Ahead of the new season we’ve decided to put our necks on the proverbial line and make a prediction or two with the odd bit of informative opinion thrown in just for good measure…
@Stretford_end – United
@Sleepy_Nik – United
@DoronSalomon – United
@Herzogschild – Manchester United
@Bricki – United
2nd, 3rd, 4th?
@Stretford_end – Chelsea, City, Arsenal
@Sleepy_Nik – Chelsea, City, Liverpool/Arsenal
@DoronSalomon – City, Chelsea, Arsenal
@Herzogschild – City, Chelsea, Arsenal
@Bricki – City, Chelsea, Liverpool
@Stretford_end – Wolves, Swansea, Norwich
@Sleepy_Nik – Swansea, Norwich, Blackburn
@DoronSalomon – Swansea, Norwich, Wigan
@Herzogschild – Wigan, Norwich, Blackburn
@Bricki – QPR, Swansea, Wigan
@Stretford_end – Wayne Rooney
@Sleepy_Nik – Rooney and Torres obvious choices; Aguero and Suarez outside chances.
@DoronSalomon – Van Persie (if he stays fit) otherwise Javier Hernandez
@Herzogschild – Wayne Rooney
@Bricki – Aguero or Torres
@Stretford_end – Arsenal
@Sleepy_Nik – Arsenal
@DoronSalomon – Everton
@Herzogschild – Chelsea
@Bricki – Spurs
@Stretford_end – Barcelona
@Sleepy_Nik – Cant look beyond Barca or us
@DoronSalomon – Real Madrid’s year I reckon
@Herzogschild – Barcelona
@Bricki – Real Madrid – Just to wind Fabregas up after his move
Best summer signing?
@Stretford_end – If he stays fit, which is quite unlikely, Stoke getting Woodgate on a free transfer is a decent piece of business as I’ve always rated him as a centre half. However, I still think there will be a few more pieces of business left that may surprise a few of us.
@Sleepy_Nik – Aguero. Could be the missing link in the final third City have been crying out for (unfortunately). Can create, dribble and finish. Young and De Gea are superb additions for us, the former able to play anywhere across the front four and equally adept at dropping deep to create.
@DoronSalomon – Gervinho at Arsenal seems clever business – he’s a bit more direct than anything they have there already.
Outside of the top four there have been some great bargain deals – Bolton paid £3m for Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears, and got Reo-Coker on a free. Fulham got John Arne Riise for just £2.4m. O’Shea and Brown to Sunderland were a steal but the best deal for me is Given to Aston Villa for £3.5m.
@Herzogschild – Unpopular, I know, but for the minimal fee involved, Liverpool’s snaring of Jose Enrique was a more than decent bit of business. Clever move.
Elsewhere, the signing of Brown and O’Shea for little more than tuppence was a cunning bit of purchasing by Bruce; two well able players who have traversed the circuit many times with still a bit to give. For mere pittance.
@Bricki – In terms of value the signing of Woodgate by Stoke COULD be excellent if he stays fit.
The versatility of Young is very good as well as is O’Shea at Sunderland but if he hits the ground running I think City fans can be excited over Aguero.
@Stretford_end – Well, at United – I was really impressed with Pogba when I saw him last season and I’d like to think he will be able to get a few first team appearances under his belt this season and if he impresses in those fixtures – who knows.
In the Premier League, I think that Martin Jol is a good capture by Fulham and they’ll have a good season. I actually tipped them to flirt with relegation last season, however Sparky turned things around mid way through the season.
@Sleepy_Nik – Danny Welbeck has transformed himself in the last 12 months and is now oozing class. Downing may surprise a few too, has much more than crossing ability in the locker now.
@DoronSalomon – At United Cleverley and Welbeck seem the obvious choices but I fancy both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to continue to develop with Smalling in particular coming through as a real fist XI contender.
Away from United I think if Chelsea recognise Daniel Sturridge’s potential then he can be a really important player for them. Similarly I hope Spurs make Kyle Walker their first choice right back, he needs to improve the defensive side of his game but he looks exciting.
I think a surprise player this year may be Ritchie de Laet – he’s had an excellent pre-season with Norwich and seems convinced he wants to succeed at the top level.
@Herzogschild – After last season’s emergence it’ll hardly be a surprise now, but I fully expect Chris Smalling to progress with the same rapidity that provoked awe from us all last year. A superior *footballer* to Vidic; far more aggresive than Rio – his pace, and reading of the game, is little short of immense. And that’s with relative inexperience. The guy is pure gold. You can see now why Wenger, at the time, was so gutted we stole in ahead of him. He, along with Jones, have ensured our defence’s future is superb.
Non-United, who knows. Lukaku’s imminet arrival at Chelsea is an intriguing one; it’s a wonder where they’ll all fit in. But, if he gets enough games, his emergence from purported wonderkid to complete striker may come about quicker than most expect.
@Bricki – I think Downing at Liverpool could be a surprise as could Obertan at Newcastle. He won’t pull up trees but he’ll do very well there.
Pogba will get a chance this season and may surprise but from a United point of view I’m hugely excited about Welbeck and Cleverley now. Both will play 20+ games this season.
I’m most looking forward to …
@Stretford_end – Quarter Final European Cup tie with City? Nothing better than a European night at Old Trafford.
Without predicting certain things – I am looking forward to seeing how the team responds to losing a number of the old guard (Scholes, Neville, Hargreaves, van der Sar…) and a number of the younger players stepping up.
@Sleepy_Nik – Balotelli’s strops as Mancini continues to struggle to contain the millionaire ego’s. And of course, referees to become well respected once and for all (well we can dream).
@DoronSalomon – Watching our FAYC winning youngsters develop and attempt to push into the first team picture – Pogba, Morrison and Tunnicliffe (when back from his loan spell) in particular.
@Herzogschild – What will – hopefully – be a more fluent, younger United side, who’ll be less cautious, and more, well, ….United. After casting aside any idealistic notion we’ll patch up the midfield pre-season, I’m willing to be content with no signing if it means those who deserve it get a go. Whilst it’s easy to reduce one’s self to giddiness post-Community Shield, it did show how some of our younger lot are ready, now, to give it their best shot. It will at the very least be a more rewarding attempt than some of the turgid, immensely slow, stuff we’ve recently played out. Welbeck and Cleverley are eager, and are looking to impress
First-team aside, I hope to again derive much pleasure from watching our current crop of youths continue to impress. The same names will be flung about, I’m sure, but I’ll proffer one tip to those who are on the lookout for someome special to watch: Larnell Cole, who makes up for what he lacks in size with a maturity and ability that stretches far beyond his years. The spilled drool over Morrison (justifiably) and Pogba (less so; many are pushing him too far ahead when he’s way off) is fine, but Cole was arguably our most consistent performer last season. A real gem.
@Bricki – Neville on Sky on Derby Day – Interesting.
– Warnock losing it at QPR and going postal on the board.
– Joey Barton trying his ‘games’ with the wrong player (i.e. not an Arsenal player) and getting his backside handed to him.
Next manager out/walk?
@Stretford_end – Alan Pardew
@Sleepy_Nik – Pardew
@DoronSalomon – Paul Lambert
@Herzogschild – Steve Kean
@Bricki – The first sacking could be Warnock but the walker might be Wenger.
Those are our opinions… nice to see the only thing we all agree on is who’ll top the league! So what do you reckon? United on for title number 20?