YESTERDAY I predicted a Chelsea Premier League win come the end of the season, and to be honest picking the winner was harder than an a tungsten carbide statue of Roy Keane.
At the other end of the table, it’s far more clear cut in my eyes.
The promoted teams from the Championship are, for me, in a different league. A lower one.
Or at least they should be – when you line them up alongside the likes of last season’s strugglers Sunderland, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Southampton and Stoke.
Of the three I’d back Cardiff City to put up the biggest fight, especially with their summer signings such as Caulker and Cornelius, but Hull City Tigers and Crystal Palace will need a miracle to turn over enough points to stay within distance of 17th and safety.
I can only see it going one way – meaning it will be the first time all the promoted sides have been sent straight back to Championship since 1998.
THIS season, more than any I can remember anticipating, is a hard one to call.
The top three teams from last season, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, all have new men at the helm.
Arsenal underperformed last season – but then, Arsenal have underperformed for a good few years now – while Spurs and Liverpool could both be facing up to life without their star men next season.
I can’t see any other team seriously breaking into the top four, but which of these six elite squads will is a hard call.
There’s my disclaimer out of the way.
But neck on the line I find it hard to see past Mourinho’s Chelsea for the title.
His team has a strength in depth matched only by Manchester City, with some real creative talent in the form of Hazard, Mata and Oscar – plus if anyone can hit the ground running it’s the Special One, a manager adept at settling into new clubs, with the benefit of having been here and done it before.
It’s this that gives him the edge over Pellegrini’s star-studded legions of Manchester City, who I’m placing second come May.
Last season, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal gave themselves a mountain to climb, and they climbed it admirably during the second half of the season. If they come out of the traps in the same form as they finished last time around, I can see them overhauling David Moyes and Manchester United’s defending champions, who’ll have to settle for fourth place.
Liverpool and Spurs I see missing out, without the depth in their squad to maintain a season-long campaign – although I will tip the Lilywhites’ new boy Roberto Soldado for the Golden Boot.
Tomorrow, I’m going to have a look at the other half of the table and predict who’ll be relegated…
JOSE Mourinho’s Chelsea are going to win this season’s Premier League – according to cold hard maths.
Statisticians at Bloomberg Sports have revealed their first ever Premier League end of season projections – forecasting the finishing position and points of every team in the league.
And their number crunching has revealed that the Blues will pip United and City to the title in a three horse race, with Moyes finishing third in his first season at United.
They predict that Arsenal will beat off their rivals to the last Champions League spot, and all the promoted teams – Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Hull City – will be relegated straight back to the Championship for the first time since 1998.
Bill Squadron, President of Bloomberg Sports, said: “As fans around the world debate the 2013-2014 Premier League season from a purely subjective standpoint, we are adding our mathematically-derived predictions to the debate.
“Using the same objective data analytics that drives our Match Analysis tool, we are pleased to unveil a purely data-driven projection for each team.
“Not only does this make for great content for fans, but it also provides data that helps them beat the bookie.”
For more information go to www.bsports.com
MANCHESTER United won the Premier League – check.
Manchester City second – check.
Chelsea and Arsenal qualify for the Champions League – check.
Spurs pushing them close – check.
Smug face – check.
Liverpool pushing for Europe – errr…
Nevertheless, this has undoubtedly been my best ever year for Premier League predictions, and to prove it click here to see my punditry from last August.
I’ll be milking this one over the close season, I can tell you.
ONE fact a lot of people seem to have forgotten about last season is that Manchester City were seconds – mere seconds – from coming second to Manchester United.
The gap between the two teams after months of swapping the top spot was miniscule, so this season will come down to who has progressed best in the close season.
Manchester City haven’t recruited so far, unless you count Carlos Tevez’s return – but goals weren’t the problem for the Citizens last season…
However United have added the creativity with Kagawa and fit-again Cleverly it lacked to unleash it attacking wealth of Rooney, Nani, Young, Valencia et al
Add to this defensive solidity from a returning Vidic, and possibly last year’s player of the season Robin van Persie, I think the Red Devils will be top of the pile come the end of play.
In addition, I can’t see past Chelsea and Arsenal for the remaining top four Champions League places – although Spurs will be pushing once again and Liverpool will run it closer than they did last season.
DEFENDING champions Manchester City will surely be looking to make it two in a row with their stellar line-up.
Manchester United will feel they have closed the thin gap with their injury returns and new recruits – which could soon include Robin van Persie.
Chelsea conquered Europe last term, and have spent millions more to challenge for the title.
Arsenal have enlisted some exciting signings to bring them up to parity with the top tier once more.
Spurs will be spurred on by the attacking vision of Andre Villas-Boas, while sleeping giant Liverpool will be looking onward and upwards under Brendan Rogers.
But who do you think will be top of the pile next May?
I’ll be having my say next week, but for now, place your vote via a comment below, tweet us at @goaltastic, or vote on our poll at http://www.facebook.com/goaltastic
IT’S that time of year I dread.
Why do I do it?
Last summer I posted some bold, brazen predictions about who would emerge victorious and who would be relegated come the end of the 2012/2012 season.
Now it’s time to revisit those Nostradamus-like moments of foretelling.
I’m sure it will come as a shock to absolutely nobody that I got more wrong than I did right.
Obviously in reality it was Manchester City which won the title – I had stuck my neck out and tipped Chelsea, who instead fell apart under Andre Villas-Boas before their late European rally to make the Champions League final. I had Manchester City pencilled in to implode and miss out on Champions League football altogether.
I did tip Manchester United for second place though.
At the other end of the table newly-promoted Swansea and Norwich defied the odds – and my predictions – to avoid the drop in some style. In their place were Wolves and Bolton.
I would like to point out however that I never gave Blackburn a shot and I was right – I would especially like to point that out to the commenter who last July pledged to tuck his tackle between me legs and run around Blackburn town centre singing Life Is A Rollercoaster by Ronan Keating should Rovers go down.
Over to you, dear reader…