15 August, 2008

STT's 2008-09 Season Predictions

It's back! Thank fuck! The Championship and SPL are in full flow already, while the Premiership kicks off in earnest today after 97 painful football-less days. It hasn't been the most explosive offseason in recent memory, dominated by the tedious Ronaldo saga and a mildly enjoyable European Championships devoid of any UK interests, but full of beer. In anticipation of the fireworks and fistfights due over the next 9 months, here are STT's predictions for the season ahead:

Alternative PFA team of the Season

Last year's PFA team of the season pretty much picked itself, with James, Fabregas, Ferdinand, Gerrard, Ronaldo and Torres the shining lights from virtually the first week. It wouldn't be a surprise if all 6 made it again, so we present an 'alternative' team of the season, devoid of any of the players that made it previously:

Brad Friedel

The priapic Yank made a slightly strange move away from Blackburn to Villa this offseason - a move that looks more and more sensible with every day. He'll be playing behind a more consistent back four, in a team with more ambition and attacking threat. It's possible that he may not have much to do between the sticks, but whatever he does, he'll do with American heroism and a slightly Lancs/Brummie accent.

Alan Hutton

Along with Jermain Defoe, Hutton was the best signing of the January transfer window. He won his first medal at Spurs after only a few weeks and is at a side that will be looking to build on last year's cup success. In the league's least glamourous position, any number of players can jump in the team of the season, so also look out for a rejuvinated Luke Young and criminal-turned-victim Glen Johnson.

Daniel Agger

Agger had a real shocker last year, suffering from recurring metatarsal problems. However, his performances the year before were excellent and he contributed largely to Liverpool's Champion's League run. Apparently, he's back to full fitness, but may have to prove he's better than Martin Skrtel to regain his first team place beside Scouseface Carragher. He also has madd tats, which is a must for a hardman's image.

Martin Laursen

Laursen had a cracking season last time out, scoring 6 goals in all competitions, while forming a formidable partnership with Olof Mellberg. With the bearded Swede on a jolly in Italy with Juve, Laursen is expected to step up to the challenge and lead Villa's back line. With Barry's future still uncertain, it's possible that O'Neill will also hand him the captaincy.

Patrice Evra

Evra surprisingly didn't make last year's PFA team, but he's a better player than Gael Clichy, showing more attacking intent, while being just as solid at the back. Despite this, he's still the worst paid player in the United first squad, so look out for him playing the 10p slots in the Trafford Centre arcade.

Anderson

It's not clear where Anderson's going to play this year and it's debateable if he's going to play at all. If Scholes, Carrick and Hargreaves are all fit at the same time, there may not even be room on the bench for the dreaded Brazilian. Still, if the centre of the park is full of Englishmen, Fergie may ask him to have a bash on the right.

Deco

Big Phil's first signing is certainly not small on class. A creative force for Porto and Barcelona, the petite Portuguese can be a cracking box of tricks going forward, as well as tracking back. On the other hand, Chelsea's midfield have countless big swinging dicks to choose from, so this spot could be filled by the ridiculously renumerated Lampard, the Bison that is Essien, or the league's best player in 2008 - a certain Michael Ballack.

Javier Mascherano

It's been almost 2 years since the debacle that is Kia Joorbichangate and it seems that Mascherano is behind his countryman Tevez in terms of development and stamping his authority on the league. This will be the season where he breaks the shackles and establishes himself, assuming GazBaz doesn't skulk over to Merseyside. The only competition he has at the moment is the unwanted Xabi Alonso, as well as Lucas Leiva, who shows touches of class, while looking like a very convincing lady.

Theo Walcott

At times last season, I looked up at the TV and wondered which young Brazilian had that crazy pace and touch for Arsenal, then realised it wasn't some South American young buck. Still only 19, Walcott was meant to be a great player as long ago as 2006, but has shown only flecks of genius amongst his stumblings. With a transitional Arsenal squad, where the senior players are not always fit, Walcott will be expected to do more than 7 goals in all competitons.

Wayne Rooney

Shockingly omitted from last year's PFA team, possibly due to being asked to play out of position for most of the season. The only question is whether he will score more goals than Tevez and we reckon that he'll score more. Maybe one or two more, that is.

Dimitar Berbatov

Berbles is pure class in a glass. He can do it all at a canter, but may choose not to - that's the maddening beauty of him. He could score 40 for Tottenham, or he could score 1 for United, but he's getting in this team in any case. He also takes a very homoerotic photo.

Competition Predictions

Premier League: Manchester United

Scolari won't win it in his first year. Wenger won't win it with that thin a squad. Rafa doesn't know how to win it. Fergie wins by default.

FA Cup: Arsenal

Arsene's men get a piece of silverware for the first time in 4 years.

Carling Cup: Aston Villa

O'Neill has taken 3 years to do it, but he finally has a team to challenge for a tin pot.

Champions League: Inter

The Special One wins Serie A at a canter and shits on Chelsea en route to his third European trophy.

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