Now that were are finished the busy Christmas period of Barclay’s Premier League fixtures and with an FA Cup break coming up on the weekend, I figured that today would be a good day to re-visit my preseason predictions. First you can see my EPL season preview here. Based on this, Chelsea and Liverpool have been among the many disappointing teams. Aston Villa have easily been the most disappointing, they are sitting in a relegation spot after Christmas play. Bolton and Newcastle have been among the surprises as they have finished the end of the Christmas break in the top half.
My prediction of Manchester United winning the league is looking good so far, they have yet to lose. Just like I predicted, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham are competing for the other three Champions League positions. Looking ahead, I think that only Arsenal and maybe Manchester City will be able to compete with Manchester United for the Premier League title. Chelsea have played their way out of contention over the last month, with it coming to a head yesterday with a loss to Wolves.
Speaking of Wolves, I had them, West Bromwich and Blackpool going back down to the Football League Championship. At the midway point, only Blackpool have done enough to convince me that they will survive to fight another season in the top flight of English football. They are sitting in 13th on 25 point even though they have had multiple home games postponed due to a frozen pitch. Many of those will be made up this month, which will give Blackpool a chance to climb back into the top half.
At the midway point my new predictions for European spots and relegation are
1. Manchester United
3. Manchester City
5. Tottenham Hotspur
7. Newcastle United
Relegated to FL Championship
18. Wolverhampton Wanderers
19. West Ham United
20. Wigan Athletic
Promotion to Premier League
1. Queen’s Park Rangers
2. Cardiff City
3. Leeds United
Moving on to the Serie A now. My preseason Serie A predictions couldn’t be more wrong. I had one Milan team winning the league and one missing out on the Champions League, only problem is that I had them backwards. I had Inter winning the Scudetto again, with Milan finishing 5th and heading to the Europa League.
Starting at the top of the table, Lazio and Napoli have been surprises. I had both missing out on Europe, but at coming out of the Christmas break they are both sitting in Champions League positions. I think that Roma is the team to watch in the 2nd half of the season. Their second half form was well documented last season and they almost won the League because of it despite their horrible first half. I don’t see them winning this year either, but they look prime to get back into a Champions League spot.
Moving further down, it looks like Palermo should be able to wrap up a Europa League birth. Internazionale should be able to get the other one, but they will be challenged by a group of nine teams sitting within four points of them that is led by Sampdoria. Inter has more talent than any of the teams chasing them, so that should help them. I don’t see them getting into a Champions League spot regardless of what they do over the next 4 and a half months though.
Looking at the bottom of the table, Bari look certain to be relegated with just 2 wins from 17 games. Cesana, Brescia and Lecce will fight it out to stay alive as it looks like only one of them will be playing in the Serie A next season.
My predictions for European spots and relagation at the midway point of the Serie A season are
Relegated to Serie B
Promoted to Serie A