... as I predict the 2009/10 season.
La Liga predictions
Barcelona will start the season slowly and they will keep losing key players to injuries. In contrast, Real Madrid will start the season flying. However, by February the form of the two teams will even out. Villarreal will finish 3rd in the league with Atletico Madrid beating Valencia to the 4th place. Sevilla and Deportivo will struggle throughout the year while Espanyol enjoy their best season in a long time.
Sevilla’s manager Manolo Jimenez will lose his job a few months into the season and Juande Ramos will return to Sevilla. Manuel Pellegrini will be under pressure by the end of the season (see below) after a great start at Real Madrid.
Kaka will sustain an injury only a few weeks into the season and the injury will keep him out for two months. In contrast, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will suffer a knee injury and miss two months as well, but his injury will happen in November.
Player of the year in La Liga will be Raul. Zaragoza’s Ewerthon will be the unlikely hero in Spanish football. Villarreal’s defender Gonzalo Rodriguez will be a target for most big clubs in Europe next summer.
Seria A predictions
Juventus will play the most attractive football in Italy and still come up short. Inter will win the title. However, come the end of the season everybody will be talking about Juventus’ attacking brand of football and their exciting 4-3-3 formation. Ciro Ferrara will draw comparisons with both Fabio Capello and Pep Guardiola. Roma will struggle for results while Fiorentina will enjoy their best season in recent years.
Milan’s coach Leonardo will not be sacked despite serious criticism throughout the season. However, while Milan keep their faith in Leonardo the media will continue to link Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini with the job. Roma’s coach Luciano Spalletti will be sacked though and his replacement will either be Roberto Mancini (if available at the time) or Napoli’s former coach Edy Reja.
At Inter, Diego Milito will outscore and outperform Samuel Eto’o. At Roma, Francesco Totti will have a slow start but will bounce back and enjoy his last strong season in 2010. The unexpected star of Seria A will be Udinese’s Alexis Sanchez. By the time the season ends he will move to one of the big clubs and be labelled as the “new Cristiano Ronaldo”.
Player of the year in Seria A will be either Rafa Van Der Vaart or Wesley Sneijder, whichever one signs for Inter.
Premier League predictions
Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Sunderland and Aston Villa will have satisfactory seasons. Everton, Manchester City, Stoke and Wigan will struggle. Blackburn will finish in top half of the table whereas Bolton will fight relegation. West Ham will be the disappointment of the season in the Premier League.
In early 2010, Arsene Wenger will announce that he is leaving Arsenal at the end of the season. He will then be courted by either Real Madrid or Barcelona, depending on which team looks likely to end up 2nd in La Liga. Manchester City will fire Mark Hughes in February. The man to immediately take over will be Felipe Scolari.
Robin Van Persie will finish as top scorer in the Premier League with 23 league goals to his name. Pushing him for the throne will be Fernando Torres, Darren Bent and Jermaine Defoe. Didier Drogba will struggle for goals while James Beattie will end the season with 3 Premier League goals for Stoke, mainly due to injuries.
Wayne Rooney will sustain an injury at some point during 2010 which will sideline him for 6 weeks. His appearance at the World Cup will be doubtful. Other relatively seriously injured players will be William Gallas, Brede Hangeland and Javier Mascherano.
Player of the year in the Premier League will be Frank Lampard.