Saturday, October 21, 2017

New Premier League season preview

New Premier League season preview
August 11
16:00 2017
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By Baba Grumpy

After watching a few pre season games this time last year, I was bold enough to say Manchester City and Manchester United were not going to win the league last season. You might want to read my write up before the start of last season here – http://babagrumpy.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/manchester-united-manchester-city-will.html

I got a few things right and some very wrong. For example, I was wrong in thinking Arsenal had a sneaky chance to win the league as long as The Spuds came 2nd. The Spuds bit was right but sadly for all lovers of good football and decency within the game, Arsenal lost out again after looking good for some part of the season.

The former things have now passed. A new season starts today. I am excited. I am looking forward to it. Not the heartaches or the rotten post match moods. Just the joy. The pleasure of booking match tickets, the excitement of waking up on match day and travelling to the stadium, the sheer delight of mixing with fellow like minded fans, the knot in your tummy before matches, the post – match contentment that your players have put in a decent shift or the fulfillment from getting a result even if it was nicked.

That feeling is now with us for the next 10 months. I am hoping for more highs than lows.

Who will win it this time? Don’t look at the pundits for answers. They have been spectacularly wrong on the last 2 occasions. This time, they have been unanimous in giving it to Manchester City or Drawchester United. No doubt both teams especially City have added well. The key factor in my opinion why Pundits are lapping up Pep & Jose is the reputation these two enjoyed in the not too distant past. Pundits are holding on to this doe eyed belief that Jose is not a busted flush and that Pep can hack it in a competitive league. We shall see.

While City look to have cured their defensive inadequacies, I don’t see what United have actually done. Surely Lukaku’s goals will replace Zlatan’s. What next? United scored 31 goals less than Chelsea the last term, 32 goals less than The Spuds. Where will United make up this deficit? I do not expect Henrikh Mkhitaryan & Perpetually Missing Pogba to start popping up with double-digit goals tally for the season. Kolewerk. United are not winning the title this season. The earlier they drop down to The Europa in December and smash it again the better. Jose has pedigree in this trophy. At least if he can’t win a hat trick of Champions League, he can win The Europa 3 times.

It is amazing why the bookies have made Chelsea 3rd favorite for the Premier League. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks Roman Abramovich deliberately sabotages his coaches after winning the league because he realizes that winning back-to-back Premier Leagues is extremely challenging. Nothing else explains some of the chaos we have heard from the leaks & speculation coming out of Stamford Bridge & Cobham. Apart from the handicap of successfully defending EPL title wins and their Champions League participation, I think Chelsea will be close again.

The Pundits have also derided Liverpool. Some have written them out of Top 4 for this new season. Considering they scrapped through last season, I totally understand why. However even if they lose Coutinho, I think Liverpool’s energy is too much for most teams and they will be very competitive for a top 4 place. I however think they can’t win the league simply because the energetic style of play can’t last for 90 minutes every game and for the 38 games season.

The biggest disadvantage I believe the Spuds will have is psychological (Wembley + Wages issue + Bottling DNA) plus the fact that whoever replaces Kyle Walker won’t compete with Kieran Trippier the same way the later was pushing Walker in training. I think barring significant injuries, sadly the Spuds will become established Top 4 side going forward. I have seen nothing to suggest Drawchester United are as good as Totteringham.

Where do I think Arsenal will finish? I am not sure. Every year, I hope we are going to win the league again. It hasn’t happened so far but it might happen again soon. At the minimum, I will shake hands on a Top 4 finish right now. However it might just be this season when everybody is unanimous in writing Arsenal off, that we go in and snatch it. Stranger things have happened.

For Arsenal to win, just like Leicester and Chelsea recently did, we need the proverbial rub of the green, For the PGMO to assign referees who are inclined to referee matches the way it ought to be played, for referees to favor us the same way they favored Leicester’s wrestling defenders 2 seasons ago and Chelsea’s Mixed Martial Art wingbacks last season, for opponents to lose the plot and play proper football against Arsenal instead of building a miniature version of the Hadrian Wall in front of their goalposts and for other title contenders to implode for one reason or the other. If these things happen, Arsenal will win the Premier League. You heard it here first.

I am positive Lacazette will plunder many goals. I like the steely look about Kolasinac, I will like more solidity in the middle of the pack from existing players or new joiners and with this, Arsenal can have a successful season.

I believe the above clubs will be the Top 6 with guess who retaining their 6th position. If they are not careful though, Everton might usurp their new birthright and they will have to jostle with West Brom, Bournemouth & Southampton for Top 10.

With the challenges at Newcastle, I doubt Rafa Bentiez can gate crash the Top 10. Survival will be a bonus.

Mr. Wagner of Huddersfield has promised to be true to his philosophy of playing good football. I think this is a mistake. If he sticks to this, they are going down with a disastrous point tally.

I suspect Brighton will cope better than Huddersfield as I think Chris Hughton will play a more cautious game in the Premier League

I worry for Stoke. It might just be bye bye to the Premier League. I wont miss them though.

Watford, Burnley, Swansea, Palace, Leicester and West Ham are very vulnerable.

My relegation tip is Huddersfield, Watford & Burnley.

My tip for the league is Arsenal. Like you expected me to write all of this and tip someone else?

BRING ON THE NEW SEASON.

Baba Grumpy works in financial services in the United Kingdom. He blogs mostly about football at http://babagrumpy.blogspot.co.uk. His Twitter handle is @BabaGrumpy

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