Take this, take that. It’s Take 5 FFUKers!
5 FFUKers, 5 questions. Yes, we are back again with our predictions for the 2017/18 season which we are all predicting will be very unpredictable! It has to be.
Our big five are: 2016 League Winner Paul Baker, 2011 League Winner Jamie Stewart, 2017 3rd place Matt Reid, plus Mark Tarbox (always Captains Ozil) and Jake Walker (the man with the longest phone number in the world) who have offered us their thoughts for the new season. Plus of course myself (Pete) and Chris chipped in with our views too. Let’s get stuck in.
1. What will the Premier League Top 4 look like at the end of the season (in order of course)?
Paul: United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal. Mourinho’s second season = champions. Arsenal must inevitably claim 4th place back, while Spurs will struggle with home games at Wembley and I can never bring myself to back Liverpool!
Jamie: I reckon it’s wide open this year and I actually think any of the big six could win the league. I only include Arsenal in that if they retain Sanchez – if he departs then I reckon they could finish behind Everton. Spurs have accumulated more points over the last two seasons than any other side but haven’t spent (yet) and have to get used to Wembley. Liverpool’s success will depend largely on whether or not Coutinho stays. I can’t help thinking that Costa will be a big loss to Chelsea and have a feeling they won’t get off to a fast start – but then again they didn’t last year either. I think United have spent well and will have a good second season under Jose, especially if they get off to a good start (and they do have some kind early fixtures) but I’m gonna pick City for the title. They’ve brought in quality at the back where they were lacking last season and have the firepower to score goals for fun. Plus KDB looks like he’s flying in pre-season and Kompany is currently fit. The only question is whether the new guys at the back can gel quickly and based on the result and performance against Spurs the other night it looks like they already have. I could literally pick out of a hat for 2nd through 6th but I’ll go for: 1. City 2. United 3. Chelsea 4. Spurs.
Matt: Take 5 is quite an apt name as I reckon any of the big boys, excluding Arsenal, could take the trophy. I’d probably veer away from Spurs though, because of Wembley, and Chelsea, because it’s always harder to retain the title than win it. Plus I get the feeling maybe the Champions League is more of a priority for them this season. As for the rest I think it’s pretty much, take your pick. But I’ll go with United to narrowly pip City as Jose normally delivers in his second season. 1. Man United 2. Man City 3. Liverpool 4. Chelsea
Mark: Heart = Arsenal, City, United, Chelsea. Head = City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal
Jake: 1. Manchester United 2. Manchester City 3. Liverpool 4. Chelsea. I would love to put Spurs or Huddersfield Town here, but can only see Town making the top 6, and I’m worried about the negative effects Wembley may have on Spurs.
Pete: City, Liverpool, United, Arsenal – Random hey. I’m going with you at the moment, and I know how fickle us Chelsea boys are, the likes of Morata will take a long time to get involved, Hazard will be confused/unmotivated, the defence will like porous, and we’ll scrape 5th. Hope I’m wrong on that one.
Chris: City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool (Arsenal and Spurs to battle it out for 5th)
2. Who is getting relegated and who is finishing rock bottom?
Paul: 18: Burnley 19: Brighton 20: Huddersfield. When thinking about relegation we first have to look at the promoted sides. I think a Benitez-managed Newcastle will have plenty to stay up, however I can’t see Huddersfield and Brighton having enough quality over 38 games to survive. Beyond that you can probably throw a blanket over 4 or 5 contenders but I’m going with Burnley – I just don’t think they’ll be able to recruit strongly enough to survive. If Sigurdsson leaves I’ll be tempted to go with Swansea instead.
Mark: Swansea (if they sell Gylfi), Brighton (bottom), and Huddersfield.
Matt: Contrary to some, I actually think Swansea will do okay this year. They massively turned things around under Paul Clement and looked a completely different team to the one under Bob Bradley. A lot obviously depends on how they invest the Siggy cash when he inevitably goes, but I reckon they’ll survive.
I see all the promoted teams doing well initially but then fading. Huddersfield will gengenpress their way to within inches of safety. Brighton will be solid but score too few goals. I think those two will be joined by one of the more established teams. Let’s say, Stoke. Zouma’s a good signing, but I’m not entirely convinced by what Mark Hughes is doing. 18th Huddersfield 19th Stoke 20th Brighton
Jake: 18 Swansea/Watford (sorry – really can’t decide) 19 Huddersfield Town (contrary to my previous point) 20 Brighton
Jamie: From what I’ve seen of Klopp’s old mate Wagner up here in West Yorkshire I do rate him. And Huddersfield’s first half dozen games are as good as they could have realistically hoped for to get them off to a good start. But I think the bookies have probably got it right and they’ll go straight back down. I like the look of this Pascal Gross guy that Brighton have brought in (I don’t like him enough to put him in my squad yet!) but again, I don’t think they’ll have enough to stay up. I think Burnley and Stoke will just have enough so that leaves Swansea and Watford. Sorry Lester, but I think Watford will really struggle this season and think they might finish down there. 18th Watford 19th Brighton 20th Huddersfield Town
Pete: Can’t see Swansea surviving this season. Brighton and Huddersfield. Easy. HT for the bottom because they have a really dull name.
Chris: Huddersfield to finish bottom I think. Brighton to go down with them. Then a surprise I think Stoke may struggle and flirt with relegation, I’ll pick them as my 3rd.
3. Who will be the highest scoring player of the season in FPL?
Pete: Typically it’s a mid so…. Alli. If he can add anything at all to his game he will be off the ffuking planet so I’ll punt on him. Actually no I’ve changed my mind. Sanchez.
Chris: I’m gonna go with my gut here and say KDB. I predict big things for City if Pep doesnt do something silly, like playing KDB in a defensive position!
Paul: This is difficult to call, but I’m going to go with Jesus. He showed what he’s capable of last season and I back him to be a nailed on starter and get 30+ goals.
Matt: Kane is probably due a bad injury as it’s World Cup year, so either Lukaku or KDB. I’ll go with Kevin.
Jake: Have to agree with Pete and say Alli – if he can be consistent throughout and start knocking the goals in earlier than he did last season, he could be MEGA. Otherwise (just because I want to make sure you heard it here first) I reckon as long as he starts every game Iheanacho is going to have a breakthrough season.
Jamie: If Sanchez was staying at Arsenal I’d probably have picked him as everything goes through him there. If he goes to City he’ll have to share the points around. But my money is on him heading to PSG. Mind you, over at City I think The Ginger Prince will smash 200 points this season. But I reckon either Kane or Lukaku will top score as I can’t see any other top strikers being as ‘nailed on’. We don’t know yet who’ll be taking pens at United, so I think I’ll opt for Kane.
4. Who will be the biggest flop of the season?
Paul: Well we might be a bit previous here, as there’s many more players to come in between now and the transfer window closing (and leave of course). I’m tempted to say Wayne Rooney though – so much weight on his shoulders going back to Everton. Or perhaps Harry Kane. He’s going to find it difficult at Wembley I think.
Matt: Ozil ambling down his contract at Arsenal or Rooney frustrating his weary legs at Everton wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ll choose Frank de Boer. Just too much of a culture change from Big Sam to the Ajax model. Will the Palace players adapt quickly enough? I’m not so sure.
Jake: In terms of not living up to the hype, I reckon Morata. I’m just not sure he has the necessary tenacity or physical prowess to do well. Also, as well as I’d like to see Rooney do, in what are probably his last two years in the Prem, I’m not sure how he’s going to perform. (There’s a whole host of newly signed HT players that are going to be absolutely terrible).
Jamie: Are we talking teams or players here? If teams, then I think Stoke and the aforementioned Watford will struggle. And Arsenal if Sanchez leaves. And although I’ve played it safe and said Chelsea will finish third I just wonder whether they’ll miss Costa too much, get off to a bad start (after beating Burnley) and then some players might go missing a bit – it wouldn’t be the first time. So I’m going to contradict my earlier answer and say Chelsea!!
If we’re talking players then I suppose I’d best pick a big money signing. Don’t get me wrong I do rate Bernardo Silva, but I’m not convinced he’s gonna get that much game time due to City having a plethora of top quality attacking options that I think are above him in the pecking order. Even The Snake looks like he’s right there in Pep’s plans. So I’m going to pick the diminutive Portuguese.
Pete: Does one need to be there to go back? Spurs. Haven’t strengthened, have CL to contend with again, and they’ll be flummoxed by the big stage at Wembley, 7th or 8th for them, mark my words.
Chris: Hope it isn’t Morata but I fear he may take time to settle, but he has no PL experience to speak of so hard to judge him a flop. I do think Spurs will find it much tougher this season, but I can’t predict Kane to flop again, as I did that last time. How about last season’s highest points scorer – Sanchez? He wont be playing up front for Arsenal any more and I think his head may have been turned if he is “forced” to stay, I cant see him smashing it quite like last season. (I’m sure I will end up regretting these decisions)
5. Finally, how do you think you are going to do this season in FPL?
Pete: For some reason I have a new found confidence so obviously I believe I’m going to take things to the next level, consolidate, perform. But as we know confidence usually has the opposite effect, so the likelihood is I’m going to have a terrible season! Bring it on!
Chris: Last season I had a terrible run from about GW5 until GW34 so I need to rectify that. I’m looking to get back amongst the big boys at the right end of the table but each year it gets tougher. The aim I guess is to stay on Page 1! Of course the main priority is to beat Pete 😉
Paul: Win it of course 🙂 The latest iteration of my team looks amazing! Of course they will all be wrong and I’ll wildcard in week 2, then it’ll be REALLY amazing!
Mark: After a disappointing season last season I will be happy with being in and around the Top 10. Need to start well.
Matt: I will be happy with a Top 20k finish overall and maybe winning some prize money in FFUK. It doesn’t always work that way though, so let’s see!
Jake: Genuinely be satisfied if I could be one of the Top 50 making up the stats this year – had a nightmare last year and ended up taking too many hits. Just be happy to be above Neil Stewart and my bro though to be honest!
Jamie: The quality in FFUK is improving every season so if I make the Top 10 again this time around then it’ll have been a good season.