Them annual prediction things. Wippo sez this…
AFC Bournemouth – 17th
Eddie Howe, having kept Bournemouth up repeatedly against all the odds, and then astounding everyone by winning the FA Cup in 2018/19 is the next Everton manager after Ronald Koeman leaves for Barcelona, having guided us to out first title in 32 years. That’s the fantasy, but reality means Steady Eddie will be looking for another job in the Championship after this season as Bournemouth cannot compete at this level for more than three years, surely? Actually, they will, just. Bournemouth will battle all season with south coast neighbours Brighton for the “top” drop spot, but their experience in the top league will just about be enough to see them through.
Arsenal – 7th
Keeping Wenger was a mistake, which they will reluctantly realise by January when he will be pushed upstairs, having gone through their normal yo-yo start to the season where one game they look like world beaters, and the next…well…Arsenal, really. The new boss inherits a squad that is big on style and thin on substance, and one that spends more on male grooming products in a week than most of us earn in a year. They finish 7th due to their complete lack of cojones, several diva-like hissy fits from their stars, and their new manager being hospitalised for bad nerves. And because of the gulf in class between the top seven and the rest it’s practically impossible to finish any lower without being accused of match fixing.
Brighton – 18th
Next to Bournemouth in more ways than one.
Burnley – 19th
Sean Dyche is the sort of bloke you’d want on your side in brawl, but even he can’t keep doing the impossible.
Chelsea – 1st
Can’t really see past them for the top spot. They may not have the best first eleven on paper, but they know how to win matches and titles. Yawn. At least Man City will give them a run for their money this time round.
Crystal Palace – 9th
The other ex-Barcelona Dutchman with something to prove. I can see him beating his compatriot Ronald’s lot too, just for the hell of it. Frank de Boer’s inexperience in the Premier League means Palace will battle it out with Southampton for the “The Best of The Rest” title. Maybe better next time.
Everton – 6th
“Life could be a dream (sh-boom) / If I could take you up in paradise up above (sh-boom)…”
My club just squeezed in at the newly extended top table last season and were grudgingly given a child’s chair with a wonky leg, right at the end near the door, so the football royalty didn’t have to look down at us for too long. For way too long prior to this we were like pauper landed gentry whose country pile was collapsing around their ears as the Lord of the Manor couldn’t afford its upkeep. One day not so long ago Lord Bill spotted a chap of Middle Eastern descent waving his stuffed wallet at sundry minions as he wandered past a theatre in the West End where Bill was putting on his latest show, “Oo-er Mrs, Where’s Me Trousers?”, starring Bill Roache as Dolores Undergarment. Using his oleaginous charms Bill enticed the unwitting fellow in for a nice cup of tea, and the rest, as they say is history.
Since then that nice Mr Moshiri has bought half of Liverpool, has his even richer buddy Comrade “Don” Usmanov lurking in the wings surrounded by his over-tattooed and over-muscled fellow countrymen acting as henchmen, and the now Mosh-owned Liver Building is lit up blue every night! It is such fun to observe thousands of Kopites as they wail and gnash their way through an existential crisis caused by our sudden ability to beat them in the money stakes for the first time in decades. This is a crisis the likes of which the poor deluded lambs have not known since Bill Shankly said he actually thought Everton was the better run club, back in 1747. Not only that, but Mosh…he’s ok being called Mosh, I asked…has provided Steve Walsh and Ronald Koeman with the funds to go build a team that can actually give the usual suspects a run for their mostly lesser amounts of money. Fuck, I can’t believe I just said that. I’m convinced I’ll wake up soon and this is all a dream.
It was…I wrote all that not long into the transfer window, and realism has kicked in since then. It’s now looking highly unlikely we’ll have a striker with a track record who is not at the end of his career leading the line, and we will obviously miss Lukaku’s goals big time. I am also only too well aware that buying up a virtually new squad in a close season is no guarantee of success, you only have to look across Stanley Park for almost yearly evidence of that, heheh. On the plus side that hard Dutchman has coped more than ok with having new teams each year when he was at Southampton, and Director of Footy Steve Walsh was the man who assembled Leicester’s astonishingly unlikely title-winning team, but grim logic says we are simply not good enough for the top 4, that’s going to take at least another two or three years. Frankly I don’t really care where we finish as long as it’s no lower than last season and we win a pot. At the end of 2017/18 it will have been 23 long barren years since we last did that.
Huddersfield – 14th
A total guess as what I know about Huddersfield is similar to the amount of common sense pinging around randomly in Ross Barkley’s empty brain cavity. One promoted side always does better than expected, so why not Huddersfield?
Leicester – 10th
There is a misplaced but understandable sense of entitlement about the board of directors at The King Power Stadium, and it will take a while before the dust settles after that surreal title win two seasons ago. This will mean a revolving door on the managers office as they struggle to do better than their rightful place in the grand scheme of things, which is safely ensconsed in mid-table.
Liverpool – 4th
That intellectually challenged and all-round gobshite Jamie Carragher reckoned that none of Everton’s close season buys would get into L****poo*’s first team. This of course includes Jordan Pickford, who was Carragher’s goalkeeper in his Premiership Team of the Season last time out. Durrr…
It seems our lovely neighbours are being left behind a tad by their rivals in spending power. Good news to me made all the sweeter, as the Norwegian hordes squint myopically at us across the park from within the spendid confines of their fabulous Big Shed stand, as we sail off to exciting times.
Manchester City – 2nd
The other side of the coin to assembling a new squad each year is the Chelsea and Citeh way of doing business – buy everything and loan it out. You throw enough shit at the wall eventually some of it will stick, but Citeh will find themselves falling short again, but it will be a close call. Not enough to prevent Pep getting the push or leaving for losing the title to Chelsea on the last day of the season however, and Man Utd fans up and down the Home Counties, South Africa, and Thailand will have their Schadenfreude moment despite not managing to finish ahead of the noisy neighbours, again. The question for Citeh is; where on Earth do you look for a manager after Pep?
Manchester Utd – 3rd
They will score more goals than last season, obviously (bastards 🙂 ), which will mean less draws and more points. They will still be a way off the two teams above them, but they may well go all the way in the Champions League, as Jose knows a thing or two in that department. Not a lot more to say, really.
Newcastle Utd – 13th
El Camerero Gordo is back, which is good, as the Premier League has sorely missed his comedy value. Much rumblings of discontent are emanating from St. James Park from the Spaniard over the difficulty he is having in prising Ashley’s fat pudgy fingers off his wallet, so by the time you read this Rafa may have walked. Big Sam to the rescue?! Either way, a mid table finish.
Southampton – 8th
Eighth, but a good few points off seventh, such is Southampton’s lot. Another team with a new manager, me making the Saints “Best of The Rest” is a bit of a gamble, but Pellegrino certainly has the pedigree, unlike his predecessor.
Stoke – 16th
Mark Hughes along with Tony Pulis are two managers from whom you know exactly what to expect. Pulis has slightly better players at his disposal hence he’ll be the one who won’t be looking over his shoulder in April.
Swansea – 15th
Along with Watford, Swansea are a club with owners whose expectations well exceed their respective clubs’ natural place in the pecking order. Call it ambition, or more likely greed, but these two are never going to be challenging for the top half unless the playing field levels out considerably. To be fair to Paul Lambert, much depends on whether or not they hang on to Sigurdsson, by far their best player, and I’m assuming they don’t. Unfortunately for Lambert he won’t be able to spend any of the ridiculous amount of dosh Everton end up paying until the January window, as the transfer will happen too late for that. As an Everton fan, I know all about that particular nightmare!
Tottenham – 5th
Tearing up and down and across the vast open spaces of Wemberlee will eventually wear them out, disillusionment will set in, the fans and the players will be grumbling into their hipster beards before Xmas. No club can do a sulk quite like Spurs, so I can see the wheels coming a bit loose this time, but they will bounce back when they get into their new home, the shortest ground move distance-wise in history!
Watford – 20th
A perfect advert for how not to run a football club. Watford were my dad’s team, but sorry dad, they’re doomed, incompetence in all areas will find them out.
West Brom – 12th
Pulis does what Pulis does. The fans will get fed up of the same old same old, just as they did at Everton, but the change when it comes for West Brom is unlikely to be for the better as history is not on their side.
West Ham – 11th
I like Slaven Bilic. He puts me in mind of a warlord from the Middle Ages leading his unshaven and unkempt warriors into battle. You get the impression he wants to steal the other club’s women and silver, as well as giving them a good seeing to on the battlefield. The Hammers’ problem is that said field is that soulless running track, the complete atmospheric opposite of their old stomping ground. I doubt the team or the fans will ever get used to it. Can’t see the ambitious Croatian hanging round for much longer to be honest.
FA Cup – Everton
League Cup – Everton
Europa Cup – Everton
…well, one of them might be right!
Chumps League – Manchester Utd
Clive, despite an ongoing and frankly unsettling transformation into a Centaur from the waist down since he and his Mrs recently moved into to a cave with some Picts still resident, has these remarkably sensible things to say, brought to us by a Tennent’s Super-fuelled carrier pigeon from somewhere oop narth…
The 2017/18 Season Predictions:
It’s a little later than usual, but here’s the pre-football moment you’ve all been waiting for…
I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself, but I think this season could well be one of the most difficult to call in the 15 or so years my mate Wippo and I have been doing this. Teams you would have fancied going down have acquired new managers and even the weakest of teams promoted have credible chances for survival. I’m sticking my neck out and forecasting a couple of complete shocks.
AFC Bournemouth – 17th
I like Eddie Howe and I like the way Bournemouth have gone about their business. I have real worries about them this season, despite investing in better players. The reason is simple, with the amount of money being spent, they might not have done enough. It’s going to be a much longer, more worrying season for the Cherries.
Arsenal – 6th
On the surface, being in the Europa League with Wenger’s reputation for playing academy youth in pointless cups (nice dig, there Clive!), might not be as much of a hindrance as is being made out. They also appear to have bought some players and look to keep others. I honestly believe that Wenger will not be a problem, despite constant speculation on his future intensifying in the new season. The problem will be the Europa League and how many of the first team play in it and how far they get. If offered the chance, I reckon Arsene would have been happy with an 8th place finish last season, this one they need to be challenging and I doubt they will ever look like that.
Brighton – 19th
Could we witness another Bonfire of the Bs? Blackburn, Bolton and Birmingham went down a few years ago and there will be punters going for a repeat of that again. The thing is I like Chris Hughton and this season pits him in an unlikely confrontation. He was the last manager to bring Newcastle back into the Premier League lost the job halfway through an adequate and safe season, which saw Newcastle struggle from that point on. Newcastle are also newcomers this time and Hughton will want to emulate his first half season with the Bar Codes down at Brighton. I think he has a job and a half and I don’t think the Seagulls will have anything like the ability to compete in this league, this season.
Burnley – 16th
Sean Dyche is a good manager; a 21st Century Sam Allardyce but scarier, but Burnley have no class and not much hope. You get the impression the team will always struggle but eke out enough points to survive. This season could be far more of a struggle than perhaps their fans believed it would be and I expect a mass capitulation by the New Year, but they’ll do enough to stay up.
Chelsea – 2nd
Here’s a puzzle. Chelsea won the league without European engagement. This season Conte will be expected to mount a serious Champions League campaign and to retain the league; he might come close, but I feel he will do neither. Chelsea, along with a few other ‘challengers’ have brilliant players, but they might be struggling for strength in depth – this isn’t Chelsea circa 2008. I expect them to challenge, but also they might struggle with the Champions league and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were trying to win the Europa League come February.
Crystal Palace – 8th
We will see whether Frank De Boer is the new Messiah. This is one of those intriguing appointments; this is a man who has been linked to Spurs, Everton, Man Utd and Real Madrid in recent years and brings a big reputation. Clever signings suggest the return of an expectation not seen around Palace since the early 1990s. The thing is how high can they logically expect to finish? 8th? Are they likely to challenge the top 7, especially as the 7th member of that group has spent £95million so far?
Everton – 7th
This is a team who should be in better nick than others come the big kick off. They will have played at least two competitive matches by the time others are playing their first and as I stated above, they’ve spent over £95million and still want to ruin Swansea’s future by taking a Spurs reject for another £50mil. There are expectations from the blue end of Merseyside, the problem is there aren’t a lot of chinks in the armour above them. They will finish with a huge points gap over 8th though, such is the division in this league.
Huddersfield – 13th
I remember when they were last in the top flight; that ended badly. Something tells me this isn’t going to be the same and while I expect they will spend some time flirting with relegation, I think they may always be a bit better than four teams below them.
Leicester – 11th
There have been some interesting signings and Shakespeare is the kind of inexperienced manager with no right to success who achieves things. They may well never repeat the feats of 2016 and I expect the current manager will have been sacked by the spring, even if the Foxes don’t ever look anything other than mid-table.
Liverpool – 4th
This is a season that possibly hinges on Hoffenheim. The Reds have drawn a real banana skin in the ECL and defeat would mean the Europa League and a bit of ignominy. This is going to be a tough season for Klopp because there is a good enough title challenging team here, but it has no strength in depth and it’s full of weaknesses that will do them in the end. This is a team that is still two years away from being a serious challenge.
Man City – 1st
The make or break season for Pep Guardiola and all pre-season suggestions are that they will be better this season and nothing short of the title will be enough. I expect this team to make the running; to have a blip or two but still beat Chelsea by 8 points. If it goes wrong and they’re not there, expect big wholesale changes.
Man Utd -3rd
Mourinho’s second season and you have to expect a title challenge even with added ECL. If, and it’s a big if, they can turn all the draws from last season into wins then they will be up there; the thing is I expect them to draw games they shouldn’t. Man U are the new Arsenal.
Newcastle – 14th
Part of me wants them relegated and rumour has it Rafa Benitez is angry at the lack of transfer movement and we’re heading for an end of August showdown. The thing is if Rafa stays they stay up with little or no fuss; if he goes it becomes a different ball game – as much as it pains me to say, there’s few better than Rafa out there and none are available to a team of Newcastle’s resources.
Southampton – 9th
If the new manager is all he’s cracked up to be then mid table safety beckons; if he isn’t probably mid table safety anyhow. Will cause the odd shock and be on the receiving end of one or two as well. The thing is they could end up finishing in the top half while not being much better than the team that finishes in 16th.
Stoke – 18th
And I think it might be the year they fall apart and finally get relegated. It’s one of my hopes, these or West Brom because they bring nothing to the table, ever. I think Tony Pulis will keep WBA up; Mark Hughes time will end before May.
Swansea – 12th
This is about Paul Lambert and whether he will be the next England manager. The man has pedigree, he kept this lot up last season and I expect he’ll do it this, with or without the apparently £50m-rated GylfiSiggurdsson. They might not have done much business, but I expect they will; a manager like Lambert is far too good to have the piss taken out of him by the Swans’ owners so expect a concerted show of solidarity and money spending.
Tottenham Hotspur – 5th
Wembley will be the downfall. I expect five games to be lost and as many drawn; even with great away form, we’ll be 20 odd points behind Man City and the chance will be gone. The one season at the Nation’s home ground will be a godsend for Levy’s coffers, but it will spell the end of the great promising era and I expect changes again before the move to the new stadium – those changes will probably be on the pitch but could affect the management. Will finish above Arsenal, but will not win anything again and will be £300million light of talent for the following season without anything like equality in replacements. A disappointing, annoying and frustrating season awaits.
Watford – 20th
The new manager is good. Some of the money spent has been… well, the amounts have been impressive even if the people prove not to be. I just don’t see them having enough and if the season starts badly it will be long and difficult. This Watford is a soulless and unlikeable team and they don’t deserve to be here.
West Brom – 15th
Personally, I’d prefer this lot to go down instead of Brighton, but you know Pulis will pull something out of the hat and they will win enough matches to keep them safe. The writing is likely to be on the wall for Pulis though and I expect he’ll be replaced with a flashy Portuguese manager in the summer of ’18.
West Ham – 10th
I have forecast West Ham to finish 10th. This is because I have no real idea. They have signed some good players; they won’t challenge the top 7; they’ll be inconsistent; it won’t be as bad a last season and Bilic probably won’t get fired, but he might quit.
FA Cup – Crystal Palace
League Cup – Everton (I always go for Everton)
Euro Champs Thing – Bayern Madridona
Europa League – Slovan Bratislava
This is proper alternative facts, this is! 🙂