Preseason predictions make mugs out of the best pundits. This time last year The Guardian’s team of football reporters were asserting that United would win the league, Alan Pardew and Steve Kean were first for the chop, Swansea would go down and Charlie Adam would prove to be the buy of the summer. It’s clear that only an idiot would put their predictions on record before the start of the season.
Who will win the Premier League?
Man City. This seems obvious, and is. All the doubts about their ability to reach the summit last season were dispelled by the (mostly) comprehensive manner of their triumph. Bobby Mancini was often accused of embodying the psychological inferiority City had against United. The way he took the pressure off the team in the run-in was most impressive, even if the final game saw he and his team almost completely lose the plot. They’ll be much stronger for that experience.
Who will be the first manager to leave his job?
Sam Allardyce. Staying up means everything for Gold and Sullivan. They need top-flight football to lend credibility to their plan to rent the Olympic Stadium. If there’s an early season wobble then they may be forced into uncharacteristic decisiveness by chopping Big Sam. The demanding Hammers fans would shed no tears at his departure.
Who will be relegated?
Wigan – time must have run out for them this term. Martinez is getting itchy feet and they’re listening to offers for their best player, Victor Moses.
Southampton – look least equipped out of the promoted sides. They lost ten games at home last season in the Championship and will need to create a Dell-like fortress at St Mary’s if they’re to survive.
Swansea – we’ll see how influential Brendan Rodgers (and Joe Allen) was on the Swansea style and results. The ironic thing is that Rodgers may well struggle at the dormant Liverpool FC.
Who will prove the best summer signing?
The transfer window is open for another 22 days and only Chelsea have made any significant signings so far. However, to be completely one-eyed, I’m going for Gylfi Þór Sigurðsson. He’s been banging them in for Spurs in preseason and AVB might have found the perfect man to build his new look team around.