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2011-2012 Football League Predictions

August 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Just a quick post with my predictions for the new football league season starting next week. This is how I see the Premier League, Championship, League 1 and League 2 finishing up. These could be amazingly correct or staggeringly wrong, we shall see how the season develops.

Premier League:

 

  1. Manchester United
  2. Chelsea
  3. Manchester City
  4. Arsenal
  5. Liverpool
  6. Tottenham Hotspur
  7. Everton
  8. Aston Villa
  9. Stoke
  10. QPR
  11. Bolton
  12. Fulham
  13. Newcastle
  14. Sunderland
  15. West Bromwich Albion
  16. Wolves
  17. Blackburn

——————————————————————-

  1. Norwich
  2. Wigan
  3. Swansea City

Championship:

 

  1. West Ham United
  2. Leicester City

——————————————————————-

  1. Leeds United
  2. Ipswich Town
  3. Southampton
  4. Middlesbrough

——————————————————————-

  1. Cardiff City
  2. Birmingham City
  3. Brighton
  4. Nottingham Forest
  5. Bristol City
  6. Burnley
  7. Hull City
  8. Reading
  9. Blackpool
  10. Portsmouth
  11. Derby
  12. Watford
  13. Millwall
  14. Barnsley
  15. Doncaster

——————————————————————-

  1. Crystal Palace
  2. Coventry
  3. Peterborough United

League 1:

 

  1. Huddersfield Town
  2. Charlton

——————————————————————-

  1. Sheffield United
  2. MK Dons
  3. Scunthorpe United
  4. Brentford

——————————————————————-

  1. Preston North End
  2. Colchester United
  3. Leyton Orient
  4. Chesterfield
  5. Bournemouth
  6. Carlisle United
  7. Sheffield Wednesday
  8. Exeter City
  9. Tranmere
  10. Oldham
  11. Walsall
  12. Bury
  13. Notts County
  14. Hartlepool United

——————————————————————-

  1. Yeovil Town
  2. Rochdale
  3. Wycombe
  4. Stevenage

League 2:

 

  1. Shrewsbury Town
  2. Crawley Town
  3. Swindon Town

——————————————————————-

  1. Rotherham United
  2. Bristol Rovers
  3. Crewe Alexandra
  4. Oxford United

——————————————————————-

  1. Gillingham
  2. Torquay United
  3. Plymouth
  4. Dagenham & Redbridge
  5. Accrington Stanley
  6. Aldershot
  7. Northampton Town
  8. AFC Wimbledon
  9. Bradford
  10. Port Vale
  11. Southend United
  12. Morecambe
  13. Hereford United
  14. Macclesfield
  15. Burton Albion

——————————————————————-

  1. Cheltenham Town
  2. Barnet

Eduardo banned for diving, do it for everyone then!

September 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Yesterday Arsenal striker Eduardo was banned for two European matches after being found guilty by a UEFA disciplinary panel of diving to win a penalty against Celtic last week. Now I am not an Arsenal fan, but this punishment strikes me as very harsh for two reasons; firstly, if he had been adjudged to have dived by the match referee during the game at that time, he would have only received a yellow card with no further retribution, and secondly, why have UEFA decided to pick up on this incident, which didn’t have any effect on the overall outcome of the match, when there have been a number of high profile incidents involving players diving.

Eduardo won a spot-kick after going down in the penalty area

The Eduardo penalty incident

As a football fan, I don’t like to see any players diving and succeeding in their attempts to con the referee. And I agree that UEFA and the other footballing authorities have to do something in an attempt to remove it from the game. However, I believe that if they are going to impose a two game ban on players adjudged to have dived, as they have here with Eduardo, then they had better start doing it for every single player who ‘dives’. This means they will have to monitor and watch every single game in every league each week and not just punish those spotted on the live Premiership or European matches on television. Although this system would be a laborious process, it is the only fair way I can see to do this, otherwise it puts an unfair disadvantage on those players at the top level under the most spotlight. By just targeting players seen diving in the top level games, it is not only unfair to them, it is also not going to stop people diving at a lower level. Players in the Championship, League One, League Two etc, will not be deterred from diving after the Eduardo punishment, because they know that their matches aren’t getting anywhere near as much attention and scrutiny.

The only way to eradicate it from all levels of the game is to have every single game monitored, and whenever any player is adjudged to have dived, a ban is imposed. And if the referee spots a dive in a match, they can still book that player, but they must also then report the dive after the match to the authorities, who can then ban the player. By giving every player who is found guilty of diving, in every league the same length ban, be it two games or a different number, it will provide a consistent and effective punishment in the fight against simulation in football. However, this system will probably be considered as ‘not practical’ and seeing as I have no power at all in the echelons of football, this idea won’t get anywhere. But, now UEFA have decided to ban Eduardo, football authorities will have to try their best to continue dishing out this punishment to any players caught diving, or it will never leave our game.

Why the Premiership is still the best league in the World.

August 16, 2009 2 comments

Many people may argue that, since the summer spending of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, that has seen some of the world’s top players in Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema arriving in Madrid and Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving from Inter Milan to Barcelona, that the Spanish La Liga has become the greatest league in the world. Assuming of course they didn’t already hold this belief before the big name imports. With Ronaldo leaving current English champions Manchester United for Madrid and Xabi Alonso leaving last seasons  second place finishers Liverpool, it will clearly have a detrimental affect on both teams and, arguably, the overall quality of the league. Combined with the loss of  some of its top players, there has been very little transfer activity where players have been brought into the Premiership from other international leagues. The majority of transfer activity has been players moving clubs within the league and cannot compete with the blockbuster moves from the two Spanish sides.

However, i believed that before these transfers in the summer, the Premiership was the best league and I still believe that to be the case. Although La Liga can now boast the names of Ronaldo, Kaka, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Ibrahimovic, Villa, Silva and Fabiano to name a few, the Premiership can still name  players such as Lampard, Gerrard, Fabregas (Although rumoured interest from Barcelona), Torres, Drogba, Rooney, Robhino and Tevez who are all at the top of the world game. There is no doubt in my mind that La Liga has the three best players on the planet, Messi, Ronaldo and Kaka, playing within it, but this doesn’t automatically crown it as the top league. In terms of the number of truly world class players, I think the Premiership easily has the beating of La Liga. And this is one of the main reasons that the Premiership is still ahead of La Liga.

Secondly, the competitiveness of the Premiership is much more intriguing and compelling to watch than La Liga which does ultimately come down to two teams. Of course people will say that this is not the case and teams like Sevilla, Valencia and Athletico Madrid can challenge as well and that the Premiership is always the same with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal streets ahead of the other teams. Although this statement about the top four is pretty much correct, it means there are twice as many teams challenging for the title than in La Liga and consequently a more interesting competition.

The performances of English teams in Europe have also shown a period of great strength for the Premiership. In the last five seasons, the European Champions League final has consisted of at least one English team and in the last three season, three of the four semi-finalists have been English teams. Only Barcelona have made the final from Spain in the last five seasons, although they did triumph on both occasions. However, the consistency of the top English teams to continue to succeed in this competition also confirm the current dominance of the Premiership.

This is of course only my opinion, and being that i can watch the Premiership every week and see La Liga only occasionally, may leave me uninformed to make a proper judgement, but with all that I have been exposed of both competitions, I still firmly believe in the Premiership’s status as the best league in the world.

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