Here are some quotes from August:
Manchester City - money does buy you trophies - just ask Roman - but does Mark Hughes have the ability to turn Citeh into a force or are we, like so many times in the past, going to be laughing into our beer as they struggle to beat Port Vale in the cup and lose to Burnley at Eastlands? Mark Hughes might not be favourite for the sack, but I'm betting that if Citeh ain't in the top 4 at Christmas, he's going to be spending the early part of 2010 with his feet up...I might not have got the specifics right, but is that the bee's knees of a prediction. But so is this:
Liverpool - whenever I'm feeling down, I think about the Fat Spanish Waiter and how Liverpool fans believe he's some kind of brilliant tactician and mindgame specialist, when all he is, is a petulant bad sport who it appears has already laid the foundation for this coming season's failure by saying that all the best players have chosen money over the Red Shite. I have serious doubts about a title challenge; they've lost several players and do not have the strength in depth that the top two have.Now, that wasn't as predictable as the first one, based on previous seasons. This was also almost predictable:
Arse-nal - write Wenger's boys off at your peril.They'll be 2nd if they win their game in hand. This also slightly had good odds, but I'm still quite proud of it:
Villa are a key team in this season's shake up. If they have what it takes they'll need to improve on their dismal record against the Sky Four; if they can do that and beat the teams around them, they are likeliest to break into the Champions League.They currently occupy 4th spot, 2 points ahead of my beloved Spurs. This was a good one, in my humble opinion:
Portsmouth - this year's Bar Codes? This could be an embarrassment waiting to happen and the new boys will be hoping that Pompey self-destruct without any of their regular players. Expect the rest of the best to be gone by September and the owner cited for tax evasion and the first Premier League club to go into administration.I know their then owner was as dodgy as fuck, but, until today they really looked dead and buried.
I'd just like to remind people of this:
Wigan, however, are about as inspiring as mud.and then say, 9-1 9-1 9-1 9-1 9-1 ad infinitum...
The 'how right was I' tally goes up with this:
Stoke City - last year's 90s styled bruisers with a long throw rather than a long ball. Too many teams were caught out last season; most, with the exception of Spurs, will have learned their lessons.Spurs, when faced with the chance of going 3rd, conspired to lose 1-0 at White Hart Lane and finish the game with multiple injuries. And speaking of my team:
Tottenham Hotspur - guaranteed to drop points against all three teams that will be relegated; will put together great runs, but lose matches they should win.See the above excerpt, the 1-0 home defeat against Wolves and we're not even at Christmas yet!
Speaking of Christmas; there's people who'd like to see a winter break and the current weather adds weight to that argument (except you can never guess when the cold snaps are going to happen), but seasons' are made or broken because of this 2 week period of intense game play followed by the fun of the FA Cup. My team usually do a very good impression of Christmas decorations and come down pretty quickly once Christmas has bitten the dust. However, Boxing Day's fixtures could leave me in the unenviable position of condemning the wife's team to being well adrift at the bottom of the table - a place they could end up being tomorrow afternoon if Chelsea beat them. But, that said, West Ham are a relegation threatened side, so Spurs will probably struggle against them as they always do. Hammers fans should hope for a Spurs win, because we always lose to 2 of the 3 relegated teams and Wolves have already taken 3 points off of us.
The sacking of Mark Hughes, while forecast, is still a pretty despicable thing. Citeh are 6th and in a good position in a year when just about anyone in the top 8 could realistically get a top 4 position if they string a 15 match unbeaten run together between now and Easter. I hope Mancini struggles and Citeh plummet. They did it to Sven when they didn't have to and now Hughesy. Citeh should crash and burn, if there's any justice!
Mark Hughes could suddenly become a major and unexpected contender for Liverpool's manager; he might be the sort of manager the Red Shite need; they seem to have lost their way with foreign managers, perhaps having a Welshman at the helm might steady the ship.
I stood on Sandbanks in the late summer and looked over Poole harbour at the stretch of land on which Harry Redknapp lives - the most expensive in the country. Today we discover he is being charged with some kind of tax problem. I do hope this doesn't fuck up another season.
My predictions for the rest of the season for a bit of fun are pretty boring. I think the top 5 will be the top 5 at the end of the season. I think Citeh and Liverpool will fight it out for 6th and 7th, while Fulham and Birmingham could be playing in their own mini-mini-league. Downstairs, Sunderland will finish top of the lower league and I really wouldn't like to pick any team: Burnley, Blackburn, Wigan, Everton, Hull, Bolton, Wolves, West Ham and Portsmouth - the season has been so topsy turvy already; sense says that Everton will rake themselves clear, but it might take a while and it won't be pretty. Sentimentality says that West Ham should avoid the drop, but they are dogged by bad luck and still technically qualify as a yo-yo team. Portsmouth under Avram Grant could achieve the great escape and Blackburn should be okay, by virtue of the fact they should beat their rivals. I'll stick my neck out and say - Wolves, Bolton and Wigan, with the Hammers scraping through with a week to spare.