Sunday, February 06, 2011

A Few More Words About Association Football

I had a rant about Liverpool the other day and typically for the Red Shite it came back and bit me on the arse. The fourth win on the bounce for arrogant Kenny and his 2nd rate boys, this time against champions Chelsea (also completing the double over them), has put the team into 6th place and only 6 points behind Chelsea and my own Spurs. Yes, we both have games in hand over them, but we have to win them to make that advantage unassailable. You could argue that if Liverpool hadn't allowed Blackpool to get the double over them they would be up there with Spurs and Chelsea on 44 points and doing the unthinkable, challenging for a Champions League spot.

This weekend saw a record number of goals scored in the Premier League and a weekend that saw Man Citeh close the gap on the two teams that stand in their way to a first league title for over 40 years. I'm going to say it right here and right now, Citeh aren't going to win the league; they might be up there next season, but this year anything could happen to them by the middle of May. They might not even make a Champions League berth, that's how contrary this season has been.

Forget that Arsenal threw away a four goal lead yesterday or that Man U lost to the bottom club, the race for the title is between these two. Man Citeh have too many games against opponents that can turn them over, starting next Saturday when they go to Old Trafford, they also have to go to Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs have a date at Eastlands, a venue we actually like regardless of the quality Citeh have. The reality is that if Citeh lose next week and both Spurs and Chelsea win losable away ties (Sunderland and Fulham respectively), there will be two points separating the three clubs and suddenly the race for the Champions League becomes a little more squeaky bum-like.

I've looked at the remaining matches and put an even handed forecast for most of the games. I have not shirked where Spurs are concerned, they have to play Chelsea (away), Arsenal (home), Man Citeh (away) and Liverpool (away) and could play a huge part in deciding who finishes where. I've worked it out that if Spurs can take 3 points from those four matches, they can still finish in 4th spot, because of the combinations of matches left featuring the other contenders. This is my February forecast for how I think the premier league will end at the end of May.

Man Utd 87pts
Arsenal 80
Chelsea 75
Spurs 72
Man Citeh 71
Liverpoop 56
Everton 55
Bolton 51
Sunderland 50
Aston Villa 50
Newcastle 46
Birmingham 46
Stoke 45
Fulham 42
Blackburn 42
Blackpool 41
West Ham 35
Wigan 30
WBA 29
Wolves 29

Obviously, one forecast result goes wrong and this bit of fun becomes a load of bollocks; I also believe that West Ham, despite losing today, will do enough with their remaining fixtures to just clear the mire, with Wigan and West Brom - both of whom have awful run ins - getting dragged down. Man Utd will finally beat Liverpool's record of 18 titles and quite comfortably and Everton will push on now and might sneak in with a Europa league spot.

I think next season will be even more difficult to forecast. Man Citeh will probably have a new manager, possibly Jose Mourinho. Liverpool will spend enough money to ensure they are not also rans again, Spurs, especially if they get Champions League football again, will add a top class striker and possibly a new defence and Chelsea will want to bring in some new faces to play alongside Torres. And, as I said at the beginning of the season, there will be a new player next year; a team that will be promoted this year who will immediately become the 2nd richest club in the Premiership and will want to make their mark. QPR with or without Neil Warnock might not be challengers for the title, but will be capable of upsetting a lot of apple carts.

I still think manager of the year will go to Ian Holloway, even if my forecast is wrong and they get relegated; doing the double over Liverpool is a memory I shall cherish for a long time!

Right, nuff said about football until May!

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