Predictions

It’s that time of year again! I’ve decided to wait for the window to shut before making any predictions this year though.

Arsenal: Top 2 finish – We have actually gone and done it. The shameful side of the fanbase have been baying for Arsene’s blood through the whole window and he has given everyone what they want and what every pundit has said over the past ten years. A CB and ST, as we’re “a CB and ST away from challenging for the league” even though we have progressively been getting better year on year for the last 3 years! Having bought very shrewdly in Mustafi a regular in the German National team, which is no easy feat. And Lucas Perez who has been dubbed as the Spanish Vardy, who should share the burden of the goals with Giroud who’s been so underrated and under appreciated. Also not forgetting Rob Holding who has been pound-for-pound the best signing we’ve made, considering he’s made more clearances, won more aerial duals and made more tackles than the boss man Koscielny! Man City wasted almost £50 million on Stones and we paid £2.5 million on him. Granit Xhaka is a beauty to watch, we have finally replaced Viera in my eyes, the passing, leadership and ‘industrial’ side of the game all rolled into one, he’s also not shy of sticking the boot in, a proper enforcer in the ranks once again. All in all it looks to be an amazing season if you’re an Arsenal fan as the fanbase has to unite under the Arsenal banner as Arsene has done exactly what all his critics have been screaming for, if we can crack on and make a proper atmosphere in the Emirates again, we can win something this year. Expect some amazing European nights and a long go at the FA Cup again this year, depth in the squad is sublime.

Granit Xhaka mid-screamer. Note the former Spud player Mason turning around in pure terror as Granit unleashes his left peg.

Bournemouth:Relegation Scrap – Having made the biggest ‘coup’ of the transfer window by getting the best English Midfielder on loan (Jack Wilshere), they should have an exciting season when he starts to link up with his best mate Afobe, yet I don’t think it’ll be enough to get them into mid table spots, they’ll enjoy their scalps of some of the bigger teams along the way but with the league being so unpredictable with this disgusting amount of money being injected into it, I think things will start to even out as the rich clubs get richer (e.g Man United) and we go back to how it was with people buying the league. If they can get Wilson firing on all cylinders after he had all of last season out then they could surprise a few but the forecast still looks dim.

Bildresultat för eddie howe jack wilshere

Burnley: Relegation Scrap – Sean Dyche has done an incredible job with Burnley considering they couldn’t compete financially with the big boys, they’re now enjoying the fruits of their labour after gaining promotion back to the Premier League and get that windfall of funds. They’ll still be near the bottom come the end of the year, yet I expect some good home results this season.

Bildresultat för sean dyche 2016/17

Chelsea: 5th – Chelsea have made a good acquisition with Conte and he seems to be coming up with the goods so far. Yet they let themselves down on the last day of the window by buying David Luiz again. Kante will be tested immensely having that clown behind him, I for one am licking my lips in anticipation for Arsenal’s trip to Stamford bridge if he is playing as I feel Özil, Sanchez, Ox and Perez\Giroud will tear him a new arsehole. (This article was drafted before our prefect 3-0 display at the Emirates!) Also I feel it’s only a matter of time before Costa is sent off for being a cunt, interpret that in whatever way you want, be it spitting, eye gouging, slapping, tripping, shirt pulling, dissent, he will be getting sent off more often and hopefully it will curb that disgusting side of his ‘game’ if you can call it that. Hazard seems to be back to his best after going on holiday for the whole of last season and will drag the team to Europa League places as they have no European football to hinder them, yet I think the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal are a still a step above them in many respects.

Bildresultat för antonio conte chelsea

Crystal Palace: 7th\8th – They have addressed their main issue of not having a good enough striker for this league, say what you will of Benteke but when he gets going he’s a top goalscorer. Pardew has been around long enough and I think he’ll make a significant improvement this season and will scrape through and get a Europa league qualifying round spot, either in the league or through a cup. It’ll be good to have another London rival in the top half of the table.

Bildresultat för benteke crystal palace header

Everton: 7th\8th – I like how Everton is set up at the moment, they have the players, the resources, a good home ground and a cracking manager, I hope this is the season they prove me wrong and go for top 4, yet I still don’t see it happening. They’re a work in progress and could grow to be a major force in the next few years, however they aren’t quite there yet. This season is a building block and I don’t expect many to take points away from Goodison Park this year, also another team I think could go far in the Cups.

Bildresultat för ronald koeman everton

Hull City: Mid Table obscurity – They’ve played a blinder the first few games of the season and got robbed of a point when Man United rolled into town, if they could keep it up they’d see themselves in the top half of the table, yet it won’t happen. Mike Phelan deserved Manager of the Month in my opinion, for motivating that small squad of lads and coming up with those results in the face of almost not having a fully fit 11 to put out on the field. I also fully expect to meet Hull in the FA Cup for our customary annual fixture!

Bildresultat för mike phelan 2016/17

Leicester City: 9th – They did it, hats off and all that jazz, but another year another season and they will have to contend with a clogged up calendar with European football without their Midfield enforcer Kante to make the difference, no offence but Drinkwater is nowhere near the player he was. Mendy looked good against Arsenal and could come in handy but they will come up against some stiff opposition and take into account they won’t be able to keep that tight knit group together like last season as the tinkerman will have to tinker to keep things fresh and you’ll start to see a different team. That’s why when everyone lost their heads when they won and said it was the greatest achievement, I still believe that Nottingham Forrest and Brian Clough edged it. It all depends what Leicester do in Europe I guess!

Bildresultat för claudio ranieri

Liverpool: 3rd – Well they’ve been tearing the league up from the start and Klopp is really kicking on with instilling his style of play in the team. They’re sublime to watch and have the firepower to play any team in the league out of the park, we lost first game of the season to them in an all action encounter. They also beat Chelsea, the game to watch for will be Man City and Pep. Whilst I expect Arsenal and City to go Top 2, Liverpool will be right behind you can believe that. They don’t have European football to hold them back either. I think they’ll get 3rd and maybe even a cup!

Bildresultat för klopp glasses falling off

Man City: Top 2 – Well it’s happened, Pep is here and has hit the ground running. He has really pulled the best out of De Bruyne and is really one of the most exciting midfielders to watch in the league. Aguero is STILL the best striker in the league and will crack 25 goals this year. He could fire them all the way to winning the league depending on how Arsenal get on. It will be tight at the top and may even go down to the last game of the season. The only place I see negativity is the defence and Claudio Bravo. He’s a good keeper and all but there have been some questionable decisions made, it could impact how they play. At the moment it doesn’t matter as they seem to be able to outscore everyone anyway!

Bildresultat för pep guardiola kevin de bruyne

Man United: 4th – They’ve attempted to buy the league this season in a knee-jerk reaction to Pep going to City, they’ve got that foul human Jose in and spent ridiculous amounts of money on players for the coming season. From what i’ve seen recently, going on a 3 game losing streak I don’t expect great things this season from them. Rooney is finished, the only plus is seeing Zlatan in the League, everyone’s favourite Swede. Jose will secure a Champions League spot, you can almost guarantee it, yet they seem to struggle in the Europa League almost as if they’ve got a superiority complex where the players think they’re too good for the competition. Go out and prove us wrong by winning it! They aren’t the finished article like their Blue rivals, scousers or the mighty Arsenal so 4th is a realistic finish.

Bildresultat för zlatan manchester united

Middlesbrough: Relegation – It’s a shame to say it as I was quite happy to see an old ‘original’ premier League team return (Much like Sheffield Wednesday or Nottingham Forrest) but they look out of their depth and will be scrapping with the likes of Burnley to stay up. I don’t think Karanka can be blamed, he’s made good signings but it won’t come together in time. They’ll grab some well earned points come February but I think it will be too late.

Bildresultat för aitor karanka premier league

Southampton: Mid Table obscurity – I like Claude Puel and I think Southampton were unlucky not to get a point out of the Arsenal game if i’m honest. I expect them to do okay but with Europa League matches piling up and the managers inexperience in the league will lead to a mid table finish and maybe round of 16 in Europa. A good side that are 2 or 3 players away from challenging for 4th.

Bildresultat för claude puel

Stoke: Staying Up – There is no doubt that Stoke will stay up. They might finish 17th but they will stay up. I was really expecting them to smash teams apart this season but they’ve fallen flat on their face. I truly do love watching Bojan play. They have a good manager and the squad to compete but getting off to this start can’t help in the dressing room and the confidence isn’t there. The league is wide open from 7th downwards and some teams are still trying to find their place.

Bildresultat för bojan 2016/17

Sunderland: Relegation Scrap – Will they won’t they. Will they get going under Moyes, he’s got the experience but I don’t think he has the right team behind him. Pickford looks to be an exciting young prospect and has almost cemented his place in the starting 11. There will be some tough games ahead and if they haven’t got many points on the board by mid November then i’d start to get a bit worried for another ‘big’ team that can’t go down, much like their Tyneside rivals last year.

Bildresultat för david moyes sunderland

Swansea: Staying Up – Another club that look alright but won’t set the world alight this year. They’ll get some goals out of Fernando Llorente as he is a classy finisher but I don’t think they have enough to get mid table and aren’t bad enough to be fighting for their lives at the bottom. Expect draws, and lots of them.

Bildresultat för fernando llorente swansea

Spurs: 6th – Now I would be a bit biased but let me have a look at this realistically just for arguments sake. For a start they aren’t playing at home this season which is unsettling, even if they’re sharing Wembley for European games which is an honour for them. I expect them not to do too badly in their group, they have a good manager and I expect him to push them like last year and they will probably make last 16/round of 32 and finish just outside of top 4 as the big boys return to the fray after being absent last year. I can tell you, this stadium malarkey is no walk in the park.

Bildresultat för white hart lane new stadium

Watford: Mid Table obscurity – They’ve had an okay start to the season and Mazzarri isn’t a bad manager, they look solid and can get points on the board. They’ll be overpowered by the next level of opponents like Everton/Crystal Palace but they’ll pick off the weaker teams in the league. They have a nice style of play this year and Deeney is so underrated. However, like I say Mid table at best.

Bildresultat för mazzarri deeney

West Brom: Relegation Scrap – Now, I have respect for Tony Pulis and think he’s an exceptional manager with the resources he’s had at this club and Stoke, but I don’t think West Brom scare anyone. They can grind out the draws where needed, but that isn’t enough in this open league anymore, he has the experience to keep them up but you do wonder if these are one of the ‘big’ teams that are ripe for relegation. The league is changing.

Bildresultat för west brom tony pulis september 2016

West Ham: Mid to Bottom Table (16th) – Another team in transition, attempting a stadium move. They have the players, Payet in particular is World Class and Antonio is having a blinder at the moment, Slaven Bilic turned out to be a hit last year but this year throws up different situations and a new home. They seem to be stuttering but I feel they have just enough to beat off opposition.

Bildresultat för payet rabona

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No Longer A Beautiful Game

Here I go again, another football post. My last one got me thinking about things. I want to ask a question to people. Should we regulate football clubs and what they spend?

1. Wages – It has been revealed today that Wayne Rooney has signed a new deal at Manchester United, earning himself £300,000 a week, or £1.2M a month. I mean really? I understand world class players deserve to be paid a good wage because football careers are short and all that but still is he really worth that much? He’s not even world class anymore, in my opinion he never was. He was just England’s best striker, but in case you hadn’t noticed England aren’t amazing at international level. I think personally if you set a rate for wages, you’d get more quality footballers out there and bring the game alive again. Instead nowadays you just get athletes who can kick a ball and who are just after money and don’t care about the game. If you capped salaries, only people that were passionate about playing football as a career would play and you’d get real passion back on the pitch. There should be a wage structure in place for the big clubs much like in other companies and organisations. Everyone starts at the same wage, but you get bonuses for goals scored, clean sheets, wins & cups and like in a some jobs you get a raise every year of service for your club, encouraging players to stay at one club rather than going all over the place. Look at people like Steven Gerrard, Tony Adams, etc… one club men, something you don’t get anymore because people are lured away by big salaries. I don’t like that football as a game is run like a business now and it’s ALL about money.

 

2. Transfers – Transfer valuations are ridiculous. How do you value a player? I think they should reset valuations and the best players in the world should be valued at around £25 million. No player is worth more than that to a club. I mean I remember back when I was young, there was a player called Christian Vieri and he was sold for £28 million at the time and I literally couldn’t fathom the amount of money that is, but now that’s not really considered very much money, but just think about that number for a second. £28 million, in fact think of the number £1 million. A million pounds is a lot of money to normal people and after all football is ‘the working man’s game’. I just think that the big clubs ruin it for everyone treating it as a money game, yes Arsenal are included this also, I will happily put my hand up and admit that about my own club, but we aren’t that bad in comparison to some others. I will use the Gareth Bale sale as an example as well of course, do you really think that he is worth £86 million, that’s about the equivalent of 3 Juan Mata’s right? Is he three times the player of Mata, no. It could do with a serious overhaul.

 

3. Contracts – Contracts mean nothing anymore, they should just do away with a “4 year contract” and do a yearly contract with every player so there’s no confusion. What’s the point in having a contract when nowadays most players are bought before it even ends, there’s no loyalty anymore between players and clubs. You should trust the player and that he wants to stay at the club, so when it comes around to the end of the contract, he can decide to stay and sign an extension of a year again or he can move onto another club for a fee.

 

4. Nationality – I know they’ve tried to clamp down on it but it’s not an English game like it once was, I don’t know what percentage of the team has to be English but I don’t think it’s enough. Yes yet again I know Arsenal are bad for this and I know it makes the Premier League one of the best in the world for it’s diversity, but the reason we aren’t great on an international level might have something to do with the big clubs not having enough room for English talent. I’ll use Arsenal as an example as I know the team well, of the starting 11 how many are English (or potential starting 11)? Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade- Chamberlain and Walcott. So that’s 4 of 11. That’s not even half, this is where we are going wrong, if all the teams were made to have more English players at their clubs it would be so good for young English talent.

 

 

5. Tackling – I know this is off topic but I need to put it out there as this is a football post, but I miss a good strong tackle nowadays. If it’s one thing that needs to change about the current game is what is deemed as a good challenge. I’ll use that Wes Brown challenge on Charlie Adam a couple months back as a PERFECT example. Wes Brown committed to a strong sliding challenge and won the ball, which when I was growing up you were taught to do, as long as you got the ball it didn’t really matter too much about connecting with the other player, it’s a physical sport at the end of the day. However, he slightly clipped Charlie Adam in doing so, who didn’t even go to ground I might add, and Wes was sent off for the intent of the challenge, the intent of winning the ball?! It’s just too crazy all these rules that the FA come up with and it’s spoiling the game that I know and love, red cards should be left to an accumulation of yellow cards, violent conduct and straight red offenses like tackling from behind.

 

6. Diving – This needs to be stamped out in every sense. To start they need to change the term from “winning a free kick/penalty” to “being awarded a free kick/penalty” after all it is down to the referee to decide not the players to go out looking for them. If you are fouled whilst trying to play the ball then a foul is awarded, it’s shameful players look for any contact and go down just to get a free kick or penalty. We should be encouraging them to stay on their feet and carry on, then bring the play back and penalise the offender, for my example I shall use an Arsenal vs Liverpool game from my childhood, where Robbie Fowler was through on goal, tried to round David Seaman, Seaman tried to pull out of the way and Fowler lost his footing as he was clipped, instead of making a big deal of it, Fowler went to the referee and said it wasn’t a foul and play was resumed. You wouldn’t even dream of seeing that today, now they are told to win the penalty and go down if caught at all. I think it’s ridiculous.

 

 

Sorry for going so off topic on the last two but i’m passionate about football as a game and hate what has become of this amazing sport these days.