Saturday, 15 August 2009

Premier League Opening Day

As probably everyone reading this knows, the Premier League season returns today. When I was a kid, the off-season lasted for ever. Now it seems like the season pretty much runs year round. What's in store?

At the top, it looks very much like business as usual, with Chelsea and Manchester United fighting it out for the top two places and Liverpool and Arsenal for third and fourth. The BBC predicted a title for Liverpool, but I can't see it myself. Chelsea's turn to win. Can Manchester City break into the top 4 this year and can Everton maintain their relative success are the interesting areas to watch for me.

At the bottom, possibly the most intriguing question is whether or not Burnley can survive. I believe they can, on the basis that there are two teams that will struggle this season, and that Burnley only have to place above one other team to keep their place.

The teams to struggle: Hull City, who should have gone down last season, and would have done, but for an exceptional start to the season which I cannot see happening again. Phil Brown may well be the first Premier League managerial casualty of the season as well.

Going down with them are Portsmouth who are a club in turmoil. Up for sale, and players and coaches can't wait to leave, Kidd, Crouch, Diarra, Defoe... On the crest of a wave after winning the cup last year, the club is now sailing into choppy waters, no Harry Redknapp to right the ship these days, no new ground on the horizon, a general sinking feeling around the club (note the nautical theme here - quite appropriate I thought), and the immediate future looks grim unless the takover can be completed soon.

Other strugglers will be newly promoted Wolves, along with Sunderland and possibly Birmingham and Stoke. Maybe Wigan too.

We will know in 380 games how it all turns out. There will no doubt be surprises along the way, there always are.

As for investing, I'll wait until 6 games in to the season before betting any real money but I have layed Aston Villa, Manchester City, Sunderland, Portsmouth, Arsenal and Liverpool this weekend.

The FA Cup starts today as well.

Post-Season Update: How did we do? Correct predictions were that Chelsea did win the title from Manchester United, while Hull City and Portsmouth did get relegated. Not quite right on Burnley staying up though, as they went down too. Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sunderland and Stoke City did all finish in the bottom half of the table, but Birmingham City thrived with a top half finish.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agree with most of that Cassini, but still think Burnley might struggle despite beating United.

Reading Town FC won their 1st round FA Cup Match and are throught to the 2nd round qualifying stage.