With the English Premier League set to kick off this upcoming weekend, the pundits have been weighing in with their predictions for the new season. Despite the large number of columns devoted to the topic, almost everyone agrees on a few things:
- Manchester United and Chelsea will be the top two teams.
- Liverpool will finish 3rd.
- Rivals Arsenal and Tottenham will battle for 4th.
- Wigan, Fulham and the three promoted clubs will be fighting relegation.
Here is the final league table as I envision it, with the key player for each team in parenthesis:
- Manchester United (Cristiano Ronaldo)
- Chelsea (Didier Drogba)
- Arsenal (Robin Van Persie)
- Tottenham (Dimitar Berbatov)
- Liverpool (Fernando Torres)
- Newcastle (Cacapa)
- Blackburn (Morten Gamst Pederson)
- Everton (Mikel Arteta)
- Manchester City (Valeri Bojinov)
- Reading (Stephen Hunt)
- Portsmouth (Sulley Muntari)
- West Ham (Scott Parker)
- Aston Villa (Gabriel Agbonlahor)
- Bolton (Nicolas Anelka)
- Sunderland (Anthony Stokes)
- Wigan (Jason Koumas)
- Derby County (Giles Barnes)
- Middlesbrough (Yakubu)
- Birmingham City (Garry O’Connor)
- Fulham (Brian McBride)
It takes a brave man to put Wigan two places above relagation, especially since they signed Titus Bramble. That kind of defensive anchor can sink your ship. But I think they’ll hold on. Middlesbrough, on the other hand, won’t make it, while Birmingham haven’t got the quality and Fulham are as good as relegated after signing the entire Northern Irish national team (currently ranked #28 in the world). Agree? Disagree? Comment it up.