Your BPL Holiday Fixture Report

For everyone getting excited about West Brom… Calm down, they had 2 home wins v. Man City and Spurs… not exactly the most watertight defenses…

As far as the relegation candidates:
I see West Brom, Stoke and West Ham as favorites. Mainly I’m placing West Ham in there, because 1) They will owe Sheffield United £20M for the Tevez kerfuffle 2) Their Icelandic owner was hit unbelievably hard because of the credit crunch and has had whatever assets were left, frozen. 3) They are looking to sell a lot of their players because of the aforementioned financial situation they’re in. Which will leave them lacking quality in their side… But not to worry, Hammers fans! You’ve still got Carlton Cole locked up for 5 more years!! Sorry about that, Dan Mason. You would also have to be afraid for Portsmouth. their last few performances have been shocking. Drawing v West Brom, Getting smoked by Newcastle at Fratton Park, Giving up 2 goals in the first 3 minutes @ Bolton, Getting drilled by West Ham and letting the aforementioned Carlton Cole score, and Losing to Arsenal. Not to mention the fact that Tony Adams and Jermaine Defoe don’t have the greatest relationship, does not bode well for their league chances.

The title contenders:
Liverpool: I can’t see them staying top at the end of the season when they’re depending so heavily on Kuyt, Keane and Gerrard to supply ALL of their goals. They need Fernando Torres to come back to fitness in the worst way. Another scoring option off of the bench wouldn’t hurt either.

Chelsea: They are lucky that Arsenal is sputtering along, because they are taking most of the bad press that Chelsea could be having right now. Only 2 wins in the last 7 matches and only one of those matches were against sides in the top 8. They desperately need more pace and invention in their attack. I agree with the commentator for the Fulham-Chelsea match today that Bosingwa was getting TOO advanced, and took whatever space should have been there for Joe Cole to exploit. They need to actually transfer OUT 1-2 midfielders(Ballack, Malouda) and bring in someone with pace. Second, Scolari needs to sort out how he’s going to play. Actually, if you were to get inventive, a 4-3-2-1 could work, but you have to have
Drogba as the 1, with Anelka and Lampard playing slightly withdrawn. Say what you want about Shawn Wright-Phillips while he was there (and he was absolute rubbish), but he brought pace along one wing, while Joe cole brought it on the other.

Manchester United: HERE is the team in the catbird’s seat. They are 10 points behind, but have 3 games in hand. They will also host all of the other top 5 teams in the second half of the season. They have really not played very well at all, but they’re still 3rd and seem absolutely primed for one of their patented second half runs. They also have about £80M worth of strikers (Rooney, Tevez and Berbatov) and in the end, they have Ronaldo and no one else does.

Aston Villa: My squad is looking good for a top 4 spot, but is still plagued by the inconsistency that a young team has. They also must start dealing with the ‘tapping up’ of their players that they haven’t experienced previously. Top 4 spot, probably 15 pts behind the winners.

Arsenal: Too many injuries, WAY too inconsistent, and WAY too leaky at the back. I rate Sagna, but their defense is shocking.

Your projected finish:
Man Utd –
Chelsea -4
Liverpool -6
Aston Villa -15
Arsenal -17

Here’s your table (Team, GP, GD, Pts)
1) Liverpool 20 22 45
2) Chelsea 20 31 42
3) Man United 17 18 35
4) Arsenal 20 10 35
5) Aston Villa 19 10 35
6) Everton 20 2 32
7) Wigan 19 3 28
8) Hull City 19 -8 27
9) Fulham 19 4 26
10) West Ham 20 -4 25
11) Bolton 20 -6 23
12) Portsmouth 20-12 23
13) Man City 20 8 22
14) Newcastle 20 -6 22
15) Sunderland 20 -8 22
16) Tottenham 20 -5 20
17) Middlesbrough 19-11 20
18) Stoke City 20-15 20
19) Blackburn 20-14 18
20) West Bromwich 20-19 18

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