Pundits everywhere will be surprising nobody with their choices to finish the season as Premier League Champions next season, with one from the usual three being touted as their certainties for success. I am no different of course, the Premier League Champions will be one of Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool. Arsenal are too far behind to challenge and Manchester City will need time to build a side capable of challenging for the top spot.
Most of those same pundits will be just as quick to tell you why Hull City will be relegated this season, along with the likes of Birmingham City and Wolves. The fact that we have made a number of signings these past couple of weeks has rendered their reason’s for us to be relegated redundant, so the less time we spend on them, the better. I find it amusing that many of the pundits are tipping Burnley to do well this season, based on nothing more than we survived last season after coming up through the play-off’s, so the same must apply to them, apparently. That they have a paper-thin squad and will really start to struggle once the injuries start to mount, seems neither here nor there. I like Burnley, they have a great manager and play football the “right” way, but it won’t stop them being plum last come May next year. Any other outcome would be quite an achievement, so good luck to them.
I think Portsmouth are going to really struggle this year. They have ticked all of the boxes for a club in crisis these last few months and things don’t look like improving any time soon. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Pompey are playing in League One in a couple of years time. Unless something drastic happens, they are doomed and even new owners will not be able to help them.
The other relegation place should end up being a straight fight between Birmingham City and Wolves. Neither have done enough strengthening to compete at the highest level in my opinion, but I think one of them will just scrape through. Toss a coin.
As for the rest of the teams in the Premiership, I think it is important to first dispel a myth. The Premiership is not a class unto its own in world football. Aside from the ever-present “Big Four” and possibly Manchester City, does the prospect of facing any of the other teams in the league send shivers down your spine? I didn’t think so. I believe the league can be split into two divisions; Premier 1 and Premier 2.
Premier 1 is split into a league of eight with the following teams fighting it out for top eight glory:
Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Tottenham and Everton.
I will be very surprised indeed if any of the other teams can break into “Premier 1″, though if there were to be a candidate for replacement in there, it would probably be Everton who will be looking over their shoulder.
The rest of the teams who make up Premier 2 are as follows, in no particular order, honest…
West Ham United
Leaving out the bottom four in that list, any one of the remaining eight teams should be capable of finishing top of this particular group. None of them are chock full of world beaters and none of them are going to be qualifying for the Champions League any time soon. Looking at each teams respective squad doesn’t leave me going weak at the knees in anticipation of a merry old spanking and if we aren’t looking for victories against the likes of them, we don’t belong in the Premiership to begin with.
If Phil Brown has learned from the mistakes of last season and if he still has the confidence of his convictions to actually go out and attack teams once in a while, we should do alright. We are now much stronger than we were last season and with the promise of more signings to come and the return of Jimmy Bullard in a couple of months, the coming season should be the best one yet.
My prediction: 11th.