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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Dave Blackburn's predictions 2013/14

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The return of the most action-packed and exciting league in the world is only three days away, but what will the Premier League produce this season?

For a start there will be no Sir Alex Ferguson. The Manchester United boss has retired, leaving David Moyes to deal with the mess that is Wayne Rooney. Manuel Pellegrini has swapped sunny Spain for rainy Manchester City and the Special One Jose Mourinho has returned to his spiritual home at Chelsea. But despite all of this change at the top it's nice to know that some things never change . . .  Arsene Wenger is refusing to spend the cash that is burning a gaping hole in his back pocket.

It promises to be an intriguing season ahead in England but, with the Football League and the Scottish Premiership already under way, who will be the biggest winners and losers in 2013/14? For the past few days our writers have been gazing into the future to predict who will be celebrating with Champagne in May and who will be drowning their sorrows. Today it is the turn of Bolton Wanderers fan Dave Blackburn, who believes the Special One is about to produce the goods again at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea celebrateWho will win the Premier League?

Chelsea will win it. Arsenal haven't bought anyone and won't do it, Manchester United are in transition and so are Manchester City. Mourinho has been there and done it and his experience will be the telling factor - it will be closer than last season though.

Who will finish in the top four?

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in that order. For the reasons above.

Who will be relegated from the Premier League?

Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Hull City. I think the three who came up will be relegated. Holloway has done nothing but whinge and moan about how unlucky in the transfer market he is, Cardiff have spent big but haven't got enough in depth and Hull just aren't strong enough. Southampton, Norwich and Fulham will be down there but will have enough to stay ahead.

Who will be the Premier League's top scorer?

Manchester United's Robin Van Persie will be the league's top scorer. He gets goals every season and will do again; Suarez wont play enough games, but if the new Swansea striker Bony starts on fire I think he will be the new Michu.

Who will win the FA Cup?

Chelsea will win the FA Cup. They always do well in the cups and will win that one.

Who will win the League Cup?

I like the look of Swansea and I honestly think they will retain the League Cup. Michael Laudrup's team played well and deserved to win the competition last year and I think history will repeat itself.

Who will win the Champions League?

Pep-guardiola_1404750cBayern Munich. Pep Guardiola is now in charge - enough said!

Who will win the Europa League?

I always pick Atletico Madrid to win the Europa Cup - it is a lottery as who knows who will be in it after the group stages of the Champions League as well.

Who will win promotion to the Premier League?

QPR have signed some excellent players and with Redknapp in charge who has been done there and done it they will be Champions! Watford will run them close and go up as runners-up as they were very unlucky last year! Play-off winners will be Bolton - under Dougie they have strengthened and with another centre half signed will be the finished article - just need the strikers to start scoring now!

Who will win promotion to the Championship?

League 1 winners will be Peterborough - they will bounce straight back; Wolves and Preston will also go up.

Who will win promotion to League One?

League 2 winners with Phil Brown at the helm will be Southend; Fleetwood, Rochdale and Portsmouth will join them.

Who will finish first and second in the Scottish Premiership?

Celtic will be the champions - Second place will be Motherwell; although Inverness will be there or thereabouts.

Who will win the Scottish Cup?

That will be Neil Lennon's Celtic.

Who will win the Scottish League Cup?

That will be Derek Adams's Ross County.

How will the Premier League table look on the final day?
Chelsea champsChelsea
Manchester City
Manchester United
West Brom
West Ham
Aston Villa
Crystal Palace
Reasons for the top four were mentioned above; Spurs will just miss out again and if Bale leaves they could finish lower down but they have made some decent signings. Liverpool will finish sixth despite their turmoil of late, back in Europe but only in the Europa Cup.

As I said earlier, Swansea have impressed me and I like their boss Laudrup and with another season under their belt they will be up there; all depends on how they cope with Europe this season.

West Brom surprised me last season and have strengthened their squad very well this season - Steve Clarke was a revelation, I thought he was only a number two but how wrong was I! They will miss Lukaku but I don't think they will be one season wonders.

West Ham with Sam at the helm won't be relegated - mid league respectability.
Aston Villa have learned from last season and have managed to keep Benteke which is a very big plus - they won't be in the same problems as last season and will survive comfortably.

Everton under Martinez are in a period of transition, they will struggle but will survive - bought some players in who he knows well from Wigan - could be more action before transfer market closes - in and out - Fellini and Baines he will hope to keep but may try and get McManaman and McCarthy/MacArthur from Wigan.
Fulham will be ok and Newcastle with their foreign (French) contingent should be fine as well. Sunderland under Di Canio won't be boring but he could be the greatest manager and everything is fine or he will be fired within six months as the board can't cope with him - it could be a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Southampton will just survive but will learn from last season, not strengthened but will be ok.  It will be interesting what happens with Stoke under Mark Hughes - life after Pulis - he will want to prove himself after the departure from QPR - they will survive but just. 

Unfancied Norwich will survive, will score plenty of goals through Wolfswinkel and Hooper, their problem will be at the back - Hughton worked wonders to keep them up last season and will do so again - just!

Then there are the three that came up - Hull, Cardiff and Palace - I still think the gulf is wide and the teams who were promoted a couple of years ago did well last season, but I don't think history will repeat itself.

So that is the view of Bolton fan Dave Blackburn, but do you agree with him? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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