I went round my friends house for a BBQ on Saturday lunch time and to my surprise he had his whole family there. It was lovely chatting to them about all sorts, mostly sport and in particular football. Even though I was told by his 77 year old Nan, ‘Do you ever stop talking?’ I have struggled to find inspiration for this weeks blog. Until I looked at Mark Lawrenson’s predictions on the BBC Sport website and had a little chuckle to myself. I just cant take someone who hasn’t predicted Liverpool to lose in about 5 years seriously. I generally think I can do a better job. My predictions on the PitchDMM app for West Ham haven’t been too far off. I thought we would get thrashed at Old Trafford 3-0, the correct score being 4-0 and I predicted that we would get beat 3-1 at Southampton on Saturday, the score being 3-2. So I am jumping off the fence, laying my cards on the table and putting my neck on the line, as, in this weeks blog I predict the season ahead.
There will be a vote on how the transfer window will be structured in the future. At the moment it normally ends nearly a month into the season at the end of August and the vote will see the the proposal for the window to SLAM shut before the season starts. Therefore, with over a week to go until the window closes a lot can happen and teams can sign players that will have significance. I was therefore a bit reluctant to put forward my predictions until it shut but then again we are 2 games in and I don’t really want to wait until the teams have player 4 or 5 games because thats kind of cheating. So here goes.
My mate is a big Chelsea fan but his extended family are from Newcastle and are inevitably members of the toon army. They are worried about the season ahead and the most optimistic prediction is that they will stay up, Just! A prediction that I echo. I’m not going to go through transfers with a fine comb because I think they can skew judgment and I am going on gut instinct here. Rafa is a class manager, I think they are so lucky to have him, but squad depth is a worry, I cant remember a major singing for them so far and if this doesn’t change then I can see them in a relegation battle again. I fear the same for Bournemouth, Brighton and Swansea. The welsh club were very lucky to stay up last year in my opinion and I cant see them doing it again. I am gutted to say this because they have been a breath of fresh air since coming into the league a few years back and it is always romantic to look at their rise from League 2 obscurity to the premier league and a major trophy. I think the 2 south coast clubs are also in danger. Defoe was out of form at the back end of last season and I don’t think he will have enough to keep them up this year. The other new boys are Huddersfield, they have had an excellent start to the season and have beaten 2 teams that will be flirting around them come the end of the season. So if they can keep players fit I expect them to have enough to stay put this year.
The London teams are ever present this year. Chelsea and Arsenal have both started with mixed results. Looking at the Chelseas team on paper it doesn’t put the fear of god into me like it did last season. I have a few Chelsea friends who say their squad is too thin this year. My response, ‘well you have about 40 players out on loan’, yeah I don’t get it either. As for Arsenal I have 2 words. Same old! Will spurs be a force again? Put simply, no I don’t think they will. I say this because of Wembley. I have seen first hand at West Ham that moving from a small, intimate stadia to an expansive, open wide one has a negative effect. Saying this I fully expect them to get into the top 4, largely thanks to the consistency of Kane and Dele. Palace are odd, I keep expecting them to break into the top 7 or 8 teams but they consistently have bizarre results, I think this inconsistency will see them fall into the bottom half. As for my beloved West Ham, I am not full of confidence, our defence is so poor and we constantly have injuries to key players. Currently we have 5-6 starting XI players out injured or suspended and no matter who you are no team can perform optimally with that.
Manchester United will win the league. That is obvious to me after seeing the first 2 games. I had my doubts at the start of the season, but they have everything. The best keeper in the league, a dynamic defence, a powerful midfield and goals and pace everywhere. They have something that Manchester City, who I think will be runners up, don’t have and thats ruthlessness. City have an outstanding squad and I expect them to push united all the way to May, but Mourinho knows how to grind out results and therefore titles. City will win 4-0, 5-1, 3-0 but then lose to Everton away and drop points against Stoke, where as I don’t think United will this year. Speaking of Everton then have bought and bought big and I think they will be the best of the rest. Stoke will be mid table alone with West Brom.
Southampton are a strange one, the club is the best run in the league and they continue to churn out player after player from their academy and buy and recruit players and staff exceptionally well. They play some marvellous football and I hope they do well but if they pick up some injuries or go through a bad spell of form, like they have done at home recently, then they could fall down the table.
I cant place Liverpool yet. A whole season with Mane fit and they could certainly reach top 4 again but with the Coutinho saga rolling on I wonder how this will effect them going forward. I think Leicester will be strong, they have a solid back bone and a lot of goals in their team. I think if they keep hold of Drinkwater they will have a very good season as will Watford who have a brilliant new manager who understands the tactical and technical side of the game very well. Last is Burnley, lets put it this way I think there are 3 worse teams this year.
I cant wait for May when I am totally wrong with my predictions and this blog gets quoted to me and rightly so.
- Manchester United
- Manchester City
- Tottenham Hotspur
- West Ham
- West Brom
- Crystal Palace