Thursday, 5 August 2010

As the new season approaches...

As the new season is only a couple of days away, I thought i'd take a few minutes to throw my thoughts out into the mix. Last season I set out predictions for promotions and relegations for each division and they went rather well so i'm going to try repeating the trick this time....


Premier League

Champions - Chelsea

Not exactly out on a limb I know.. But they have the best squad and have had the least amount of change. On top of that they have a very talented manager that seems to bring the best out of the players at his disposal.

Runners-Up - Manchester City

Out on a limb enough? The signings of David Silva and Ya-Ya Toure could be of great significance and I expect a huge title push from the 'other team in Manchester'. The likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Steven Ireland have been a platform to build from and this season could turn out to be the best for many years.

Relegation -

Blackpool - Favourties for the drop so no surprise in tipping them to be the first team relegated in 2010/11. Ian Holloway has worked miracles just to get the team into the top flight of English football but the lack of new signings, lack of funding due to stadium development and, in a way, lack of ambition, should see them dropping back into the Football League after just the one season.

Bolton - Since Big Sam Allardyce left, there's been a steady stream of managers that haven't been able to push the club on. Unfortunately, this season is potentially going to see the strongest line up in Premier League history and with Newcastle likely to maintain their place and West Brom looking like a stable outfit following promotion last time out, it means at least 1 consolidated Premier team will face the Championship next year.

Wigan - After 5 years in the top division I can see Wigan struggeling to compete this season. The lack of support and funding is likely to plague any relegation fight and I forsee an unsucessful final day battle to stay up.


Champions - Middlesbrough

Tough one to call. Summer signing Kris Boyd actually tipped the scales for me and his goals will prove vital to any tital push Boro manage to mount. Lack of support is the only problem i can envisage halting the charge. One thing any team needs is a strong 12th man to cheer them on when they need to find that extra gear and last season there were games when the stadium was less that one fifth full..

Runners-Up - Nottingham Forest

A strong season last year ended with a very sour taste in every Forest fans mouth after play off semi final defeat to Blackpool. However, a previous similar ezperience in the League One play offs culminated in automatic promotion the next year and I see a carbon copy taking place this year.

Play Off Winners - Reading

An awful start to last season put paid to any promotion push the team may have been planning before the campaign kicked off. However, a very strong finish including Cup giant killings against the likes of Liverpool and Burnley holds them in good stead for a run at automatic promotion. I thing they'll fall just short, but make it through in the play-offs.

Releagtion - Scunthorpe, Barnsley & Doncaster

All 3 teams promoted from League One & all 3 relegated from the Premier League will be far too good for the drop in my opinion. That means trying to pick out the worst of the rest and I see a real struggle for the 3 i've chosen.

League One

Champions - Southampton

No doubt they'll be there or there abouts come May. In my opinion this is the closest thing to a dead cert there is to bet on. A strong team, strong fan base, strong minded manager and a great stadium. Far too good for this level of the game.

Runners-Up - Sheffield Wednesday

Of the relegated sides, it's difficult to look past the Owls. The attendance for the final game of the 2009/10 season at Hillsborough was in excess of 39,000. The game ultimately saw Wednesday releagte from the 2nd tier but proved to a lot of people just how big their fan base still is despite so many years outside the top flight of the game. They wont be in the 3rd tier for long.

Play Off Winners - Charlton Athletic

Ok, now I predicted automatic promotion for the Addicks last year and they let me down. So i'm backing them again just because i'm stubborn. They'll face some strong competition but ultimately I expect to see them win under the arch in May.

Relegation - Rochdale, Bournemouth, Yeovil & Brighton

Brighton are the ones that I could possibly see escaping. But I actually had to tip them in the end because I notice that most bookmakers have them as 6th favourites to win the title... Odds on them to be relegated are as long as 14/1 with Bet365. I for one will be having a few cheeky pounds on that.

League Two

Winners - Gillingham

I may be biased but I really do feel the Gills will have a season to remember. Cody MacDonald & Adebayo Akinfenwa could be a very tasty strike force and if they hit it off early on then lack of goals and illusive away wins will be forgotten very quickly. Andy Hessenthaler is a legend at Priestfield and re-installing him as manager is a master stroke. The fans love him and the players respect him. Good times ahead.

Runners-Up - Bradford City

Expect them to push Gillingham right to the wire but after the freefall the club has been on since the Premier League days of the early 2000's, any promotion will be considered a huge success and as such, the push for the title once promotion is secured could be a little lackluster. Peter Taylor wouldn't mind beating his former employees to the title however!

3rd Place - Rotherham United

Adam Le Fondre seems to score every week and yet he's still on the books of the Millers. His goals could see them make their way back into League One for the first time in 3 years after a failed play off attempt last season.

Play Off Winners - Oxford United

Dangerous team now they're back in the Football League. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see them displace one of my tips for automatic promotion but i'll stick to them making via the tougher route. Who knows, the 4th stand may then get built.

Relegated - Accrington Stanley & Barnet

They both struggle to draw in the crowds meaning lack of funding throughout the clubs. It'll be a surprise if either manage to keep their heads above the dotted line.

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