Yes, it is that time again! Or rather, it was that time again last weekend, when the 2009-2010 Premiership season actually began. However, it's not too late to take a look at what's likely to happen over the coming months!
The top of the Premiership table is likely to look a lot like it did last year. In fact, I think it's probably Manchester United's title to lose again, despite the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo et al. They're too well-managed, and none of Liverpool, Chelsea, or Arsenal significantly strengthened their teams over the summer.
As always, one big question revolves around whether anybody is going to be able to catch one of the big four, and this year's prime candidate is Manchester City, who are now the richest soccer team on the planet (yes, seriously) and have been throwing the money around in a meaningful sort of way. I have heard some speculation that Arsenal are vulnerable, but I just don't think that Manchester City are quite ready to make the jump just yet. It's pretty much a given that they will qualify for the Champions' League one of these seasons, but it's probably not going to be this one. Other teams with European aspirations will, as always, include Aston Villa, Everton, and Tottenham.
At the other end of the table, the general consensus is that Hull City and Portsmouth are dooooomed, and I tend to concur. Hull City were dismal towards the end of last year, and Portsmouth are in deep financial trouble. The third relegation spot is far less certain. It's always tempting here to include one of the newly promoted sides, and I'm afraid that this time the finger of Fate points at Burnley. It's their first season in the top flight since 1976, and it's likely that they'll need a couple of tries to establish themselves among the big teams. The other two teams who came up, Birmingham City and Wolves, have recently experienced Premiership soccer, and should be better prepared.
And what of Millwall this year? Well, it's going to be very tough. There are about five clubs in League 1 this season who really should not be there on the basis of their resources and fanbase, and it's tough to see Millwall getting by enough of them to earn promotion. That said, nobody thought we'd come within 20 minutes of going up last season, either...
Anyway, here's your predicted Premiership table:
|10||West Ham United|