Friday, August 12, 2005

EPL starts tomorrow

If you are a soccer fan, I'm guessing you realize that the English Premier League starts their 2005-06 season tomorrow. The start of any season is always fun even if, like the EPL and baseball, you have a good idea who is going to end up winning it all. But still there is that hope that all that is right in the universe will align and somehow a team like Fulham or the Pittsburgh Pirates will manage to shock the sporting world. And when it doesn't happen, there is always next year (unless Fulham end up in the bottom 3).

Right now I'm feeling real good about predicting things. Why it was just Wednesday night that are guessed all 4 MLS matches correctly, I'm on a roll. So why not, just for the hoot of it, try to guess the final order of the EPL. So away I go (in bold no less)...

Mike's EPL Predictions
1. Chelsea - If you've got the money and the talent, you'll get the cup. However, I think it will be a little tougher on them this year.
2. Arsenal - They might not have a good goalie yet, but they have enough other talent to keep them going.
3. Man United - The glory days may be over for now, but they have a good front and back line.
4. Liverpool - Lots of talent has been added to this club and they are still ridding the high of their Europe victory.
5. Tottenham - They have a great midfield and they are young. The Spurs are a team to watch.

6. Bolton - With UEFA Cup experience, they know how to stay near the top.
7. Everton - The shock of last season will fade, as will their position. Still a good club with great defense.
8. Manchester City - Their defense is strong and Robbie Fowler is fit. Ended well last season, but still missed a place in Europe. I can see a repeat happening this year.
9. Charlton - As long as they don't crash out in the last month, they have the talent to be a top 10 team.
10. Middlesbrough - Good goal scoring team, but not sure how their backline will hold up.

11. Aston Villa - Their defense is still in need of help and they often fall apart at home.
12. Birmingham - Scored very few goals last year, but they have improved the frontline. Still an uneven club overall.
13. Newcastle - They are bad on the road and their defense is weak. If they get Owen, they will be a few spots higher.
14. Portsmouth - They lost Yakubu, but they are still a team that knows how to win at home and against teams at the bottom end of the table.
15. Fulham - With Edwin van der Sar gone, this team is in need of help between the posts. If new striker Heidar Helguson does all right and Brian McBride keeps knocking them in, they will stay above relegation.

16. Blackburn - If Craig Bellamy isn't scoring, Blackburn isn't winning. Their backline is better, but without goals, they can't win.
17. West Brom - They kept out of the basement in dramatic fashion last season and I think they will do it again this year. They are tougher then last year, but still have a way to go.
18. Wigan - Yes they have no money and can't seem to sign any exciting players, but look at the crest (see below). That alone will get them a few wins on their way back to the Championship.
19. Sunderland - Getting Kelvin Davis in goal will help, but they are still a long way from staying in the EPL.
20. West Ham - Their style of play (letting teams have lots of room and then counter-attack) will not serve them well in the EPL.

Teams moving up from the Championship
Ipswich, the Wolves and Leeds


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