Yet Another 2010/2011 Premier League Preview: Manchester City

Manchester City

Joe Hart Spurs v Man City

A team that outside of Manchester, were previously among the affections of many fans, much like Fulham, due to their likeable innocuousness. Then came the Abu Dhabi United Group, who had more than Africa’s deficit in their loose change box, making them less likeable than Robert Kilroy Silk covered in dog shit turning up at your child’s first birthday party and repossessing everything in your house and getting the walls all dirty in the process.

However, despite their huge financial clout, City are yet to break into the top four, let alone win any silverware. This will need to be done asap less the Abu Dhabi United Group get bored and go and purchase every corner shop in the land or the entire sport of rugby instead.

The Manager – Roberto Mancini

Improved results since Mark Hughes’ tenure, the league’s most suave Italian, beating off strong competition from Carlo Ancelotti, spends much of his days thinning his hair with industrial paint thinner to make it lighter than a single cornflake in a no gravity air vacuum. This being the secret to his success. Also his rubbish scarf which he wears all year long and doesn’t fit with his sharp suits.

Strengths

Could survive almost any injury crisis to the extent of Carlos Tevez accidentally dissolving half the team’s legs with his acid urine, such is the depth of City’s squad. Also being able to boast some of the biggest names in World football such as David Silva, the Toure brothers and Mario Balotelli is pretty decent too.

Weaknesses

Also City’s squad size, which means that Mancini will have to pull off the best squad rotation since Rafa Benitez forced his Liverpool squad to sit on a carousel for four days straight in order to keep fringe players happy. It also serves as a large deterrent to players that they wish to attract to the club, as was seen in a similar situation at Chelsea a few seasons ago.

Did you know?

Nigel de Jong’s raised boot can pierce clean through the thighs of a horse, such is its ferocity.

Best Chant

City Reject” (This chant might eventually apply to every player in the league)

Prediction

More quality than Liverpool and Tottenham ‘on paper’, yet with all their new additions and little squad gelling, City may fall short of their targeted Champions League place. Shilts still reckons they’ll do it though.

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Yet Another 2010/2011 Premier League Preview: Liverpool

Liverpool

Under maverick Spanish manager Rafa Benitez, Liverpool spectacularly dropped out of the top four last season, with the Spaniard routinely choosing to substitute best player Fernando Torres for no apparent and then watch as his replacement; David N’Gog/Ryan Babel/Andry Voronin proved to be utterly useless and the Reds lose to undoubtedly weaker opposition, seemingly one a one man mission to prove that he was a massive gump. Much off-field politics between Rafa and incompetent owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett and the inexplicable sale of Xabi Alonso were also contributing factors.

With new manager Roy Hodgson managing to keep hold of Torres and Steven Gerrard, Liverpool will be hoping to regain their mojo this season.

The Manager – Roy Hodgson

Performs wonders at almost every club he graces, including the unthinkable Europa League final last season with Fulham, Hodgson will have to do the thinkable and return Liverpool to top four contention if he wants to stay in the job.

Strengths

The Spanish duo of Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres, arguably two of the best players in the country in their respective positions.

Weaknesses

During Rafa’s reign, the first team squad was filled with a large amount of mediocrity and the demises of the previously reliably excellent Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher’s abilities last season will be a huge worry to Reds fans.

Did you know?

Dirk Kuyt’s body is made up of approximately 98% sweat, 1% crap hair he should really do something with and 1% everything else.

Best Chant

You’ll Never Walk Alone” (Obviously)

Prediction

Shilts reckons that with the relatively small amount of additions Hodgson has made to Liverpool’s seemingly mid-table standard side, Champions League football could evade them once again, with Manchester City and Tottenham finishing ahead once again.

Yet Another 2010/2011 Premier League Preview: Fulham

Fulham

Roy Hodgson gave Fulham an unforgettable journey to the Europa League final last season and with his departure to Liverpool, it is quite plausible that it will always be the highest peak that the Cottagers (schoolboy chuckle) will ever reach.

The Manager – Mark Hughes

On the other hand, it is also possible that new boss Mark Hughes could use Mohammed Al Fayed’s millions to propel Fulham into the upper echelons of the league. After all, with Manchester City’s billions he achieved… middle table security? It is perhaps unfair to judge Hughes by his time at Eastlands as his record at Blackburn proves, he is more than capable of working on a tighter budget.

Strengths

Clint Dempsey is a scintillating midfielder and the emergence of Bobby Zamora as someone who is no longer the default punchline for someone who is a crap striker, rather a genuine contender for a place in Fabio Capello’s England squad add a real attacking option to Fulham’s already solid backline.

Weaknesses

Finished 12th in the league last season, although their exploits on the continent could be much to blame for this. Regardless, they need to improve dramatically to stay in contention for European spots.

Did you know?

Zoltan Gera works part-time as a fairground crystal ball gazer and was largely ignored on an international medium stage, despite predicting the results of the 2010 World Cup 35% accurately. Something about a psychic squid or something?

Best Chant

That Boy Clint Dempsey

Prediction

Mid-table aficionado Mark Hughes should deliver more of the same for the Whites this season.

Yet Another 2010/2011 Premier League Preview: Everton

Everton

Jack Rodwell

Finished 5th for two consecutive seasons then dropped out of European competition in 8th last season, the Toffees will need to deliver themselves back into European contention with the promise that the ability of the players in their squad show if they want to stand a chance of keeping said players for future seasons to come.

The Manager – David Moyes

A man devoid of eyebrows, with those claiming to have ever seen any on the Scot derided in the same way as anyone who claims to have been pleasured by the Loch Ness monster’s enormous appendage, Moyes has is renowned for finding and producing young talent as frequently as he shits, with Moyes alumni including Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell and Jose Baxter. He has made Everton one of the best clubs outside of the top four in the modern times.

Strengths

Few teams would turn down the opportunity to boast the midfield talents of Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar, with the exception of Mad Johnny Cantpickplayerssen, the manager of Shitemidfielddecisions Rovers, a team I just made up.

Weaknesses

The majority of the squad are more likely to get injured than Michael Owen standing in the middle of a floor covered in exploding mines and rabbit traps.

Did you know?

Much in the same way that nobody believes the current Paul McCartney is the real Paul McCartney, Phil Neville has been dead for six years, with the third Neville brother, Nigel Neville deputising to save everyone paperwork.

Best Chant

Follow Follow

Prediction

At the time of writing, they have just been beaten by Blackburn. A poor start indeed if they were to fulfil Sir Alex Ferguson’s prophecy of gatecrashing the top four. Shilts reckons that they’ll have another injury hit season and finish 7th or 8th.

Yet Another 2010/2011 Premier League Preview: Chelsea

Chelsea

community shields: Chelsea v Manchester United - FA Community Shield

When Roman Abramovich first rocked up to Stamford Bridge with more cash than Ritchie Rich after putting all his money on red on a roulette wheel and having it come in, the Blues were scorned across the land for buying their way to glory. The billionaires at Manchester City eclipsing of Abramovich’s millions, like Megatron standing over a midget, has been a blessing for Chelsea’s PR image. Once seen as the playground dickhead who smugly showed off those light-up trainers his dad bought him, they have now piped down a bit after a new kid has turned up and boasted about how his dad owns the company that makes the trainers.

This coincided with their regaining of the title last season from the clutches of Manchester United with easily the strongest all round squad routinely dispatching opposition by huge goal margins. A poor pre-season and defeat to likely closest title rivals Manchester United in the Pointless Community Shield casts a small shadow of doubt over whether they can retain the title this season.

The Manager – Carlo Ancelotti

The suave Italian won the English FA Cup and Premier League double in his first season in charge, a clear statement of his managerial ability and intent. He also has the ability to raise his right eyebrow so high that sometimes he can make it disappear into his hairline.

Strengths

Huge strength and depth throughout the squad and with little to no obvious weak spots, and in Drogba they arguably, and probably, have the best striker in the world. Bar Dave Nugent.

Weaknesses

The sale of long time defensive stalwart Ricardo Carvalho to Real Madrid and loss of squad player Joe Cole to Liverpool could prove to costly, although centre back Alex’s impressive last season and the purchase of Yossi Benayoun could allay this problem.

Did you know?

John Obi Mikel, rumoured to be among the numerous Nigeria players who claim to be younger than they actually are, draws a weekly pension of £90 which he spends on Inspector Morse boxsets, gin and maintenance for his stair lift.

Best Chant

Salomon Kalou” (To the tune of The Animals Came In Two By Two)

Prediction

Certainly have the quality to win the title again, but Shilts has a sneaky feeling that they will be pipped by United. Second.

Yet Another 2010/2011 Premier League Preview: Bolton Wanderers

Bolton Wanderers

For so long under Sam Allardyce, Bolton and their style of football was frowned upon by opposition fans in the same they might look down upon people who choose to defecate in their own hands in public and then eat the ensuing mess, however as soon as Big Sam left and was replaced by the useless Little Sammy Lee and almost as useless Gary Megson, Allardyce’s achievement in not only keeping Bolton in the league but also challenging for European places was fully appreciated.

The Manager – Owen Coyle

Relatively new boss Owen Coyle managed to keep the Trotters in the league after Megson’s mess last season and not only that, he has his teams play actually attractive actual passing football that doesn’t consist of booting the ball from one of the pitch to the other and having Kevin Davies elbow its way into the goal. A huge step in the right direction for the Wanderers who might hope to emulate the success of Allardyce without the added side effect of appearing to be monumental pricks on the pitch.

Strengths

Lee Chung-yong is a winger of supreme ability, getting fans on to their feat faster than if you covered their seats in barbed wire and upturned Pickelhaube helmets.

Weaknesses

Record signing Johan Elmander is about as useless as paper condom in goal scoring terms.

Did you know?

Kevin Davies has been officially granted permission by fencing authorities to legally use his elbows as a legitimate weapon when competing in tournaments.

Best Chant

Who needs John Terry when we’ve got Shittu?” (To the tune of Chim Chim Cheree)

Prediction

10-13th, a top ten finish is within their grasp if new signing Martin Petrov performs well, although three years kicking about the benches at Manchester City might have deflated him like a week old balloon.

Yet Another 2010/2011 Premier League Preview: Blackpool

Blackpool

Play Off Winners

Just ten years ago, Blackpool were looking like possibly dropping out of the football league altogether and their swift ascent to the highest league in English football is reminiscent of the likes of Fulham and Hull. Unlike Fulham and more like Hull, the Tangerines are almost certain to be the league’s underdogs and be inserted into terrible put downs across the land; example: “You like (name of team)?! They’re worse than Blackpool!!!”

The Manager – Ian Holloway

Known for his zany quotes and comic appeal, many experts have put this down to the fact that he is from Bristol and therefore anything he says, no matter how serious, is rendered instantly hilarious due to his funny accent. Holloway has expressed dismay at this, claiming it is impossible for him to achieve his lifelong dream to become a funeral director as everyone would assume he is mocking their dead relatives.

Strengths

Low expectations and a huge inflow of cash from their winning of the Championship playoffs means that the Seasiders should be financially secure for a long time yet, even if they don’t manage to retain their Premier League status by the end of the season. Plus, in Charlie Adam they have a real talent.

Weaknesses

Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston has publicly admitted that the club have had huge difficulties signing players due to inflated wage demands, and this is seen in the largely uninspiring acquisition of dinosaur-a-like Marlon Harewood. This has largely left them with sixth place in the Championship standard players.

Did you know?

Brett Omerod was the first person in Blackpool to wear shoes.

Best Chant

When I was just a little boy

Prediction

Relegated, have a huge battle on their hands to avoid the ignominy of coming last in the fashion of Derby three seasons ago.