116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Premiership Predictions (2007-08 Edition)

The Premiership season is upon us, and I can't really say that I'm ready. I am, without a doubt, excited, but in terms of actual preparedness I find myself a step behind. This could be due to the fact that I'm preparing for a weekend that includes both a bachelor party and a christening (if I go missing from this blog, it's probably a result of the lightning bolt that's coming my way for being at a strip club and church within a span of mere hours) and I'm likely to miss the opening of the season, or it could be the result of an unusual summer overload of football due to international competitions, SuperLiga and what's-his-name. Whatever the case may be, the start of the Barclay's Premier League has caught me slightly flat-footed, and now I must play catch-up.
Last season, I predicted that Liverpool would surprise everyone and carry off the trophy, led by the newfound superstardom of Luis Garcia. This prediction only confirmed the status of this blog as a "lesser" authority, as Manchester United combined a stunning seasonal performance from Cristiano Ronaldo with an injury-free campaign to win the league (there is an adage about how people who write about sports spend so much time writing about things that have already happened that they are no good at predicting future events. I suppose it applies). United, perhaps wary of trying to get through another season unharmed with a slim squad, spent quite a bit on reinforcements this summer, which would logically make them favorites again, which brings up an interesting question regarding the transfer market: does summer spending actually translate to seasonal success?
Arsenal (slight squad adjustments), Man United (reinforcements/ future starters + Carlos Tevez), Chelsea (veterans competing for spots), Liverpool (everyone on the market + Fernando Torres) and Tottenham (strengthening positions they were already deep in) all took different approaches to the transfer market this season in an effort to boost their standing in the league. With so many competing philosophies, it can be difficult to determine exactly which overriding philosophy works best, but we here on 116th Street decided to take a very uncomprehensive stab at figuring out transfer market success, looking at the past five Premiership champions.

1. Don't fret over losing a big name striker.
This bodes well for all of you panicking Gooners, who will rest easier knowing that Man U lost Ruud van Nistelrooy last year and still won the title. Going a little further back, Chelsea lost both of their front line strikers (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Hernan Crespo) in the summer prior to their 2005 title, replacing them with Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman, neither of whom exactly lit the world on fire that season.

2. A new starting midfielder goes a long way.
It's not certain whether players such as Kevin-Prince Boateng, Yossi Benayoun or even Owen Hargreaves will make major impacts at their new clubs, but Michael Carrick, Michael Essien and Arjen Robben are testament to the championship-providing boost a key midfield player can provide. In other words, all you ManYoo fans out there should be excited about the Hargreaves pickup.

3. Get a new keeper.
None of the big clubs did this (unless Lukasz Fabianski suddenly takes over at Arsenal), but it's worth noting that both Jens Lehmann and Petr Cech won the league in their first seasons minding the nets at their respective clubs.

4. Who added a stalwart defender?
That would be Chelsea, whose pickup of Alex could be as key to winning as, say, Ricardo Carvalho, Rio Ferdinand or Sol Campbell were in their first seasons with championship-winning sides.

5. Beware the established superstar (especially if he's switching leagues).
I'm looking in the direction of the Kop here. Don't put ALL of your faith in Torres, ye Liverpool faithful lest he go the way of Shevchenko, Ballack or Veron. Switching to English football can be quite an adjustment, after all.

6. Let the kids grow up.
Those (occasionally) under-the-radar youngsters you picked up a couple of years ago? When they mature, they bring championship winning results with them (we don't even need to mention names here, do we?).

Now that we've gone through our (completely!) scientific and comprehensive breakdown of the transfer market, we predict that the Premiership champion of 2007-08 will be Chelsea, narrowly edging out Manchester United for the title (we can really go out on a limb sometimes around here). Getting both Florent Malouda and Alex will push them over the top, while Man U's lack of defensive cover will come back to haunt them this season. As for Arsenal, they remain a year away, while Tottenham and Liverpool remain a little too unfocused for true title contention in the near future. Of course, we've been wrong many times before, so feel free to jump all over us when Fernando Torres dominates the league and Liverpool lifts the trophy, but just remember one thing: Luis Garcia is set for stardom, any day now...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should there be a Salary Cap in Football?
Personally I think there should be! It’s just getting to be stupid money in football at the top of the premiership!
It’s always the same teams at the top proving that football success is based purely on money which ruins the idea of it being a sport! They’ve done it in rugby, basketball, hockey and American football and it makes the sports more competitive and better to watch!
I do a little Football Betting Online from time to time and most matches don’t hold much surprise who is going to win, its boring! I want to see a team at the bottom pulling off an amazing season beating last seasons winners in a close fought battle!
Make things fair! It shouldn’t be about money!

11:19 AM  
Anonymous football dave said...

personally i would love to see liverpool win it this year - not that im a scouser, its just the underdog always holds a place in my heart. Its tighter than a ducks arse between the top 4 this season and sundays games proved this. I scooped quite a big prize after my football betting antics at the weekend but i don't think i am brave enough to be betting on the outcome of the eventual premier league winner just yet :)

Man United's 1-0 victory on sunday could have put Liverpools title hopes on hold for another season... ah well theres always europe

6:27 AM  

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