So the start of the new season has come around (super fast for us as we’ve been so busy) and as is usual at this time of year everyone is having their say for the predictions. Thanks to Paul Boyham we have decided to write this article for anfieldindex.com and the writers. So we’ve had all of the predictions and here is the overall table for the predictions by the writers, which will be followed by their thoughts.
- 60% of Staff believe Man Utd will win the title, 20% believe Man City will win it whilst 10% went for Chelsea and Liverpool.
- The staff predicts that Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool will definitely qualify for the CL whilst 80% went for Chelsea and 20% thought Arsenal would edge out their capital rivals.
- The relegation battle will be an open one if one goes by the predictions as no team has been mentioned by every writer. Should be an interesting season at both ends of the table.
- Suarez was named in 50% of predictions for player to watch by the staff.
- Charlie Adam took 30% of the vote for best value with Given getting 20%. The rest was shared as shown above.
- 30% of staff went for Sunderland as their surprise package of the season. Let’s hope that’s not the case on Saturday at 5pm! No surprises please!
Onto staff thoughts on their predictions (those that provided them!):
Ash Langley prediction: Barcelona
Always a hard one to predict, depends very much upon the grouping and subsequent draws but i do not think we will see more than 1 team in the semis from england this year, and history would tell you that that team would be utd who will undoubtedly get a free ride as far as the semis atleast. In terms of football it really is hard to look past the holders at present, currently the best club side in the world and they have to be strong favourites to triumph this year.
Gags Tandon prediction: Barcelona
They’re just too good, they pass, they hold on to the ball, can shoot from all angles, play it narrow, play it wide – they can do it all? One more Champions League victory this year and they’ll be the first side to win it back to back since the Champions League was formed. I believe that would really cement the legendary status.
Neal Cross prediction: Barcelona
Call me Captain Obvious, but you can’t look past Barcelona. They are the best team in Europe, and it will take a very good side to beat them.
Paul Boyham prediction: Barcelona
From the English teams, I think Manchester City and Manchester United will go far. The players, manager and system at City suit Europe, even though they will create problems for themselves and United will be able to concentrate on Europe by being 5-10 points ahead in the league by March.
Chris Vermeulen prediction: Barcelona
I think barcelona will be up there again, expect sir alex to be there as he found a new challenge to beat.
Jack Watson prediction: Barcelona
Hard to see past Barcelona again. Real Madrid and Man Utd will push them hard, though.
Premier League Champions:
Ash Langley Prediction: Liverpool
Last season the league was very open, much more open than it has been in a long time, eventual winners Man Utd finished with the lowest points total (80) since the 2000/2001 season when they won the league with 80 points, they also won the league with the fewest number of victories (23) since the 1998/1999 season. This season I can see the league being the same open affair and with more teams splashing the cash to strengthen in quality and depth.
Last season after Kenny Dalglish took over Liverpool enjoyed a rival being for a time the in form team in the league and bounced back from relegation contenders to at one point champions league hopefulls. Over £100m spent since January means the reds now have a squad with quality and depth and although John Henry suggests that it is too early for a Liverpool title winning season the man in charge of the team will tell you that the clubs aim is the same now as it was when he arrived in ’77. In 1995 he surprised everyone by winning the league with Blackburn Rovers – still the only team other than utd, chelsea or arsenal to win the Premier League – and this season I think another surprise is on the cards.
Gags Tandon Prediction: Manchester City
I think City will take it this season (hope!). They’ve improved their squad, they should have plenty of legs for all competitions. I expect them to perform this season. If not, bye bye Mancini and maybe, hello Rafa?
Neal Cross Prediction: Manchester United
As much as it pains me to say, so far, Chelsea and Arsenal haven’t overly improved their squads. While City have added to theirs, I still think United will edge it, unfortunately. Liverpool been added to their squad, but I don’t think enough to expect a full title challenge.
Paul Boyham Prediction: Manchester United
Unfortunately, Manchester United. They will lose some games because brave teams will exploit the fact that they don’t have a holding midfield player but their wealth of attacking options will get them enough goals. De Gea could cost them a few points too if he loses confidence early on.
Chris Vermeulen Prediction: Manchester United
Although it pains me to say this, man united will be the team to beat, expect chelsea to be there or there abouts, liverpool and mancity also in with a shout. It seems Arsene has finally lost his mind and I expect the gunners to finish 5th.
Jack Watson Prediction: Manchester United
Manchester United (unfortunately). Can’t see past them this season. They were strong last season and now they’ve strengthened the team. City will be their closest challengers but I can’t see them causing them too much trouble.
Premier League Top 4
Ash Langley Prediction: LIVERPOOL, MAN UTD, CHELSEA, MAN CITY
What ever happens during the season, come May 2012 these teams will make up the top 4, Arsenal who are looking likely to lose Fabregas, Nasri and Arsharvin will fall away an finish in the europa league positions, i expect man utd to be weaker than last season and chelsea to be in a transition as the new manager looks to get the best out of his players and stamp his mark on the team, i expect Liverpool to pick up the form they were in after Dalglish returned. City for all their spending lack any real ‘team’ merely buying players doesnt win you titles but it does give you the means to beat the premier leagues lesser clubs, they also lack a big manager, fully expect a change at the helm at city by next summer.
Gags Tandon Prediction: MAN CITY, MAN UTD, CHELSEA, LIVERPOOL
Honestly feel we’ll pip Arsenal to fourth. They seem to be in a little bit of a phase where they’re going to have to re-structure and I can see that costing them as they were quite poor at home last year and that’s never a good sign.
Neal Cross Prediction: MAN UTD, MAN CITY, CHELSEA, LIVERPOOL
Arsenal and and Spurs will be in the mix, but so far in the transfer window, Spurs and Arsenal haven’t added enough to improve/maintain their positions. With both teams potentially losing one or two, this is an ideal opportunity for Liverpool to get back into the Top 4.
Paul Boyham Prediction: MAN UTD, CHELSEA, MAN CITY, LIVERPOOL
After Manchester United it is very tight. City will create problems for themselves, Arsenal still need strengthening and Chelsea’s superstar ego’s might hold them back.
Jack Watson Prediction: MAN UTD, MAN CITY, CHELSEA, LIVERPOOL
Three-horse race with United coming out on top and with Liverpool (just) pipping Arsenal to fourth.
Ash Langley Prediction: WOLVERHAMPTON, WIGAN, BLACKBURN
Think these are the teams that will slug it out at the bottom of the table this season and any 3 will go down. Wolves, Wigan, and Blackburn narrowly avoided the drop last season and West Brom werent too far ahead of them and i cant see any of these teams doing better this season. Out of the promoted teams i think Norwich will struggle the most and will get sucked into a relegation scrap. Everton might have finished 7th last season but they benefited from the openness of the league (much like Liverpool) to climb back up the table after a rough ride. Unlike Liverpool, they werent embroiled in off the field drama early on, and never endured a change in management and unlike Liverpool they have not strengthened this summer at all. The league will be open this season but it will be much more competitive and no amount of stories about how keeping the squad together is a positive and they dont need to strengthen etc etc, can hide the problems that they face, they need investment badly and they have a tough start to the season in the opening 3 months and a similar scenario awaits after xmas, if they struggle in these stages they will be sucked into the fight at the bottom – and i think they will.
Gags Tandon Prediction: BLACKBURN, WIGAN, QPR
Blackburn have lost Jones and they may lose Samba, if that happens they’ll be down. Wigan have lost their talisman, N’Zogbia, and I don’t think they’ll recover. QPR don’t seem strong enough for me and I feel they’ll be down too. Yes I’m tipping Swansea and Norwich to stay up!
Neal Cross Prediction: BLACKBURN, SWANSEA, WIGAN
Blackburn are a bit of a mess, and already lost one of their key Central Defenders, with potentially another on the move (Samba). Norwich and QPR may have enough to stay up, but I can see Swansea being very similar to Blackpool. Nice football, giving it a go, and causing a few upsets… However, over the 38 games, just missing out on the final days. Wigan had a close escape last year, and will find themselves down their again I feel.
Paul Boyham Prediction: SWANSEA, BLACKBURN, QPR
QPR will sack Neil Warnock before Christmas, refuse to spend money in January, sack another manager and stay bottom for most of the season. Blackburn will go for being another badly run club. Newcastle will be badly run but just about survive. Swansea won’t score enough goals to stay up.
Chris Vermeulen Prediction: NEWCASTLE UNITED, SWANSEA, WIGAN
I expect newcastle, swansea and wigan to go down, expect Everton, QPR, Norwich, West Brom and Wolves to be in contention.
Jack Watson Prediction: QPR, SWANSEA, BLACKBURN
With Newcastle in turmoil I expect to see them struggle but I think they will just about survive. My bottom three: QPR, Swansea and Blackburn.
Player to Watch This Season
Ash Langley Prediction: Luis Suarez
Genuinely no bias here, since his arrival in january the quality of his play has been immense, the way he dismantled the Utd defence single handedly stands out above the rest, his performances at the Copa America didnt go unnoticed either, this season you can expect him to be the most talked about and admired player in the League and for all the right reasons too, He’s one player who does his talking on the pitch and leaves you speechless afterwards, take a bow Barclays Player of the Season 2011/12.
Gags Tandon Prediction: Stewart Downing
The big buy of the summer for Liverpool and he’s been a very good addition on the left for Liverpool. The best is yet to come though as the interaction with Suarez up top as well as more crosses to Carroll will be a feature for Liverpool FC this season. The unbalanced Liverpool side will now have plenty of left footers in the team with Carroll upfront, Downing on the wing, Adam in the centre and hopefully if fit Agger and Aurelio at the back. It’s the kind of balance that Liverpool have sorely missed in the last few years being a predominantly right sided team.
Neal Cross Prediction: Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham is a player I am very excited to to see in the Premier League. He has all of the raw materials to make a fine striker, and is still only 18. I was disappointed that Liverpool didn’t sign him, but I guess we were out bid, and decided to invest elsewhere. Think if he gets a few starts, could force his way into the England squad.
For comedy value (and the very rare flash of brilliance) Mario Balotelli will be worth watching!
Chris Vermeulen Prediction: Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez, had a brilliant 6-months in the PL. Should have a excellent full season.
Jack Watson Prediction: Luis Suarez
A wonderful January signing who really sparked the team into life at the tail-end of the season. Might put a cheeky £10 on El Pistolero to get PFA Player of the Year.
Calum Elder Prediction: Martin Kelly (for Liverpool FC), Danny Welbeck & Daniel Sturridge
So many young England players that could make an impact. Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge are up there, along with a couple of LFC players like Martin Kelly.
Best Value Transfer Signing
Ash Langley Prediction: Charles N’Zogbia
At less than £10m you cant say that Villa got a bad deal in replacing Downing after he left for Liverpool in a £20m deal, both with favourable and comparable stats, definitely a good bit of business for both clubs but N’Zogbia does represent a good reasoned all round transfer and if his good form is replicated at Villa then the deal is further justified.
Gags Tandon Prediction: Roger Johnson
At £4.5m, Wolves have picked off the transfer of the summer in my view. He may be 29 years old but he was solid as a rock for Birmingham City and I believe he formed an excellent partnership with Scott Dann at St Andrews. It was just what Wolves were lacking with a real leader at the back and it’s no surprise that he’s got the captains armband straight away. (Price quoted in Express & Star Newspaper)
Neal Cross Prediction: DJ Campbell
There has been little ‘value’ out there really, with most of the major players moving for double figures. DJ Campbell, if he can replicate his Blackpool form (13 league goals) could be vital for QPR, and only £1.2m (BBC News/Sport)
Stewart Downing will prove that he was worth the big fee paid by Liverpool. For the best value though there were a few good free signings – Nigel Reo Coker (Bolton), Demba Ba (Newcastle), David Vaughan (Sunderland) and David Jones (Wigan).
Chris Vermeulen Prediction: Charlie Adam
At 6 to 8 million pounds is an absolute bargain for a player who could be our new Alonso.
Jack Watson Prediction: Yohan Cabaye
Signed by Newcastle for £4.3m. Gained a lot of plaudits last season in Ligue 1 and can become the engine room in Newcastle’s midfield. A midfield partnership of Tiote and Cabaye could drag Newcastle out of trouble and up the table.
Joe Barnes Prediction: Charlie Adam
Even Ferguson said his corners were worth £10m alone!
Surprise Package this Season
Ash Langley Prediction: Sunderland
With 9 players coming in they have certainly strengthened and will be looking to build on a 10th place finish last season, might take them time to gel and hit their stride but when they do they will climb the table – they wont challenge the top 4 but they will challenge for a Europa League spot and i think they might even claim a place.
Gags Tandon Prediction: Swansea
I’m a stats man so I’ll give you a stat, Swansea’s possession stats last year were rivalled/bettered only by Barcelona last season. They know how to keep the ball and can play some good football. Only time will tell how they manage it in the Premier League but the footballing groundwork is there, they just need to keep calm and I really believe they’ll surprise a few people. Possession 9/10ths of the law right?
Neal Cross Prediction: Norwich City
I think it will be Norwich City. They have really impressed me when I watched them in the Championship. If they can tighten up their defence, then they will have a fair chance of surviving!
A lot of people have said Norwich because they have a good manager. I think Lambert will keep them up but that can’t be seen as too much of a surprise. I think Wigan and Wolves could push for mid table, so I’ll go for them.
Chris Vermeulen Prediction: Sunderland/Norwich City
They’ve bought in a lot of players this summer, also Norwich who have a young, hungry manager and players to match, could be this season’s blackpool
Jack Watson Prediction: Sunderland
I’m thinking Sunderland. They have strengthened their squad quite a bit so I’m putting my money on them to surprise a few this season.
Joe Barnes Prediction: Manchester City
I think City will be the surprise package this season. People write them off because they haven’t had time to gel but I think they’ve got a good balance now.
Looking forward to in 2011/2012?
Ash Langley is looking forward to:
Fergie retiring. Rooneys inevitable transfer request. Tevez wanting out. Fabregas finally going. Balotelli appearing on a celebrity edition of bullseye. Wenger finally seeing something. Gary Neville gettin the sack after one game as pundit of a Liverpool v Utd game. David Moyes finally cutting the B/S and admitting that Kenwright is a lousy owner. Kenny Dalglish’s press conferences.
Gags Tandon is looking forward to:
An easier year with stats! The last six months have been really hectic and I haven’t enjoyed any football at all. Now that the stats will be tweeted at full time only I may get a chance to watch some footy and then work rather than working whilst the match is on! I’m looking forward to the rise of Liverpool FC once again!
Neal Cross is looking forward to:
August 13th, 3pm, Anfield. First league game of the season. Optimism, and hope, and see what happens!
Doubters of Dalglish, Carroll and Downing being proved wrong, Barcelona making a fool of Mourinho again and Marcelo Bielsa being manager of Athletic Bilbao.
Chris Vermeulen is looking forward to:
Seeing our new squad gel and perform well. Also looking forward to seeing the likes of Meireles, Carroll and Suarez to come into their own in the PL. I also hope to see Aquilani showing his quality if he stays.
Jack Watson is looking forward to:
Watching Liverpool play attractive football, winning and putting smiles back on faces in Liverpool (and Everton & Man Utd struggle!)
Joe Barnes is looking forward to:
Standing on my spot on the Kop!
Calum Elder is looking forward to:
Seeing the pass & move football brought back by Kenny Dalglish, as well as LFC’s youngsters being bred in.