It’s that time of year again. After what has at times seemed to be the longest close season in the history of football (1992AD, as Sky call it), the Premier League returns next weekend and TheChels.Net’s resident Old Crone, Gypsy Rose Baby, looks into her crystal ball and also takes a look at what happened to last year’s predictions. Any readers wishing to cross her palm with silver are welcome to do so.
They may be into their 9th year without any silverware, but just take a look at that balance sheet. Although the board have said there’s money to spend, Uncle Arsene is expected to keep his hand firmly in his pocket.
Fan View: The readers are getting millitant. They’ve gone from ‘In Arsene We Trust’ to ‘Wenger Out’.
Last Season’s Prediction: 5th – a prediction based more on hope than expectation.
Last Season’s Place:4th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 4th
This was probably the single best (domestic) day out for Chelsea fans last season. Paul Lambert continues to wrangle a young side watched by some of the most fickle fans in the country. Our participation in the Super Cup has probably cost us the first Saturday 3pm home game of the season, but the switch to 21st August will be a welcome opportunity to rack up early points.
Fan View: The Witton Arms continues to heave with away fans on matchday (although last year that could have been governed by the early ko). The general consensus of opinion was that the lager was extremely poor. Still, handy for the ground.
Last Season’s Prediction: 13th – again close but no cigar. A spring rally saw them pull away from the relegation zone. Expect more of the same this season.
Last Season’s Place: 15th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 13th
Runaway winners of the Championship last year means there are now two non-English teams (three if you count the Dippers) in the Premier League. They’ve continually broken their transfer record during the summer, and are the promoted team most likely to make an early impact. Expect a slump in the New Year followed by a battle to avoid relegation. The South Wales Police will be biting their fingernails over the prospect of the Bluebirds entertaining Chelsea on the last day of the season if there’s anything to play for.
Fan View: Expect prices in pubs and hotels to go through the roof as greedy local traders rub their hands together at the thought of fleecing the English on a scale not seen the new Wembley re-opened.
Last Season’s Prediction: N/A
Last Season’s Place: 1st in Championship
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 17th
We’d like to extend a warm welcome back to the top-tier of English football to the Eagles, but we really can’t be arsed. A skanky and ill-deserved win in the Championship Play-Off against every Chelsea fan’s second favourite team (Watford) with an Extra Time goal by 79 year-old substitute Kevin Phillips saw Palace fulfil the norm of the 5th placed league team getting promoted. Expect two things only – a meltdown from Ian Holloway and a swift return from whence they came.
Fan View: Still a dump, not far enough out of London to constitute a proper away day with all the inconvenience of not being able to get there by tube.
Last Season’s Prediction: N/A
Last Season’s Place: Play-Off Winners
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 20th
The appointment of Roberto Martinez to replace David Moyes was a canny one, but expect this to be a season of transition (as it will be at many clubs). Much may hinge on whether they can hang on to Fellaini. As always, all that will matter to them is finishing above their local rivals.
Fan View: An unfortunately-timed evening kick off with no direct trains back to London after 7.45pm is likely to see huge demand for the subsidised club transport. This will have the added advantage of taking supporters straight to the ground and those on the coach can always cover their eyes until they’re safely back on the motorway to blot out Self Pity City.
Last Season’s Prediction: 9th – Moyes’ team confounded us here, finishing three places higher than we’d anticipated.
Last Season’s Place: 6th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 9th
Whilst the club are under new ownership with the Phoney Pharoah sailing off down the Thames on his felucca, in reality it’ll be more of the same on the pitch with another mid-table finish beckoning.
Fan View: As always, a popular day out with plenty of (albeit pricey) tickets available courtesy of the ‘neutral’ end.
Last Season’s Prediction: 11th
Last Season’s Place: 12th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 11th
In an unforgiveable piece of marketing, Hull City AFC are no more. They are the Hull City Tigers. For that alone, they deserve relegation. In the immediate future, they will be performing the role of Jose’s sacrificial lambs on Sunday.
Fan View: Stock up on thermals for a trek up north in the deep mid-winter.
Last Season’s Prediction: N/A
Last Season’s Place: 2nd in Championship
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 19th
Another year on and English football’s premier self-sympathists continue to struggle with their place in the game’s new order. In the space of a little over a year Brendan Rodgers has seen his career slump from ‘promising young manager’ territory to self-appointed guardian of ‘The Liverpool Way’. All this and he failed to take them into Europe. On the plus side, this at least mitigates the chances of their yobs stoushing any poor European over the head with a paving slab. Last year the prediction was ‘this could be a real season of transition for them while they lower their expectations’. They’ve gone through the transition stage to emerge where they belong, in a fight to finish high enough for a European place. For them, everything hinges on whether they can hang on to Suarez, an unlikely prospect whilst major European clubs, and Arsenal, lurk in the wings.
Fan View: See also last year: ‘ “istoree….istoree…istoree…” (repeated on a loop)’. If God is very kind, we could seal the Premier League there before April is out.
Last Season’s Prediction: 8th – pleasingly only one place out
Last Season’s Place: 7th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 8th
Another club who’ve been going through the managerial merry-go-round during the summer, Roberto Mancini having departed in the state of dudgeon known as high. Manuel Pellegrini may be a former manager of Real Madrid, but silverware-wise, the summit of his achievement as manager is winning the Intertoto Cup with Villareal. The Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Company continue to splash big money, and most pundits think they’ll be in at the death.
Fan View: Try as they might, Manchester City continue to dwell in their (for now) more illustrious neighbours’ shadow. Their fans are still annoying. Impressive stadium on lease from Council. They could probably afford to buy it if they wanted. They really need to get the ground on the Tramlink in order to assist transit between the centre of town and the stadium.
Last Season’s Prediction: 3rd
Last Season’s Place: 2nd
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 2nd
The phrase ‘a new era’ is trotted out with depressing regularity in football. However, in Manchester United’s case this season it really is true. Last season’s prediction that Sir Alex Ferguson was “… fast approaching retirement” turned out to be surprisingly prophetic, and happily it wasn’t feet first. Ferguson’s apotheosis in the closing weeks of last season was partly gratitude, partly fear. It’s unlikely David Moyes will turn out to be another Wilf McGuinness, but it is very difficult to see him taking up exactly where Ferguson left off. Indifferent pre-season form has already led to calls for his head from the fickle wing of the Republic of Mancunia, but a Charity Shield win against Championship team Wigan will have bought him a few weeks’ grace. At the time of writing, the bookies only make them third favourites for the title, and
if they tank against Chelsea on Bank Holiday Monday, things may turn difficult for him very quickly.
Fan View: Chelsea have come up trumps for the fans with subsidised coach and train travel to the game. For those who manage to dodge the column from the train, lots of drinking opportunities in the city centre and also at Salford Quays.
Last Season’s Prediction: 2nd
Last Season’s Place: 1st
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 3rd
What is it about Newcastle? It always seems that just as if they look set for the sunlight uplands, they plunge into chaos. The decision to appoint Joe Kinnear as director of football, and his subsequent bizarre interview with TalkSport in which he misnamed players and took responsibility for certain transfer deals has done nothing to placate the Geordie faithful. . Disgracefully, they have signed a sponsorship deal with Wonga. Together with the recent spat over naming rights, perhaps they should change to club crest to a picture of Mike Ashley shooting himself in the foot. It could be a very long winter for them, and we’re not just talking about the weather.
Fan View: Any Chelsea fans making the long journey to SJP should make the most of it. It might be a couple of years before the next opportunity.
Last Season’s Prediction: 6th – this is the one prediction last season where we seriously tanked, with a full ten places between our prediction and their place.
Last Season’s Place: 16th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 18th
Another team who spent much of last season in a relegation fight, pulling clear towards the end. Chris Hughton should guide them to mid-table safety again, but probably no more.
Fan View: A Sunday lunchtime kick-off won’t help the travelling support; expect high demand for club subsidised transport again.
Last Season’s Prediction: 7th
Last Season’s Place: 11th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 12th
Southampton were a huge disappointment last season, and in a move that the Chelsea board would have been proud of, sacked the hugely popular Nigel Adkins mid-seaon and replaced him with Mauricio Pochettino. Having said that, Pochettino led the Saints to some notable victories last season (including over Chelsea). Expect a similar finish this time out.
Fan View: Prepare to be nursing your New Year hangover at St. Mary’s.
Last Season’s Prediction: 10th
Last Season’s Place: 14th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 14th
With Tony Pullis leaving the club by mutual consent (in reality having decided he had taken them as far as he could), the appointment of the Fifth Horseman of The Apocalypse, Mark Hughes, could signal a real struggle to maintain Premier League status. Notoriously cold, even in autumn, the temperature could be arctic this time round.
Fan View: Bring thermals. And a hip flask.
Last Season’s Prediction: 12th
Last Season’s Place: 13th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 16th
Only the installation of football’s own Mussolini, Paolo di Canio, saved the
blackshirts Black Cats from the drop last season. Expect more spectacular goal celebrations and a possible explosion. Di Canio really is genuinely mad, and makes for compulsive viewing.
Fan View: The fixture gods have not been kind. The cliche may be a wet Wednesday night in Stoke, but we’ll be facing Brass Monkey Makems on 4th December. Again, the club are kindly offering subsidised travel, but only the brave and hard up will tough out a coach journey that’ll probably be 6 hours each way.
Last Season’s Prediction: 14th
Last Season’s Place: 17th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 15th
Well, well. We might have predicted a difficult second season, but Michael Laudrup confounded everyone’s expectations to lead the Swans not only to a comfortable 9th place, but League Cup glory. The only thing which soured this from a Chelsea fan’s point of view was the second leg semi where the now notorious gamemanship of the world’s oldest ball boy led to a public uproar which temporarily overshadowed the Welsh team’s achievement. Their league form may be impacted by their European adventures (if they make the group stage of the Europa League), but if not they could be fighting for Europe through their league position.
Fan View: Compact modern stadium. Could have the makings of a pleasant Spring break.
Last Season’s Prediction: 17th – a wild under-estimation here. The ‘difficult second season’ turned out glorious.
Last Season’s Place: 9th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 7th
The Bale saga drags into its second year, and AVB still has that funny little croak in his voice. Jose will be determined to put his former apprentice back in his box. Expect Spuds to be thrashing it out with the Gooners for the fourth CL spot again.
Fan View: You burnt your own town….tens of thousands of pounds of improvement means it’s still a shithole.
Last Season’s Prediction: 4th
Last Season’s Place: 5th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 5th
Hopefully this will turn out to be a season when a visit to the Hawthorns doesn’t end in our manager getting the sack. Having anticipated Albion might struggle last season, we were pleasantly surprised to see them finish 8th, and Steve Clarke’s prudent management could see them pushing for Europe this time round.
Fan View: Shame this game is a midweek this season, but you could leave London at 4.30pm and still have time for a decent drink in town before heading out to the Hawthorns. Get to the balti house nearby early; last year they had to operate a one-in-one-out policy due to overcrowding.
Last Season’s Prediction: 15th – we’re pleased this turned out to be a fail
Last Season’s Place: 8th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 6th
It was something of a surprise that the Irons did so well last season. That they did so was a tribute to Big Sam’s man management skills, and his knack of getting the best out of players who have failed elsewhere – we’re particularly thinking of Andy Carroll and, more poignantly, Joe Cole here. Of course the major story for the Hammers last season was the announcement in March that the club had signed a 99 year lease on the Olympic Stadium. They should now be set fair to establish themselves as a long-term Premier League side.
Fan View: Home game in January is part of a full midweek programme and should take the heat out of a usually combustible fixture. Take your tin-hats to the away game in November. Altogether now ‘Super Frankie Lampard, Super Frankie Lampard, he scored 200 against the Pikeys….’
Last Season’s Prediction: 16th – fail
Last Season’s Place: 10th
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 10th
Last seasons’s relegated teams:
We said: 19th
They finished: 18th
What we’ll miss: Terrific away day, cheap tickets, legendary chippy and friendly locals.
What we won’t miss: sitting in a depressingly half-full stadium
We said: 18th
They finished: 19th
What we’ll miss: proximity to London
What we won’t miss: delusions of grandeur
We said: 20th
They finished: 20th – we’re very proud of this prediction;
What we’ll miss: Nothing.
What we won’t miss: Gifting them four points, especially the three courtesy of the Fat Spanish Waiter’s ineptitude.
And finally from the ridiculous to the sublime…
Notwithstanding the thrilling UEFA Cup win against Benfica and Frank Lampard’s record breaking performance against Aston Villa, last season was at times a monumentally depressing affair. In the words of D-Ream, things can only get better. The Special One is back at his beloved Stamford Bridge. The Champions League Final is being held in his native Portugal. The stars are aligning. We daren’t say any more…
Last Season’s Prediction: 1st
Last Season’s Place: 3rd
Gypsy Rose Baby’s Prediction: 1st
We’ll be back later in the week with a preview of Saturday’s Chelsea Supporters Trust AGM. As usual, you can follow me on Twitter @BlueBaby67