Thursday, 19 June 2014

Initial, early-fixtures analysis

Now I’m not going to say that if we come out of the first 2 ½ months / 9 fixtures relatively unscathed then we’re home ‘n’ dry in the league…

…but if we come out of the first 2 ½ months / 9 fixtures relatively unscathed; then we’ll be in a very promising position to ‘push on’ with vigour in the league before the Champions League (really) 'kicks in'.


Tough start

We’ve been handed a mixed bunch but also a relatively rough set of opening fixtures, which includes last season’s 2nd, 3rd & 4th-placed teams! But that might not be a bad thing at all.
There’s no truly “easy” games in the Premier League of course but if we can come out of those opening 9 games in August, September & October without dropping too many points; then most noticeably December - including New Year’s Day - and the March / April / May run-in are there for the taking in my opinion (even at this stupidly-early stage of forecasting).

The first nine…

Away at Newcastle United – At home to the Champions on the opening day; they’ll have their tails up for sure. And they’ll be backed by a roaring, new-season, optimistic-fuelled crowd. But which Newcastle United team will turn up? The ‘can beat most teams at home on their day’ version or the ‘roll over and die’ quite pathetically one?
Ride the first 20 minutes of Geordie buoyancy and we can take 3 points from these. Win.
Home to Liverpool – Wow! Having, I’m sure, mullered Southampton at home on their opening fixture; a further improved Liverpool side [from last season] will be a very good match for us I’m sure; even at the Etihad.
It should be a cracker and, I’m sorry to say, I think our opening home game will see us gain just a point against the Scousers. Draw.
Home to Stoke CityWin
Away at Arsenal – Arsenal are traditionally strong starters in the main and with it only being 19th June; of course it’s so difficult to predict before we know the full extent of Arsene’s purchases (or lack there of).
It was a game of two halves at the Eremites last season; a deserved draw for both sides. I’m going for the same again and there’d be no shame in that at all. Draw
Champions League group stages start…
Home to Chelsea – Well under-performed last season in my opinion …and won’t Jose Mourinho know it too! I think we’ll ALL feel the back-lash this-season-round and with [already] a fine, attacking addition made to his already fine attacking midfield in the form of Cesc Fabregas; we can expect a Mourinho-like 4-5-1 at the Etihad…but a far more potent one.
But we’re no mugs ourselves, of course, and [now] 4 games into the season before this fixture; we’ll be finding our stride I’m sure. Very close game indeed but with everyone 'fit ‘n’ firing', I think we’ll snatch this one. Win
Away at Hull City – Never an easy place to go but if we perform anywhere NEAR like we did at the KC Stadium last season then we shouldn't go far wrong.
Hopefully we’ll keep 10-men on the pitch this time though. Win
Away at Aston Villa – Revenge for last season’s silly, should-have-won game. Win
Home to Tottenham Hotspur – With more funds at his disposal and, it has to be said, slightly better quality already available; Spurs’ new Manager, Mauricio Pochettino, will prove to be an even more formidable force this season.
It was tough at home against his well-organised and very threatening Southampton side; this one will be even tougher. Expect a (shock?) Draw.
Away at West Ham United – Similar to Newcastle on their own patch – which Hammers side will turn up? Regardless, I’m sure they’ll be no match for us. Win
Phew!  A few draws in there but we’ve managed to come out of it without a defeat; with a very creditable 21 points from a possible 27.
Worse case scenario? Okay, we spend too much energy and far too much focus on the Champions League game (my…’this season’s fear’) before our clash with Jose’s men and turn the Chelsea result into a defeat; leaving us with 18 points from a possible 27.
But ‘the others’ will drop points too of course and so we’ll be in and around ‘em for sure. Leaders at this stage, it saddens me to say, could very well be the team with a p*** "easy" start in comparison to us and, who, have no European competition whatsoever to focus on.
I’ll leave you to think who that team might POSSIBLY be…
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