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Top of the table predictions – the gameweek 0 edition

By Phil Gregory

Right, so, to follow up on my articles over the summer looking at the various teams competing against the mighty Arsenal at the top of the table, it seems reasonable to put it all together and see where my guess is of the final table. Without further ado…

First up, United are somewhat stronger this year with the addition of RvP but I wouldn’t say they were significantly so. They still look a little overdependent on the flanks for creativity and by extension, on an ageing Paul Scholes firing the ball out to the wingers to get the attacks moving. Van Persie certainly strengthens them, as does the return of Vidic from injury but ultimately I don’t think United will be too much different this season to last season – if they avoid crashing out of Europe at the first hurdle that will put an additional strain on them during the run=in

The same could be said of City. They’ve struggled to ship out squad players given their big wages and so transfers in have been limited, much to the public irritation of Mancini. They’ve got Rodwell, who will provide some cover at defensive midfield, but that was only really a marginal issue for City, who could arguably put the likes of Toure and Barry there if  De Jong was out. Again, Europe will provide an additional test during the run-in, so I don’t think City will be much changed. Even expecting a slight improvement from United this year,  I still think City will finish above them.

Spurs are an interesting case. While it’s not official yet, it looks like Modric is out of the door and it’s getting fairly late in the window to be drafting in a replacement for a very, very important member of the first eleven. Their defence looks much stronger despite the retirement of King with the likes of Caulker, Kaboul and Vertonghen a formidable defensive unit that can be relied on to stay fit over the course of the year, unlike King, Gallas and co.

The big issue will be the Modric replacement, how he settles in to what will be a bit of  baptism of fire in the Premier League, with the season already in full swing, assuming of course they do secure someone. Goalkeeper is also a bit of concern with Friedel getting on, and I wish good luck to any side who look like going into the first match of the season with Jermaine Defoe as their only striker.

As such, Spurs look quite a bit weaker this season. There is still time in the transfer window – and I will be revisiting these predictions once it slams shut – but at this moment in time all but the most blinded Spurs fan will have concerns at a Modric-less, one-striker squad heading into the season. How much slippage can Spurs afford?

Well, not too much with surprise package Newcastle only finishing four points behind them last season.  The Toon have strengthened this season with some intelligent signings but will be most pleased at keeping hold of their newly discovered selection of stars. Newcastle fans must be optimistic at the prospect of having a full season of Cisse up front, but weighing against them is the fact that opposition teams now know they are a team to beat. For those reasons I expect them to be there or thereabouts the Champions League places, but with a Europa League campaign weighing them down I think they’d be happy with a push for fourth and a Europa League place next season. If they approach it seriously, they could be in with a shout of a European trophy come May.

Chelsea, despite spending extensively, are going into this season without a right back, an oversight of some magnitude. Some will point out that Ivanovic is happy to play there, but if Chelsea were happy with that solution they wouldn’t have  been pursuing Azpilcueta all summer, I would wager, and I also question the wisdom of playing one of their best centrebacks at right back. Chelsea have certainly secured an array of attacking talent , but I have my reservations it will get the pitch time it justifies with big personalities like Lampard having the ear of Abramovich and Di Matteo.

Factor in some managerial uncertainty – it is Chelsea after all, and they shopped around the managerial hypermarket before begrudgingly going for Di Matteo – and Chelsea could well surprise many people and not actually push on much at all this season. I expect them to improve somewhat, but I’ll be surprised if they wipe the floor with top four rivals Newcastle and Tottenham.

Some Chelsea fans are optimistic given they won’t have the minor civil war that brewed up under Villas Boas, but that is simplistic: they’ll still struggle to get their best players on the pitch given Lampard and Terry’s influence over the manager, and I’m sure the odds reflect a sacking at some point in December too.  Coming fourth is not implausible given the uncertainty around Spurs’ iffy transfer window and Newcastle’s relative newness to these parts of the table, but I’d definitely wager that they’re more likely to come in 5th/6th rather than the last CL berth.

That leaves a new look Liverpool. Realistically, they have too much ground to make up threaten the top four short of signing Messi before the close of the window, but they seem to buying wisely with an eye on future steady progression up the table. I have my reservations in regards to Joe Allen for £15m syndrome (Charlie Adam syndrome? Sure the Welshman is younger and much less fat, but £15mish got us Cazorla…). Rodgers seems to be dragging them into the footballing 21st century and wisely marginalising Carroll to an impact sub role, but Liverpool are still one injury away from Jay Spearing shielding the back four, so work remains to be done. Overall I expect the Scouse to improve this season, but with Carroll’s continued inadequacy in basic footballing skills there is a lot of pressure for goals on Suarez (whose record isn’t the best on these shores) and new signing Borini. Ultimately this season will be one of progress for Liverpool, so a solid push for the Europa league places with a developing side playing some decent football will be a good season if I were a Scouser.

So from that if you haven’t discerned, I’m expecting:

  1. City
  2. United
  3. Arsenal
  4. Spurs
  5. Chelsea
  6. Newcastle
  7. Liverpool

 

To be the line-up come May. I suspect the top three will be the clear title contenders come November time, and the gap between Arsenal and Spurs will open up once again this year. Prior to the Van Persie sale I did feel confident of Arsenal overhauling United this season at least, but ultimately I feel to do that I’d be banking on the likes of Santi, Giroud and Podolski all starting in excellent fashion. I feel the extra depth in attack, aerial threat of Giroud and starting the season with a plethora of defensive talent available bar Sagna’s injury will stand Arsenal in good stead for a solid season. Oh, and the big step up in quality in the playmaking position.

Ultimately though, I am conceding that I think City will win the title again. Last year I felt that they were looking like Mourinho’s Chelsea in terms of potency, with just a couple of maverick characters letting them down. I strongly feel the gulf between United and City is much wider than the goal difference that separated them last season, and think their head to head results were indicative in that regard.

Spurs get the tip for fourth as ultimately I think they’ll manage to sort out their striker issues and replace Modric, but it could be a rough month or two at the start of the season for the Spurs as players settle in.  They’ll come through it much like we did last season, though I wouldn’t mind us winning the CL to edge them out of the Champions League for the second year running.

Anyway, that’s my tip for the way the season will play out, I’ll revisit this come the close of the window – my Spurs and Chelsea predictions in particular are a little dependent on expected transfer activity. We’ll see!

————–

 Ordinary is Pointless

————————–

 

 

51 comments to Top of the table predictions – the gameweek 0 edition

  • A. Stewart

    I think United is significantly stronger actually. Somehow you neglected to mention Kagawa (apologies if I didn’t see the reference)who definitely helps with their creative burden and can operate in a variety of roles. Their defense is rock solid as ever, and Vidic coming back fit is immeasurable. They have Fletcher coming back too to add some steel to their midfield (something they have missed), they have the best stable of wide men in the league imo with Nani, Valencia and Young, their keeper came on leaps and bounds (after a comical start he went on to eclipse our WS) and add to that they have RvP which gives them plenty of additional options and solutions. Yes they don’t have an ultra-creative midfielder, but when you have a rock solid defense, one of if not the best forward options in the league (Rooney, RvP, Hernandez, Wellbeck and for now Berbatov), and the best wide men, frankly you just need a functional central midfield, and Scholes, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs and some of the youngsters are more than functional enough.

    And no we didn’t weaken them by making them spend 24M (reports are 15M initially and the rest add-ons and performance-based), rather they lost the title and RESPONDED by INVESTING in the league’s top scorer and player of the year in his prime, while we lost that same player.

    Anyway, I don’t see Chelsea out of the top 4 either. The title may come a year too early for them with all their new recruits but for me there is simply too much talent, and the knock-on winning effect from their successful last season can’t be underestimated.

    Now for us, we’ve simply lost too much imo to mount a serious title challenge, RvP going no matter what the positive spin about the business side, as an immeasurable loss on the actual football side of things. If Song (one of our most consistent and practically only constantly fit outfield player) goes, then that also is a huge loss. Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski are all good signings, but they all have in common zero premier league experience, for us to mount a credible challenge they all have to hit the ground running imo, and expecting that to happen may be somewhat unrealistic. Also everything seems a bit top heavy in terms of the attacking focus, while for the last 5 seasons our defensive record in the league is as follows:
    31, 37, 41, 43, 49. I like the appointment of Bould, but I don’t think that solves everything, and we needed personnel upgrades in the defensive ranks, and defenders who are rated primarily for actual defending and not ball playing and attacking skills.

    Therefore, for me it’s going to go like this. 1) United, 2) City, 3) Chelsea, those 3 with a big separation and then 4) Arsenal in a fight with Tottenham and Liverpool.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Phil – Very interesting article.

    I think Liverpool will be a much improved team this season and I expect them to do better than the Spuds. That is only if they don’t lose patience with Rodgers and sack him though. I am not convinced by AVB’s management ability in the EPL, never have been and I am not sure whether he can cope with the burning microscope he is under.

  • Goona Gal

    I don’t mind us being the underdogs actually, no pressure, we have been written off, us against the world and all that.

  • Nakew

    May 2013
    Arsenal
    Chelsea
    City
    United
    Liverpool
    Newcastle
    Spurs

  • bob

    On United,
    Last year there was no Vidic. Last year they only had one of the two top scorers in the League. Last year there was no Kagawa as lurker. Mancini, disappointed in his own board’s standing put so far, has today put them in the cat bird’s seat. And there’s still two weeks left. You can call this not significantly different, but I’d like to see your analysis of why that’s so.

  • bob

    A. Stewart,
    Whether I agree with you or not (I mostly do), I applaud that you provide an actual analysis of Manure’s situation.

  • Goona Gal

    You know I have just watched the AW press conference and it somewhat ‘stilled my beating heart’. Le Boss looks cool, relaxed and his usual self so calmed my nerves. I thought he was as honest as he could be also regarding all the stuff surrounding the club. I was happy that he challenged the hacks about the way they do their job too. The man has got the fire in the belly still and that is what I needed to know.

    No word on Theo or Song though. Not even the sale of those two players would bother me too much even at this stage. The Arsenal keeps defying the odds, moving on from yesterdays men. Victory through harmony.

  • Nick

    As long as Wenger is coaching the team, I am comfortable with what he is doing.
    Last year we did manage to go 3rd with the abysmal start we had and while we played for 2 months without full-backs.

    I am ok with RVP going and Song going (As long at least a replacement for Song arrives).

    My problem is what do we do when Wenger decides to step down.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Goona Gal
    Can you supply the link to the Wenger interview please?
    Sorry about referring to you as “goner” the other time I contributed here. A typo it was.

    I feel too that Wenger is carrying out some deep surgery and cultural repositioning in the locker room. With our improved cashflow and return to spending with less constraint (in comparison with previous years) I think the players are out there to make Wenger great starting from this season and

    Wenger, more than most knows how to get them most cost effectively, put them together to pay beautiful football and motivate them to give their best. I expect a few more players to come in and some more to go – we may even still have a positive net spend (this Wenger, this!!).

    ManCity may seem a shoo-in to retain the trophy but I’m tipping my Arsenal to come tops.

  • wez

    @a. stewart do me a favour and p*ss off u united ass licking idiot, chelsea are in the exact same situation as us, 3 players who are young and no epl experience and they have lost drogba who imo was their key player and the only reason they won anythin last year, and cazorla is better than all 3 of chelseas recruits so how can people expect them to finish above us, we have only lost rvp ad replaced with 2 internationals who both start for their countries which are hard teams to get into, and as it stands we did better than chelsea last year and have roughly improved the same as they have and have also lost the equivalent they have so chelsea WILL finish below arsenal, how can spuds even be considered threats right now, they got 1 striker, best player is leaving with no replacement being close to comin in, and aging gk capable of a load of mistakes with no real decent back up, and tbh our squad is better than theirs, liverpool on the other hand i am impresses with and well i think they will get a top 5 finish this season, if spuds dont buy right players they will struggle to make europa league so i expect 4th place to go to liverpool or chelsea

  • bob

    Shakabula G,
    Once Song goes there’s no positive net spend. It will zero out. I look forward, as you suggest, to some needed further buys plus damage control.

  • boomergooner1727

    no way do spuds beat our chelsea of newcastle. no way.

  • Nikhil

    Whenever I read an article on Arsenal’s midfield no one seems to mention Lansbury . What’s the deal. Does he have any cahnce , whatsoever?

  • Goona Gal

    @ Shaka – probs, I’ve always thought you were cool. I’ve got the membership, but I do know that there are sites that sometimes puts them up. I won’t link to them on here now, maybe another time.

    I think Man C are under a lot of pressure as the reigning champions and they have a manager that seems on the verge of a breakdown, which makes for an uncomfortable dressing room. Mancini isn’t the kind of manager to be the human shield for his players either.

  • Goona Gal

    That was of course ‘no probs’, rather than ‘probs’.

  • RobL

    @A.Stewart, well done for the analysis but I’d have to disagree on United’s defence being rock solid.

    Last season Evra looked a shadow of his previous world class form, and who is their top class right back?

    On top of that all of my United supporting friends are begging for a defensive midfielder to shield the back 4, as they don’t fancy Anderson, Carrick or Jones in that role.

    Right now I’d say that they were one injury (Vidic) away from a nightmare.

    But that’s the beauty of opinions….

  • Wooby

    If Modric goes to RM, I think Spuds will actually experience a pretty big drop. Phil, as you pointed out, they have no scoring up front and Friedel is getting on. Without Modric in MF, how will they create any chances at all?

    I rate us as having a good chance with Chelsea for the 3rd spot. They have made big investments but similar to us, the likes of Hazard face an adjustment period to the BPL. So if we are saying our three new signings need time to adjust to life in the BPL, then the same goes for the Chelsea signings. I also wonder the effect of not having Drogba around. If Torres does not discover his form, who will score goals for them?

    Last year, our season was essentially shot by picking up only 4 points from our first 5 PL games and then 0 points in 3 January PL games. Our season will come down to whether we can beat the teams below us in the standings – of our 10 losses last season, 7 were to: Spuds, ‘Pool, Blackburn, Wigan, QPR, Fulham, Swansea.

    My predictions for the top 4 as of today:

    1) ManUre (don’t see us closing the 19 point gap)
    2) City
    3) Ourselves
    4) Chelsea

  • Mick

    Sorry off topic.
    According to Talkshit Song has left Arsenal.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Mick – sounds like he has spit the dummy if true. I have been concerned about him for months. If he is doing a ‘hleb’ then this will comeback to haunt him as he isn’t the brightest.

  • RobL

    I cried when Pires left, I was totally gutted when Petit, Edu, Silvinho and Gilberto went.

    Viera, and Fabregas didn’t bother me as there had been a lot of talk, and Nasri seemed a hypocrit to me. Cole left like a twat.

    I just can’t find that depth of emotion over Van Persie or Song. Van Persie was dead to me after that statement, but not sure why I’m ambivilent to Song, as it’s his number on my shirt. (Could be coz I want to see Vermaelen as a DM)

    But what I am sure of is that I’m really looking forward to this season. COYG.

  • Wooby

    I am not bothered by Song’s departure (if/when it happens). I am not saying we won’t miss him but we have Diaby and Arteta to start the season. Diaby may not be available all season but we have Rambo and Coq as backups. Looks like Ox may play there too. Then we have Jack + Frimpong on their way back from injuries. Besides, Song would be missing most of January and may be the first part of February for the African Nations’ Cup.

    The person who benefited most from Song’s assists last year was RVP. With strikers of different ilk up front (Giroud / Poldi) Song may not achieve the same number of assists – especially with Cazorla now onboard to create in MF.

    Song’s departure would mean another seasoned PL player is off the roster which further reduces our depth. I know we have a number of youths in our academy coming through but there is no substitute for experience. I therefore believe Wenger needs to bring in one or two more seasoned players for rotation and buffer against the inevitable injuries.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe selling Song is finally the end of the Darren Dein influence on the squad???

  • Edda

    I have just watched the premier league preview on the official Premier League TV channel, and i am gutted, just utterly gutted!!! They build up Man Utd as if they have bought Messi or something, and when they talk about Arsenal it is 10 minutes of “Arsenal is a club in crisis”, “They are a selling club”, “No one wants to be at Arsenal” and “Now they are going to sell Song and Walcott as well”. Really want us to win tomorrow and show all those people wrong! A good start and who knows what happen ?

  • RobL

    Please Walter, we can only hope.

    BTW even Stoke supporters think Pulis is Fergie’s lap dog.

  • FunGunner

    @ Walter
    If only! Trouble is, he could be recruited by any of our players at any time to be their agent/advisor.

  • Matt Clarke

    1. The Arsenal
    2 – 5. Do not care (they’ve all become much of a muchness now that the formerly fondly-considered Man City have become a billionaires play-thing and Chelsea are not playing attractive football and the Pool have become well-dodgy all around).

    But I do think that the Spuds will be fighting to avoid relegation.

  • americangooner

    Just because some teams have world class players does not mean that they are clear contenders to win the title. what matters is how the strategies of the manager works out with the players. In that respect clearly man-c, manure, and arsenal are contenders.

  • Doublegooner

    I agree with very little on here.

    i did post a few weeks ago that VP was going to the Mancs.

    Earlier this year also said there was one players who didn’t believe in Wenger. I couldn’t mention his name & was slated by a few on here.

    Well, that player was Song.

    IMO Wenger getting rid of both signals he’s clearing all the ‘old guard’. Walcott will probably be the next out although not yet.

    As long as we show intent to the other players & buy two more top players, it’ll be a new start.

  • 1NiltotheArsenal

    4. Chelsea
    He terrorized us for years but I’ll genuinely miss Drogba. It’s a real loss for the Premier League. He was a Lion (elephant?) in Winter. Those shoes cannot be filled and the new look Chelsea will struggle for too long before they gel.
    3. Manchester City.
    No way they can repeat – they almost cocked up in their final league match. Good fightback to save it the end – very exciting and all, but twice in a row? Not while Wenger and Ferguson are still around.

    2. Us. No really. We haven’t played a single minute of the season yet, and I’m confident it can be one of our very best. If United’s wheels fall off, who knows…A couple of things MUST happen though. Bould & Wenger have to improve us in the back, particularly our confidence. No ridiculous goalkeeper errors. No miscommunication between defenders. Wilshere HAS to come back and get in form ASAP. Ramsey must find his form again or be loaned out. I’ll always support him, he’s been through hell, but simply has to find his game. Other than that, we simply ooze class with the league’s best midfield, and we have true quality up front.

    1. Manchester United.
    I love to hate them too, but there’s no denying this club. If they stay healthy it’s theirs for the taking yet again. Kagawa, Wellbeck, Rooney, RvP, Chicarito, Nani, and now Vidic is back fully fit. Plus they have those ageless freaks that always manage to contribute somehow. They are still dripping with talent and Sir Alex shows no signs of slowing down.

  • Stuart

    I don’t think this year is so clear cut. I think Arsenal are stronger without RVP than we would have been had he stayed.

    Man U are not so solid, their defence is a bit unstable at times and Vidic is always a tackle away from an injury, Will Scholes and Giggs be as good as last year?? There has to come a time when they are not quite up to last years performance. Man City, it’s judgement year for them, can they keep it up?

    Cant see Chelsea doing well, I can’t see the manager getting the respect of the dressing room or lasting past Christmas.

    Liverpool – who are they

    Spurs, well they’ve gone all quiet, doubt they’ll make top 4 to be honest and I can see Newcastle moving in there. They keep coming on in leaps and bounds and have added quite efficient players.

  • A. Stewart

    @ wez… “@a. stewart do me a favour and p*ss off u united ass licking idiot,” Is that venom truly necessary? The blog posting was about predictions and analysis for these predictions, did you expect every gooner to think we will win? Does a simple difference in analytical opinion bother you that much for you to react so vilely..Sort yourself out son.

    “chelsea are in the exact same situation as us, 3 players who are young and no epl experience and they have lost drogba who imo was their key player and the only reason they won anythin last year,” Chelsea just came off winning the CL and FA Cup, they have strengthed their team significantly, they have a good balance of experience, premier league experience (and will likely bring in more with Moses etc) with a good blend of youth, they also have the confidence from titles last year, and a much more settled manegerial situation than last year, those things cannot be underestimated in my opinion, Also Torres’ form has improved a lot towards the end of last season and in the summer.. In my opinion I expect them to figure much better in the league than last year and to figure above us as a result.,

    “and cazorla is better than all 3 of chelseas recruits so how can people expect them to finish above us, we have only lost rvp ad replaced with 2 internationals who both start for their countries which are hard teams to get into, and as it stands we did better than chelsea last year and have roughly improved the same as they have and have also lost the equivalent they have so chelsea WILL finish below arsenal” It’s fine if you think Cazorla is better than all 3 new chelsea recruits, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it. We “only” lost RvP? As in our Captain, the league’s top scorer, player of the year, and in his prime and finally fully fit? That’s a massive massive loss.

    Again these are my predictions, I may be wrong, I may be right..like any gooner I hope we win the league, but for the reasons I mentioned I think we will place behind those 2 teams. You should really calm down and not get so worked up and personally insulting over a difference in opinion.

    Chill.

  • createstrain

    i’ll be more sad to see song go than vanbition, due to his age, skill set, consistent health and being unplayable on his day.

    but….i wont be surprised as being known throughout the squad as being the slowest mentally wouldn’t have helped and his personality has always seemed a bit narcissistic/superficial which for me clashes with the majority of personalities in the dressing room not to mention the arsenal way.

    he’d need replacing with a purchase though without doubt. unless wenger feels diaby will remain fit and disciplined. a little anxious about having a mid that havent played together before if that is the case tho talent wise its certainly contends for the title.

    oh almost forgot….

    1 – blue oil – to much depth, won it without refs.
    2or3 – arsenal – better depth, point to prove, underdogs.
    3or2 – manure – stronger in the wrong place, will need refs who are being watched (thanx untold)
    4 – magpies – kept squad together.
    5 – chelski – if they have no drama could finish two places higher. but drama is almost certain.
    6 – pool.
    7 – tiny tots IF they lose modric.

  • Goona Gal

    I would like to quote a very wise man at this point: –

    “If you do not believe you can do it then you have no chance at all.”

  • A. Stewart

    “@A.Stewart, well done for the analysis but I’d have to disagree on United’s defence being rock solid.

    Last season Evra looked a shadow of his previous world class form, and who is their top class right back?

    On top of that all of my United supporting friends are begging for a defensive midfielder to shield the back 4, as they don’t fancy Anderson, Carrick or Jones in that role.

    Right now I’d say that they were one injury (Vidic) away from a nightmare.

    But that’s the beauty of opinions….”

    Thanks for the respectful response… Despite all of what you said above, United only conceded only 33 league goals last season.

    They conceded only 33 league goals without their defensive leader Vidic (and Rio at times), with an off form Evra, with a keeper who got off to a comical start to his career in DeGea (and was dropped for a time), without anyone in the defensive midfield to help out.

    Now they have Vidic (and Rio) back fully fit, they have in DeGea a keeper who improved dramatically (from near the league’s worst in stats at the start to near the league’s best at the end), they have Fletcher close to coming back to provide defensive midfield help they didn’t have last year (even Anderson coming back too) And with RvP and Kagawa they now have more players that can keep possession of the ball better and more…

    Hopefully you won’t take these comments as “United arse licking” but these to me are pretty common sense reasons why their defense should improve. And considering again, they only conceded 33 goals with all those issues previously highlighted, this is why I expect them to have a rock solid defense. You say they are one Vidic injury away from a “nightmare” yet they endured his absence for most of last season and did realtively well defensively overall. And again, they are several more factors this year that point to an improved defense for them, even if Vidic goes down again.

    This is our defensive record over the last 5 seasons in the league…: 31, 37, 41, 43, 49. (Note it’s been 5 years since we have conceded less than United did last year even with all their defensive problems). Feel free to pick out a result like the 8-2 as an anomaly, I’m sure like we won’t be beating like that again by them, they won’t be beaten 1-6 at OT to City again. Anyway, In my opinion we simply cannot seriously compete for the title until that trend of the last 5 seasons is dramatically reversed, no matter how many attackers we buy.

    The reason why I predict we will be where I think we will be at the end of the season, because once again defense (including GK) will be our achilles heel.

  • Matt Clarke

    Nice one GG
    RVP did not believe – that’s why that wise man got shot of him.
    and the etymology of ‘believe’ is (according to http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=believe)

    is ‘hold dear, love’

    Hold dear. Love.

    C’mun guys – Number 1 is…will be … AFC

  • A. Stewart

    Unlikely to happen, but an upgrade at GK would go a long way to making us title contenders. WS has plenty of time, I would rather we get in a finshed article at GK now.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Matt Clarke – I am a believer! Until it is mathmatically impossible for us to win the league, until we get knocked out of every cup competition going, I will stand by my club and believe that we can do it. Against the odds – yes, impossible – no. Not before a ball has been kicked.

  • Matt Clarke

    respectfully*@A Stewart:
    I disagree.
    We have no need of a new GK – Sneezy will do the job well.
    And as for the rest of the defence – during the Cologne game there were signs that SBould was already having a positive affect on the defensive organisation.
    It WILL, I think, take time to bed in, but it will work.

    That’s what I think, anyway.

    *The proper respectfully – not the snide (dis)respectfully.

  • Matt Clarke

    #effect – D’oh!

  • A. Stewart

    @ Matt Clarke…fair enough, I hope you are right. But WS was amongst the league’s worst (or in the middle of the pack) in several key GK statistics including save%, and shots from distance (which says a lot about keeper positioning imo). Plus his distribution leaves a lot to be desired, and he is guilty of quite a few alarming lapses in concentration/uneccessary risks and resultant mistakes. Not the biggest area of concern in the squad I agree, but an area of concern nonetheless.

  • Matt Clarke

    …all true, but I see him as a quick learner. His attitude is just right.

  • Matt Clarke

    @Shard – we don’t the Terminator (in whatever guise) when we have the Verminator 🙂

    “I’ll be full-back!”

  • Shard

    Hopefully Sagna will be Bac before that 🙂

  • don

    How can anyone say Utd havent improved.They lost the title on GD without Vidic.He is now back and anyone who doesnt think RVP wont improve them upfront is plain stupid.City scrapped home last year but they rely too much on a core of players Kompany YaYa Silva and Aguero.If they are off form they struggle.Cant believe they kept the two nutters Tevez and Balotelli.Chelsea have made good signings but will they gel?.Arsenal have bought well but sold our best player and Song.We are still weak in back up keeper,LB DM and we need another striker.Top 4:1.United 2.City 3.Chelsea 4.Arsenal 5.Liverpool

  • Goona Gal

    @ Don – **yawn*

    Anyone posting on here with a gravatar of Flamini is unconvincing to say the least that they are able to look forward to the future. You might want to sit this season out from the sounds of it.

  • RedGooner

    I think UTD will be signifcantly stronger they were strong last season with a crap squad and I fail to see how good aditions this summer wont see them improve.

    Arsenal I am not sure how anyone can make a prediction yet.
    I always thought my self that the nuri sahin deal rumored was more to do that theo hasnt signed a new contract and has nothing to do with songs situation at all hence liverpools interest in both.

    Song also looking to leave I cant see us buying YMVilla as hes a headache off the field but if he goes and someone like Lucas Biglia arrives then we would be stronger and finish higher as I think citys squad are still not a team but a load of big headed indivuals that are mercenaries.

  • Sav from Australia

    I really do not understand people talking up Man Utd as having such a great squad.

    Even with Van Persie, they have what, the 4th best squad in the league on paper – after City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

    Last season Utd should have finished around Liverpool’s position in the league, if it wasn’t for their cheating referee assistance.

    Man Utd the squad – not so good.
    Man Utd plus the PGMOL – title contender.

    There is good news – maybe.
    If the cheating in the league is all tied into Fergie and/or the Glazers, a weak season or two and they are bankrupt.

  • Ong Bing

    I don’t care if City win again this season. I just want we finished above MU.

    And I want Arsenal player win top scores again.

  • Micko

    Man Utd are a poor side, no doubt in my mind that they would not have ended up in the top 4 last season without ‘assistance’. Their goalkeeper is one of the worst in the Premiership their defence is very shaky but often saved by a refs whistle. Midfield is poor with Fletcher looking unlikely to make it back at all and only average performances by their wingers, although they are helped out by a lot of phantom penalties. Rooney has had one great season and a lot of just good seasons, considering he is rated as World Class by the Manc supporting press. Obviously now they will be a lot more potent in attack with Van Persie joining them (if he can stay injury free).
    I see someone commented earlier that our goalkeeper was no good and that Manu’s was now brilliant – well if that is not obviously a Manu fan commenting on an Arsenal site pretending otherwise then I don’t know what is !

  • Hmmm. I am not convinced that we will be 3rd at all. I would like to see RVP and Song replaced, otherwise I think we will struggle to get a CL place. Our injury record is unlikely to get any better – we seem to suffer every year… By the way, is there an injuries analysis on this site? (will have to search!). Are we really unlucky compared to other teams?

    Anyway – the jury is out for me until I see what we will do between now and August 31st.