Christmas in August

It’s 8:13 a.m., and thanks to a delicious bit of good fortune, I’m watching Arsenal and West Brom on Setanta.

I guess it’s a free preview. Awesome.

It’s the opening day of the Barclays Premier League, England’s top-flight soccer league.

And even though the Gunners are already up 1-0, here’s my prediction on how the season will unfold.

20. Stoke City – Welcome to the Prem. Enjoy yourselves. Make sure you stop by the gift shop on the way back to the Champiosnhip.

19. Hull City – Hull is the largest city in Europe to have never had a team kick a ball in anger in a top league. No longer. But, while a good story, the Tigers are heading back down as well.

18. Bolton – A bit of a stunner here, but the Wanderers have been, well, wandering lately. They haven’t done much to improve a club that was pretty lucky to avoid relegation trouble last time around.

17. West Brom – They’re gettng pushed around at the moment, but something tells me that Tony Mowbray figures out a way to keep them up.

16. Wigan – Another team that’s been medicore of late. They do just enough to get by.

15. Manchester City – Talent-wise, the Citizens are way better than this. But I think a player exodus and the controversy surrounding their owner will drag City down to the bottom of the table.

14. Middlesbrough – Gareth Southgate hopes to keep his squad on their slow climb up the ladder.

13. Blackburn Rovers – I’m wondering if all the stuff I’m hearing about Paul Ince clashing with his new players is true. The Rovers have the punch to finish in the top, but their new gaffer might hold them back.

12. West Ham – Alan Curbishley is the favorite to get fired first this season. That’s never good. The Hammers need a good, healthy season to save their boss.

11. Fulham – The Whites needed a great escape to avoid the drop last year. With the improvements in the transfer window, Team America shouldn’t need that kind of magic again.

10. Sunderland – Roy Keane is quietly building up the Black Cats. A team on the rise.

9. Everton – If the Toffees had some money, they’d be dangerous.

8. Newcastle – And this is probably too high for this aging club.

7. Aston Villa – I wonder how much the Barry saga will affect them.

6. Portsmouth – I love the new Crouch/Defoe partnership. We’ll see how it plays out.

5. Arsenal – A talented squad, but not a deep one. Injuries may keep this team from reaching its potential.

4. Tottenham – Juande Ramos waves the wand again as Spurs sneak into the Champions League.

3. Manchester United – Blasphemy, I know, to pick the Red Devils here. But I think they peaked last year. Ronaldo can’t scoe 40 again, can he?

2. Liverpool – If the Reds can find a way to defend, they’ll contend.

1. Chelsea – On paper, they have the best squad. In the bank, they have the most money. And on the bench, they’ve got the best coach. I’ll take the Blues to win the title.

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One Response to “Christmas in August”

  1. Greg Says:

    I hope Hull will stay up so I’m picking Stoke, West Brom and Wigan to sink.

    Liverpool will definitely finish ahead of Man U. Then they’ll wake up and realize they didn’t.

    I wouldn’t put Spurs that high and I’m a fan!

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