Daniel Finkelstein got it dead right when he said:
“It is impossible to predict who will win the Premiership. All you can do is say how probable different outcomes are.”
Reason doesn’t stop us from trying though, and fans from all sorts of clubs made all sorts of predictions. The peeps at the Soccernet Extra Podcast even got some things right, but mostly football proved itself to be beyond any certain outcomes and especially, beyond wishful thinking.
Case in point – the starts made by Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. Nothing to suggest that they have any serious troubles but everything points at the problems we diagnosed before the season started – Arsenal lack personnel, Liverpool lack cohesion and Tottenham are still not good enough to be in the top four.
Then again, you could have been forgiven for getting caught up in the hype around Liverpool. Surely a team that snatches victory from the bowels of defeat in a Champions League final, and then is the best team on points for 3/4th of the next season deserves to be ranked as favourites. After all, even Kevin McCarra is woefully wrong (although there is a difference in being equipped to do something and actually being able to pull it off).
But you could easily look at the charts and say that Liverpool still lack consistency, and that they will struggle. It’s not magic, and it’s not rocket science. As long as you stay away from the media Kool-Aid, you can pretty much beat the predictions offered by armchair hacks.
I got my Arsenal prediction wrong (I predicted that Arsenal would win by a 2-goal margin – silly me), but then again I had underestimated Martin O’Neill’s man-management skills.
Better luck next week, I guess.
But at least two things are constant in the universe of English football – Chelsea are still the team to beat (3-0 win against Manchester City without Ballack, Cech, Makelele, Cole, Gallas) while you can never, ever, write off Manchester United (top of the table after a 5-1 thumping of Fulham). Rose-tinted glasses? After all the “United is in decline” crap we’ve heard in the last month, hell yes.
Make sure you check out the goals from the Manchester United vs Fulham game – fantastic build-up to all 5 of them.
Premiership Results for 19th and 20th August:
- Sheffield United 1-1 Liverpool (Soccerlens coverage)
- Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa
- Everton 2-1 Watford
- Newcastle 2-1 Wigan
- Portsmouth 3-0 Blackburn
- Reading 3-2 Middlesbrough
- West Ham 3-1 Charlton
- Bolton 2-0 Tottenham (Soccerlens coverage)
- Manchester United 5-1 Fulham (Soccerlens coverage)
- Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City