Saturday, August 9, 2008

Time for a Soccer Blog...

With the Community Shield match kicking off the new season tomorrow morning, I felt it was time for an EPL preview. Here is how I see the final table shaping up...

20) Hull – Like Derby last season, Hull will be one and done while hoping to get at least a victory or two before bowing out.

19) West Bromwich – The other newbie that just spends a year in top flight English football. They will do better than Derby last year and Hull this year, but 30 points is still a push for WBA.

18) Bolton – Just two years removed from a Top 7 finish, Bolton just does not have any goal scorers to keep them up this year. The Wanderers made a few decent signings, but not enough to avoid relegation.

17) Stoke City – Stoke fights off relegation on the final day to fight on another season. Newcomer Dave Kitson makes it consecutive years in the EPL with 10+ goals.

16) Middlesbrough - As much as I like Gareth Southgate running the show, Middlesbrough just doesn’t have enough to make a run at a mid-table finish. Didier Digard is a good young talent they just brought over from France.

15) Wigan – Wigan has been hanging on the past 2 seasons and appears set to make a run at a mid-table finish. The duo up front of Marlon King and Emile Heskey should provide enough goals to ensure a solid finish.

14) Sunderland – Sunderland seems poised to become a mainstay in the EPL after signing a trio of players from Tottenham, including a solid defender in Chimbonda. El Hadji Diouf also has come over from Bolton to solidify the forward spot.

13) Newcastle – Newcastle will produce lots of goals with forwards like Viduka, Owen, Martins, and Ameobi – the problem will be similar to last season – their defense. Without top-flight defending and aging midfielders such as Nicky Butt and Damien Duff, Newcastle is looking at another disappointing finish.

12) Blackburn – Blackburn will have a difficult time replacing David Bentley. He has been such a force at forward for the Rovers the past few years. Robbie Fowler will be a decent replacement, but he is not the goal-scorer Bentley is. Washed up Paul Robinson takes over in goal from Brad Friedel who has been better the last few years than people realize.

11) Fulham – Fulham makes a solid jump from near relegation to a mid-table finish. They have been very active in the transfer market and picked up a pair of good forwards in Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson. Throw in Clint Dempsey, who was outstanding last season, and Fulham looks like they could be a force.

10) West Ham – Alan Curbishley now has a fit club and should finish at least as well as they did last season. If Bellamy and Ashton put up double digit goals between them, the Hammers could push for a Top 6 finish.

9) Manchester City – City made huge leaps last season and should now become a fixture in the top half of the table. Ben Haim comes over from Chelsea to solidify the defense.

8) Everton – I hate to be a pessimist, but my beloved Toffee’s are going to struggle this season. Taking on a 2nd consecutive season of European football while not making any signings is very disturbing. Moyes wanted to add 5-6 players and the only off-season movement so far has been selling players like Carlsey, Johnson, etc.

7) Aston Villa – Villa is a club that could make some serious noise this season. With Brad Freidel now in goal and the upcoming superstar Ashley Young in the forward spot, Villa could contend for a top 4 finish if fit.

6) PortsmouthPortsmouth really shored up their front line by signing Peter Crouch. English national goalkeeper David James is outstanding in goal and Jermain Defoe should complement Crouch nicely.

5) Arsenal – Arsenal slips out of the top 4 this year due to their youth and lack of quality players. Losing Hleb and Gilberto Silva were big blows to the Gunners. Jens Lehmann can be replaced and Cesc Fabregas is one of the world’s best, but I don’t think Wegner has enough this year to stay in the top 4.

4) Tottenham Hotspur – The Spurs had some money to use this summer and they picked up some quality players. They still have some extra cash, but so far have landed Luka Modric and David Bentley who will help take Tottenham into the top 4.

3) Liverpool – As much as I hate to say it, Liverpool has really positioned themselves nicely to make strong runs in the league and in Europe. This year will be a coming out party for Babel and Robbie Keane will certainly off-set the loss of super-sub Peter Crouch. Fernando Torres will get his 20+ goals and Dirk Kuyt will continue to be a force for the Reds.

2) Manchester United – Manchester United will not match last year’s double and will fall just short of the top spot in the table this season. Keeping Ronaldo was the key move of the summer, but he won’t have enough help this year to match the magic of last season.

1) Chelsea – The Blues take the top spot this season behind the new leadership of Luis Filipe Scolari. Michael Essien will return to mid-field where he is more effective and will team with Lampard, Ballak, and recently acquired Deco to form the best group of mid’s in the world.

Community Shield Prediction for tomorrow:

Manchester United 3 - 1 Portsmouth


mike said...

The Toon don't need much defense with Kevin Keegan calling the shots. He's an offensive genius and after he took over last season Michael Owen started showing glimpses of his old self. As long as they finish above Sunderland, I'll be satisfied.

It will be interesting to see how Aresenal finishes this season. They have young Theo Walcott who just took Henry's old number and has a chance to be one of the most exciting players in the league.

Good call on Tottenham, with all of the money spent this summer, they have a good shot at a top 4 finish. I still think Man Utd. will win the league this season...Ronaldo, Rooney, and Tevez are too much

Jeff said...

Manchester beat Portsmouth 3-1 in penalties. Anybody want to give me credit on the prediction?

mike said...

you're sick.

Toon! Toon!

Beezbo said...

the Olympics are going on and has as it's 4th story: "Favre runs penalty lap". I hate ESPN.