The Michael Wood Column

Friday 17 August, 2001

Premiership 2001-2002

So why bother? The Premiership, a million miles away yeah? Perhaps not. With the 4-0 drubbing of Barnsley suggesting that City's stay in the Nationwide might be shorter than others have predicted it seems worth keeping an eye on the division above.

So this is this years BfB predictions. Inaccurate probably, but here goes...

  1. Liverpool

    They are simple the best team in the Premiership. Well balanced and adaptable squad, four (three is Fowler goes) outstanding strikers. Solid back line that Gerry Houlier knows is best kept unchanged. Will beat more teams than United, hence get more points, hence win the league.

  2. Manchester United

    Not that is Sir Fergs last year or because anyone is losing it or because they are committed in Europe or anything like that, just because Liverpool are better and will get more points that United, who will get about the same as in previous years, leaving huge gap between second and third and the Alex reflecting on how his life would have been if he had bowed out after the European Cup.

  3. Totteham Hotspur

    There will be three great things about Spurs this year. Glenn Hoddle, who will return to being the footballing genius that got a draw in Italy and took Swindon (Yeah, that shower of sugar) to the Premiership. Dean Richards, who when signed from Southampton will end up as the new Sol Campbell and in the England squad and Simon Davies, who is the Welsh David Beckham. It will be tight between the team contesting third, but Spurs will come out on top.

  4. Arsenal

    Despite Van Bronckhorst bolstering the midfield the Gooners are shy of real depth to the squad in that area and this will prove to be the undoing of Arsene's side. On their day they will win at will, but too often they will be down to the Grimandis and end up drawing games that the teams above them will win.

  5. Chelsea

    The revolving door at Stamford Bridge stops any real team harmony building up so the Blues will spend another season stunningly brilliant on some days, and losing to the likes of us on others. Will touch the top three, but settle outside it.

  6. Leeds United

    Leeds, exciting young team and all that, but not good enough to challenge for the title in the face of squads like Man U, Liverpool and Arsenal.

  7. Aston Villa

    Not good enough to mount a serious title or top three bid, but worth a decent Premiership finish.

  8. Middlesbrough

    Steve McLaren will finally free Boro from the rubbishness of Robson and, with Windass setting the mould for the mindset and Boskic for the skill, expect a very good season and better the year after.

  9. Newcastle United

    Bobby Robson is keeping things ticking over, rebuilding the Mags off the field after years of mismanagement by Ruud and Ken's transfer follies. A decent season that clears the way for the return of the reproven and get out clause having Kevin Keegan.

  10. Ipswich Town

    Forget all the talk of Ipswich no longer being a surprise package, good players are good players and the likes of Matt Holland, if kept, will ensure a top half finish (But I said 20th of these last year so what do I know?)

  11. Sunderland

    Naill Quinn is not getting any younger.

  12. Fulham

    Too many good players to struggle, but the Man United of the south title that Fayed longs for is a long way off. Expect a host of new players.

  13. Charlton Athletic

    Expect a solid season, but not the Euro-hopes of last term.

  14. Blackburn Rovers

    A good team at beating some, but over reliance on pushing the ball out to the flanks will be sussed by the better sides. Still, a decent return.

  15. Leicester City

    The message is clear. Peter Taylor needs a striker. Could be a struggle, but a winnable one.

  16. Derby County

    Whily old fox, Jim Smith. Makes bad players play well and has enough to work with at Pride Park to ensure his last season is not a failure.

  17. West Ham

    Glenn Roeder is not as rubbish as some would have you believe, but the Chris Hutchings experiment tells you all you need ot know about this sort of appointment. Stars will leave after another relegation flitting year.

  18. Southampton

    Exit the Dell, exit Glenn Hoddle, exit Dean Richards, exit the Premiership.

  19. Everton

    Everton are a mid90s midtable team but the bar has been raised and they are now under it. A long overdue relegation followed by restructure or a Sheffield Wednesday fate awaits.

  20. Bolton Wanderers

    Not even close to Premiership standard and no cigars at all. Expect Big Sam to come out with reputation tarnished.

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