Every season we make football predictions at the start of August. I recently had the opportunity to look back on my shout-outs for 2011/12 and it’s interesting to see who has really let you down this season!
Runner Up: Manchester City
Third: Manchester United
Relegated 2: QPR
Relegated 3: Wigan
4-4-2 Magazine Premier League Surprise Package: Aston Villa
I have pretty much drawn blanks with all my Premier League picks. I was convinced that AVB would come in to Chelsea and have an Ancelotti-style effect but he didn’t even last the season. City can still make me a happy man with second but that would be at the expense of my third-place pick, Manchester United, winning the title.
Liverpool did not continue their good form of the end of last season and Arsenal’s resurgence means they should make the Champions League after all.
At the bottom, Swansea have upset all the odds but QPR and Wigan still look good bets to beat the drop. Villa will have to improve in the final weeks of the season to show my faith in them as the surprise package (finishing five places higher than the Four Four Two predictions).
Top Scorer: Sergio Aguero
PFA Player Of The Year: Wayne Rooney
FWA Player Of The Year: Wayne Rooney
PFA Young Player Of The Year: Jack Wilshere
First Premier League Manager to be FIRED: Steve Kean
Dirtiest team: Blackburn
Sergio Aguero was a late, late choice for top scorer but even a crazy end of season run won’t be enough for him to overhaul Robin Van Persie.
It’s always hard to tell with the PFA Player of the Year because it is voted for at such an early stage of the season. Even though Van Persie seems like the logical choice, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a City player given the nod as they looked like they would sweep all before them before Christmas.
Football Writers’ award tends to go to the same player but I think they will give the nod to Van Persie and Rooney hasn’t quite done enough to justify my faith. Wilshere was bad choice as it looked like he would be back for late-August but since then he has turned into a china doll.
Steve Kean keeps battling away and would actually be my pick for Manager of the Year, if he managed to keep Blackburn up – although there are some other strong contenders. Blackburn are still in with a good shout of being the dirtiest team but why I didn’t go for the safe pick of Stoke is anyone’s guess.
Champions League: Barcelona
Champions League Top Scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo
Europa League: Spurs
FA Cup: Liverpool
Carling Cup: Arsenal
Johnstone’s Paint Trophy: Sheffield United
Barcelona look like doing the business again in the Champions League, although there is a fair way to go in the tournament yet. It will be tough for Ronaldo to overhaul Messi in the goalscoring charts and the Argentine will have to keep Bayern’s Mario Gomez at bay to make sure he bags that accolade.
Spurs played their Europa League campaign like they would rather be anywhere else but Liverpool still have a good chance of winning the FA Cup and showed my faith in them for some silverware by capturing the League Cup in February. For Arsenal though, it’s going to be another barren season.
I would not have picked Chesterfield in a million years to win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but that competition has become something of a lottery in recent seasons with league position having little bearing on the final outcome.
Champions: Leicester City
Runners Up: Ipswich
Playoff Winners: West Ham
Bottom: Bristol City
Relegated 2: Coventry
Relegated 3: Peterborough
4-4-2 Magazine Championship Surprise Package: Barnsley
Top Scorer: Michael Chopra
4-4-2 Magazine Championship Player of 2011: Andy King
Barring a great run towards the end of the campaign to get them in the play-offs, Leicester have been unremarkable at best, despite having a star-studded squad and Paul Jewell has stagnated at Ipswich.
Always fancied West Ham to blow automatic promotion but sheer willpower and strength in depth should get them up. I’m pleased that Coventry and Bristol City have lived up to their billing but Peterborough have obviously learnt a lot from their last Championship foray.
I was impressed by Barnsley in pre-season and I am hoping that they don’t collapse towards the end of the campaign but Chopra and King are very much like their respective clubs – hugely disappointing.
Runners Up: Charlton
Playoff Winners: Preston
Relegated 2: Stevenage
Relegated 3: Bournemouth
Relegated 4: Rochdale
4-4-2 Magazine League One Surprise Package: Charlton
Top Scorer: Bradley Wright Phillips
4-4-2 Magazine League One Player of 2011: Gary Roberts
It’s going to be tight in League One but Huddersfield still have more than half a chance of automatic promotion but my pick of Charlton to go up and be the league’s surprise package is probably my best of all.
Preston have been a complete letdown and exposed Phil Brown’s ineptness as a manager after a lucky 12 months at Hull City. At the bottom, Yeovil somehow seem to cling on in there and Stevenage could be a real surprise package if they sneak into the play-offs. Rochdale look likely to go and there’s still time for Bournemouth to be dragged into matters, although hopefully not in Paul Groves’ case.
Bradley Wright-Phillips has had another excellent season but Jordan Rhodes has swept all aside and will be playing at a higher level next season for sure, regardless of whether it is with Huddersfield or not.
Runners Up: Bristol Rovers
Third Place: Gillingham
Playoff Winners: Rotherham
Relegated 2: Burton Albion
4-4-2 Magazine League Two Surprise Package: Torquay
Top Scorer: Adam Le Fondre
4-4-2 Magazine League Two Player of 2011: Aden Flint
Swindon certainly have the quality to stretch their lead at the top of League Two, especially with games in hand but Bristol Rovers have been really disappointing, especially given that they snapped up a lot of the division’s top talent during the summer.
Gillingham still have a shout of the play-offs but Rotherham have been a huge disappointment; perhaps the departure of Adam Le Fondre in August (my choice for top scorer) was too big a void to fill.
Cheltenham have really upset the form book, whilst Burton have just done enough at the bottom and it looks like my perennial picks Macclesfield and Hereford might slip through the net this time around.
A Swindon player was guaranteed to win the Four Four Two award and I went for the wrong defender in Aden Flint. The winner, Matt Ritchie, should be playing at a much higher level.
Playoff Winners: Luton
Money talks in the Conference and Fleetwood have more of it than anyone else, hence why they should now stride away, hit 100 points and lift the title.
If Luton make the play-offs (touch and go still) then they will be more determined than anyone to return to the Football League, especially after two recent failures.
Scottish Premier League: Celtic
La Liga (Spain): Barcelona
Serie A (Italy): AC Milan
Bundesliga (Germany): Bayern Munich
Ligue Un (France): PSG
European Golden Boot Winner: Lionel Messi
European football is really in a predictable lull at the moment. The SPL has now become a one-horse race, so lump the lot on Celtic. Barcelona look to have let me down in Spain but they can still catch Real Madrid, although those two are so far ahead of the rest that it’s ridiculous.
Serie A is a bit closer with unbeaten Juventus (too many draws) pushing Milan all the way. The Rossoneri can be sublime on their day and ridiculous on others.
The German league is providing the most entertainment, with Bayern Munich surprisingly trailing Borussia Dortmund. However, the Bavarian club looked to be one of the few equipped to challenge Real and Barca on the continental stage.
It’s neck-a-neck in France between PSG and Montpellier going into the final weeks of the season. The investment made at the Parc des Princes should see the Parisians become one of the top European powers in the next five seasons.