Jack Wilshere will start fewer than ten league games
Looks like dear old Jack Wheelchair is already doing his bit to fulfill this one. Wilshere is Arsenal’s own Humpty Dumpty – no-one can seem to put him back together again. Chronically crocked, perpetual visitor to the physio’s room and about as robust as damp kitchen roll, glass ankles Wilshere can’t stay fit long enough to get himself into form. Even when he is fit, he’s fallen behind the likes of Ramsey, Cazorla, Coquelin and the Ox for a first team place. I can’t see him making double figures in terms of Premier League starts.
Sergio Aguero has been the most consistently excellent player in the Premier League since he moved to England and he can count himself unfortunate to have missed out of the Player of the Year awards every time, perhaps barring one injury-plagued season. He is a special talent and almost certainly the best pure finisher in world football [as demonstrated by better than goal every 2 games record for City]. It’ll be another Golden Boot for Kun and he’ll finally get the recognition he deserves for being the league’s outstanding player.
3.Claudio Ranieri is the first manager to be sacked
To put this into context, Ranieri left his previous job with Greece after losing twice to the Faroe Islands. That doesn’t bode well for the Tinkerman and it’s frankly a bit of a mystery how he keeps getting jobs. The biggest problem that awaits Leicester fans is the change in style. Ranieri’s brand of defensive football is about as dull as Michael Owen’s commentary. Leicester played some good stuff under Pearson and created a lot of chances. It was their lack of cutting edge that nearly cost them, not defensive issues. They’ve not got the personnel to bag loads of goals [plus Cambiasso has fucked off to pastures greener], so it won’t be long before the Tinkerman is swinging from the gallows.
4.Raheem Sterling will have a bang average game at Anfield despite having a good season otherwise
After a transfer saga that felt like it was going to take longer to come to a conclusion than the Chilcot Report, Sterling eventually forced his way out of Liverpool after employing the tactics of a petulant toddler. Despite that, Sterling has all the attributes to succeed at City and he is just what they need. They have been crying out for a bit of incisive pace with some end product in their forward line [sorry Jesus Navas, but at least you still have gorgeous eyes]. If Silva, Aguero and Sterling develop an understanding, that is a truly frightening prospect. So, despite having an admirable first season at the Etihad, Sterling will inevitably have an absolute stinker at Anfield while getting booed mercilessly by bloodthirsty scousers. This will lead to endless smug Liverpool fans proclaiming that they’re better off without him, and that Jordon Ibe is much better, gleefully ignoring the otherwise great season Raheem has put in.
Lukaku will have a great game at Upton Park despite having a bang average season
Night follows day, Summer turns to Autumn and Romelu Lukaku scores at Upton Park. At times it seems as inevitable as the phases of the moon or Mourinho being a prick. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the big Belgian that terrifies West Ham. He’s happier hunting at the Boleyn Ground than an American dentist in Zimbabwe. Expect him to bag at least one and look like a world beater in East London despite being largely toilet for the rest of the season, scoring a paltry 12 league goals. Which actually has a part to play in the next prediction…
6. Neither of the managers of Merseyside teams will finish the season in charge
Both Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers will be receiving their p45s by the time the season has ended. After an excellent first season in charge, Martinez’s men floundered last season as they failed to juggle the Europa League and the Prem. It was disappointing for the eminently likeable Bobby and he could find himself under pressure if they don’t have a good year this time round. I can’t see them doing well though, as they haven’t done enough in the transfer market. If you compare their business to the sides who finished around them last season [Palace, Swansea, Stoke, West Ham] you’d have to say that they’d fallen behind a bit. Expect him to get his marching orders.
As for Liverpool, they’ve acquitted themselves much better in the transfer window this time around, but it’s going to be another summer of upheaval after a mass influx of players. It looks like the transfer committee has done slightly better with the quality-quantity balance that they had last season, but Rodgers has got a difficult job to find a way of accommodating all of these players. Add to the fact that they haven’t done a good enough job at clearing out the deadwood, leaving them with a squad more bloated than Rafa Bentiez’s waistline. Rodgers has got about as much of a chance of making it to Christmas as a Hallowe’en pumpkin or a Thanksgiving Turkey.
Also I think the writing is on the wall for McClaren, Tactics Tim, and maybe Louis van Gaal?
7. The surprise England contender
It always seems to happen the season before an international competition. There is always one player who has a breakout season [usually starting at about the turn of the year], who makes a charge to be involved in the England squad and with Euro 2016 looming in the distance, this season will be no different. But who will it be? In recent seasons, there have been a number of Championship strikers who have come up with promoted sides and hit the ground running. Last season, we even had 3, with Austin, Ings and Vardy all firing themselves into international contention. Looking at similar players this time round, both Troy Deeney and Callum Wilson could be decent outside chances, depending on how they and their teams settle. If you want my tip, I’d go for either Joel Ward or Scott Dann.
Let’s face it though, it’ll probably be a fucking recall for Ashley Young.
8. Only one promoted side will be relegated
I’ve seen quite a few journos predict all 3 promoted sides going down but I can’t see that happening. I think Leicester will implode and almost a certainty for the drop. I also think that this might be the season that Sunderland do everyone a favour and just go down again. Shaky at the back, lacking a cutting edge upfront, I’m not sure they have much more skin on their teeth to survive by.
Which leaves only one place. Norwich look like they’ll struggle for goals, Bournemouth have big question marks if their progressive football will be enough to keep them up and Watford have brought in so many players, no-one has any idea how they’ll do. Others have suggested that Bournemouth will transition well to the big boys league, but I fear for them a bit. I can’t help but think of Blackpool, who played scintillating football for a spell but ended up getting flushed back down into the Championship. Admittedly, Eddie Howe has got much more about him than Ian Holloway ever had, but it’s still a worry. Norwich lack the financial clout of the other 2 to strengthen in January if they’re struggling, so that, coupled with a lack of a class striker, makes them look likely for the drop.
9. A number of young British players will flop
There were a number of bright, young, British things who burst onto the scene last season and managed to impress. This, of course, led to cries of it being a new dawn for British football. This season will prove that to be a false dawn, however, and will lead to a lot of those players falling flat on their arses.
Danny Ings has made a horrible decision going to Liverpool where he will barely play before being sold to West Brom by January next year. It’ll be a similar story for Patrick Bamford who has joined Palace on loan after a decent season at Middlesbrough where he somehow robbed Daryl Murphy of the Championship Player of the Year Award. He’ll find his playtime limited under Pardew and will be found out at this level. Kieran Trippier will fizzle out into nothing cleaning Kyle Walker’s boots at Spurs. Jack Grealish, all slicked-back-hair, socks-round-his-ankles and lying-pissed-in-the-middle-of-the-road, will prove himself to be a Januzaj-style flash in the pan, making the competition for his international future last season seem like a pathetic joke. Jordon Ibe showed inklings of talent towards the end of last season, but will fail to replicate that and will add himself to the LONG LONG line of pacey, English, black, right-sided wide attacking players who have no end product whatsoever. You can probably add Nathan Redmond to that bracket as well.
Jack Butland, Harry Kane and Saido Berahino might do all right though.
10. Crystal Palace get to a cup final.
I dunno lads, I just fancy it. I don’t think it is humanly possible to be as smug as Pards would be if he nabbed himself some silverware. I mainly want this to happen to see whether he would spontaneously combust from the smugness. Either way, Palace have a very decent side, with incredible depth in midfield for a midtable Prem side, and an enviable backline as well. Could be a very decent season at Selhurst Park and I can see it ending with Pardiola having a pot to piss in.