August 14, 2014

To Be Or Not To Be

Predictions are even more arrogant than opinions, but if they fail to come to fruition then everyone usually forgets about them anyway. So, here are my predictions for the coming season. They are all completely wrong so don't bother putting any money on them. However, if you do happen to put a little cash down and by some stroke of luck I'm right then I expect half of all winnings please.

The nice thing about being an Arsenal fan is that we always start the season top of the league. That would, of course, all change if Accrington Stanley or Aldershot Town made it into the Premiership, and it's really only a matter of time before one of those giants join the party.

Premier League

We all know the signings Arsenal have made this season; Sanchez, Debuchy, Chambers, Ospina. All solid, yet we're missing that final piece (or two) to the puzzle. Although we've lost more players than we've signed I still feel that our squad is deep enough to challenge in all competitions this season. Let's just focus on a quality central defender and I see Arsenal fighting for the Premiership this season. It's more realistic than it's been in quite a number of years. A top four finish won't cut it this time - in order to prove that last season wasn't a fluke and that we are a club that's building a winning team, we need to make 1st place our goal, with automatic Champions League qualification (3rd place or higher) a minimum expectation.

We must ensure that our blinders are off though, as the 'big teams' around us have also made some significant additions to their squads. 

The Russians over in Fulham (Chelsea) have  interested me the most with their transfer malarky, signing only five players, but five very impressive players (and at a relative bargain too). Ex-Arsenal boy, Fabregas pulls on a Chelski shirt which, other than being bizarre, will be interesting to see how he re-adapts himself to the English league. A lot was said about his apparent inability to fit into Barcelona's game, so whether it's a drop in form or just his style being more fit to the English game he'll be one to watch this season. As well as Costa, they also re-signed Arsenal nemesis Drogba, so expect him to get at least 7 goals against us this season. I see Chelski as our main title rivals this season, and will be the team to beat come crunch time.

Manchester United have the luxury (if that's what you want to call it) of not playing any European football this season - cheers Moyes! This will play in their favor undoubtedly as the season goes on. They could, essentially, play the same team in pretty much every fixture without running them into the ground. It's something that Arsenal, thankfully, have never had the pleasure of experiencing. At least not for the last couple of decades. A top four finish for the second best team in Manchester is pretty much a given considering their schedule, but Luke Shaw is not the answer to their title dreams, and I don't see them reclaiming the League title any time soon - their defensive options are just too sparse. 

Manchester Shitty are obviously title favorites with their acquisition of Frank Lampard.... I kid, I kid. Although they did sign a couple of quality players, they didn't really need anyone, did they? They are always going to be in and around the top of the table, but I'm not sure their team chemistry is going to hold up for the next 9 months. There are a lot of big egos on that team, and although you can argue the same team won the title last year they didn't blow anyone out of the water (*cough*). 3rd place, and perhaps even 2nd if Arsenal or Chelski lose some players to injury, but I don't see a repeat title on the horizon.

Luis Suarez leaving England was the best thing that could of happened to 19 teams in the Premiership. Liverpool just didn't do enough in the summer to replace his domination. Ok, they may have signed the entire Southampton team, but I'm afraid that's just not going to cut it. Rickie Lambert? Really? I see him scoring less than a dozen goals for Liverpool this season, and I only give him that much because of the talent around him. I hope I'm wrong, but it feels like Liverpool really took a step backwards this summer, with Suarez and Sturridge being their only threat last season. Take away 31 goals from the biter and who is going to pick up those goals this season? 5th place is about as high as I see them going this year.

Everton are another team I think perhaps took a step backwards (or at least sideways) this summer. They did, however, sign Lukaku! Oh... wait. Ok, fine, but they did sign Gareth Barry! Oh... shit.
Everton, my place of birth, showed such potential last season, and as much as I'd love to see them break into that top four, I just don't think they have the talent or depth to compete at that level yet. Even as an Arsenal fan it's frustrating that they didn't bring in a couple of big name players to spice things up a bit. They had one of the fewest goals scored out of the top 10 teams last season, and there's little to suggest they've done anything to remedy that. Shame.

Someone mentioned Tottenham to me today and I laughed out loud. Honestly, I did. It wasn't meant to be a patronizing, smug laugh, it was an honest "are you joking?" laugh. 
Perhaps if they shelled out another £100million they might be able to stay in the top six, but let's all be completely honest with ourselves here - it's Sp*rs...... 
Their only glimmer of hope is the bloke in charge who's name I can't remember. He did a fantastic job at Southampton, but that's quite a different challenge to having to go to work at Shite Hart Lane every day... uugh.

While I'm sure Leicester will surprise us all and finish 2nd, I'm not going to go into too much detail about them or any of the other teams right about now. This is an Arsenal blog after all. For now, just rant and rave about my ridiculous opinions and feel free to email me your opinion. Also, while you're at it, follow @ArsenalDetroit on Twitter, and Arsenal Detroit on Facebook.

Here's to 24 more hours until real football!

Come On You Gunners!!