Here I go again with August’s report card and September prediction/expectation for another 6 clubs from England’s finest football league.
Aston Villa had a flying start to the season when they outplayed a somewhat disorganized Manchester City side by 4 goals to 2 but then their fortunes took an inexplicable turn when they were defeated by a last minute goal by relegation favorites – Stoke. Though the draw against Liverpool was not the most exciting fixture, Villa seemed intent on not conceding a goal and defended successfully to nick a point from the tie.
This makes it pretty hard to predict what might happen in the next few games for Villa. They have their first game in the middle of the month when they visit what could be a resurgent Spurs side who are another hard team to predict. The remaining games are against West Brom and Sunderland which Villa must consider winnable to think of even breaking the top six this season. Considering this, Villa must be looking for atleast 7 out of the 9 points on offer.
For a club that is the real life image of the word ‘inconsistency’ for several years now, the start to this season has been no different. They were utterly haphazard in their first game against Boro and were victims of a late goal against Sunderland. The draw against Chelsea was a hard fought one which leaves the neutral wondering what to expect next from Tottenham.
With Berbatov moving to Manchester on the last day and with the spurs having to make do with a loan deal for Frazier Campbell in return, the front line is the biggest source of worry at least until January for Juande Ramos. The fixtures for September start with a home battle against an unpredictable Villa side. The latest signings of Pavlyuchenko and Corluka would go right into the team sheet and Spurs have the first 2 weeks of September to form a decently cohesive unit. The Villa game is followed by home fixtures against Wisla Krakow and Wigan with the latter clearly a more difficult game with Wigan’s new wonder team looking to have the ability to cause problems to some of the best teams in the league.
Tottenham are currently languishing in 19th spot and will need to win all the September fixtures to recover from the poor start. This means the away game against Newcastle must be won. My prediction is 5 or 6 points from the possible 9.
City has had a good start to the season with 6 points from their 3 games leaving them at 3rd in the league table. Including the loss to Villa, City has scored 8 goals in their 3 games so far. The loss at Aston Villa seems to be a mere blip when considering the wins over West Ham and Sunderland. Mark Hughes has stamped his authority over the squad already but he was struggling to do the same with the board and it might be the same with his new employers too.
The last day of the transfer market saw City being taken over by Abu Dhabi United who immediately bankrolled the record purchase of Robinho from Real Madrid. Kompany and Zabaleta seem to be very good acquisitions too and now City looks a little too embarrassingly talented to be a mid table side. Manchester City hosts Chelsea on the 13th which I have to give to Chelsea. They then face a UEFA cup game against Nicosia and follow it up with another tricky home game against a Portsmouth side armed with an in form Defoe. They wind up the month with an away game at Wigan which must be won. In all, 6 points must be a good target considering their new affluence and revitalized squad. 9 points would be a great way for the team to prove that they share their owner’s ambition.
Manager Alan Curbishley has departed exposing ugly malfunctioning engine under the hood of the shiny West Ham mobile. But seems like not everything is dull and gloomy with new additions on deadline day representing ambition with the signing of David Di Michele in particular something of a coup. The back line could be a little shaky though after the sales of McCartney and Ferdinand. Moving on to the August report card, West Ham has had a good start to the season with 6 points from 3 games.
They lead the league in home performances with 6 goals in 2 games but also lost 3-0 away at Man City. Going into September, the question would be on West Ham’s ability to push forward without a manager and if rumors are to believed, Curbs had lost control over the team anyways so it shouldn’t be too hard to proceed. Atleast the fixtures seem to be a little kind with games away games against West Brom and Fulham and a home game against a Newcastle team in a worse situation than themselves. I want the Hammers to aim for all 9 points even without a manager.
Well, At least Everton have their manager intact after a bad summer transfer market. A 15 Million deadline day purchase of Maourouane Fellaini may be inspiring to Everton fans but I cant find too many videos of him on youtube and so the jury is going to be out on him for a while . To me it represents a lot more desperation. August has been poor for Everton with two home losses against Portsmouth and Blackburn, but a vital away win at West Brom that got them off the mark. They need a much better September if they want to even come close to a top 6 finish.
That said September sees Everton squaring off against relative light weights – Stoke and Hull before a Liverpool Derby. Getting 6 points this month must be a given for Everton to be taken seriously this season. A Derby win would be a welcome bonus. All in all, September represents a great way for Everton to finally take off this season.
Portsmouth probably had the most difficult starts to the season and September should be better no matter what. Harry Redknapp has a paper weight squad though and has to rely on multiple loan deals for adding depth to the squad. Jermaine Defoe seems to have hit form at the right time though and can hopefully be a focal point of attack for them.
September sees Portsmouth face tricky challenges against Boro, Tottenham and Manchester City. 5 points would be a decent return for Portsmouth this September. Anything more plus a home win in the UEFA cup game against Guimares would be brilliant.
Ok so that adds up to ten teams and there are ten more to go. Comments are welcome.