Only a Game? - Who’ll win what in 2012

Only A Game?
Only A Game?
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The proverbial slate has been wiped clean and it’s now time to for us all to sound as if we know what we are talking about and give our predictions on what teams will win what in 2011/12.

I’m still finding it immensely difficult to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never play for my beloved Leeds United and at the age of 29 things aren’t looking too good.

Despite my best efforts I think I’ll just have to consign myself to four-a-side football in Shantallow Community Centre on Monday nights.

The reason that people of my generation get so excited at this time of year is because the beginning of the football season is what April and May is to farmers and gardeners.

Like spring, a new football season offers new beginnings; it gives us the chance to dream the dream of winning a league title or going on a decent cup run.

The latest football strips have been bought, the satellite television subscription may, or may not, have been renewed and the fantasy football team has been picked, changed, picked one more time, altered one more time and picked again. Manchester City for the Premiership anyone?

I definitely don’t want Roberto Mancini’s team to win the Premiership but would it surprise you if they did?

Mancini is under serious pressure to improve upon last year’s third place and anything less than the league title will spell an end to his time at Eastlands.

Losing their captain, Carlos Tevez, will certainly affect the team but they have signed fellow Argentinean forward Sergio Agüero.

Defending champions Manchester United have spent big over the summer but I don’t think any one of their three big money signings will have a significant affect on how the league pans out.

Phil Jones was bought for £18.7 million from Blackburn Rovers, David de Gea cost £19 million whilst Ashley Young joined the Red Devils for £18 million. Collectively, Sir. Alex Ferguson has spent over £50 million on strengthening his team but I honestly believe that he will struggle to fend off the Blues this season.

One interesting addition to this year’s English Premiership is new Chelsea manager Andres Villas Boas. He’s been hailed as a the mini-Mourinho but there’s nothing small about what he intends to achieve.

At the age of 33 Villas Boas is one of the youngest ever managers in the Premiership and he’ll be determined to live up to the £14 million that owner Roman Abramovich paid to secure his signature from FC Porto. Abramovich tasted success when Chelsea won the league in 2005, 2006 and 2010 but he will not rest easy until he gets his hands on the elusive Champions League trophy. Chelsea have a god mixture of experience and youth in their ranks and I think they look good value to take snatch the trophy from the grasp of Barcelona.

The English Championship always offers value for money for those willing to put their money where their mouth is and Sven-Göran Eriksson’s Leicester City are being widely tipped to win the league championship.

The Foxes have secured some key signings in Kasper Schmeichel, Paul Konchesky, Michael Johnson and Sean St. Ledger and will go close to moving back into the Premiership for the first time since they were relegated in 2001.

The saga that is Arsenal continues with the proverbial tug of war taking place between the Gunners and Barcelona for Cesc Fabregas and then earlier this week it was reported that Manchester City were getting ready to table a bid in the region of £20 million for the the French international.

However, manager Arsene Wenger is all too aware of the fact that he hasn’t won a trophy since 2005 and with the Premiership trophy a big ask it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see them go all the way in the Europa League.

So, there you have it. I’ve tipped Manchester City for the Premiership, Chelsea for the Champions League, Leicester City for the Championship and Arsenal for the Europa League.

I’ve a tendency for getting things completely wrong so it wouldn’t at all surprise me if Mancini loses his opening six games, Villas Boas is sacked after falling out with Abramovich, Sven is caught out by another Sheikh and Wenger leaves football to become a priest.

I’d be really interested to hear you think will win what this season. Email me your predictions: andrew.quinn@derryjournal.com or follow me on Twitter @AndrewEQuinn