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Robbo's Premier League predictions

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Robbo Robson | 11:11 UK time, Thursday, 13 August 2009

Now I'm not one of them that would scrap international friendlies but having half-watched England against Holland, I was left asking the same question I ask myself if I ever have the misfortune to stop channel-hopping at Big Brother: 'What the heck is the point of this?'

Rio and Barry drop clangers, Capello sticks to rigid 4-4-2, Defoe scores a brace - in other words, the same old individuals behaving out of character 'cos the game is about as important as celebrity cellulite.

John Terry's getting dead good at talking up the prospects of the team measuring itself up against your Spains, your Frances, your Hollands (none of these teams come in the plural by the way) but as long as you don't get battered it's a pointless exercise.

John Terry, Emile Heskey and Ashley Cole

Pundits will still try and draw their conclusions about Capello. The main message from him on Wednesday was that just 'cos Michael Owen has pulled on a Man U shirt doesn't make his inability to scuff one in from a couple of yards any more convincing.

The only difference the red top's going to make is Owen will have more opportunities to miss than he did at Newcastle.

It's ridiculous to have to play a real game when no-one but Michael Ballack in the Community Shield has barged a player in anger. Unfair on Scotland, I reckon. But it was a sadly familiar demise for them against Norway after an utterly ridiculous yellow card from a ref who clearly forgot who he was booking for the second time.

Still, anyone who's watched a George Burley press conference in recent times can tell all's not well in the camp. Is it me or has the pitch of his voice gone up two octaves in the past year. Half the time I think Scotland are being coached by Miss Jean Brodie. I can't see 'em making any play-offs now after watching the Dutch.

In the meantime, the Premier League is about to get into full swing. And despite the absence of two of the greatest draws in the game - Cristiano Ronaldo and David Wheater - the top league should be in for another interesting season. Everyone else has done their run-down so here's mine.

ARSENAL Can't see them getting top four this year using a team of identikit pass and movers with hardly a decent tackle between them. Until the secret Fabregas cloning comes to fruition they'll struggle against the big lunking alehouse teams. 5th.

ASTON VILLA Bigger squad but no Barry? 6th.

BIRMINGHAM No chance of staying up. The purchase of Barry Ferguson just points to a bit of desperation. Barry should stop sniping at the SFA - he was an utter chump and he's not up to all that any road. 19th.

BLACKBURN ROVERS There'll be more pragmatic footie from Big Sam this year. More midfielders with neck-ache, more whingeing from gentler souls opposing him about the tactics. Yawn. 12th.

BOLTON WANDERERS See Blackburn. Yawn. 13th.

BURNLEY No idea. Might do a Hull. I'm assuming they won't. 17th.

CHELSEA Ancelottery has spent his dough, so he says. Carlo will make 'em pretty hard-nosed. A lot depends on his highness, the now undisputed king of diving, Didi Drogba. If he likes Carlo then I think they'll be tough to beat. 1st.

EVERTON They can't do much better so I'm expecting worse. The FA Cup final was just a fitting reward for Moyes' endeavours, although they looked several light years off the pace at Wembley. 7th.

FULHAM A bit of faffing about in Europe won't help. If they lose Hangeland then Hodgson might be pushed to keep them spirited away bore-draws going. 10th.

HULL CITY Save for the arrival of some mystic divinity, and despite his mysterious skin-tone and beguiling voice, that ain't Phil Brown, Hull have no chance. Doomed (but it's been fun) 20th.

LIVERPOOL This is their year. 2009 I mean. Some scrappy draws in early 2010 - and some Torres niggles - will see them underachieve again. Alonso will be a huge loss. 3rd.

MAN CITY I know as much as you know - indeed as much as Mark Hughes knows. Can't see the fancy dans pulling it off though. Come the winter, with a bit of snow in the air and a semi-frozen quagmire - I can see Sparky sending out a search party for about £100 million's worth of talent. Actually Sparky won't still be there by then. 8th.

MAN UTD Not this time. About three match-winners in one have just walked out in the form of the Gelled Tumbler. Nani is Ronaldo less the ability. 2nd.

MIDDLESBROUGH Aw, dammit! Why did I type that? I'm off for a sob.

PORTSMOUTH The Pompey cupboard is bare. Standing on thin air off the edge of the canyon like Wile E Coyote. Ta-ta. 18th.

STOKE CITY The Delapidator is still there. The pitch is still narrow. And they might occasionally outfox the opposition by stringing a few passes together. No probs. 14th.

SUNDERLAND Brucey's in charge, Bent and Cattermole can do a job for them. Unless the boss starts growing some monstrous beard and muttering darkly about his abilities, the only way is up. The Stadium of Light At The End of the Tunnel, my Mackem friends. 11th.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR It's now or never for 'Arry. He's a character but can he put the chutzpah in Hotspur? Enough of the easy on the eye, on our day we can beat anyone rigmarole. A bit of grit and they can squeeze into that final Champions League slot. 4th. (And more pressure on Arsene).

WEST HAM Plenty of quality, the nicest man in football in charge, a fit Ashton up front? 9th.

WIGAN ATHLETIC Whenever Wigan show up it's like a visitation from a bunch of complete strangers. Somehow they do okay. 16th.

WOLVES Good to have Mick back. They'll score enough to stay up, I reckon. 15th.

That's it. Chelsea to win in mean Mourinho fashion. Pompey, Hull and Brum down. This blog is currently building an impregnable force-field around itself in anticipation of the flak from the North West.


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