Now that the horror end to the season is behind us I thought it worthwhile to look back at the predictions I’d made before the start of the season and after the summer transfer window had closed.
In this article, written before the season started, I’d mentioned United as the title favourites.
As of now, I’d say United are favourites. I know many people think Rooney will not be able to maintain his form and Fergie’s team will struggle this year. I’ll be delighted if that happens but I think the Scot is a wily old fox and will change his game style this year. They’ll try to get more from Berbatov, Hernandez, and Nani by playing a more defensive style.
That was a time when many Gooners and pundits were writing them off and predicting a poor year for Fergie’s men. Hate to say it, but the United manager did get a lot more out of Berbatov, Hernandez, and Nani.
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.
This was my prediction for Chelsea,
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.
I think Fergie understands 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).
It is impossible to ignore the contribution of referees to this United title.
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.
Arsenal did make a mess of things.
I’d mentioned that the fitness of Van Persie and Fabregas will be the key. RvP showed us his value after Christmas. But I haven’t forgotten the calls to sell him during the January transfer window because he was supposedly made of glass. Of course, that wasn’t anything more than the partly amusing and somewhat annoying routine of a vocal minority of fans changing their tune based on the current form.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, Fabregas struggled for fitness and completely disappeared at the business end of the season. Others like Nasri failed to rise to the occasion and some of the younger players, who’d done well thus far, disintegrated under pressure.
I will review the season over the course of the summer so don’t want to write definitive opinions in this article. But the lack of contribution from Fabregas during key moments of the season did make a big impact on the results. If he’d been fit for the Carling Cup final or if he’d played well in the final couple of months we might have had a completely different finish.
That’s not an excuse, nor is it a comprehensive explanation. It’s just one part of a complex puzzle that was the Arsenal season.
As far as the cups go I didn’t expect a strong run in the Carling Cup. That was a pleasant surprise. Runs in the other two competitions were going to depend on the draw. We all know how that turned out.
Overall I’d say the season went largely as expected although the final few weeks were extremely disappointing and frustrating given the quality of performances prior to the Carling Cup final.
PS: I was doing the Daily Mail crossword online and the following clue brought out a chuckle – A split at Tottenham Hotspur concerning money-management (6). The setter must be a prescient Gooner with a sense of humour 🙂