Monday, 1 August 2011

Here we go

Yesterday to Broomfield Park for a birthday picnic with some very good friends. Naturally, I wore my City shirt and played a bit of cricket - thankful that my friends were sporting enough to rescind my run-out decision because the ball clearly didn't touch the tree before I rounded the plastic tennis ball container.

Prior to that, I was caught up (having forgotten it was on) in the madness of traffic as a result of the Emirates Cup, stuck on a 259 on the Seven Sisters Road for what seemed an eternity, not helped by the fact that the driver seemed to be doing everything humanly possible to slow the journey down. At one point he even deployed the wheelchair ramp when there was:

a) no-one in a wheelchair waiting to get on, and
b) no-one at all waiting to get on!

He was Mr Nice, stopping once he had set off to let on any old stragglers. Add to this the interminable crawl along the road and through the Finsbury Park bottleneck in temperatures up in the high twenties and you have a recipe for frustration, let me tell you.

But the point of it all is this: the football season is just around the corner (unless you're a Jocko, in which case, it's already history) and today's Graun carried the first of their Premier League reviews - all about Arsenal, who are predicted to finish 5th. Next weekend sees the Community Shield, with another chance to watch us take on the Rags, and today's post brings me to my predictions for the season ahead. My City shirt draws some attention in the Highbury/Holloway area, but not too much, yet the chap in the Turkish supermarket (clearly obsessed with the beautiful game) seemed very pleased to see me there - Gooner/Galatasary though he is. His eyes lit up, and he spoke of our seven strikers, admitting that Kun is a tidy prospect, showing some love for Dzeko, and adding that Tevez still held the key to our success. Mostly sentiments with which I agree.

So, my two cents if you will.

Un-controversially, I would say that Chelsea are going to be good this season. The Rags will be there or thereabouts. Yawn. Spurs will not have as good a season as last year, Arsenal (despite the lack of transfer activity in the inward direction so far) will have a better one. Liverpool won't do a lot. Everton will be the usual conundrum, though not likely to finish much above 7th. Villa will be lower-middle, Blackburn and Bolton slightly flattered by the new boys. Here goes with the table then:

1.   Chelsea
2.   City
3.   Rags
4.   Arsenal
5.   Spurs
6.   Everton
7.   Liverpool
8.   Bolton
9.   Stoke
10. Fulham
11. Blackburn
12. QPR
13. Villa
14. Newcastle
15. Sunderland
16. West Brom
17. Norwich
18. Wigan
19. Wolves
20. Swansea

Of course, I may be wrong. Here are my predictions for last season (with the actual finishing position in brackets).

1.   Chelsea (2)
2.   Rags (1)
3.   Arsenal (4)
4.   City (3)
5.   Liverpool (6)
6.   Spurs (5)
7.   Villa (9)
8.   Everton (7)
9.   Bolton (14)
10. Blackburn (15)
11. Fulham (8)
12. Brum (18 - ha!)
13. Stoke (13)
14. Wolves (17)
15. West Ham (20. Oh dear)
16. Wigan (16)
17. Sunderland (10)
18. West Brom (11)
19. Newcastle (12)
20. Blackpool (19)

You can see from that that I was in a few instances only one place out, but it still means that I correctly guessed only the finishing positions of Stoke and Wigan, which is not an impressive strike rate by anyone's lights. Better luck next time, eh?

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