On the 16 July 2015, I posted this:
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- West Ham
- Aston Villa
- Crystal Palace
- West Brom
Okay, so that went badly wrong. Here is the difference in positions in compared with now and my prediction:
Let us all take a moment to mourn the loss of blametheblogger's credibility in the football world.
Okay, so it’s pretty clear that I completely failed that. The total difference in positions between then and now is…
That’s bigger than the difference between Man City and Dagenham and Redbridge. What a shame… and don’t ask me to pick your lottery numbers in the future!
Anyway, let’s look to the future and the end of this season. The next three months will be the last with big John Terry at Chelsea (Terry-ble news) and Pep Guardiola is on his way to the Etihad (a changing of the Guard-iola). The title race is wide open without the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United competing, and any of the current top four are still in with a chance. Here is my prediction come the end of the season:
- Man City
- Man United
- West Ham
- Crystal Palace
- West Brom
- Aston Villa
So, an in-depth look at the title contenders…
1. Manchester City
None of the teams at the top of the table look particularly strong, and they all keep dropping points. However, March, April and May is a completely different prospect to the first half of the season, and City are the only squad that know what it’s like to be in a title race, and more importantly, how to win trophies. Provided they have no more long injury lay-off to big players (they are already missing De Bruyne and Kompany enough!) they should win comfortably in the end.
I’m not known for my heavy backing of Arsenal, but as I said in July;
I am backing them to mount a serious title challenge but fade away around February, only to end strongly and regain the runners up spot
So this, if my July hunches finally prove to be right, is the make-it-or-break-it month. The Gunners often end on a high so if they can hit a purple patch early in the season they can take an unassailable lead. However, I’m reluctant to back them to challenge City (who I think will have an easy ride eventually) as the Arsenal teams in the last decade are always more afraid of what’s behind them than confronting what’s ahead. For Arsene Wenger, he will obviously want a title and this year is his biggest chance of getting it, but I fear, for Arsenal fans’ sakes, that he will get preoccupied with ‘picking up a point on the road’ instead of always looking for all three. It’s the lack of experience in the squad which always comes 3rd or 4th that will condemn them to runners up.
Hmm, let me think, where have we seen this before? A team finishes a season without really threatening the top 4, then capitalises on big teams slipping up to mount a title challenge of their own? Sound familiar, Brendan?
The only difference between the Spurs side this campaign and Liverpool’s team is that lack of class. Christian Eriksen hasn’t been at his best, and Harry Kane is a goalscorer but is not a complete striker. However, City and Arsenal have every reason to be checking over their shoulders…
Their quick, attacking play is easy on the eye and the youthful squad filled with home-grown talent (not to mention their fancy new stadium) is definitely a recipe for future success, and this year’s run-in will give them title race experience, but it’s too soon for Tottenham this year.
Leicester, Leicester, Leicester. What can I say? You embarrassed me! Who would’ve though it? Just for laughs, here are a few quotes from my Leicester prediction of 20th in July…
Nigel Pearson was worshipped in the football world after he guided Leicester to a major miracle and kept them up comfortably in the end. And then they went and sacked him! The madness then deepened as they announced Claudio Ranieri as their new boss – ‘uninspiring’ as Gary Lineker called the appointment.
It looks pretty hopeless, and the squad looked a relegated team until the back end of last April
They have really shot themselves in the foot here, Leicester, and they have practically condemned themselves to relegation.
The tears are welling up…
4th place can be viewed as a great result from their current position, or too negative. The thing is, they are the 17th-lowest paying Prem club when it comes to wages and their squad aren’t exactly the quality and depth of City and the two North-London clubs. They do still keep winning though, and you never know, I have learnt from my July experience to never rule things out. Some people say it’s ridiculous, but in Prem history the team top at this stage has gone on to win the Premier League.
The top 4 beckons and I reckon they will make it – and hats off to the board for keeping hold of Vardy, Mahrez and Kante!
And as for the title race: I don’t think they will do it, but I’m not ruling anything it out…
This is the Premier League we’re talking about.
And a little on who could go down…
I’ve always had faith that Steve McLaren will do a good job, and he’s certainly made a statement of intent with his January business. He spent £24 million on Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend, two great young English talents who have proved themselves in the Premier League. He also brought in Seydou Doumbia – what a player! Their squad and their financial state is too good to go down and I think they’ll turn it around and finish in a comfortable mid-table position.
Great team, great style of play, great manager. I’ve never thought they would go down, and so I’m sticking with my gut feeling in July and going for 15th place.
Francisco Guidolin. Well, well, well. Fool me once, Premier League, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me…
I’m not making the ‘Ranieri-error’ again, so I’m backing the Swans to stay up. Not just because of my benefit, but because they have a good squad and are a solid and fairly well established Premier League team. I still think Gary Monk should have been given more time though, and that could prove their downfall.
17. West Brom
I said it in July, I’ll say it again – Tony Pulis teams don’t go down! It must be something in the baseball cap…
Their defensive resilience and their incredible success at keeping Saido Berahino will keep them up in the end, and so I’m again sticking with my July guess.
Sorry Black Cats, but you simply needed to do more in January to stay up. Jermaine Defoe is their only goalscorer and their defence is as rubbish as Simon Mignolet…
They’ve had their moments of promise, and their moments of plain badness – 3-1 up, 5-4 down?! It’s just not a Premier League quality squad, I’m afraid. Their boss, Alex Neil, has a great career ahead of him, but it’s not in the 16/17 Premier League season at the helm at Norwich.
20. Aston Villa
They’ve been threatening to go down for a while now, and Remi Garde has been diabolical – just one win so far! They lost Delph and Benteke and didn’t replace them, and in most matches it’s Jordan Ayew vs 11 opponents. The sorry villains have not been up to scratch this season and will be playing Championship football next campaign.
So, I’m now all set for another major embarrassment. Just you watch whilst Villa go on to win the League, and City are left stranded at the bottom…