The 2011/12 seasons are kicking off all round Europe. The Premier League in England starts today and the leagues in Germany and Scotland are already underway. I called together the talents of some of the best writers around to give you a glimpse into their predictions for the season ahead.


Terry Duffelen is one half of the excellent “Bundesliga Show” podcast and the fantastic new website “Bundesliga Lounge” be sure to check it out. Here are Terry’s predictions for new Bundesliga season.

Who do you think is the favourite for the title in your respective league and why?

I’m placing my fiver on FC Bayern Munich for the title. Mainly because they rarely go two seasons without winning it but also because I think they have finally addressed their defensive problems with the recruitment of Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng and Rafinha to their ranks. I think Bayern could win the league by ten points or more.

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First of all…watch this!

 

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This can’t be the best of times to follow Les Sang et Or your team sits precariously in the relegation zone while you look up at your biggest rivals on the brink of their first title since 1954. With the dark clouds circling overhead the Stade Felix Bollaert fans in the Marek stand are beginning to look towards the ray of sunshine coming from the centre of their defence.
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Andrew Gibney is joined by Scott Johnston, David Bevan and Eliot Rothwell as they dicuss this weeks four Champions League games – Chelsea v Man United, Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter v Schalke and Real Madrid v Tottenham.

Eliot gives us an excellent insight into the two remaining eastern european teams left in the Europa League – Dynamo Kiev and Spartak Moscow, we talk about how well Aiden McGeady has settle in Moscow and who the other players are to watch.

Finally we get David’s feelings on the new TV deal that will see English Championship clubs lose out on some well needed revenue.

Download directly – HERE

Download on iTunes – HERE

Download the RSS feed – HERE

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Hello..this week on the podcast I was joined by Chris Mayer from 6 pointer, Dave Bevan from the 72.com and Scott Johnston from the footyblog.net. We discuss this week’s four Champions League games. The pod answers how they think Chelsea will be lining up in the future, also answer whether Serie A is going backwards in terms of quality.

In part two, we take a look at our respective leagues of interest Chris (Belgium) Andrew (France) Scott (Scotland) Dave (The Championship) – and we pick out a team, a outstanding player and a young prospect to look out for. And we also pick out the most underrated players from the Premier League this season.

So plenty to look forward to, I hope you enjoy the show.

Oh and forgot to mention it on the show, but this week’s guest predictor is John-Burn Murdoch from the Trequerista site. Good luck John.

(click the big 27 to be taken to the download page  :) )

 

 

 

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The long shot against the wannabe champions. There is no doubt who the bookies favourite is in this match but let Charlie Anderson, In Bed With Maradona’s Scandanavian expert make you think twice about the Danish side’s chances.

The most predictable thing about FC Copenhagen’s tactics in the Champions League has been their unpredictability. Coach Ståle Solbakken has not so much imposed a style or philosophy on his players as instilled tactical flexibility into them. The Norwegian has meticulously tweaked and shuffled his strategies to suit the circumstances, never afraid to make bold decisions and almost always getting them right.

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I had the pleasure last night in taking part in a Podcast for the wonderful website Global Football Today, nice to take part in a podcast when I’m not just talking to myself, we preview this weekend’s EPL games with some predictions, I gave the viewers a quick round up on the SPL’s opening weekend and what matches are on this weekend.

We then delved into some transfer stories, Neymar, Alberto Aquilani, Arsenal’s goalkeeping situation, and Loic Remy and we concluded the discussion on the question “Who would you have in your team right now: Frank Lampard or Ryan Giggs”

So if you would like to download the podcast you can visit HERE, HERE subscribed to my podcasts HERE or search for gibfootballshow on iTunes.

Please take some time to visit Global Football Today and go on twitter and follow @GlobalFoot2Day

Hopefully I’ll be on with Brent again, whenever they want me I’m sure I’ll be free.

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You’ve read BBC, consulted TeamTalk listened to the Journalists on twitter, but of course it’s the opinion of me “gibfootballshow” that you’ve been waiting for, Yeah I know this is the 107th Premier League preview you’ve read however where would I be as a blogger if I didn’t recognise one of the biggest leagues in the world starting it’s season, going to try and do it a little different so you don’t lose interest quickly, but I can’t promise miracles.

Instead of just picking the winners, I will list all 20 Premier League clubs and little reasons why as we go on, also at the end there will be 5 players to watch out for this season. So without further ado here we go English Premier League 2010/11 starts now.

 1.Chelsea
2.Manchester United
3.Manchester City

4.Arsenal

I have picked Chelsea as my eventual winners of the league, good manager a very strong squad, if Essien stays fit he is like a new signing for them, Ramires for me is a pivotal move, very strong energetic midfielder, loves to go box to box, great technique, workhorse engine, I think will take to the Premier League like a duck to water, Lampard and Drogba will score 20 goals each as always, Daniel Sturridge will have a good year, I don’t think any of the other teams in the league are as strong or have as much depth.

Manchester United will be strong, Hernandez looks like being the steal of the year, need to see whether he can play with Rooney first, Scholes, Giggs and Van der Sar are another year older, lots of expectation on Nani and Valencia, Sir Alex will need to summon all his managerial expertise to overcome Chelsea this season, not far behind them will be Manchester City, some excellent signings geared more towards building a team than just buying big name players, Kolarov will come to be a very important move, great left back, desire to get forward, cultured left foot, there is also not lots of pressure on him to perform, David Silva and Mario Balotelli are two fantastic signings “Super Mario” is the most exciting signing this summer for me, one of the best young players in the World, £24 million may sound like too much money however in two years he will be worth double, the move to the Premier League gets him away from the pressure of the Italian media that highlight everything he does simply because he is a black Italian man, in this country the things that he does are no different to any footballer, Bellamy, Cole and Terry make him look like an alter boy. Mancini will have a hard job keeping the 25 players picked for the squad happy; this could be City’s downfall.

Year after year we say “Arsenal need a goalkeeper, a centre back and a central midfielder” Well they signed a centre back, but he lacks experience I have no doubt Koscielny will be one of the top defenders in 3 or 4 years, but not this season, with an experienced goalkeeper behind a young defence they would concede fewer goals and have a chance at the title, the first team are Championship material, and on their day capable of beating any team in the league, however once the injuries and suspensions kick in, the players replacing them will struggle, I’m sure Bookies have suspended betting on a van Persie injury occurring at some point.

5.Liverpool
6.Tottenham
7.Everton
8.Aston Villa
9.Birmingham City

Anfield is buzzing again, Roy Hodgson has got some smiles back on the faces of Liverpool fans already, mostly because he has “convinced” Gerrard and Torres to stay at the Merseyside club, Joe Cole is a decent signing maybe not for £6 million signing on fee and £90,000 a week but that will all be forgotten once he scores the winner against a big club, Problems still exist however, the defence is not watertight, Carragher is aging and cracks are starting to appear, whether you can count on Agger and Skrtel together worries me, Glen Johnson proves times after time he can’t defend, and Fabio Aurelio is Liverpool’s best left back, the midfield is strong Christian Poulsen will be a success at Anfield, either along side Lucas or Gerrard with Jovanovic and Cole supporting, I can see Liverpool playing better football than last year but in the end coming up short.

There will not be much between Spurs, Everton and Villa, with O’Neill gone and Milner surely to follow Villa will struggle, there are still quality players there, Ashley Young and Agbonlahor are cornerstones to build the team around, if the new manager spends the Milner money wisely (if he gets any at all) then they could push for top six, Tottenham will need to find a way to balance the league matches with the Champions League, favourites to qualify over Young Boys, Arry Redknapp needs to strengthen his squad to have any chance of competing on two fronts, defensively there are problems, King and Woodgate will not play 20 games between them, Dawson needs a stable partner to be able to excel, Keane, Defoe, Crouch and Pavlyuchenko are all good players but lack that extra little touch of quality all the big teams have.

David Moyes has been quite quiet so far, Jermaine Beckford arrives with high hopes, able to score in League One for fun, questions over whether he can make the big step up, Pre-season form in promising, Bilyaletdinov, Cahill and Saha are important pieces of the Goodison Park jigsaw, Jagielka and Heitinga are the safety net keeping it all together, all the pieces there for a good season, depth could be an issue. Nikola Zigic and Ben Foster no doubtly make Birmingham a better team, I worry on how Zigic will adapt to the EPL style and the laws of averages would say it would take a miracle for the performances seen at St.Andrews to be repeated, there is time still left for Alex McLeish to strengthen the squad, does the club have that extra ambition though.

10. Wigan
11. West Ham
12. Fulham
13. Sunderland
14.Stoke City
15.Wolves
16.Blackburn Rovers

7 teams that could all either finish top half of the table or near the relegation battle, worse case scenario they could end up with both, the league is tight enough that a victory either way could mean 9th or 16th, which I suppose is the appeal of the EPL. Wigan and Martinez need to adapt and play a passing but defensively tough strategy, Boselli is an exciting signing, added to Rodallega, N’Zogbia, McCarthy and Alcaraz they are a young exciting team, with an equally exciting manager. West Ham have a chance to redeem themselves from an awful season last year, good signings in Winston Reid and Pablo Barrea, dealt a blow with Hitzlsperger’s injury, they have the tools to finish safely away from relegation.

Fulham are a bit of an unknown force with Mark Hughes in charge, not quite sure how they will line up, If they complete the deal for Moussa Dembele he will be an excellent recruit, as of right now I think the team is weak in parts, with Schwarzer, Hangeland, Murphy and Zamora it is a strong spine. I worry for Sunderland at times, they sign good players Riveros, Mensah and Wellbeck, but they suffer from players not being able to settle or injuries the North-East is a place where the fans are always expectant and this pressure sometimes becomes too much for players, they rely heavily on Bent’s goals and I’m not sure they have the players to be creative for him.

Stoke and Wolves are two similar teams, both now have a big money striker, Fletcher and Jones, both play a strong physical game, and both in their first season in the Premier punched way above their weight, this year will be another tough year, the worst thing a team can do is think they are “established” and rest on their laurels, which is why both teams have went out and spent money on making the team better, I’d prefer Tony Pulis to Mick McCarthy as a manager, not the prettiest football to watch but it produces results, another team under the same ilk are “Big” Same Allardyce’s Blackburn Rovers, only one signing so far in Mame-Biram Diouf on loan from Manchester United, not the worst team but they are not going to strike much fear in the other teams, could get drawn into a relegation battle, but should have enough to survive.

17. Newcastle United
18.Bolton Wanderers
19.West Brom
20.Blackpool

So on to the bottom of the Premier League, I think everyone has Blackpool going down, it would be a massive shock if they stayed up, a bit like Arles of Ligue 1 in their story and their signings, lots of journeymen onboard, a good manager, but it will be a long old season for the seasiders. I see West Brom joining them in the drop zone, I like Roberto Di Matteo as a manager has done a great job however they just don’t have a strong enough team to stay up, another yo-yo year for the Baggies. The big battle for me will be the last relegation place, which will be between Newcastle United and Bolton, no offence to Owen Coyle but his team I think will struggle, Elmander has just not turned up in the EPL yet, Klasnic is good, the loss of Weiss and Wilshere will effect them, Petrov isn’t getting any younger, and they could lose some good players in January at the latest, Chris Houghton is probably the most inexperience manager in the league and with Newcastle not splashing the cash they could find it tough on their return to the top flight, Collocini and Gutierrez, Nolan and Steve Harper are of Premier League quality, and could be the little bit of class that keeps them up……just.

5 PLAYERS TO WATCH IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE

#1 – RAMIRES – Chelsea

Just signed today for Ancelotti’s team, I have like the player since I first saw him in last years Confederations Cup, he started next to Kaka in midfield and was breathtaking to watch, Brazil played with a fast counter attacking style and Ramires was the catalyst being the pace and the power, a player that never stops running, will defend and attack all game, good on the ball, does the simple things well, just an all round good player and a very exciting signing for Chelsea fans to watch.

#2 – WINSTON REID – West Ham United

Signed from FC Midtyjland this New Zealand international was one of the brightest prospects in Scandinavian football, after a great World Cup for the only undefeated team at the tournament he looked very good, Strong, good in the air, seem to have a good positional sense, has pace to stay with the speed merchants, I think he will add an extra layer of protection in front of Robert Green, and could become the leader of the Upton Park backline.

#3 – JERMAINE BECKFORD – Everton

A free signing for David Moyes, everyone is questioning whether he can make the step up in class, there is no doubt Jermaine has the ability, his mentality might be under question, failed to turn up at times when Leeds needed him most, this could be the best situation for the striker, no pressure to score loads of goals, Everton don’t have a World Class forward in the squad so there could be plenty of chance for Beckford to step in, as a player he knows where the goal is, has pace to trouble defences, a true predator.

#4 – GIOVANNI DOS SANTOS – Tottenham Hotspur

Now by the time the transfer window closes, dos Santos could have left Spurs, I really hope he stays, he seems to have grown up a little, maybe even matured, after a fantastic World Cup where from the first minute he looked in the mood to terrorise defences, he was one of the reasons Mexico drew plaudits and made it through their group stage, I watched Spurs play in pre-season and again he looked in the mood, a lovely back heel to Bale for the only goal against Benfica, he seems to have played his way in Redknapp’s squad, I would love to see him given a chance at White Hart Lane, this could be the year he fulfils his potential.

#5 – STUART HOLDEN – Bolton Wanderers

If Coyle’s men are to stay up they will need to exciting play of the only Scotsman to play at the World Cup, born in Aberdeen, Stuart has been a star of the MLS and is due to break into the US Men’s National Team very soon, had his season disrupted by injury during a friendly in the Netherlands with the National Team, Bolton fans were just starting to appreciate his talents, a tricky winger who can play in a fantastic cross, he will be a star for his country leading up to the 2014 World Cup, and I expect him to be a star for the Lancashire club this season.

There we go, predictions done, teams put into order and players to watch, now tomorrow of course they will all either not play, get injured or lose.

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With most teams having about 10 or 11 games left, every point is crucial in the next few weeks, the title race in the Premier League has come down to 3 teams; Reigning Champions Manchester United, the early favourites Chelsea and Arsene Wenger’s underdogs Arsenal. Everyone of these teams since September has shown Championship credentials, Arsenal were ruled out at the start of the season by pretty much every pundit worth listening to, even talked down for 4th place, they have proved all the doubters wrong, and this without main forward Robin van Persie out through injury.

Chelsea were most people’s early favourites some strong early showings away from home at Sunderland, Burnley and Fulham. Then without 4 of their players off playing in the African Cup of Nations in Angola, Chelsea managed to win all 9 points and score 12 goals in the process, not bad for a team meant to struggle without their main striker Didier Drogba.

Man United have had a very stop/start season, just when you think they have turned a corner and about to kick on, they lose or draw a game you don’t expect them too, would be interesting to see where in the league they’d be if Rooney wasn’t playing the best football of his life, a lot of defensive issues have also not helped their season.

Despite the ups and downs all 3 remain in the title chase and will be battling it out for the chance to lift the Premier League trophy. 10 games remain  for each team, let’s have a look at the run ins.

CHELSEA

West Ham (Home), Blackburn (Away), Portsmouth (Away)
Aston Villa (Home), Man United (Away), Bolton (Home)
Tottenham (Away), Stoke (Home), Liverpool (Away)
Wigan (Home)

ARSENAL

Burnley (Home), Hull City (Away), West Ham (Away)
Birmingham (Away), Wolves (Home), Tottenham (Away)
Wigan (Away), Man City (Home), Blackburn (Away)
Fulham (Home),

MAN UNITED

Wolves (Away), Fulham (Home), Liverpool (Home)
Bolton (Away), Chelsea (Home), Blackburn (Away)
Man City (Away), Tottenham (Home), Sunderland (Away)
Stoke (Home)

On paper Arsenal’s run in looks easier, only Man City and Spurs to play from the higher placed teams, but they do have to play 3 teams fighting for survival and at this time of year those games can be harder than against the top teams, 4 home games out of the 10 games and trips to West Ham Birmingham and Blackburn won’t be easy, add to that the Derby match against Tottenham, I would predict that worst case scenario would see Arsenal pick up 22 more points.

Chelsea and Man United have a tougher run-in, Chelsea have trips to Old Trafford and Anfield which could see no points gained, tough trips to Portsmouth and Blackburn could provide slip ups, and Villa coming to Stamford Bridge could be a trick tie, again worst case Chelsea for me could pick up 22 points. For United away trips to Bolton, Blackburn and Sunderland then the Derby match at Eastlands against Man City will prove tough, then Home stands against Fulham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs the toughest of the run-in’s for me, I do think Man United are capable of amassing at least 21 points from the 10 games.

If that all went as I have predicted the final table would be as follows

1. Chelsea – 82 points
2. Man United – 82 points
3. Arsenal – 80 points

Of course one of the best things about the Premiership is that anything can happen, so I’m sure my point predictions will be different to what happens, I am convinced though that this title race will go down to the wire, as I said before Wayne Rooney is playing to football of his life so he will be spurring his team forward, Arsenal now are determined to win the league for Aarom Ramsey after his unfortunate leg-break and Chelsea will want to win take the title back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since Mourinho left Chelsea, another factor which could decide the fate of the title will be how the 3 teams do in the Champions League, Arsenal could easily go out to Porto, 2-1 down after the game in the Dragao, Chelsea also behind with the same score, Man United could face a tricky tie with Milan at Old Trafford, surely a reduced fixture list would help each team out, however the 3 teams will be fighting hard on both fronts, however could a Champions League run hamper the League success.

Arsenal could go on and win all the remaining games, and that would be enough to win the title, with Chelsea and Man United, the games against each other, and of course Liverpool will go a long way to deciding the location of the Premier League trophy.

No matter what happens, it’s going to be an exciting few months of football in England.

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