Writer: Steve Shepley
Date:Friday September 7 2007
We at City feel genuinely optimistic after five games so here, as I see it, is your teams` first term report based on what we have seen so far. Here`s how we see your season ending,
Arsenal - Glad we have played them away. It`s a pointless exercise ever having a game in hand if it is away to the gooners. I really like what Wenger is doing for them, a young, strong side that are very pleasing on the eye. I think it will be their season and they will finish marginally ahead of Liverpool. Likely Champions, at worst runners up.
Aston Villa - Like us Villa will want to improve and push on and why not they have a good manager and a good first team. However their squad is small and this may have a negative effect on them come the second half of the season. A great win against Chelsea. They will win more than they loose. Mid table 10th this year but challenging for top six next season.
Birmingham - I tend to agree with Bruce that the so called bigger teams get few decisions given against them. That said excuses from him seem to be all to frequent so early into the season. A hard time ahead and I`m afraid I see them going straight back down even though they will battle till the end. 18th place finish.
Blackburn - I have to say that Sparky has done a great job. His team mix it well and can play football. A tough side to beat, they play to their strengths extremely well. A very good season ahead and a finish between fifth and tenth will depend on the depth of his squad. Based on results so far I predict 5th.
Bolton - Little Sam has not had the best of starts. The positives are that he has a few good players who will dig in but he also has a few who will lose interest once they find themselves fighting at the wrong end of the table. They will be safe but bottom half this season, 14th.
Chelsea - They have not been impressive so far this season having conceded 6 goals already. They are very, very fortunate to have ten points. I sense all is not well at the bridge and I cannot see them winning the title. That said, spending money as they have should enable them to keep their top four status, 4th.
Derby County - Billy Davies worries me as he looks very much out of his depth in this league. The team lacks quality and they were well short at Liverpool. I have always liked the rams but I`m sorry I think they will be relegated well before the season ends, 20th.
Everton - Similar to Blackburn in that they will have a very good season. Hard to beat and well organised they will end up in the top half. Teams finishing between 5th and 10th will do so with very little difference in points so I will go for 8th.
Fulham - They have just 4 points so far and to be honest they could easily have had ten. Underrated, they certainly are, I expect just below half way at the end, 13th.
Liverpool - Very impressive so far and this could finally be their year but I do think they will come a very close 2nd to Arsenal. Possible champions, at worst runners up.
Man City - A young, quality side that will improve in the coming seasons. They will challenge further up the table in a year or two, but for this season just above half way, 9th.
Man United - I have to say they should have more points on the board at this stage. The Champions League is their main target, they will finish 3rd.
Middlesbrough - Good one week awful the next. Consistency is their obvious problem. Mid-table until Christmas then fading to the lower half, 15th.
Newcastle - They have started well and will continue to do so. Certainly top half and should qualify for Europe, 6th.
Portsmouth - A very hard start against the so called top sides. They will have a fairly good season, mid table say 11th.
Reading - I`m not impressed with them so far. They will miss Sidwell and have a too small a squad. A difficult second season, 16th.
Sunderland - I`ve been impressed with the money they have spent, but not on the players they have bought. A very hard season that sees them relegated with about four games left, 19th.
Tottenham - A poor start but they do have quality and can, on any given day, upset the big four. Alternatively then can, and do, lose to the lesser sides. I cannot see anything higher than 7th place.
West Ham - They have some decent players and they will improve as the season progresses. Mid-table or a little bit lower sees me taking them to end up in 12th spot.
Wigan - A reasonable start but some of their signings won`t cope well with a long, hard season. They should just finish safe in 17th place.
Champions Arsenal, Runners up Liverpool, Relegated, Birmingham Sunderland and Derby.
Cup winners - I fancy one of Newcastle, Villa, Blackburn or ourselves to take one of the domestic cups.
Date:Friday September 7 2007
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