The F365 Pre-Season Predictions

One for you to bookmark for next summer to have a good chortle, it's time for the F365 pre-season predictions. Those that have them, put their knackers on the line...

Last Updated: 16/08/12 at 14:40 Post Comment

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Straightforward one first - who will win the league?

Philip Cornwall: Manchester City.

John Nicholson: Chelsea. I can't really justify it but having an owner who is prepared to spend again will help a lot. Also City will implode like a bag of drunken monkeys. Arsenal will plod along like a librarian who only has sex once a year. (In fairness to Johnny, these were written before the RvP news came through. But hey ho...)

Rob McNichol: Boring, I guess, but I have to go with City. They've had a taste of it now, and they'll want more.

Nick Miller: Manchester City again. Sorry.

Matthew Stanger: Manchester United FC.

Daniel Storey: I'm plumping for United. Ferguson is at his best when bouncing back off the ropes, and Kagawa and Van Persie will add impetus. As long as Vidic stays fit I think they'll do it.

Alan Tyers: Manchester City will win the League. Their only possible area of weakness is centre half cover.

Sarah Winterburn: A month ago, I would have said Man City without hesitation. The RVP deal has added a moment's hesitation but I'm still going to say Man City. I believe that in Sergio Aguero, a fit and motivated Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko, they have the best strikeforce in the Premier League. And in Yaya Toure and David Silva they have - in my opinion - the best supporting act.

And the rest of the top four, in order please.

PC: Manchester United, Arsenal (a while behind) and Chelsea (a long while behind).

JN: Manchester City, Arsenal, Spurs. Which means Manchester United will finish 5th. I reckon they're due a really rubbish season, unless they buy Van Persie in which case, I never said any of this and they'll finish 3rd.

RMcN: Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal.

NM: United, Chelsea, Arsenal. You didn't ask me to be imaginative.

MS: Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool. Spurs stand a good chance of finishing fourth if they complete a deal for Emmanuel Adebayor, while Chelsea also need another striker. I have a sneaky suspicion things could click at Liverpool this season and if they start well FSG might loosen the purse strings to aid a Champions League push in January.

DS: Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal.

AT: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea

SW: Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Who'll go down?

PC: Norwich, Stoke and ideally whomever Sam Allardyce is managing.

JN: Swansea City, Southampton, Reading.

RMcN: I see West Bromwich struggling without Roy Hodgson. I'll say they go down, along with Wigan and Swansea.

NM: Wigan (I know, but someone has to predict this every year), Reading (not enough quality in the squad) and Norwich (he's a nice guy, Chris Hughton, but...).

MS: Reading, Southampton and, erm, West Brom. I'm not convinced by the Baggies' summer signings and it could be a tough first job in management for Steve Clarke.

DS: Jeez, as difficult as it's ever been to call. Wigan's time may have come, and I'm also going to opt for West Brom and Reading. But I'm prepared for that to blow up in my face.

AT: I reckon Wigan's number is finally up, plus Reading and Southampton.

SW: Reading, Norwich and Southampton (on the final day).

First manager to go?

PC: Sam Allardyce.

JN: Tony Pulis as Stoke will struggle and when that happens, everyone suddnely realises they're a bit bored of the man who has been in charge for so long.

RMcN: I actually see a lot of stability this year. There were only four sackings last year, and I envision even less this time. I'll go with Steve Clarke, although if one was invested pennies, the course and distance bet is Roberto Di Matteo.

NM: Tricky one. There are no obvious candidates to be sacked, but I reckon Michael Laudrup might throw a tantrum and leave fairly early. He's flighty, you know.

MS: Roberto Di Matteo. Roman Abramovich seemed reluctant to appoint the Italian and a slow start could see him out the door before Christmas.

DS: I wrote recently that Pulis was a good each way shout at 33/1, but the first to go? Maybe not. I'll say Mark Hughes, who will be under pressure after a splurge on pensioners this summer (insert own Rooney joke here).

AT: Mark Hughes. With City, Spurs and Chelsea in their first five games, I reckon QPR will have a slow start to the season and I don't see too much goodwill for Hughes from fans or chairman.

SW: I have a sneaky feeling for Tony Pulis, who might walk away if Stoke have an awful start. To be replaced by Mick McCarthy.

How will the promoted trio do?

PC: They are staying up, except the one Sam Allardyce is managing.

JN: West Ham will end up mid-table thanks to some effective long ball football and assorted other brutal unpleasantness which will make Bobby Moore turn in his grave. Southampton will score goals but leak even more. Reading already look like they're assembling a squad that will do well in the Championship next season.

RMcN: They'll all stay up. Southampton are the rockiest, for me. I think momentum will give them a good start, then they'll fade. A bit like Blackpool, but I think the Saints will just survive. Brian McDermott is very sharp, and will steer Reading into safety in about 14th. Wham Sam will get his lot safe as well - he's made some canny signings.

NM: Alas, West Ham are too good and powerful to go down (although it would be pretty funny), I like the look of Southampton (although brace yourself for some terrific middle-management buzzwords from Nigel Adkins) but Reading, while probably getting the bargain of the summer (Danny Guthrie on a free), don't quite have enough, alas. Which is a shame, because Brian McDermott looks like a rather likeable egg.

MS: Reading and Southampton will drop straight back into the Championship, but West Ham will stay up thanks to Big Sam's no-nonsense football and several panic buys in January.

DS: I can't see any of the three breaking the top ten, but West Ham and Southampton will perform similarly to Norwich, finishing between 10th and 16th.

AT: I think Sam Allardyce will be able to make West Ham a competent, if unlovely, Premier League force. Not convinced either Reading or Southampton have the players to hang on.

SW: West Ham will do fine and stay away from trouble - Sam Allardyce knows how to survive in this division. I think Reading will struggle all season while Saints will start at a canter but eventually drop into a relegation battle.

How will the 'surprise packages' of last season (Swansea and Norwich) fare this season?

PC: Not enough life after Lambert at Carrow Road, steady as she goes at the Liberty.

JN: Both will struggle. Norwich will survive but only just. Not sure all the 'good football' sides will have as big an impression this year.

RMcN: I think Norwich will find it tougher than they did last season, but I rate Chrissie Hughton, and to me they've kept their best players. Narrow survival. I fear for Swansea, especially if Sinclair follows Allen out of Glamorgan. I've got them to just fall the other side of the dotted line.

NM: Swansea depends on Laudrup's mood, although they have made some terrific signings, while I fear for Norwich. So much of their success was down to Paul Lambert, they're suddenly just a team with quite a lot of Championship players.

MS: I think Norwich will be in a relegation battle, but Swansea should finish in mid-table again. I'm excited about seeing the Swans under Michael Laudrup and Michu and Jonathan de Guzman look like two excellent signings.

DS: Whilst Hughton is a solid appointment, for me Laudrup is a huge gamble in South Wales. Both to finish bottom half, neither to go down.

AT: Both will be nearer to the relegation places than last year, but safer bets to survive than a few others.

SW: Swansea will be okay as long as they stick to that system (14th-15th) while Norwich will struggle post-Lambert.

Which new signing are you most excited about?

PC: Swansea's Michu could be the bargain of the season.

JN: Shinji Kagawa will be interesting but Borini could really set Liverpool alight. Or not.

RMcN: I wouldn't brand any of them as having me 'excited'. If Hazard lives up to his reputation then watching him could be fun. QPR have done terrific business for me in getting in Park and Hoilett, amongst others.

NM: Santi Cazorla. The sort of player that makes you want to touch yourself. Mentions for Oscar and Jan Vertonghen, while I'm still not sure how Swansea got Michu for £2million and as a Forest fan I'm curious to see how Garath McCleary gets on.

MS: Shinji Kagawa has looked bright in pre-season and I think he'll prove a hit in both the Premier League and the Champions League.

DS: Whilst the media has fawned over the moves for Hazard, Oscar and Van Persie, Kagawa excites me massively. However, Santi Cazorla was the best player in La Liga outside the top two last season, and has slipped slightly under the radar. A delicious player.

AT: Eden Hazard. Amusement arcade, bit of a tosser, huge ego. Could be the pantomime prat missing from the league since Ronaldo left.

SW: I'm really excited to see Arsenal's new attacking talent - Santi Cazorla, in particular - while all the talk of Michu as the bargain of the summer has made me curious.

And who looks like a great big waste of money/space?

PC: If Lukas Podolski is homesick again it could get nasty.

JN: There's often a Brazilian who promises much and then gets fat, lazy and 'over-focused' on ladies. I'm hoping Chelsea signing Oscar does not disappoint us in this regard.

RMcN: Write me a list of all the successful Brazilian imports to the Premier League. Not that long, is it? Chelsea have brought in Oscar, and I'm not saying he's rubbish, but twenty five million notes is a lot of cash for a 20-year-old Brazilian.

NM: Liverpool looking to solve their goalscoring problems by buying Fabio Borini (nine goals last season) doesn't look like the best move, but there's nobody who stands out as a massive, enormous waste. But this is before people panic in the last week of the transfer window.

MS: I think we'll see a few of the tabloids calling Eden Hazard a flop during a mixed first season in England, but I'm sure he will prove a good piece of business for Chelsea in the long term.

DS: Eden Hazard at £32million looks expensive, and I can't see Jack Rodwell playing an awful lot of games.

AT: Jack Rodwell. Nothing against the player, but is there any room or need for him at Man City?

SW: This might be terribly predictable but Eden Hazard will be a bit 'meh'.

Since last season was so insane, predict something mental that will happen to top it.

PC: Inspired by their largely brilliant Olympics coverage, the BBC will finally do something about Match of the Day.

JN: Sir Alex Ferguson quits before Christmas after a terrible run of results, Gary Neville takes over as a caretaker manager, does so well he gets the job full-time at the end of the season.

RMcN: Martin Jol to appear for the first game of the season with a full head of hair, and simply says 'It just grew back'. Arsene to appoint Darren Ferguson as his assistant. And Mario to marry Princess Eugenie then leave her for Samantha Brick.

NM: Nothing. This season will pan out without incident and go exactly to plan. Every game will finish 0-0, 1-1 or 2-1.

MS: The world will end on December 21. I'm having a barbecue with Carlos Roa, feel free to join us.

DS: Last year was Balotelli glory, this season will be Balotelli gory. The man to either push a referee, punch Mancini or be arrested for a stupid offence. Redknapp to be England manager by the end of the season?

AT: Season to be played with good sportsmanship and little cheating. IF OTHERS HAVE MADE THIS JOKE: Mark Lawrenson to become so grumpy that he storms out of commentary box at Villa Park and starts sit-down protest in centre circle.

SW: RVP will beg for an Arsenal return when he realises he's got to wear that god-awful gingham shirt.

Confession time - what's the worst pre-season prediction you've made in the past?

PC: It's a good job that saying Holland would win Euro 2012 doesn't count as pre-season. Perhaps suggesting Joe Cole could be a great signing for Roy Hodgson...

JN: Remember The Invincibles? I said they'd finish fifth below Spurs that year. It made sense to me. But only me.

RMcN: Norwich and Swansea to go down last year turned out to be utter cobblers. And anytime I've predicted a Liverpool return to glory.

NM: Easy one - I said Fernando Torres would be pap when he arrived in 2007. To be fair, given his last 18 months, I could claim that as a slow-burner.

MS: I predicted that Leicester would do the double over Nottingham Forest in the 1994/95 season. They lost 1-0 at the City Ground in August and were then thrashed 4-2 at home in March on the way to relegation. My dad has never let me live it down.

DS: Last year I put £10 on Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United to win their leagues, and Swansea and Norwich to be relegated.

AT: Tipped Liverpool to win League. Like, within the last few years. Editors note - Al also tipped David Goodwillie to do well last season. Boy oh boy.

SW: Confidently predicting that Italy wouldn't get out of the group stages at Euro 2012 wasn't my finest moment.

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