Aug 16, 2008

Premiership Predictions

First, let’s remind ourselves of how last season finished.

And here’s how the table will look in May 2009 (yeah, right!):

1. Chelsea
It’s boring to say, but this is a team that suffered the chaos of Jose Mourinho’s sacking, the listlessness of Avram Grant’s leadership, and was hit by multiple injuries and absences last year—and they still took the title to the last day and only lost the Champions League final on penalties. They should do better this year.
2. Manchester United
Berbatov will add the dead-eyed striker they’ve lacked since Ruud left, but to beat out Chelsea this team will have to play in top gear all season—not beyond the realms of possibility, but unlikely nevertheless.
3. Arsenal
Wenger’s fledgings will use this season as a warm-up to a genuine title challenge next year.
4. Liverpool
Boardroom unrest, an unhappy manager and nary a left-footer in the squad. Goals from Torres and Keane will keep them up near the top, but another wasted season for the Scousers.
5. Tottenham Hotspur
A rebuilding season for Spurs—how many in a row is that? But with the quality of their players, they should be strong enough to finish best of the rest.
6. Aston Villa
O’Neill to continue his steady, if uninspiring, progress at Villa Park.
7. Manchester City
It’s fun to laugh at another nouveaux riche club crashing and burning, but the bet here is that their best players—Micah Richards, Michael Johnson, Martin Petrov, Jo—and the management of Mark Hughes will see them settle into a comfortable groove.
8. Portsmouth
More talented than this placing suggest, but Pompey will be distracted by, and focused on, European glory this season.
9. Newcastle United
Kevin Keegan showed towards the end of last season what he can do with this team during a run of four wins, three draws and two defeats in a nine-game span in March and April. Nothing to write home about, but good enough for a top 10 finish.
10. Everton
A team that finished a deserved fifth last season—and even looked, for a period, like they could reach fourth spot. But a summer of discontent and no new signings spells a troubled season ahead, though their quality, especially Arteta and Yakubu, should keep them in the top 10.
11. Middlesborough
Gareth Southgate talks a good game, but he’s yet to produce the kind of team he claims he wants to see. Expect more incremental improvement and the odd inspired performance, probably against a top 4 team.
12. Sunderland
Roy Keane’s really doing well in his audition for the post-Fergie Manchester United job, hmm?
13. Fulham
For some reason, Roy Hodgson seems to be far more respected in Continental Europe than he is in England. Maybe a slow but steady progress for Fulham towards the top half of the table will change some minds. Jimmy Bullard’s form could dictate how far they go.
14. West Ham
For all the sturm und drang of last season, West Ham finished a respectable tenth. But it seems the purse strings have been tightened this summer and this season may see more of the relative decline that set in last year.
15. Wigan Athletic
Steve Bruce is really carving himself a niche as a dependable manager of solid, stable Premiership teams. Buying some of his better purchases from his Birmingham days should ensure more of the same.
16. Bolton Wanderers
Bolton seem to have found their natural level after the heady days of Sam Allardyce. Gary Megson seems to have just enough nous to keep them in Prem for another year, though it may not be pretty.
17. Blackburn Rovers
The sale Roque Santa Cruz would mark an unhappy hat trick for Rovers, that of losing their three best players in one summer following the departures of Brad Friedel and David Bentley. Paul Ince certainly seems like he could become a decent manager, but this year just avoiding the drop will be a good accomplishment.
18. West Bromwich Albion
19. Stoke
20. Hull City
Sorry newbies, you’re all going down again. At least those parachute payments might help you build for another run at promotion in 2009-2010.

What do you guys think?

Smoods is a proper Brit and sometime contributor to the Soccer Source. He can be reached at

1 comment:

  1. I don't see Fulhamerica dodging another bullet this season...