At the beginning of this Season, before I’d started working for this site, I offered up some predictions on various sites and forums, for what I believed would almost certainly happen during the course of the 09/10 year in English football.
As the festivities draw to a close and we gear up for the World Cup, I thought now would be a good time to look back and see which, if any, came prophetically true, and which were merely the product of my overly fertile imagination.
The Kids are Alright: The Arsenal under 16s will beat a lower league side in the Carling Cup in impressive fashion and be lauded as the greatest thing since Alcopops, only to lose to a top 4 side later in the League and be labeled rubbish. This will lead to much inner turmoil at Arsenal, with Wenger being linked to Madrid (who will have conceded 400 goals by Christmas) while the board claim there is money to spend but Wenger hasn’t found the right player yet. This of course is most likely due to his crippling inability to ’see’ things. Something he’ll continue to be afflicted by this season.
With Arsenal still in with a chance of the League title, this at first seems a little off. But there are many little nuggets of truth hidden away in the prose. Arsenal’s kids did indeed beat a lower league side in the Carling Cup (West Bromwich Albion) only to loose heavily to both Manchester United and Chelsea in the League. However a better example of the general gist would be the impressive thrashing of Porto in the Champions League, followed by the humbling loss to Barcelona. I’d call that a victory in general intentions.
Arsene Wenger wasn’t crippled by eyesight this year however, in fact he saw more than he’s ever done before. Mainly his own players being tackled heavily, which he saw in finite detail, and didn’t like very much.
Get Back to where you once belonged: Harry Redknapp will attempt to buy at least one more former Portsmouth player in the January Transfer Window. Failing that, he’ll opt for a former West Ham starlet. Failing that, he’ll drag Jamie out of retirement. Failing that he’ll blame the BBC for everything.
Younes Kaboul, come on down!
Mr Writer. Why don’t you tell it like it really is?: The first time Manchester United win a game, one or more of the Tabloids will run with the headline ‘Who Needs Ronaldo?’. Upon loosing, or drawing against a lesser team, the headline’s in all papers will be variations on ‘United Miss Ronaldo Factor’. This is 100% certain.
And proved to be. Ah where would we be without the good old predictability of the English tabloids? Although to be completely fair, the loss of Ronaldo bemoaning has steadily given way to the loss of Tevez bemoaning, something which the papers justifiably find more interesting a story. I’ll only award myself half a point for this, as the form of Rooney has reduced the “where are Ronaldo’s goals going to come from” factor considerably.
You can’t always get what you want: Carlos Tevez will play less games than last season. Man City’s bizarre transfer strategy has seen them acquire at least 30 strikers and at some point Mark Hughes will realize he can’t fit them all into the starting XI. The chances of little Carlos accumulating more games than the 51 appearances he made for United last year are slim.
A bingo, but also a bit of a tainted one. Tevez may not be close to reaching the half century mark with 42 the highest he can hope for. However he has made more League appearances this year than he did last, and without European competition to contest with, has made far more of an impact than the tone of this prediction suggested. He’s also been a huge hit at Eastlands, but that’s not going to stop me claiming a score anyway. I am biased.
Prodigal Son: Michael Owen will score against Liverpool. This is bound to happen, life is just like this. On the flip side, it is just as likely he will then collapse to the ground in agony 100 meters from the nearest player and be out for the rest of the season.
A colossal fail. Though I’ll award myself half a point for accurately predicting he’d collapse into a heap and be out for the season, even if it wasn’t against Liverpool.
Reach for the stars: One of the newly promoted sides will make an early push for the top end of the table leading to ludicrously over elaborate praise for their manager. This form will end around November when they’ll plummet back into the bottom half whereupon everyone will ask ‘what went wrong?’ when in fact they’re now at about the level they should be.
Burnley, step on up…or down for that matter.
Mr Vain: A mighty battle of wills will erupt whenever Graeme Souness and Glen Hoddle are in the same Sky Studio. Souness will mark his territory, as always, by sprawling sexually across his pundits chair as both vie for the title of the most completely correct and unswervingly right pundit in every sense in the world ever. This fearsome battle will most likely claim the life of the 3rd pundit (often Ruud Gullit) whose input will be relegated to completely insignificant despite the fact they probably have the most interesting things to say. The battle will be void if Ray Wilkins is in attendance as he will stare them both into obedience.
Half a point again I feel, as Ruud has actually had a fair crack at the whip this season whenever he’s not been lumped in with Hoddle and Waffle. He has however, had to constantly fend off the attentions of Jamie Redknapp, who seems to be incapable of not touching him at some point during proceedings.
The Waiting Game: One crucial England player (probably Wayne Rooney) will get injured towards the end of the season leading to much hand wringing and nail biting as to whether they’ll make the World Cup. The tabloids will run ridiculously over the top ‘get well soon’ campaigns on their front pages as Children’s Hospitals are torpedoed in 3rd World Countries, while ex players and pundits get ready to explain how England will never win the World Cup without him. This is also 100% certain and may include an optional ‘Pray for him’ center page pull out in The Sun.
Full points here I think. Nostradamus was an amateur.
Lucky Man: Frank Lampard will score at least 15 goals. 10 of them will be deflected
Harsh on Fwank this was. His goals have been comparatively deflection free this term, and he’s also racked up an impressive 22 so far. I’ll give myself half a point though, because I’m allowed to.
Sympathy for the Devil: Ashely Cole will continue to be hated by everyone so long as he continues to be Ashley Cole.
Safe bet this one, though he’s had strong competition this year in the form his comrade John Terry, who’s performed the honorably captain like duty of taking the heat of his teammate by attempting to be more hated by more people than anyone before.
Money can’t buy me love: Every famous player along with the entire cast of Lost will be linked with Manchester City in the January Transfer Window. None of them will sign and they’ll get someone from Wigan instead.
Adam Johnson from Middlesbrough sees me breeze into a comfortable majority points lead after Behrami, Gago, Dzeko and Matthew Fox all failed to materialize. Even Robinho was a no go, despite already playing for them. Patrick Vieira makes this a dodgy point, as does the fact that Johnson looks bloody good.
The Winner takes it all: Gareth Bale will play on the winning side in a Premier League game. Well it has to happen sometime doesn’t it?
Not only that, but he’s also been excellent of late.
I still haven’t found, what I’m looking for: One young English Manager will be sacked from a mid-lower table club despite being given precisely no time to make any kind of impact what so ever. This will lead to endless punditry on the plight of English Managers and the instant results culture of modern football. Also, everyone will again fail to notice that Martin O’Neil plays boring long ball football up to a big man and laud him as the only possible successor to Ferguson/Capello/Ancelotti/Jesus.
Pick one of Paul Hart, Gary Megson and Mark Hughes. (who I realize isn’t English, but counts anyway as Welsh isn’t really a real thing) Megson had enough time I feel, but Hart and Hughes were doing what most would assess as a good job in difficult circumstances before being shunted off to please their bosses. Martin O’Neil still hasn’t been rumbled, so I’m awarding myself a full point again. If you object you can write a complaint to PO Box 1, Igloo road, Antarctica. I may not reply.
Hey, Teacher! Leave those kids alone: Sepp Blater and/or Michael Platini will make some kind of disparaging comment about the evil juggernaut that is English Football whilst ignoring the numerous instances of violence, overt racism and dodgy transfer dealings that are occurring in Italy & Spain. In addition, a preposterous rule will be proposed by Blatter, along the lines of all traveling English fans should have to wear yellow stars to identify themselves.
Though nothing quite as drastic has happened, UEFA and FIFA have been unsurprisingly interested in the dealings of Chelsea and other English clubs with regard to the supposed poaching of pre-contract ready African and Brazillan players. A process that of course, never happens anywhere else. As it happens though, all the top English teams managed to get themselves removed from the Champions League before the Semi Final stage all by themselves, so I can’t really get a point for this.
All in all 11/14 is a triumphant return I feel. I will now dedicate myself solely to predicting what will happen in this summer’s World Cup, with a view to improving on this fearsome score.
Until then, don’t go changing.