By Tom Mallows
The waiting is over, are you ready?
The 2009/10 season is upon and with the World Cup at the end of it it promises to be an exciting year. But what will happen in the Premier League? Well I'm going to get my crystal ball out and make a few bold (if almost certainly inaccurate) predictions:
First off I reckon Burnley and Wolves will stay up. Burnley have an excellent manager in Owen Coyle who I believe has a David Moyesesque ability of getting the best out of his players. They have a small squad so injuries could prove crucial but I believe they will do enough. Wolves are reaping the rewards for being patient with boss Mick McCarthy. He has built this side slowly over the past 3-4 years, bringing youngsters in and seeing them develop. After missing out on the playoffs last year previous regimes would have got rid, but by giving McCarthy the time to build a side they will be ok this season.
Players to watch:
Burnley's Chris Eagles and Wade Elliot
Wolves' Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Michael Kightly.
The sack race:
Paul Hart. He is on to a loser with crisis club Pompey who are rapidly becoming the new Leeds. I reckon he will be gone by October but whoever comes in will not have enough to save them.
They will be joined by Hull and Birmingham. The Tigers collapsed spectacularly last year and I believe that poor form ill continue now the novelty of the Premier League has worn off. Birmingham I feel are still haunted by relegations past and are desperate to lose that yo-yo club tag. But I have to say I have been under whelmed by the players they have brought in so far and fear for Boss Alex McCleish, Another one who could be gone before the clocks go back.
Surprise package - al la Fulham last season.
Hmmm I'm going for West Ham. They have not spent a lot of money but Zola comes across as an astute coach and with the benefit of a full pre-season with his players, I believe they can push for a Europa League spot.
Get those passports ready
The usual suspects will again buzz around the top six. I feel Spurs will do better this year after the nightmare start last time round. Villa will continue to improve and Everton will be as consistent as ever, though doubts remain over the depth of their squad, especially with the extra games in the Europa league this season. However the trump card is Man City who I believe will join the pack but fall just short of a Champions League spot this time round.
Well I feel Arsenal will just be happy to maintain that flow of Champions League cash and bag 4th. Liverpool I don't feel have strengthened their squad enough and still rely too heavily on Torres and Gerrard. If either of them gets injured I don't feel they have enough back up. Man United also have had a 40 goal hole blasted into their side with the departures of Tevez and Ronaldso. Owen Obertan and Valencia are good, but not good enough to make up the gap. Second place for me. That leaves Chelsea, who would have made a decent fist of things last season if it wasn't for that nightmare winter under Scolari. Ancelotti seems like a canny boss who should get the best out of his talented, if aging players. They are my tip for the top.
Agree? disagree? Please leave your comments below, all I can say is my predictions last year proved wildly wrong so you have every right to question my guesses this time round!