Season prediction/preview thread.

Discussion in 'Manchester United' started by Dark Savante, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    OK, so I started writing this early on Saturday morning (insomnia can sometimes be inspirational :p ) and it was supposed to be a quick and easy thing to do, but as I got typing, I realised it would take a lot more effort, time and consideration...as such I haven't touched it since Saturday morning.. and now I ask you all, is it even worth doing?

    Basically, it was to be a thoughts piece on each team in the league, an overview of their situation a predicted final position and their key-men. I got as far as Everton before the other half woke up.. and with the new mandate of less 'geeky footy stuff' I haven't had the time or inclination to finish something that may not be so well recieved..

    Is it worth me doing or even posting up? Would any of you lot want to do a (p)review of the season, ROM? anyone?

    I tried to be as unbiased as possible and give a fair assesment. Anyone interested in this, at all or should I drop it in the trashcan?
     
  2. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Namibia

    Think its a good idea

    EDIT: esp if you got people in from other boards to comment in a constructive way on where they see their sides
     
  3. GrodZilla

    GrodZilla Member

    Oct 5, 2005
    Stockholm
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Personally I'd be delighted to hear what you have to say about the other teams of the EPL. It'd be a massive project, I understand that, but the more massive your posts are the more people apprechiate them.
     
  4. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    You seem to have a downer on our manager. Would be interesting to hear your thoughts :p

    I only realised how 'massive' the stupid thing would be once I started writing it, that's why I dunno if it's worth the time. All the fans from other clubs will only look for the negative in what I write and it could be inflammatory, which I'd rather avoid.
     
  5. The Jitty Slitter

    The Jitty Slitter Moderator
    Staff Member

    Bayern München
    Germany
    Jul 23, 2004
    Club:
    FC Sankt Pauli
    Nat'l Team:
    Namibia
    posters like comme etc would be interesting to hear. i am stuffed for time right now.

    i'll say this will be a very interesting season. I was going to post in the thread you refer to that we'll see what JM is made of now Daddy Warbucks has maybe screwed the squad up with all these mega signings.

    In terms of how Utd will do - I think getting rid of Ruud was the right thing to do (though handled horribly) so potentially you have the same awesome forward line, awesome D, and now a better looking midfield. So you could do it.

    I think the risk you are running is very similar to last year. You started that season with Keane and Scholes. Elderly players where there is so much more risk of injury.

    This time around scholes needs to be packed in cotton wool, and an injury to Saha might really screw the pooch.

    The gunners are even worse off in that regard. a couple of key men out would be disastrous.

    Liverpool seem to have a bigger squad - though gerrard is priceless.

    who the hell can tell?
     
  6. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    Hehe, I'll have a word with comme and see whether he's up for it. Not sure he'd write a fair assesment of Arsenal, mind... :p
     
  7. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    No real interest in this then? I thought as much, which was why I wasn't sure whether to bother writing the rest up. I guess I've been vindicated then :p
     
  8. Vermont Red

    Vermont Red Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Dear Dark Savante:

    I am a frequent visitor to the United forum on BigSoccer. Due to my limited knowledge of soccer (football), most of my posts are piss takes on other people's posts. For real insight, I look for posts by certain knowledgable fans, especially you. A day without a post from you is like a day without seeing a hot chick in New York; its infrequency is not enough to make up for the massive disappointment.

    I am saddened to read that you will not post your (not massive) significant pre-season preview. As a married man, I cannot watch enough Prem football to obtain the necessary knowledge about every team. Your preview was to be my primary source for what I couldn't independently verify. Now I learn that you may not go through with it.

    I am sensitive to the obligations of "the other." Even now, still on a high from the game today, I am scheming to obtain a pass for Saturday morning. It is not easy to maintain a healthy relationship with "the other" and be a devoted fan. That being said, you must post your comprehensive preview.

    Whatever I can do to get you out of dutch with your "other" I will do. Remember, I will be in England in December and I am willing to carry any (non-liquid) American products for your "other." Whatever needs to be done, will be done. Just, please, don't deprive me and other posters like me who have come to depend on your contributions.

    Sincerely,

    The Man Known as Vermont Red
     
  9. MtP07

    MtP07 BigSoccer Supporter

    Jan 3, 2005
    Seconded. I will also be in Engerland in December and am also willing to bring your better half some fine American delicacies, such as some food from Waffle House.
     
  10. Vermont Red

    Vermont Red Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As well as NASCAR memorabelia.
     
  11. SirManchester

    SirManchester Member+

    Apr 14, 2004
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I would appreciate a big write up, that is if you don't have anything else to do. However I'm sure it will be great as most of your stuff is, and I don't have much time as of late and I know I'd want to respond in detail. Nevertheless, you might as well put it up now.
     
  12. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    Following on from Ted’s thread: https://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=396895 I felt it would be befitting to go into further detail and have a little review of the league as a whole. It’s usually billy that writes these IIRC, but our od seems to have gone and got himself a life now, which just won’t do! ;)

    Anyway, nothing major to write here, just a quick opinion piece and a players to watch out for, for each team that I am aware of. Obviously, this is subject to change as the transfer window is far from over, contrary to the nervous screams on the forum! I’ll update my own thoughts at the end of the window, but as things stand right now this is what I think:

    Arsenal have not done much of anything to a squad that was 24pts adrift of the title last season. They have lost Sol Campbell, who barely played last season and was clearly on the wane, and brought in Tomas Rosicky. Wenger seems to be instilling all his faith in the young charges who got them to the CL final last term. They are a year older, stronger, wiser and experienced now and they have some good quality young players. Some will have grown off the back of good performances in the World Cup and also the CL run last season. One would expect that these kids will have a better showing this year in the league. As they stand now, I’d give them no chance of winning the league title though. Abromovich has removed the fantasy that once could have been used to win the league. Now, you’re going to need a deep squad that, who like them, can rotate all season long and keep racking up those points.

    They are still far too reliant on Henry to come good all season long, and they have to pray that their talisman does not go down with an injury. Last year’s result was somewhat indicative of how much they rely on Henry in the league. He had problems with a groin strain that kept him out for large parts of the season and the team looked lost without him, there is nothing to stop the same thing happening again if Henry goes down injured this campaign, and if I were a Gooner, it would worry me that all hope rests on one man’s shoulders. When they were flying in the league they had threats all across midfield and goals from everyone but Gilberto. Hleb is their Park i.e he needs to score far more than he does, despite his fantastic build-up play, Ljungberg is not scoring like he used to do, whether that is age catching up with him, a loss of form, or difficulty settling in with the new team-mates remains to be seen, Reyes is an erratic player who is scared of the league and most teams now know he can be kicked/intimidated off his game, Adebayor does not look ‘ready’ and makes a lot of mistakes – too many to be in the 1st team, Van Persie is still erratic and is obviously not ready to fill Bergkamp’s shoes yet, if ever and Rosicky really is not your ‘good for 8+ goals midfielder’ that his first game against vs. the USA in the WC would suggest. That is far removed from the perma-finesse of Pires, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, Cole, Henry and Vieira. As things stand, this PL campaign is too soon for a team that is about 2yrs away from being a title challenger with their current personnel.

    The move away from Highbury is also going to take some time to adjust to. Their small, claustrophobic pitch and stadium suited their style to a tee, they don’t use the wings conventionally and are always trying to play ‘futsal’ with their over-elaborate, but oft’ beautiful football and the bigger the pitch, the harder it is to do. Home games were what saved them from slipping out of the top four last season, that pitch of theirs played a hand in that, imo, without it, they are going to have to be very careful. There will be a lot of teams who will relish playing on that pitch who were not comfortable on the Highbury one… that goes for the European sides as well. Wenger is going to have to adapt his tactics somewhat if they are to accumulate the points required for a top 3 finish.

    Their problems with Ashley Cole and Reyes are well documented and Wenger has to guard against the potentially cancerous atmosphere of keeping two players at his club who are tarting themselves elsewhere. Toure, along with King, Gallas and Rio can fairly be called one of, if not the best defender in the league. He and Henry are the only two they have right now who I would say are ready to take on all-comers in the league and triumph. As good as Cesc is, he is still young, he still gets bullied off the ball and he is still learning and with his age he should be allowed a number of bad games throughout a season due to the growing up process all kids go through. The bar is different now, a bunch of kids are not going to be enough to challenge a £350m squad or however much it is now, a complimentary balance of older players who have their stripes already is essential. I think they’re good for fourth spot.. as things stand, but I think we’ll see a better Arsenal squad by September the 1st and most likely I’d have to rewrite this.



    Probable line up

    -------------------Lehmann
    --------------Toure---------Sendoros*
    Eboue--------------------------------------Clichy/Flamini/Cole
    ------------Gilberto----Fabregas
    Hleb----------------------------------Reyes
    ---------------Rosicky
    -------------------------------Henry

    *When he returns from injury.

    Players to watch out for: Henry, Toure, Eboue and Cesc. Hleb could be lethal if he ever acquires a goal-scoring touch.

    Final League Standing: 4th

    Aston Villa

    It’d be wiser of me to write this one on September 1st methinks, They have a new manager and look like they are about to be taken over by a billionaire… there could be a lot of change by the end of the window if O’Neill is given money to play with. An essential requirement for them is keeping Gareth Barry. He wants out and he may well get his way. He is one of few players there with any quality and with the proper coaching he has a lot to offer. He is a player that can lift others there and really help the manager to get his ideas across. He is good for a rise of at least two positions for them in the table, imo.

    One thing you can say about O’Neill is that he is a fantastic man-motivator. He has proven with Leicester City that he can take shabby sides (like Villa) and turn them into the very best they can hope to be with said personnel. Employing him has probably saved them from relegation this year, if he’s given money to play with they could even finish mid-table.

    If you look at Villa’s side on paper, it is by no means the worst bunch of players in the league, in fact, I think it’s fair to say a good manager should expect to take that team to around 12th in the table. This is O’Neill’s chance to show he is a great manager who is ready for one of the big jobs in football by taking this team and over-achieving with them. If he took them to 8th or above you’d have to say that is a fantastic achievement. They aren’t going to be a particularly big lure to any quality players, so even with cash to play with, getting players in who by talent alone should see them in top eight, would be tough. Philips, Mellberg, Milner, Hendrie, Angel, Baros, Bouma are not bad players, and young talent like Agbanlahor and Steven Davies should not be instantly dismissed. If anything, O’Leary underperformed greatly with what he had. A quality manager would have done better despite ‘Deadly Doug’ not breathing new life into the squad with purchases. Fortunately for Villa, they couldn’t have found a better manager to resurrect them than Martin O’Neill. This is the kind of task that will make him and I’m sure he’s relishing it. They won’t be pretty to watch, they certainly won’t win any awards for individual achievements, but they could be a good punt for a strong run in the Carling Cup and a 10th place finish in the league. I’m sure there are long odds on both.

    This is the gig that is going to cement O’Neill’s reputation as a top quality manager if he gets it right. To date, he splits people’s opinions, but if he does a sterling job with Villa he will have cemented himself as one of the best in England. With regards to Manchester United… anyone who thinks he’s ready to take over now (I most certainly do not) should be watching his season at Villa with keen interest.

    Probable line up

    -------------------Sorensen
    --------------Delaney--------Mellberg
    Hughes--------------------------------------Barry
    ---------------Davies----McCann
    Hendrie----------------------------------Milner
    ---------------Angel------Baros

    Players to watch out for: Barry, Baros, Davies, and Agbanlahor

    Final League Standing: 10th


    Blackburn Rovers

    Sparky is quickly becoming a class act as a manager. Not only that, he is going about it the right way – building his own sides and completely forcing his will on them. Blackburn are a horrid side to play against exactly how Sparky used to be horrid for CB’s to play against they are rough, rugged, robust, but they are also capable of good football. Tactically, you have to commend Hughes. If a team is outright better than his (the ‘big’ 4) he’ll set his team out to make life as difficult as it can possibly be for them, and we aren’t the only ones to have fallen foul of his tactics in the past.

    What you get when you play against Blackburn is a war. Win or lose, you’re likely to know you’ve been in a hard-fought game.. with the scars and injuries to prove it. He plays a much more open game against the rest of the league, one that has worked well for him up until now. I can’t see any reason for his success not to continue and 6th-8th is perfectly achievable for Sparky and the boys.

    They’ve lost a crucial cog from last year’s success in Bellamy and their final standing in the table is going to come down to whether the new look strike force of Roberts and McCarthy can make up for the loss of one of last season’s star performers. They have a fair amount of pace and power up front still, but what may be missing in McCarthy is that never say die attitude of the little runt, Bellamy. Only time will tell if Benni can cope with the rigours of such a tough team and league. The importance of the strike-force hitting it off is essential, otherwise Blackburn won’t have a 6th place finish this campaign!

    Beings as the rest of the team is the same and is a constant lot who deliver, I don’t think there’s much else to write about Rovers. I think they’ll finish 6th myself.

    Probable line up

    -------------------Friedal
    --------------Todd--------Neill
    Khizanishvili--------------------------------Gray
    ---------------Reid-----Savage
    Emerton----------------------------------Pedersen
    ---------------Roberts--McCarthy

    Players to watch out for: Neill, Savage, Roberts

    Final League Standing: 6th


    Bolton Wanderers


    Hmm, Big Sam and his team of misfits and free transfers, I’m not even sure what he’ll do or line-up with this season. He’s gone and got rid of Okocha and brought in some hard-graft in our own Quinton Fortune and Meite. That may suggest Sam wants less flair and even more hardness to his team this season, imagine that :eek: Like Sparky, Sam brings his team to a game for a battle and if you’re not up for it, you’re going to cry and whine and probably have points taken off you. Sam’s style doesn’t wash well with some of the football purists, but most people can recognise that it is a means to an end and has served Bolton well, why the hell should he change style to appease others and possibly lose points? Exactly.

    As usual with an Allardyce side, there has been a lot of activity in and out of the club. More outs than ins, and surprisingly, hardly any cheap, over the hill former foreign stars. Sam brought in Fortune and had Dietmar Hamann in before being betrayed by the player who made his way to Man City. Anyway, such signings suggest Sam wants some additional steel, for what? I don’t know, as his side is possibly second only to Blackburn and possibly Everton for that in the whole league… perhaps he wants to be ‘The Daddy’ and have the hardest bunch of ‘barstards’ in the league.

    Big Sam is one of those managers you have to just wait and see with, as he is always up to something or other and I’m sure if the right deals come along between now and the end of the transfer window, Sam’ll be in on that free transfer in a flash! :) I’m surprised he hasn’t gone in for Ze Roberto, myself. Regardless of who he brings in, one thing won’t change – every side in the division will hate playing against Bolton.

    I wrote a whole chunk of extra stuff for Bolton, but my computer decided to crash and it did not auto-save the rest. So I will take that as fate telling me not to re-write, lest I smash this piece of shit machine up! Ahem..

    Players to watch out for: Q.Fortune,, K.Davies

    Final League Standing: 7th


    Charlton Athletic

    Usually a write-up of Charlton would be very easy as they have followed the exact same predictable pattern for years, but now they have new management it’s hard to call how their season will turn out. Iain Dowie is a manager I haven’t made my mind up about yet. If you ever watch one of his interviews he sounds like a bumbling, mumbling reincarnation of Davros (Google is your friend) but if you actually listen to what he has to say, he is no fool and seems to have a strong idea of what he wants from his players and how he wants to play. I didn’t catch many Crystal Palace games when they were in the PL because they were rubbish. As I didn’t catch many of their games I couldn’t really say whether it was his fault they were relegated or whether his players let him down – we’ll certainly find out this season as he has been given a side that is proven mid-table. Any deviation to the negative would suggest our man, Davros, is not worth the wages he is being paid.

    I have been impressed with his moves in the transfer market and I would think that’s Charlton’s lot for the Summer. Getting Hasselbaink was a very impressive move. He and Darren Bent are not a partnership to be sniffed at. Jimmy is like Andy Cole – extremely fit well into his 30’s and as such, he can be expected to play 25+ games in the league if he doesn’t go down injured, and one thing you know with Hasselbaink is that he has a cannon of a shot on him that more often than not hits the target. Whilst his scoring rate may be slipping, his partner in crime is going to love scooping up those rebounds for the tap-ins and ricochets. Another thing about such a pairing is that on their day they’ll give any backline in the league a run for their money.

    In Darren Bent, Charlton have a player who may or may not be one of the next set of big things in the league. He’s in that category of quality young striker with the Yakubu’s, Ashton’s and Harewood’s who could go on to take over from the old-guns in a few years time. He was the top English scorer in the league last season and I was raving about him as early as September as were a few others. What stands out for me with him, or what did last season, was his range of finishes and the way he was taking his goals. They weren’t excitable affairs or the goals of a player in a one-time purple patch, they looked like considered actions of a player on the up and it’s no surprise he was one of the names people were unhappy about not being taken to the World Cup. Another season like the last one and Bent is going to be hot property. I predicted he’d be at a top club within 3yrs, if he has a stunner this season he could even be on his way this time next year, so it’ll be an interesting season for him and anyone who is following the player to see if he is indeed the real deal or if he’ll fall off into obscurity like so many one season wonders have done before him (Kevin Philips anyone?) One of the reasons you become a top player is being able to play your game when everyone knows about you and still can’t stop you from playing your game. That’ll be Bent’s challenge this season… you can get good odds on him being top English scorer in the league… worth a punt?

    Players to watch out for: D.Bent, Hasselbaink,

    Final League Standing: 13th

    Chelsea

    Showing my amazing ability to be fair, I will write a review of them without tainting it with my loathing for what they are. I think anyone that’s read my rants about them knows that I see no reason or excuse for them to ever not finish first with the biggest financial backing the sport has ever known and the most expensive squad ever assembled. In Shevchenko they’ve gone and got themselves the best striker in the world. If he takes to the league like he would’ve when he was young and hungry, they’ll have themselves a 25+ goal a season striker. The signing of Ballack however is not one that benefits them in any way with regard to the Premier League campaign. I would say Ballack has been bought with two eyes on Europe and a prestige signing. With the way he is aging and the way he seems to be continuously ‘injured’ he may not play many games to the standard he is known for, for his time in Die Bundesliga and there has to be question marks about him bottling it in the league when he’s up against the Robbie Savage’s of the division. He has his doubters who think he is just there to collect his fat wage for a few years before going on his merry way.. I wonder if he’ll prove ‘us’ wrong. I personally feel the over-indulgences of Abromovich may well push what was a perfectly fine midfield beforehand, over the edge. If it aint broke… wtf are you fixing?

    There are more question marks surrounding Ballack that have been discussed to death on a number of boards on BS – can he play in the same midfield as Frank Lampard? We can all speculate and easily come to a negative conclusion, but with that calibre of player and with the level of intelligence and ability he has, you’d be a fool to write him/them off before they’ve kicked a ball in anger. I remain sceptical, but I’d never totally dismiss them before seeing what they can do. Whatever midfield it is they put out, they start the season as the best central unit in the league. Makelele is the best DM in the world, Lampard is a proven premiership performer and no matter what I personally think about Essien, the dirty ******** is a good player for the way they play and the enforcer of the team.

    You have this issue with Mourinho about ‘flexibility’ and the need to have different systems for the league, be it the 4-2-2-2 or the 4-4-2 or the very successful 4-3-3. I can understand it…to an extent, because a switch of systems can be an essential tonic, but, when your team is by far and away the leader in the league, why on earth would you do anything to disrupt them and possible unsettle them? Mourinho’s tampering and Abromovich’s over-indulgence has given fans of other sides the hope/belief that they could implode if they aren’t careful and you have to say, as the squads stand at this very moment in time, greed and possible self destruction are the only things that will stop them picking up the league trophy in May.

    Mourinho has come out and said he will play attacking football this year – he’s desperate for respect and knows full well he’ll get none for playing the way he has done the last two years. Credit to him for having the balls to try something new, but it’ll look pitiful if this stops him from acquiring his 3rd successive league title. His quest for status is an understandable one however. To be a manager who is revered by all and one who is given respect, whether despised or not, has to be something all top managers pursue. Wenger and SAF earned theirs by creating cavalier teams who stormed the league and played attacking football that even the bitterest rival fan had to grudgingly admire. If Mourinho manages to attain champagne football he’ll have a lot less critics, there’ll be a lot less things to say about him or Chelsea and people may even stop saying they’re buying the league. You can’t buy champagne football and it takes real chemistry to pull off.

    If Gallas leaves, that defence is going to take some serious collateral damage. He is the best defender they have by a mile and he is the glue that keeps the team ticking over effortlessly. Mourinho has said he is going nowhere, Gallas repeatedly says he wants to go. They’ve purchased Bhoularouz.. whether he’s a Gallas replacement or not we’ll have to wait and see, but Mourinho must know that Gallas is an essential and irreplaceable member amongst the revolving door of that club.

    Blind faith has some thinking their team will win the league over Chelsea. Cold, hard reality would suggest without a seismic implosion or a fantastic season from a rival, the title is not going anywhere.

    Key Players: Makelele, Gallas, Lampard and Shevchenko

    Final League Standing: 1st


    Everton
     
  13. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    That's where I got to on Saturday morn'
     
  14. littleman

    littleman Member

    Oct 18, 2005
    You had it written and were waiting for us to want it? :D
     
  15. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    More like, was there enough interest to even post it. lol. It's one of those 'who cares' threads and I was going to just trash it, but decided to enquire on here first.
     
  16. 433tom

    433tom New Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    Please continue on. Your preview will stimulate some good discussion.

    So Everton's next. I got Everton finishing 5th ahead of Spurs.. so be nice. :)
     
  17. Uniteder

    Uniteder New Member

    Nov 27, 2005
    I for one would, love to read it, since this season Im getting all the games (payed from my own pocket) so I would be watching alot of matches and would like to know what the hell is going on :D
     
  18. Think

    Think New Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    It is easy to predict the top four. But from then onwards it is just a guess. Write up what you think. It will be interesting to compare final standings to your prediction.
     
  19. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    Not interested in doing one yourself? Is anyone interested in doing one, or was it a futile idea on my side? :eek:

    I'll add bits on when I get the time. It would probably be easier to just write it properly on Sep 1.
     
  20. johno

    johno Member+

    Jul 15, 2003
    in the wind
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    If I get the time I'll attempt one myself, albeit with shorter reviews... I'll probably also do it in groups eg. Contenders 1-3 Hopefuls 4-6, Hopeless 17-20.
     
  21. johno

    johno Member+

    Jul 15, 2003
    in the wind
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Heavy Weights – 1 of these will most surely win the title.

    Chelsea

    Facing facts. This team has the talent and the depth to win the league. The only thing holding them back will be chemistry and perhaps tactics if Mourinho decides he wants to play a different brand of football this season. Defensively, even if they lose Gallas I don’t expect them to have any problems. Facing facts, Gallas didn’t play CB that often for them and for my money Wayne Bridge is a better leftback than Gallas who was VERY good there. They’ve still got CB depth as they’ve added Bhoularouz so again, no issues whatsoever as Terry/Carvalho will continue to be a good pairing. In midfield they are unrivalled perhaps in the world. Lampard, Ballack, Makelele, Essien – most teams have 1 CM of that quality, they’ve got 4 + Mikel :eek:

    On the wing they’ve lost some quality but they’ve still got Robben, Joe Cole, SWP and Kalou, barring catastrophic injuries they’ll have no problems on the wing all season long.

    Up front they are a bit thin. They’ve only got Sheva and Drogba but between Robben, Kalou and Cole they won’t be short of link-men if they need them.

    Likely Formation

    ----------------Sheva------Drogba
    -------------<<<<<Robben>>>>>
    ----------Ballack--Lampard --Essien
    ------------
    Bridge-------------------------------------------Ferreira
    ---------------Carvalho--------Terry
    -------------------------Cech

    Its really hard to pick, if I were running the team I’d play only one of Lampard/Ballack and use Makelele as a screen and play 2 wingers but I don’t know how Mourinho will use them.

    Key Players: Lampard, Sheva, Terry, Robben



    Manchester United

    Not a mile away from the title last season, but having lost the leading scorer and not added much (save for Carrick and Kuszczak) there are still many questions to be asked about this team.

    Defensively, this team will only improve. Vidic and Evra are the additions from midseason last year and both of them will have had time to settle, increasing the quality of depth at United’s disposal defensively from last season. Neville is an injury worry, but there Brown has looked positive in that role and atleast 1 prodigy RB will return in December to compete for the RB spot.

    In the midfield there is a huge question at the DM spot. Carrick will do well but will need some help. As of right now, Fletcher and O’Shea are the only 2 ball-winners in the team and they aren’t up to snuff . To beat the top sides this team can’t rely on shutting down quality CMs. United will need to rely on the skill of Rooney, Ronaldo and Saha to pull something out of their asses. There is a lot of depth in CM but not much proven quality outside of Scholes and Carrick.

    A lot will depend on United’s wingplay this season with Ruud gone. Ronaldo, Giggs and Park have a big role to play in creating and scoring goals for United.

    In attack Saha, Rooney, Solskjaer, Smith and Rossi are more than enough depth and quality at the forward positions. In the league these players are more than enough to keep United in goals providing the midfield holds up.

    Likely Formation
    -------------------------------Saha
    ----------------------Rooney
    Giggs--------------------------------------------Ronaldo
    --------Fletcher/O’Shea-----Scholes/Carrick
    Heinze--------------------------------------------Neville
    -----------------Brown-------------Ferdinand
    ------------------------Van der Saar


    Key Players: Rooney, Ronaldo, Ferdinand, Saha


    Liverpool

    Depth… it wasn’t particularly a weakness for Liverpool last season but it certainly has become a strength. Benitez has strengthened his squad and now injuries at virtually any position have some form of competent cover. Gerrard is of course essential, but there certainly is enough depth to mount a serious title challenge.

    The largest weakness this team faced last season was a lack of quality strikers. Morientes and Cisse are gone, Bellamy and Kuyt have replaced them. Huge improvement in my opinion. Robbie Fowler should also be in better shape and with 2 good strikers ahead of him in the pecking order he should be restricted to a substitute role in which he should thrive.

    The midfield which was strength last season has been boosted by some minor acquisitions in the center, but the real additions have been on the wing, which should in turn strengthen the middle. Key contributions on the flank can be expected of new boys Pennant, Gonzalez and Aurelio. One area of concern was width last term and I think that’s also been addressed.

    If Hyppia or Carragher go down for a long time then I suspect Liverpool will have some issues, but that can be said of most teams in the league. Still, if there’s one area without quality proven depth its at CB and that’s a bad place to stick someone who isn’t used to the prem.

    Formation
    --------------------------------Kuyt
    --------------------Bellamy
    Kewell------------------------------------------Gerrard
    ---------------Sissoko---------Alonso

    Riise/Aurelio---Hyppia--------Carragher---------Finnan
    -----------------------Reina



    Key Players: Gerrard, Carragher, Kuyt – Bench
     
  22. johno

    johno Member+

    Jul 15, 2003
    in the wind
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Hopefuls – A Prem winner from this group unlikely, but they should com but all of them should compete for a CL place primarily and then of course UEFA Cup spots.

    Arsenal

    Fans of Arsenal will feel hard done not to be included as true “favorites” to win the league or even be in a title race, but the fact remains that this team has made one major acquisition and the team last season was decidedly not good enough to win the league and they barely got into the Champions League.

    Defensively Arsenal will not have as many injuries as last season, however, with Sol Campbell gone and Cashley’s motivation and loyalty under serious questioning, Arsenal will once more expect a lot from their young players. In defence, that is always risky and I expect some mistakes to be made. Eboue is a shining light and Toure is almost as good as any other CB in the league. Cole/Clichy is excellent, but Clichy/Flamini is far less impressive. If Cole stays they should expect to make the top 3-4. If he goes, hope is more realistic.

    Arsenal have been playing 1 touch football for quite awhile and they won’t depart from that very much, but they have added a couple dribblers to their team and I think Rosicky and Hleb will both be effective for this team. Reyes is not as bad as many believe and while he may not chip in with as many goals as initially hoped for, his effort and tireless running (yes, its true) will be an asset to Arsenal, especially in their new digs which will allow A LOT more room on the wings. Not enough steel in the midfield for me though and a long term injury to Gilberto will leave Arsenal formless – not so bad in a small Highbury pitch, terrible in on a larger field. Fabregas was very good last year and he’ll be better this year… No one question’s the creative talent of Arsenal’s midfield. If they can consistently win it back – they can be hopeful of a top 3 finish.

    Up front not much has changed from last season but the maturing Theo Walcott will add some depth and variation, if not more.

    Possible Formation
    --------------------Henry-----Adebayor
    Reyes/Ljunberg--Gilberto---Fabregas---Hleb

    Cole/Clichy-----Senderos------Toure-----Eboue
    ---------------------------Lehman


    Key Players: Henry, Eboue, Fabregas, Toure


    Spurs

    Overachieved a bit last year but the squad is improved. They’ve landed themselves a QUALITY forward capable of 15+ league goals without being a greedy bastard. The return to form of Jermaine Defoe will keep Keane on his toes and the battle for #10 will be an interesting one.

    The midfield is not going to be as strong as last season but it will be close. They’ve lost their focal point and distributor in Carrick and even though I expect Zokora to be an excellent addition for them, he still needs to get used to his teammates and the league. Aaron Lennon has another year under his belt and he is going to take the league like storm. I expect SWP at Citeh type numbers from him. Danny Murphy will probably be one of the top 3 AMs on the bench in the prem and Routledge is like a new signing after missing most of last season (was he at Spurz last yr?)

    Defensively Spurs are improved from last season. Dawson has another year of experience and Davenport and Gardner are better than most give them credit for – as a supporting trio for King I’ve got no problems with them. Ekotto at LB frees up Pyo to play at RB and Pyo/Lennon might be one of the trickiest right side pairings in the league.

    Chemistry and staying healthy will be key for Spurs. Key partnerships will be Berbatov+Keane/Defoe and Zokora+Jenas.


    Possible Formation

    ------------------------------Berbatov
    -------------------Keane
    -------------------------------------------------Lennon
    ------------------------Jenas
    Davids
    --------------------------------Zokora
    Ekotto------------------------------------------Pyo/Stalteri
    ------------------King-----------Dawson
    -----------------------Robinson


    Key Players: Robinson, King, Berbatov, Lennon



    Newcastle


    A lot rides on Ameobi providing some inspiration up top. Martins will do well and Luque will probably get some games in the SS role. Duff is a huge addition and Newcastle have real talent on the wings, Duff/Luque + Solano/Milner is a wonderful crew of wingers.

    Defensively they won’t be as shite as last season as they’ve sold Silves… err Boumsong.

    Nzogbia is class and will score and create well from CM. Emre and Butt are good reserves to have so the midfield in general is pretty well stocked.


    -------------------------Ameobi/Owen???
    -------------------Martins
    Duff---------------------------------------Solano/Milner
    --------------------Nzogbia---Parker
    Babayaro-------Bramble-------Moore-----Carr
    ---------------------------Given

    Key Players: Roeder, Duff, Martins, Parker, Nzogbia



    Everton

    Good team getting better. They’ve got a solid core of starters and their physical play will cause trouble for all the finesse teams in the league.

    This strike pairing isn’t bad. Johnson and Beattie should strike up a good partnership and Cahil will thrive on Arteta and Valente’s crosses. Leon Osman won’t get regular starts at his preferred position of Central Midfield, but he’ll likely usurp Simon Davies at some point this season if Van der Meyde continues to struggle.

    Arteta/Cahil and Carsley are a nice combination of finesse and fight – the RM position is up for grabs but there are definitely some decent options in reserve as well.

    Its easy to look at the pieces and say Everton aren’t that impressive defensively BUT Tim Howard should make a difference for them. I fully expect Everton to be in the top half of the table when it comes to GA – probably top 8.

    -------------------------------James Beattie
    ----------------Andy Johnson
    ---------------------------Cahil
    ----------Arteta---------------------------------SimonDavies
    --------------------------Carsley
    Valente
    -----------------Yobo-----------Stubbs-------------------Phil
    -------------------------Howard

    Key Players: Cahil, Arteta, AJ, Howard
     
  23. Republic of Mancunia

    Aug 24, 2004
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Reptastic Johno, reptastic.

    Putting something like that together can take a while.

    Think I'd better rep DS, for his write-up while I'm at it. :)
     
  24. MtP07

    MtP07 BigSoccer Supporter

    Jan 3, 2005
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Dark Savante again.

    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to mtkillamanjohno again.

    ---

    Someone please rep these guys.
     
  25. Dark Savante

    Dark Savante Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Become the Tea Pot!!
    I'm going to rewrite the whole thing when the window closes. The acquisition of Anelka by Bolton puts them into 5th in the final standings, imo. They now have real quality up front and adding that to Sam's know-how and team is huge.

    Also, Arsenal could leap if they do manmage to get Gallas, or we with the right DM so I'm inclined to wait now.
     

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