So the Season is nearly here! With Norwich vs Watford kicking off the FL tonight, season 2010/2011 kicks off in full flow. Last year I actually got some of my predictions right (if you don’t believe me you can check here) so I’ve decided to have another crack. Lets see how bad these are in May 2011!
Winners –> Man Utd – It may seems strange considering Chelsea haven’t really got weaker and Man Utd haven’t added that much, however I think this will be Fergie’s last season and what a way he’ll want to go out. The signing of Mexican Javier Hernandez is inspired and we’ve already seen glimpses of what he can do at the World Cup. He’ll also take some of the pressure off Rooney as Owen and Berbatov are not good enough.
2nd –> Chelsea – Think they might just get pipped to the post. Carlo Ancelotti has already proved a point by winning the title and I think Chelsea will feel the Champions League is more important to them this season.
3rd –> Man City – Signing major players such as David Silva and Yaya Toure will only improve an already good team and so Citeh should easily finish higher than 5th last time out. I think the title is just out of their reach this season, but if come January, City still have a chance the ch£que book will be right out.
4th –> Arsenal – Keeping Cesc Fabregas at the club is vital as I think they’ll have enough with him to see off Spurs and Liverpool to take 4th. Pressure is on Wenger to deliver though, it could be his last season too.
Dark Horses –> Bolton – It seems gone are the days of long, boring, hoofball at the Reebok as Owen Coyle is turning himself into a well respected manager and a good one at that. Signing Martin Petrov is inspired and they could well surprise a few teams this season.
Cart Horses –> Sunderland – Picked them as dark horses last season and they turned in a poor 13th place. This team out things look trickier as captain Lorik Cana has gone and surely Darren Bent cannot repeat his heroics from last season again?
Relegated –> Blackpool – Getting here was an amazing achievement. They’ll just enjoy it and maybe pick up the odd win here and there.
West Brom – Haven’t really added much to an average squad that got them promoted last season and they have an awful start with their 1st 4 away games taking in the “Big 4”.
Wigan Athletic – Were quite dreadfully bad last season and I still think Martinez is too tactically naive to change if situations require it.
Promoted –> Middlesbrough – The SPL signings will really click into gear this season and Kris Boyd should be on hand to score a bunch of tap-ins when they are created. Also, Gordon Strachan has been a success everywhere he has managed. I don’t see why that should change now.
Notts Forest – Having gone so close last time, they will have experience, a good support for them and quality players to make sure it happens this time.
Bristol City – Steve Coppell is a master of this league having had 3 promotions from it. Has also signed some quite excellent players such as Kalifa Cisse from Reading and snagging David James is a masterstroke.
Dark Horses –> Norwich City – Should be fine this season and could maybe push for a sneaky play-off place with momentum behind them and a great manager, it could really happen.
Cart Horses –> Hull City – Mainly for the opposite reasons to Norwich, Hull have sold pretty much all of their best players, have financial constraints and are in poor form, Nigel Pearson has his work cut out here.
Relegated –> Watford – Things don’t look good this time out. Very very close to administration last season and were only saved by super loan signings who have now gone back to their parent’s club. No finances to improve the team,, League 1 could be very real for the Hornets in 2011/12.
Scunthorpe Utd – Losing your best players hurts a team, especially if you are also considered one of the smallest teams in the division. Replacements for Gary Hooper and co are needed, yet I don’t see Chris Dagnall providing the goals that the Iron need to stay in this division.
Crystal Palace – Another team down here because of financial mis-management. Having to bolster you squad with youth players is a desperate move and Palace will really need to hope these players are up to it. Its also Last Chance Saloon for George Burley as a manager. His career has taken a downward spiral since leaving Hearts in late 2005.
Promoted –> Southampton – Have the players, the manager, the finances and the fans to cruise through this division this season.
Charlton – Still some concern over a lack of goalscorer but the fans stuck with the Addicks last time and with the Division (bar Southampton) fairly weak this season, promoted should be achieved.
Huddersfield Town – Again only lost out to the play-off lottery last season. An ever improving manager should get them promoted this time out.
Dark Horses –> Exeter City – Having only survived by the skin of their teeth last season (1 point), Exeter will be hoping to improve this time out. The players and manager are wiser and provided Paul Tisdale stays, Exeter could be looking at Top 10.
Cart Horses –> Plymouth Arygle – Another team who seem to be in a mess and so have got in Peter Reid to make things better. Will surely end in tears.
Relegated –> Dag + Red – Like Blackpool, getting here was the achievement. Can’t see them staying up.
Oldham Athletic – Struggled constantly and finished nervously in 16th last season. Paul Dickov then being giving the manager’s role is something of a surprise given he has zero experience. Could backfire.
Notts County – Although in the end coasted to the title, they have lost their excellent goalkeeper, one of the main scorers and manager who secured the promotion all down to money issues. Lee Hughes can’t do it all on his own and Craig Short will need to learn fast having only had 1 years previous experience in the Hungarian League.
Tranmere Rovers – Somehow managed to stay up after the John Barnes debacle, yet with no real finances to improve the team, can’t see them doing it a 2nd season.
Promoted –> Gillingham – With a club legend back as manager, the fans and board now on song and a decent team with them, the Gills should bounce right back up.
Morecambe – Have improved their position every season so far in the league and to do it again would see them up. They have the squad, but much will depend on how their start and how they cope in their new ground.
Rotherham Utd – Should fire their way past teams this season with Adam Le Fondre and Marcus Marshall, the Millers should do what they did last season.
Shrewsbury Town – New boss Graham Turner took Hereford Utd up three years ago with zero money. He has oodles of it now at Shrewsbury and should be right up there after peeing around in midtable last season.
Dark Horses –> Oxford Utd – Now see themselves back near where they feel they belong, Oxford will be looking to impress on their first season back and should rocket up the table.
Cart Horses –> Stockport County – New owners are in and a new boss in Paul Simpson so it shouldn’t be as desperate as last season, but it remains to be seen what kind of team they put out and how it will cope with this Division.
Relegated –> Southend Utd – It looks all too familiar with Darlington last season. No players, no money – it looks grim for the Essex club.
Cheltenham Town – Have flattered to deceive back in the League 2 so far and the slide looks set to continue.
Champions –> Celtic – The best of a very bad bunch will not matter to Celtic who will want to stop Rangers making it 3 in a row. They have money, no Champions League distractions and look to have signed some decent players who should be comfortable at this level
Relegated –> St Mirren – Sacking Gus MacPherson is a strange one, they are never going to be challenging the Top 6 unless major investment comes their way so to put their trust in former Cowdenbeath manager Danny Lennon is a mightly risky move. As is signing former players from Cowdenbeath who are favourites for the drop from D1 this season. Can they cut it in the SPL?
Final Table Prediction:
1 Celtic, 2 Rangers, 3 Dundee Utd, 4 Hibs, 5 Hearts, 6 St Johnstone, 7 Aberdeen, 8 Motherwell, 9 ICT, 10 Kilmarnock, 11 Hamilton, 12 St Mirren
Lets see how these do this season! Enjoy!