City Vox Pops, part 4

More generally, who do you see as serious contenders for the title and European slots, and which sides can you see struggling? Also, which non-City players are you looking forward to seeing this year, and are there any signings, potentially good or bad, that stand out?

Gary, We've Got Robinho
"If not City of course, i am going to back Chelsea for the league title. They have a settled team with a lot of quality. Essien's back and Drogba looks fit and sharp again, those two will play an important part in Chelsea's title challenge, so i will go for them.

European spots is trickier, City will almost certainly need to take one of them at the very least, but the rest are hard to call. You just do not know wha, say, Spurs will do, or if the likes of Fulham over achieved last year. I expect Spurs, Villa and Everton to be up there and if there is to be a surprise contender then I will go for Sunderland.

The teams I expect to struggle the most are Portsmouth, Wolves and Birmingham. I think they are very similar in the way that the players that they have brought in do not have enough quality. If those three are not down the bottom then I would be surprised.

A player I am looking forward to seeing in full swing again is Essien. I am a massive fan of the way he plays and rate him as one of the very best midfielders in the league. I love the way he makes the game look easy and I am expecting him to have a big impact on the league this season.

As for good signings this year, there isn't one that stands out that for me. If I had to pick one it would be Benitez from Birmingham, he is potentially a very good player, whether he can realise that potential at Birmingham is a different story. A bad signing might prove to be Kevin Doyle, he is a decent player but I don't think a player of Premier League standard and combine that with the fee payed for him I would lean towards thinking he was not worth it"

Lloyd, Man City Issues
"I think that Chelsea will win the title, without a doubt. They are the only side in the top four that look stronger than last season. I wouldn't write Arsenal off either, but I think with a couple of injuries to their attacking-minded players they could fall away. I expect Liverpool to finish 2nd with United 3rd. I honestly think that 4th is attainable for us and we should not be written off. I think Arsenal at 5th but they will be very close on points to us. Tottenham 6th and Everton 7th. Then for the drop it's going to be Portsmouth, Hull and Wolves.

I would like to see Burnley do well as they are a fantastic Cinderella story and Owen Coyle is one of the best young managers in the business. As for signings, i think Sunderland have dealt a good one in Darren Bent who is guaranteed to get you 10-15 goals. Another is Thomas Vermaelen for Arsenal. On the subject of bad signings - Obertan for United for £3m – another inspired signing from Whiskey Nose. Shame nobody’s ever heard of him!"

Ric, BlueMoon
"The title will be contested, as always, by United, Chelsea and Liverpool. The Europe league spots will be between Everton, City, Spurs and Villa.

I’m looking forward to seeing Fabian Delph, just to see what we missed out on, assuming he gets a game, that is. Also looking forward to seeing more of Jack Wilshere, who excelled in pre-season"

Jack, The Lonesome Death of Roy Carroll
"My predictions are in flux at the moment but I'm going to go for this: Chelsea then United then Liverpool then Arsenal, but with all four teams around the 80 point mark and very little between them. I think Spurs will just beat us to fifth, with Everton in seventh. Burnley, Hull and Portsmouth to go down.

My favourite non-City players are Fabregas, Arshavin, Torres, Lampard and Drogba. I'm looking forward to some of Arsenal's football (being a City fan you have to admire any team that wins the title at Old Trafford!) but I'm not sure they'll have enough. I think Sunderland have got a strong base now with Cana and Cattermole, and I think Vermaelen has looked excellent thus far. I think that Aquilani's injury problems mean that Lucas will play too many games for Liverpool to win anything"

Peter, Man City Blues
"I don’t take much notice, really. I suppose the Rags won’t be way off, neither will Chelsea. Liverpool I can’t see as serious contenders this season, not sure why, Rafa had his best chance last year. I think Arsenal will surprise their critics, but I can’t think of any particular player"

"Chelsea are the only side who appear improved, but then we thought that last year until Scolari's reign hit trouble. I don't think Liverpool will be involved, they have players getting games who would struggle to get into our reserves; Lucas, Voronin, Insua, Dossena, Babel. They sold a player who was absolutely key to the way they play and an injury to either of their two real top-drawer players will hurt them. Arsenal will lose few games but whenever anyone plays with any kind of steel whatsoever they'll play the victims and bottle points. I'd love to write United off but i can't. I can't imagine them ever not finishing close to the title, i just hope they suffer from getting rid of their main matchwinner. A lot will depend on Phil Mitchell upfront. Chelsea have the strongest squad in world football, Ancelotti's organisation might well see them over the line.

Regards the Europa League places, they should go to three of the 'next four', assuming the cups will again go to the usual candidates. My worry is that there are potential stories all over the show. Us failing to qualify for at least that competition would be very disappointing, but Everton beating us to it, having one of our strikers on loan, or with us poaching Lescott to tears and accusations, well, headlines waiting to happen. With this in mind i'm quite glad Petrov didn't move to Spurs. It's hard to call. Everton have bought well, Villa have kept their match-winners, Spurs look on fire. We have to get 5th, we really do.

The relegation places are perhaps a little harder to call than they were a couple of weeks ago. I had thought Hull and Pompey were certs, but now i'm not so sure. Hull have signed a couple of good attackers who might serve them well, but they'll miss Turner. Pompey were awful when we played them last week but the new bodies, though largely unproven, might give them a bit of impetus. I'd be worried if i were a Wigan fan. I like Martinez, but their squad isn't great. I think Burnley will make up the five involved in the scrap, but i'm sort of rooting for them; good chairman, good manager, hard-working squad who can play a bit aswell. I'll go for Pompey, Wigan and a valiant but unsuccessful Burnley.

Ah signings, well, our business aside i've been a bit disappointed with most. Few really stand out. Vermaelen looks like a solid, no-nonsense centre-half, but he's not really been tested as yet. Bassong at Spurs seems to have slotted in well, too. I like him, i must admit. I don't think he'd play week in, week out here, but i'd have been quite happy to see us snap him up. Cana, Cattermole & Bent all strike me as very sensible acquisitions, also. Two forward who i've been impressed with whenever seeing, Altidore and Tuncay. I'm surprised they've gone to Hull and Stoke respectively, but i think they'll both grab 10-12 goals. Sylvain Distin might also prove a canny buy for Moyes.

As for bad buys, potential turkeys, the list is quite long. Villa paying £12m for Downing, knowing he'll miss half a season struck me as particularly mental. Barry Ferguson's not good enough to play at this level, Kalinic looks like he's got two left feet, Zhirkov won't get enough games, then there's Paul McShane, perhaps the worst defender i've ever seen at Eastlands. The two that stand out, however, have both been signed by a certain Spanish waiter on Merseyside. Glen Johnson can be brilliant going forward, but he can't defend for toffee. Aquiliani isn't fit to lace Alonso's boots and they'll struggle to get twenty games a season out of him. A panic buy if ever there was one!"

1 comment:

  1. Chelsea look the most solid side this season. Thier strength in the middle is quite incredible! Lampard, ballack, essien mikel, deco..wow! They stand a good chance of being champions with good leadership from the top.

    Arsenal and United looked very beatable when they played each other, weakened sides lacking cutting edge. ie adebayor and ronaldo! But they are still very strong!

    Everton and villa are set for a tough season. Oneil has brought in a selection of average players...ie downing, collison, dunne. But he is a good manager and will get them motivated and well organised. A side hard to beat! Everton again are a tough one, general over achieving side, it doesnt look full of quality on paper but is a team full of grafters (apart from JO of course)

    Sunderland and Spurs have brought in good players this window. Ol eelephant man has a good eye for transfer dealings. Lorik Cana and cattermole will be very solid middle along with bent and mensah. Arry has spent a fair bit again adding another ex pompey players crouch, kranjcar and securing their back line with bassong. They stand to be good rivals for city this season.

    As far as clubs struggling. Wigan are certain to struggle, losing their best players and not being able to replace them is not a great start. Martinez transfer policy has been similar to lawrie sanchez, lower league stars are gamble! Hull should struggle, but i have been impressed with jozy and ghilas, and perhaps jan venegoor of hess..... (give up) will get them enough goals to keep up.

    Birmingham to me look like a side without real quality throughout the side. Championshp players through and through. Only benitez looks a bright spark and he has yet to start a game!

    Burnley ultimatley will struggle, coyle had a top season last time around but will struggle to keep a side motivated if they go on a bad run.

    Pompey under Hart look like a drowing side. Apart from hart looking like the dullard in Extras, he lacks the charisma and leadership to keep them up. Not sure what peter kay is up to buying the club, or if he has much money, it just looks as though it will end in tears. Michael brown signing was indicative of Pompeys aims this season, to kick opposing sides off the park!

    So pompey, brum, wigan and burnley for the bottom spots.

    I also think Fulham will struggle this season. They overachiveid last time round and havnt got great depth in quality! Europe bare heavy on their season and could be their undoing. a low table finish for them!