Predictions For 2010-11 Season

While discussing the openness of the title race as predicted by Arsene, my thoughts were that the year end table will look like United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, City, and doesn’t matter after that. But I wanted to wait till the end of the transfer window before making my predictions for the season.

Now that we’ve seen a few games and a rather lacklustre transfer window is closed (thankfully), it’s time to put my neck on the line.

Broadly speaking, I expect the top three to remain the same as last year but not in that order. City, Tottenham and Liverpool will probably fight it out for the next three places although it will be a big challenge for Redknapp to balance the Premiership with the unchartered waters of the Champions League. Similarly, Roy Hodgson faces a big challenge as the club’s future is uncertain and some of his main players aren’t in the right frame of mind.

Let me take this club by club starting with our title rivals,

Chelsea: The reigning champions have lost five experienced players in the transfer window and replaced them with two. In terms of involvement in the League last season, Ballack had 26 starts and 6 substitute appearances. Carvalho 22 starts, Cole 14+12, Deco 14+5, and Belletti 4+7. That’s a lot of squad depth. They will need big contributions from Benayoun and Ramirez and will have to hope that their key players maintain their fitness. Essien can be a like a new signing for Chelsea!

The big positive for Chelsea is that they can defend really well, especially against the smaller sides. So even if they have some players missing they can always play a tight game and hope to nick a winner. Another advantage is that their key players have not had many injury concerns. But as we saw in the 08-09 season, if Drogba misses a large chunk of games they’ll fall just short.

I expect them to have some extremely dominant periods and some phases when they drop a lot of points. Second in the League is my prediction.

United: Contrary to popular belief I don’t think United are on their way down. I think Fergie understand the Englishness of the League better than anyone else and that will help them a lot. Berbatov looks like he will do much better this season and that should ease some burden of Rooney. United fans will also be hoping for more from Nani, Valencia, and the refs (their twelfth man, especially at home).

If they can keep Vidic and Ferdinand fit, United have a good chance of winning the league. If they have injury problems in defence they will be third. Prediction: first or third.

City: They have the squad for a title challenge but I’m not sure they have the manager. To be honest, I’m not completely convinced by their squad either because it’s loaded with defensive minded players. They have some creativity on the wings but when their most creative central player is Yaya Toure, it tells me they’ll struggle to break teams down away from home as we’ve already seen.

I think they’ll be fourth because of their squad that should help them see off the Spuds and Liverpool. They will only finish higher if one of the top three really make a mess of things.

Tiny Totts, Liverpool, and Aston Villa will have some good patches and will be tough games for the top teams but I don’t expect any of them to be serious title challengers.

That brings me to Arsenal.

I think we will toggle with United – first or third.

A lot will depend on injuries of course, but I think we’ve added good quality over the summer. I know some people will still talk about the Keeper but we made a mess of things in 07-08 when Almunia was hardly at fault. I think we can win with our present defence and Keeper but that will depend on how our midfield and attack works out.

I don’t think it makes any sense to separate defence, goalkeeping, midfield and attack when analyzing football games. So statements like, “we don’t have a defence to win the league” or “we can’t win the league with Almunia” sound really hollow. In a game like Cricket we can say batting and bowling are completely separate and the quality of one doesn’t normally affect the quality of the other. That is not the case in football.

I’ve always maintained that Arsenal defend well when we can play our football and attack well. It’s not that much about personnel in defence or between the sticks. Yes, those guys will make the occasional mistake and we will concede some stupid goals. We did that in 07-08, even in the early part when we were running away with the league. The difference was that in those days we had team that never accepted defeat and always found a way of coming from behind on rare days when we did go behind. Sadly, that didn’t last till the end of the season but that’s a topic for another day.

To me the fitness of Van Persie and Fabregas will be key this season. We need more than 30 league appearances from both. Once again, going back to 07-08, we had 32+4 appearances from Adebayor and 32 starts from Cesc. In 08-09 RvP had 24+4 while Cesc had 22, Last season Fabregas had 26+1 while Van Persie made 14+2 appearances. It’s not difficult to see the impact our best players have on the year end tally.

We will definitely benefit from the improved performances of Walcott, Nasri, and Arshavin. Also the arrival of Chamakh should add to our attacking strengths and will perhaps counter the absence of RvP to some extent. Even then, I’ve a feeling the fitness of Van Persie and Fabregas will make the difference between first and third.

Champions League and the Cups

I find it very hard to make predictions for the Cup ties and in many ways Champions League is a Cup despite its name.

A lot will depend on the draw. If we get some home games we should do well in the FA Cup. I don’t expect us to win the Carling Cup with our policy because many teams have invested so much that they desperately need something just so they can look in the mirror.

In the Champions League I expect we will have a real challenge if we draw United, Chelsea, Farca, or Madrid. We should get past all other teams including Bayern, although that could be a tight game.

Farca have Messi and with the system we play it’s tough to deal with a guy like him. Even if we manage to keep him quiet we might end up leaving space for others. Still with a fully fit first team I’d definitely enjoy a battle with the scumbags.

United, Chelsea and Real (now that they have the Dark Lord) will defend against us and stop us from playing. As I said before, once we can’t play the way we like our defensive issues are exacerbated. In Cup games I expect we will have a real challenge getting past these sides. That doesn’t mean we can’t do it. A lot will depend on the personnel available and the form on the day so it’s pointless to predict the results of Cup ties right now.

All in all, I think our best shot is at the Premier League title, second best would be the FA Cup or the Champions League depending on the draw.


38 Responses to Predictions For 2010-11 Season

  1. TheGooner says:

    i have a real good feeling about the champions league this year:)

  2. OzGooner says:

    Chelsea Arsenal Man Utd Man City

  3. Common Sensei says:

    Arsenal are looking really good this season, if you look at the squads of our rivals; talent wise we are the best squad. Depth wise the gap is not so great, i’d even go as far as saying for true proven quality Chelsea and United outstrip us Gooners if only just.

    That said; our younger contingent (including the excellent Walcott) are all near to the level required to get some sub appearances during the next cluster of games, and will all be pushing for a regular place which is a relief to the entire team when we suffer any injuries.

    To add to that, Arshavin is improving each game, Rosicky is showing his excellent pre-injury form that was so important to us since we signed him in 2006. Nasri was looking good too before his injury = he is going to have a great season if all goes to plan too.

    Everything is shaping up well, so with a bit of confidence taking it all in perspective we have an extremely good chance of contesting the league closely this season. I am quietly hopeful of us going unbeaten or something too or just surprising the pundits and SAF / CA

    • desigunner says:

      Well summed up, I’d just add ‘consistency’ to that. After a great result at Ewood Park we need to replicate that at some of the other places we’ve had a tough time. Last year we weren’t completely consistent in such games, albeit a bit due to injuries.

  4. Zak The Goon says:

    If Arsenal can get their defencive unit sorted out we can then protect almunia much better. We need to find the right balance between attack/defence like ‘Farcelona’/ spain, press higher up the pitch close down the ball in are 18 yard box, double up on opposition winger’s.

    If Wenger can sort that out i think we will have a credible chance of winning a trophy providing are injury curse has been lifted and we show consistency through out the season.

    We have a fantastic squad, all they need to add is some ‘intelligent aggression’ like previous wenger teams had.

    Keep the faith gooners

  5. Bengali Gunner says:

    Great post and analysis however i still don’t think we have that winning mentality that chelsea and man u have. It gives them an edge, our kids havent experienced lifting any silverware therefore they’re used to being runner-ups.

    But i do Have to agree that if our key players stay fit (almunia,vermaelen,song,fabrgas,v persie) then we have a genuine chance for the title

    • desigunner says:

      Yes our players don’t have the experience of winning but then you can argue both ways. If the personality of a person is that of a winner he will keep on trying till he achieves success. Otherwise no one who fails to win in the initial attempts would ever win later.

      I can see your point though. At times our players might lose belief because they’ve lost before. That’s definitely an issue. For instance, if we concede a goal on the counter against United or Chelsea it’s possible they get the “oh no, not again” feeling. True winners would have to rise above that and change the script. I think our players can do it.

  6. kiwigooner says:

    Rosicky will make the difference.

    Quality quality quality

    • desigunner says:

      🙂 I didn’t want to jinx him by putting the burden of expectations. The guy hasn’t had a good, continuous run of fitness for such a long time that I feel worried the moment we start hoping for big things he will suffer again. No doubt about his quality though. Top, top quality.

  7. Talia says:

    Consistency will be everything in the PL. Especially our away form that has to improve on last season. It goes without saying that the big games – especially against MU, MC, and Chelsea will probably determine where the league title ends up.

    As for the CL. The group stage will be far more difficult than everyone seems to think. After that we’ll probably play either Real Madrid or AC Milan (Ajax are outsiders). Getting to the quarters won’t be as easy as last year.

    We’re due some luck with fitness, but the form of Cesc and RVP are equally important.

    Rosicky, Nasri, Theo, and Chamakh have all started well. If these four can keep it up then who knows what we can win this season.

    • desigunner says:

      Agree with you about consistency. Hopefully our improved depth will help in that regard.

      I did an article after the draw that said the draw was not as easy as it seems. I think we can top the group but we’ll have to avoid complacency and play at our best. Over the last few years we’ve not had a tough second round game so this year might be different. Milan look like they are improving but only time will tell if their signings settle in. Let’s see how the situation unfolds.

  8. 8 inch knob says:

    ………………Sczysney………………
    ………………………………………….
    ………..Squillaci….Vermaelen…….
    ………………………………………….
    …………………Song………………..
    ..Sagna……………………….Gibbs..
    …………………Diaby………………..
    ………………..Rosicky………………
    ………………………………………….
    …………..Walcott..Arshavin……….
    ………………Chamakh………………

  9. Raghugovind says:

    I feel if we don’t meet Inter in the champions league, we will win it. Because if you see whenever Arsenal have met the reigning champions in the last 2 occassions we have lost . Although we did beat AC Milan in 07-08 . But still I feel so . Its a stupid theory though .
    😉

    • desigunner says:

      07-08 was also the season we had a good run in the league. I think this is going to be similar and I expect Inter to be much weaker as Benitez is not as negative as Mourinho and Inter don’t have a good enough team to play positive football.

  10. La Shiz says:

    I agree, Raghu. That is a stupid theory.

    I’m gonna bookmark this post and read it again at the end of the season. I’m an optimistic person by nature and I have good and realistic hopes from our boys this year. I do believe we can go the distance in the league what with the quality and depth in squad we have.

    The beginning of last season was the best I’ve seen in a long time by any team. We were scoring for fun and still conceding but it didn’t matter. Our squad is now much more experienced, more skillful and less injury prone(I don’t know where I got this from, but let’s face it, we’ve already had our plague last season and lived to tell the tale. Surely, it can’t happen again, can it?).

    Echoing everybody else’s sentiments, I am disappointed about not getting a new keeper, which is something Wenger very clearly said at the end of last season was our main priority. I do feel let down but I trust there may have been reasons beyond my knowledge and he clearly isn’t a stupid man. Although, I still do think that a club like Arsenal should be able to attract world class goalkeepers. I know they don’t grow on trees and their clubs may not be willing to sell for less but with the kind of money Arsenal now have in the bank, I don’t think cost is an issue here.

    I was never on the Schwarzer(sp?) bandwagon. I hardly think he’s any better than Almuinia(who I do rate).

    Anyway, its time to get behind the team we love to watch and support, no matter what the result.

    Go Gooners!

    • desigunner says:

      Your approach is spot on. I can understand fans being disappointed with the lack of goalkeeper signing or for other reasons but it should not lead to a state of disrespect for someone who has a really difficult job and has been doing magnificently over the years.

      I think we must’ve made inquiries for top keepers like Reina but either the clubs weren’t willing to sell or the price demanded was obscene.

  11. Aussie Jack says:

    The main contenders are still Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. Also rans, Manchester City and Tottenham not much else. Injuries will decide Arsenal`s fate and I expect them to come thick and fast, there are sides out there that will kick their legs from under them unless we modify the rules and that`s just dreaming.

    • desigunner says:

      I guess most Arsenal fans look at international matches and reports to see the injury scores and not he actual results 🙂 It’s been a crazy curse, in part due to the football we play in an archaic league, and we really need to find a solution.

  12. Sriram says:

    Desi,

    Another very nice article. Balanced and logical as usual. I think you would have read my article on the season preview, most of the views match each other without saying. I really feel we have a strong chance this year, mainly due to our quick defenders and us getting used to 4-3-3.

    On a personal note, I read your article for the Arsenal Benelux magazine, As an Indian supporter and a convert from the game of cricket to football and thereby Arsenal, I was able to connect to whatever was written. It was so nice to get to know about you and how you support Arsenal.

    Cheers,
    Sriram

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah I think many of us in India have converted from Cricket to Football and mainly due Arsenal. People who knew me as a kid still don’t believe I’ve stopped following Cricket 😀

      Btw where did you read that article? on the Benelux site?

      • Sriram says:

        :D, same here! Some have even asked me why I neglected cricket when I was so passionate about it in the past. Anyway, that little story is for another day.
        Yes, I read it on the Benelux magazine, a cheeky little opportunity came my way for writing in that very column, so I had to check what kind of posts go on to that space and thereby I found your article. Instantly I was able to connect. 🙂 Just thought I would leave in a word.

      • desigunner says:

        That’s great. I’ll check it out.

  13. Common Sensei says:

    Haha I laugh all the way home whenever people say that they think Man City are a rival to us!! I mean I can understand why logically at least they should be … But if you took some time to consider the reality of that club:

    Mancini hasn’t got a clue – he does an adequate job of keeping the glossy front believable; but lets face facts NONE of his players have his trust, so it must be extremely difficult to find any team ethos there.

    Not only that they got rid of last seasons top scorer Robinho and replaced him with Balotelli; who so far looks out of his depth and decidedly average.

    Chamakh came on a free and looks 10 times the player so far 🙂 Which is good news for all us Wengerites because that is what we said would happen anyway!

    So long as we have no major emotion issues this season (for instance a long term injury to a young player – no matter how many times I see it, it shellshocks me so I can’t imagine how tough that is for the team and Wenger to take. Almunia is apparently almost like an older brother to the squad so thanks to him for that … Rosicky too, seems to be doing the trick at last).

    The more I look into it and think, the more positive I can be. This season watch this space Arsenal could surprise us all 😀

    • Filip says:

      Balotelli out of his depth and decidedly average ??? What are you talking about? He has played only 25 minutes in Europa League match for Man city, scored the only goal, was the most dangerous player and man of the match.How does this make him average ? Based on his ability as a footballer, he is right up there with pato and cr ronaldo.Messi is in a different league.Robinho is just a wanna-be.Chamakh is a great player for us so far but his finishing struggles.Great team player! Wenger has transformed so many talented strikers into goalscoring machines so I think Chamakh will improve his final touch.

    • desigunner says:

      I agree with you about the struggles at City. They will have ego issues and will be interesting to see how people like Adebayor and Given perform when they get the intermittent chances.

      I’d say it’s a bit harsh on Balotelli. He has the talent only his temperament has been questioned so we have to wait and see how he develops. I’m not sure he will do well in such a squad where his opportunities might be limited. It will depend on the initial period I guess. It could be a positive or a negative spiral based on what happens early on.

  14. Abdikheer says:

    Arsenal have a strong squad that can fight for champions leage n premeier leage.cesc should stand with along side with song n should shows he s our captain

  15. Jaguar says:

    Common sensei,you have no common sense.Who is a Wengerite?I am an Arsenal fan,not a Wenger fan,you fucking mug.Retards like you are the only reason why our club dont win anything.

  16. Finsbury says:

    Jaguer,

    Your muted mewlings seem to echo around differnt people’s blogs.
    Maybe you’re not screaming loud enough?

    Carry On Blogging.

  17. Common Sense says:

    Jaguar please control yourself, I am also an Arsenal fan because I totally agree with the ethos the club has; it’s core values and the way the club plays it’s style of football.

    I am a Wengerite because I also agree with the way Arsene Wenger is doing things – for the good of not just the club but the larger picture of trying to stop football going down the swanny.

    It may be hard for your tiny mind to see it, but the league is changing. When I was younger and started supporting the team, football was about SPORT not money. WINNING FAIRLY AND RESPECTFULLY not just winning at any cost.

    However being as you cannot manage to state your case in point I am not sure if you disagree with this or not. You never said. In your short but pointed reply, you failed to even mention football –

    Infact your short message said more about you than it did about football or even your opinion of me (retarded, no common sense, mug, and the reason we are not winning anything – it seems I have taken Almunias mantle and justified Wengers decision to not buy a keeper).

    Basically I am not going to get drawn into your childish tirade; since trading verbal blows with somebody of your ilk holds no challenge for somebody like me. I just think as much as your petulance and lack of a thought process; your general vitriol and attitude instant label you to me as somebody I would rather avoid –

    Because you are indeed a fellow Arsenal fan I would rather give you this single chance to explain yourself or change your mind before I can be 100% sure that you fit this label.

    At the moment I am only 99.99999% sure of this but I have been wrong before, so I will happily hold my tongue whilst you read the manual for the remaining 0.00001% benefit of the doubt 😉

    Retard??
    Mug??
    No common sense???

    Let’s hope you can read those big words I just used!

    • desigunner says:

      nice one about Almunia 😀 I’m sure many fans will volunteer to be the sole cause of the clubs problems if it takes the heat away from the players and leads to better support.

  18. Filip says:

    Everyone talks about the winning meantality Chelsea have.I dont see it this way.I am not saying Arsenal have the winning mentality but let`s talk about Chelsea`s winning mentality.Every time John Terry and Frank Lampard come to my mind , I always remember their sad faces when they lost to liverpool,barcelona and man utd in the champions league and for England in world cups and euros(vs portugal).They are the ultimate losers.They are good players but always so unlucky.Yes , they won a few titles with Mourinho when they had no competition because arsenal had no money(stadium) and had an ageing squad while man utd was in transition(ronaldo and rooney were very young).Even last season , they were clearly the best team in the league and should have become champions 3-4 weeks before the end but instead they almost blew it and had to win it on the last day.What about Drogba? Being sent off every time Chelsea got eliminated in the champions league. This, for me, is not a winner.Lampard, I am pretty sure, beat the record for most shots without scoring a single goal in world cups( 30 something shots).John Terry beats the other two.He always screws up somehow.I dont think they will be champions this season. Their away form is the problem.I dont know what happens but they lose far too many points away from home.Even against wigan, they were struggling a lot defensively ( I know they scored 5 goals in the second half but look at the performances, not the results only).This is my point of view on Chelsea.
    I think the excuses Wenger makes for his players ( which are valid points but still excuses) is a very bad thing if he wants to instill a winning mentality.On the other side , the thousands of late goals we scored with our reserve players probably means that the players actually have a winning mentality.

  19. Common Sensei says:

    They are young, the ‘winning mentality’ is a very difficult thing to teach unless you have experienced the rush of winning something with your team.

    Wenger has his job cut out for him, and even the players you speak of – Terry and Lamps whilst I would agree with you;

    Yes they do have the winning mindset, when they were 20ish (almost 10 years ago) what were they winning back then? He wasn’t winning anything because back then Chelsea were not being propped up by the golden fingers of a Russian oil merchant!

    I think all of our players must display a winning mentality for the majority of their training and their appearances, or Wenger would not give them starts … but REALLY really having that will to win even when it seems hopeless, this is something we definitely need to master.

    If we can master it then Arsenal would be literally unstoppable! So let’s hope we can keep improving and win some stuff and justify our lack of signings over the years

  20. […] Predictions For 2010-11 Season While discussing the openness of the title race as predicted by Arsene, my thoughts were that the year end table will […] […]

  21. Furovich says:

    Desi, The Man City situation is interesting. They had the money to buy almost anyone in any position and as you say, their most creative central midfielder is Yaya and that is amazing in a negative sense. That could leasd to problems.

    As for United, I really do think they could struggle this season. I find United’s style of play boring, simple, yet often effective. They simply rely on their defenders being better than most teams forwards (Vidic and Ferdinand are perhaps amongst the best in the world) and their forwards being better than most teams defenders. To score goals, United most often rely on the opposition making mistakes, they don’t really have the ability to play through teams with passing or movement.

    Although United finished second by just 1 point last season, I think they were very far from being the best team. If United do manage to win it this year, I think it will be because other sides (Chelsea and Arsenal)did not manage to reach their potential. I just don’t think they have the midfield to play through teams with passing or movement and this means yet again they will be relying on Rooney to win games single handedly. He had the most exceptional season last year and it still wasn’t good enough. If key United players suffer some long term injuries I really believe they could finish outside the top 4. The Fulham match to me showed that without a firing Rooney, United aren’t much better than most teams.

  22. […] After the transfer window closed my predictions were – United, Chelsea, and Arsenal followed by City, Liverpool, and Tottenham battling it out for 4 to 6. […]

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