likely with a front line of Lee Hughes and Karl Hawley, however defensive trouble remains and who knows what type of player Sven-Goran Eriksson will bring in.

Hereford United - 'Newish' boss John Trewick seems to have got the right idea that bringing in players on permanent deals seems to be better than bringing in a team on loan. With an early emphasis on defence, Hereford might not be exciting, but will surely be effective.

Bury - My Rochdale supporting friend will probably not like to admit it, but Bury played the best football in League 2 last season and probably deserved to go up as they were a goal away from pipping Wycombe. The loss of Andy Bishop in the first few games through injury may mean a slow start, but should be capable of scoring the goals through other new strikers in Danny Carlton and Ryan Lowe.

Relegated -- Accrington Stanley - This might be the season that Stanley finally hit the drop that they have amazingly so far managed to avoid. A cut in budget means they have the lowest in the Football League. The loss of key players such as goalkeeper Kenny Arthur to Rochdale will also hurt and new players need to be brought in. The money isn't there though...

Macclesfield Town - Another team that suffer from lack of money and fans, the loss of top scorer Gareth Evans which looks to be fatal. Jonny Brain in goal will need to be on top form this season, the Silkmen don't have a 17 point headstart like last year.

Dark horses -- Torquay United - Torquay look set to become this season's 'Exeter' by romping through another league to a 2nd successive promotion. Nobody will fancy the long drive into deep Devon and have the players to take away points too. Torquay though were dire the last time in this league, let us not forget that.

Burton Albion - A real dark horse this season. Looked to be romping away in the Conference last season with a lead of 19 points that by the final day was cut down to 2. No momentum and a new, unknown manager and Burton's first season in the Football League could be their only season.


Champions -- Celtic - Tony Mowbray already has pulled off something special, a Celtic away win in Europe and now looks good to easily win the SPL this season. New signings, once settled look good and unlike the rest of the league, they have money to spend if need be.

The others -- Rangers, despite having no money should have the squad to get 2nd. I fear for them in the Champions League though as even an easy group will most likely see them finish bottom of it. Dundee Utd and Hearts are the only teams I can see properly fighting for 3rd. Although both have changed quite drastically over the summer so a good start is needed for both sides. Shame they play each other on the opening day. Aberdeen looks laughably bad in defence and I will never say a good thing about Hibs.

Relegation -- Hamilton Accies - When you have such a small squad that a few players shine in, once those players leave then you will struggle. The loss of Brian Easton and James 'diver' McCarthy will hurt the team. Replacements are needed or the Accies will struggle.

Lets see how wrong these are at the end of the season! Enjoy the football!

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