Predictions at this time of the year are a dime a dozen but let’s face it, the vast majority of them are sheer guesswork. Who can honestly predict what’s going to happen with any certainty over a nine month season?
Sure these predictions can either be interesting or simply a bit of fun so here goes with my GUESSING of how the season may pan out.
First of all I am NOT going to predict that Sir Alex will lead Manchester United to a fourth consecutive Premiership! Why? Because that’s precisely what is expected from a loyal fan but more on that later.
1 – Who will be the first Premiership manager to be sacked?
There’s always a lot of interest in this question and my guess may come as a surprise to many. What if I said Rafa Benitez? Before I get howled down here’s the reason. Unlike any other club, his obvious replacement is already at Anfield. Kenny Dalglish is lurking around in the background and should the reds fall behind the pace by the end of October in a period where they face Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester United, the pressure may well become unbearable for King Kenny to take over. If not Rafa then Mark Hughes could be a possibility unless City get off to a flying start.
2 – Which clubs will be relegated?
Difficult to say with any certainty. I’d hate to include Burnley amongst them because I have had a soft spot for them since the sixties but I’m afraid that it will come as a surprise to me if they can avoid dropping back to The Championship after just one season.
I expect Birmingham City and Wolves to survive so I’m guessing that Stoke City and Hull will be the other two clubs to join Burnley. There is however always at least one surprise and that could well be Blackburn Rovers.
3 – Top Goalscorer
Would love to say Wayne Rooney or Michael Owen but I am determined not to show any bias towards United so my guess is Arsenals Andrei Arshavin who should now be well settled in the Premier League.
4 – Player Of The Year
A total lucky dip, sheer guesswork but here’s a stab at it. Not including any Man United players I would go for maybe Frank Lampard
5 – FA Cup Winners
Sorry, this is more than guesswork, it’s sheer luck. It all depends on the draw, the bounce of the ball on the day and many other factors so I pulled a name out of a hat and came up with Aston Villa.
6 – Premiership Winners
This is the big one so I repeat, Manchester United are not considered. My first question is Who Will It NOT Be amongst the expected challengers? I have dismissed the chances of Liverpool, Manchester City, Villa, Spurs and Everton which leaves Arsenal and Chelsea.
The biggest danger to United in my opinion could well be Arsenal. They have stability, a great manager who I rate as second only to Sir Alex in England and a crop of youngsters that have been well nurtured to provide a good balance between youth and experience.
Chelsea will obviously present a strong challenge however I feel that Carlo Ancelotti’s lack of experience in the Premier League could be their downfall. The Champions League is a different matter and they could well go a long way towards winning it.
You can have a look at these predictions (guesses) again in May 2010 when you may be entitled to call me an absolute idiot.